Windows 8.1 Update Inches Closer to Release
Developers will get the release before the general public.
The next iteration of Windows 8 will be pushed out next month, media reports state.
Microsoft's first update to Windows 8.1 has already hit "release-to-manufacturing" (RTM) status, according to reports published on Tuesday.
RTM releases, in Microsoft's parlance, are the finished products typically sent to original equipment manufacturers for imaging on new devices. Microsoft used to announce them, but the RTM status claim instead comes from veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, who confirmed the release with her unnamed sources. In a report published today, Foley speculated that Microsoft may have signed off on the RTM on Feb. 26.
Microsoft's press relations didn't respond to a request for confirmation today. Microsoft has only said that it plans to release updates to Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 sometime this spring.
The finished Windows 8.1 Update 1 product is rumored to be arriving on April 8, which is when Microsoft will release its security updates for the month. Microsoft lately has tended to release its Windows client and server operating systems at about the same time.
Confirming the rumored release dates is technology writer Paul Thurrott. He claimed in a February 27 Twitter post that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will arrive on April 8, adding that MSDN subscribers will get it earlier, on April 2.
Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone, has described the coming Windows 8.1 spring update, inadvertently confirming some of the details already broached by leakers. He noted that the update will add improvements for mouse and keyboard users. Users will see search, power button and settings options on the Start screen with the Windows 8.1 update. There will be the ability to start and close apps by right-mouse-button clicking on the screen.
Organizations will get help for browser compatibility issues as well with the Windows 8.1 update. A feature called "IE 8 compatibility mode for IE 11" will help organizations run Web apps based on older Internet Explorer technologies.
Microsoft is also promising some minor updates to Windows Server 2012 R2 in the spring release. Those updates have been described as a combination of bug fixes, security patches and monthly update rollups.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.