Microsoft Windows 8.1 Getting First Update This Spring – Brings Relief For Desktop Users

Joe Belfiore, VP Operating Systems at Microsoft,  was on the stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday to reveal Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8.1 Update 1 and also to talk about Windows Phone. He is best known as ‘the Windows Phone guy’ as he has been co-managing the Windows Phone product team over the past five years. He has recently changed roles just a bit and is now also focusing  on “the user experience of Windows 8 and future versions of Windows.”


He noted that Microsoft is continuing to refine and improve upon Windows 8.1 and that over the next few months Microsoft will be releasing an update to Windows 8.1. This update is in response to customer and partner feedback and will finally make the Windows 8.1 user interface (UI) more familiar and convenient for desktop users!  Microsoft is finally going to give mouse/keyboard users some love it appears after long focusing on touch.


The UI changes include what sounds like the discoverable search, the power power button and key system settings will be  on the start screen again. Users will find it easier to get out of Windows Store Apps as right clicking will be enabled to start or close the Apps now. Microsoft also wants to be able to ship more systems with Windows 8.1 on them, so they are also bringing the hardware requirements down. By lowering the requirements it means that lower cost systems can use the OS. This update will allow system partners to put Windows 8.1 on tablets and other mobile devices that have just 1GB of memory and 16GB of storage. Lastly, Microsoft is making some key enterprise/business updates as they have found many companies have internal web apps that they have built that don’t run properly on HTML5 support in IE11 was not compatible with their old legacy sites. Windows 8.1 will have an IE8 compatibility mode that companies can enable to ensure their legacy sites will still be functional.


Key Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update 1 Enhancements:

  • We’ll enable our partners to build lower cost hardware for a great Windows experience at highly competitive price points.
  • We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users. We have a number of targeted UI improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse/keyboard. Don’t worry, we still LOVE and BELIEVE IN touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use!
  • We are enhancing support for enterprise customers via a few tweaks, particularly including features that greatly improve IE8 compatibility in Internet Explorer 11, which is especially critical for web-based line of business applications. Additionally, we’re extending mobile device management capabilities and making deployment easier.