Microsoft leaks Windows 8.1 update early

The Windows 8.1 update has leaked early, according to reports. Installing the update isn't straightforward and not recommended, though.

Windows 8 desktop.
Windows 8 desktop. Microsoft

Update: Microsoft appears to have disabled the ability to install the update.

The rumored Windows 8.1 update is here -- sort of.

The official update isn't expected until April 8, but numerous reports on Thursday are claiming that by jumping through a few hoops, it can be installed.

But it's not recommended. One method that reportedly works involves making changes to the Windows registry, a dicey undertaking if you don't know what you're doing.

"We wouldn't be surprise if Microsoft blocks this workaround very quickly," Neowin surmised.

Here's how the Verge describes the leak. "A series of patches are required to obtain the full update, but once installed the new desktop-friendly features are enabled...The update can be downloaded via a registry change, or through direct links."

As previously reported, changes in the Windows 8.1 update include new right-clickable context-sensitive menus, the ability to pin Metro apps to the Desktop task bar, and adding dedicated search and power buttons to the Start screen, as described earlier this month by ZDNet.

In short, making Windows 8.1 more palatable to non-touch PCs. Another example: automatically booting non-touch PCs to the Windows 7-like desktop.

Other expected changes target PC makers. For instance, allowing PC makers to bring out inexpensive, minimalist configurations running on 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

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