Microsoft has officially launched its Windows 8.1 August update as promised.
Currently available for manual download for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.1, the update will also appear later today as part of the usual Patch Tuesday rollout. Since it's not considered critical, it will probably show up as a recommended update that you have to manually install rather than an automatic update that will install all on its own.
The Windows 8.1 August update doesn't add anything earthshaking to the OS. But it does bring a twist to Microsoft's usual Patch Tuesday scheme by adding actual features rather than just bug fixes and security updates. In a blog posted a week ago, Microsoft revealed that it would now start bundling actual improvements into its monthly updates for Windows 8.1 rather than forcing users to wait months to see new features and enhancements.
"Some of these improvements might be more visible or even new features, while others might be more 'behind-the-scenes' that improve things like the performance and reliability of your device," Microsoft marketing communications manager Brandon LeBlanc explained. "With these monthly updates, we continue to refine and improve Windows 8.1 in a more nimble way, creating a richer experience for all Windows customers."
And just what will you find in the August update? LeBlanc listed the following features:
- Precision touchpad improvements - three new end-user settings have been added: leave touch pad on when a mouse is connected; allow right-clicks on the touchpad; double-tap and drag.
- Miracast Receive - exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for independent hardware vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver.
- Minimizing log-in prompts for SharePoint Online - reduces the number of prompts with federated use in accessing SharePoint Online sites. If you select the "Keep me signed in" check box when you log on for the first time, you will not see prompts for successive access to that SharePoint Online site.
Microsoft initially planned to bring the Start menu back in the August update for Windows 8.1. But the company at some point reversed its decision and now is aiming at a major update scheduled for April. Currently known as Threshold and potentially to be christened Windows 9, that new version will include the Start Menu and other features. Microsoft's ultimate goal is to placate disgruntled Windows 8 users and convince people who steered clear of the latest OS to give the next version a shot.
(Via Windows Phone Central)