Windows 8.1 update may be delayed until April

Microsoft's new ship target for its coming Windows 8.1 Update 1 may have shifted from March to April, according to sources.

Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

I've heard from two of my sources in the past week that Microsoft's ship target for Windows 8.1 Update 1 has shifted from March 2014 to April 2014.

The idea remains to use Patch Tuesday to distribute the coming so-called "Spring" update via Windows Update, my sources said. If that is the case, Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be pushed to users on April 8, rather than March 11.

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is a collection of features and fixes for Windows 8.1. Most of the new features are aimed at making Windows 8.1 more palatable to those who prefer using a mouse to navigate the latest Windows release.

A leaked Windows 8.1 Update 1 test build (from mid-January) showed off a number of the expected new features, including the ability to pin Metro apps to the Desktop task bar; new right-clickable context-sensitive menus; and adding dedicated search and power buttons to the Start screen. A new Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 is also part of the leaked build, according to some who've downloaded it.

There were reports that Windows 8.1 Update 1 might change the default start-up experience so that the desktop, rather than the Metro Start screen became the default on all machines running Update 1. As I noted last week, I heard this is not Microsoft's plan. Those downloading the leaked Windows 8.1 Update 1 build from January noted that boot-to-desktop was not set as the default configuration.

Windows leaker WZor indicated on February 2 that a more likely scenario may be that boot to desktop will be installed by default on new PCs/devices without a touch screen. Users who are upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Update 1 who don't have boot to desktop set as their default already also won't see their settings change to boot to default, according to WZor.

Read more:Eight things CEO Nadella needs to do to jump-start Microsoft

I am not sure why the ship target for Update 1 has allegedly been pushed back a month, but have heard that the original March target was fairly ambitious. OEMs are still likely to get the Windows 8.1 Update 1 bits in early March for preloading on new PCs, my sources said.

This story originally appeared as "Windows 8.1 Update 1 now looking like April" on ZDNet.

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