Today could be a great day for any Windows 8 users waiting for the Windows 8.1 Update 1 software that includes all sorts of tweaks to make Windows 8 better for mouse and keyboard users. Microsoft has yet to officially reveal the operating system’s features, but that isn’t stopping enterprising users from updating their machines early.
As of right now, users can download Windows 8.1 Update 1 by skipping Windows Update and downloading the software changes directly from Microsoft’s servers. Neowin users found the update files on Microsoft’s servers earlier today. All told, the process seems to be straight forward, though each update has to be installed in the specific order that it’s listed. Surface and Surface 2 and users of other devices running Windows RT should note that these files won’t work on their machines.
So what’s all the excitement about, and why are users tripping over themselves to track down the download. For starters, Windows Store apps now surface on the Desktop’s taskbar, making it much easier for users to switch between Desktop and Windows Store apps without first having to go to the Start Screen. Windows Store apps now have actual close buttons and information bars at the top that mirror desktop apps too. That change should finally put an end to users wondering how to close Windows Store apps in Windows 8.
Finally, Windows 8.1 Update 1 automatically detects if a user has a device with a touchscreen and boots users to the desktop if they don’t. The operating system won’t immediately do this once the update has been installed, but it will do this on all devices that have been pre-loaded with it, or have fresh installations.
Of course, users download the update at their own risks. It’s likely a better idea to simply hold out for Microsoft to make Windows 8.1 Update 1 available to everyone. All signs point to the company making the update available at this year’s BUILD event. It takes place in San Francisco, California and starts on April 3rd.
Microsoft could use that event to announce its plans for other consumer-focused products like Windows Phone and Xbox.