Windows 8.1 update set for Spring release

Windows 8

Microsoft has confirmed the first major Windows 8.1 update will drop in the Spring, with user interface improvements high on the agenda.

While rumours about a possible 2015 release date for Windows 9 have done the rounds, reports that an interim update to Windows 8.1 could be in the offing have also surfaced.

Until now these have been unconfirmed by Microsoft, but the company has now announced that Windows 8.1 Update 1, as it has been dubbed, will drop in the Spring.

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.

No precise release date information has been announced for the software update. However, with company's Build Developer's Conference taking place in April, the company may be planning to drop it then.

Guest editor's thoughts

"I think Microsoft is desperately trying all it can to back pedal on its vision that every device would end up with a touch interface. This release seems to be doing it all can to regain the confidence of consumers before it completely alienates all keyboard and mouse users."

Brendon Petsch, IT director, Gritit

follow-up blog post

In it, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone, revealed the Windows 8.1 user interface will be tweaked to make the OS easier to use for keyboard and mouse 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 convenient for users with mouse/keyboard," he wrote.

"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," he added.

The update will also help the firm's OEM partners make lower cost hardware, said Belfiore, and provide enterprise users with improved support options.

"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," he said.

"Additionally, we're extending mobile device management capabilities and making deployment easier."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.