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Windows 8.1 Update 1 now rumored to arrive in April

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Windows 8.1 Update 1
Windows 8.1 Update 1

Microsoft is currently preparing a PC-focused "Update 1" to Windows 8.1. While an early version of the update leaked online earlier this week, the software maker is now believed to be preparing a final release in April. Initial reports suggested Microsoft would aim to deliver Windows 8.1 Update 1 in March, but ZDNet now claims this has shifted a month to April 8th. That date aligns with Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday round of fixes, and it’s rumored that the company will distribute the update through Windows Update rather than the Windows Store. It also aligns with Microsoft's Build conference, which will be held between April 2nd and 4th. Microsoft is expected to announce and detail the update at Build, before releasing it days later.

An update for keyboard and mouse users

Windows 8.1 Update 1 is largely focused on improving the experience for traditional desktop PC owners who use the latest OS with a mouse and keyboard. Microsoft is adding a new title bar for its Windows 8-style ("Metro") apps that allows you to close, minimize, and snap apps to appear side by side with a mouse. It’s visible when you mouse over a small area at the top of apps, and is part of of a number of other mouse-focused changes. Right-clicking on Live Tiles produces context menus in early test versions of Windows 8.1 Update 1, and there’s even a search button and shutdown option straight on the Start Screen.

Other changes include a new option to allow Metro apps to be displayed in the desktop taskbar, and the ability to show the taskbar within Metro apps when you mouse over a small area at the bottom of apps. Microsoft is also introducing a new Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer with Update 1, and the company is focused on reducing the amount of space the entire OS takes up. A disk space management tool can also be found in the leaked Windows 8.1 Update 1 build.

One of the more puzzling aspects to Windows 8.1 Update 1 is Microsoft’s testing of a boot-to-desktop change. While some early builds have enabled this by default, possibly due to an upgrade bug during testing, The Verge understands that Microsoft is planning to make an OEM policy change regardless. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Windows work have revealed that the software giant will soon allow PC makers to enable boot-to-desktop by default on machines without a touchscreen. Previously, PC makers have had to keep the feature disabled despite its introduction in Windows 8.1.