Just as promised, Redmond has started delivering updates for Windows 8.1 RTM workstations before the new operating system hits the market on October 18.
Codenamed Windows 8.1 GA Rollup A, the update cycle comes with plenty of bug fixes and only a few minor visual improvements, which means that Microsoft was mostly focused on addressing performance glitches and adding code optimizations.
While the name of the update pack suggests that a second release might be coming before October 18, it appears that Microsoft is now shipping the improvements not only through Windows Update, but also as a separate download for PC makers that already installed the operating system on their machines.
Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott writes that Windows 8.1 works and looks exactly as it did before, which is actually another indication that changing the user interface and implementing new features wasn’t Redmond’s main concern.
The current pack includes no less than 658 updates and measures approximately 200 MB for the x64 version, while the x86 and the ARM versions drop to 100 MB.
Here are some of the updated components according to Thurrott’s report:
Common Foundation (low-level features like the NT kernel and hardware abstraction layer), Secure Startup, Smart Cards, Internet Explorer (internal), Printing, Shell, Tech Services Framework (Accessibility), Graphics Core, DWM, App Compat, DirectX, .NET, PowerShell, JScript 9, Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), Tablet PC Input Panel (TIP), Windows Location Service, Hyper-V, Bluetooth, VPN, Tethering, Windows Image Photo Codecs, Search, AppX, Windows Reader, Windows Media Viewer/Lock Screen Camera, Remote Assistance, Windows Webcam Experience, Windows Defender, WinPE (Windows Preinstall Environment), Windows Journal, Media Center, and Windows Store
Microsoft is yet to publicly comment on these updates, but given the fact that we’re only days away from the launch of Windows 8.1, expect more details to be provided the next week.