August is almost here, and as part of that month’s Patch Tuesday release, Microsoft is also expected to introduce a new Windows 8.1 update that would bring additional functionality to an otherwise significantly improved operating system.
Windows 8.1 Update 2, as people call it at this point although there has been no name confirmation from Microsoft until now, is very likely to debut on August 12, the same day when the company is scheduled to release a new batch of Patch Tuesday updates for all computers running its software, regardless of whether we are talking about Windows, Office, or Internet Explorer.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Microsoft has adopted a completely different strategy as compared to the previous OS update it brought us, and although Windows 8.1 Update 2 is expected to bring some improvements to the core Windows 8.1 OS version, it appears that it’ll be introduced without much fanfare.
As I told you already, Microsoft might actually treat Windows 8.1 Update 2 more like a service pack and actually use it to bring some feature improvements and patches to computers that are already running Windows 8.1 Update. This means that you shouldn’t expect new features and options, at least nothing as important as a Start menu for example.
Microsoft announced at the BUILD 2014 developer conference earlier this year that a future Windows 8.1 update would bring new features such as a Start menu and options to run Metro apps in their own dedicated windows right on the desktop, as it’s the case with traditional desktop applications.
It turns out, however, that plans have changed in the meantime and Microsoft is no longer willing to implement new features in Windows 8.1 Update 2. Instead, the company is focusing more on Windows 9, the next full Windows release that’s expected to debut in early 2015.
People familiar with the matter have told us that the reason is actually very simple. Microsoft wants to get over Windows 8 as soon as possible, so bringing more major improvements in Windows 9 is part of its plan to demonstrate users that it actually listened to their feedback and it’s ready to deliver an operating system that actually has everything they would need, with the options they requested.
Windows 8.1 Update 2, on the other hand, would be used to keep computers fully up to date, in the same way that service packs did in the past. No additional features, just a cumulative update that makes your computer run faster and be more reliable by correcting a number of bugs found in the operating system.
As a result, expect Windows 8.1 Update 2 to be launched without its own birthday party, and since it’s set to arrive via Patch Tuesday, Microsoft might not release anything else beside a blog post detailing the changes that it makes to the core operating system.
At some point, Microsoft has every reason in the world to do this and it’s easy to see why. Windows 8 has more or less failed to excite, and since so many people were disappointed with the amount of features it brought, the new CEO Satya Nadella is trying to address complaints with a completely new Windows version that corrects all issues and makes everything better for both touch and non-touch devices.
Nadella has already hinted that Windows 9 will bring some significant changes to the operating system as we know it, including a possible merger of the app stores in order to better mix the tablet and smartphone platforms.
Windows 9 is going to be a big product, that’s for sure, and in order to make everyone aware that a new full Windows version is coming, the company needs to actually lower the consumer appeal of the products that are projected to arrive in the meantime. Including Windows 8.1 Update 2 that is, so the company’s plans might actually make sense.
As a result, expect a new Windows 8.1 update to be here in just a few weeks, even though Microsoft has remained completely tight-lipped on it until now. There’s a reason for this entire secrecy, but what’s probably the most disappointing factor is the fact that no big features are likely to be part of this release.
There’s no doubt that many consumers were waiting for Windows 8.1 Update 2 hoping that a Start menu would finally return to the modern operating system, but as things go right now, it appears that everyone hoping to get full desktop functionality will have to wait a little bit longer to see this happening.
The bottom line: keep your computers connected to the Internet on August 12, and although Windows 8.1 Update 2 might not bring anything too exciting, make sure that you install it as soon as possible, especially if you want enhanced stability and reliability of your system.