New rumors are beginning to emerge regarding the next update for the Windows 8 platform. They stem from a leaked build of Windows 8.1 Update 1, and show that Microsoft really has listened to feedback. Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows 8.1 Release 1 sometime in March before the BUILD conference a month later.
One of the leaked builds is Windows 8.1 Update 1 Build 9600.16606, which was acquired by Windows leaker WZOR. Now there's speculation that Microsoft partners are already testing Update 1. There's also evidence showing that Microsoft plans to allow users to boot directly into Desktop rather than load up the Start screen first.
As stated in recent posts, one of Microsoft's biggest mistakes in promoting the new operating system was to force the new interface down the consumer's throat. Many of us embraced the design, clicked on the desktop tile and went on with our lives. Many customers haven't been quite so welcoming; it was entirely too much change.
Okay, so maybe booting into the desktop isn't a big deal. But selling Windows 8 on a pre-built machine that's sporting the Modern UI may have hurt PC sales overall. Windows 8.1 is a step in the right direction, merging the traditional and the new together. But right now it may not be enough. Take a line of laptops sitting in Walmart or Best Buy, switch them all to desktop, and see if the sales increase.
In a screenshot stemming from the leaked build, you can clearly see an option reading "When I sign in or close all apps on a screen, go to the desktop instead of Start." This resides in the Taskbar and Navigation Properties box. If users want to see the Start screen, all they need to do is click the Start button.
There's also still talk about the Metro apps on the desktop. According to the new rumors, they not only sit pinned to the taskbar, but will actually run in the desktop environment. That little tidbit wasn't expected to arrive until Windows 9, but the word is that Microsoft wants this feature ASAP.
According to the leakers, Metro apps will have an "X" box for quickly shutting down the app. They also won't look like classic windows, meaning there may just be the single "X" box in the upper right-hand corner. Another feature in Update 1 is SkyDrive. Leakers claim that Microsoft has already re-named the service to OneDrive in the platform.
March 11 is supposedly the day Microsoft releases Update 1 to Windows 8.1 customers. Another update may arrive in October if Microsoft doesn't launch Windows 9 instead. The new platform was originally scheduled to arrive April 2015, but the company may be pushing to get into "9" territory as fast as it can to leave all that Windows 8 fiasco behind.