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Windows 8.1 Spring Update pre-release screenshots get leaked online

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 is set to see a Spring 2014 update, but already we're seeing pre-release screenshots leak on the Internet. If you're not in the loop when it comes to the Spring update, Microsoft will likely release this upgrade for free to consumers later this year. Head on past the break to see the screenshots.

According to reports, there won't be a preview of the update for consumers to download and enjoy (much like Windows 8.1 - you've got until January if you're still rocking the previews), though you can look out to spot more details emerge as we run up to Microsoft's BUILD conference later this year.

It's not currently known exactly what Microsoft will include in this Spring update, but the company is set to re-introduce the start menu at some point. 2015 will see Microsoft push out Windows Phone "Threshold" to converge the mobile platform with Windows 8.1 and Xbox One.

Windows 8.1 Spring Update

Windows 8.1 Spring Update

For those interested, the build string is reportedly 6.3.9600.16581.WINBLUES14_GDR_LEAN.13122 2-2030.

Source: Twitter (@AngelWZR), via: WinBeta

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Reader comments

Windows 8.1 Spring Update pre-release screenshots get leaked online

70 Comments

Oh yeah I had forgotten they caved in to pressure exerted by dumb people yet again.

Well, at least it's looking optional/configurable this time.

I disagree. The buggy OS and lack of no brainer features supported by the predecessor leaves the XBone as "alright" to me.

It's amazing how many people (that believe themselves to be  modern "techies" or whatever) don't want anything to change.  They want another CPU for reasons they don't understand, more memory, thinner, and lighter, but that's about it.  No other changes allowed.

The thing is, I know some legitimate techies, and they still do the same thing. That just blows me away.

Different strokes for different folks. The metro interface is fine for casual home use, especially on a touch laptop or tablet... but when I'm at work on my desktop PC then all of the touch-centric-features just slow me down. You have to use keyboard-shortcuts simply because accessing metro UI hot-corners and charms bar is too slow. Yes, you can disable some of that stuff in 8.1, but the average gumby user won't know how to do that nor how to use the shortcuts. I like change if it's better and/or more efficient, not just because it's different.

Believe whatever you want. I have it at home and still prefer W7 at work. The charms bar is the single worst thing in W8 - it's slow to appear without waving my mouse around like a fool (or using shortcuts) and also pops up when I don't want to see it. I watch my relatives fumble around with it enough to know it's extremely unintuitive for the gumby users. A few of them have just trashed everything on the start screen and just stick with desktop, defeating the purpose of the start screen altogether. Anyway, I could care less what you think - there's millions of people who feel the same, otherwise MS wouldn't respond to their issues.

Interesting... I have not had any problems what-so-ever getting the charm bar to fly out in a split second,  either by going to the top right or bottom right corner and moving the mouse just a bit up/down the right side of the screen.

There is also a keyboard command to pop the charms out...

I use windows 8.1 on my desktop at home, with keyboard and mouse (I do alot on my system including graphic design) and the new shortcuts in windows 8 actually speed up the process of whatever I am doing...

win + c

Learning keyboard shortcuts makes using any version of windows much more time efficient.

I am using Windows 8 on my dev box now because the underlying OS has some nice improvements over 7. I work exclusively in the desktop environment and since I have always use keyboard shortcuts such as 

Alt + Tab

win + r  => run

win + s => search

win + d => desktop

etc, win 8 doesn't really seem that much different to work with.

the charms aren't really used all that much in daily use. so that won't slow tou down at all. all those features are also accessible through the old comtrol panel. the multitasking hot corner works fast with a mouse. the only other hot corner is the start button.i did not find that windows 8 was any slower to use on my non-touch desktop. however when you do have touch, it really shines. for the "gumby" user, there are thousands of articles about making windows 8 work like windows 7. all they have to do is search for it.

Who calls it a CPU? PC, computer, desktop, tablet, laptop but CPU? Never understood that since its inherently wrong.

CPU = Central Processing Unit.. like wanting a faster intel or AMD chip.. that's why he also said more memory etc etc... I think that's what he meant by CPU.

the cpu is the brains of any pc. a computer,desktop,laptop, tablet refers to a complete system that includes a cpu, gpu, memory, storage, power supply, etc.

As much as I disagree about going back to the start menu, I would rather it exist as Microsoft-made and not all these stupid 3rd party companies like Start8 and Pokki, which I think is the real reason why Microsoft is bringing it back.

Agree: I don't miss the Start Menu at all, and I love what they did with the start button in Windows 8.1, clicking on it to go to STart Screen and right-clicking on it to bring up the context menu. But, the people have spoken and the start menu needs to come back. When businesses and consumers are purposefully seeking out Windows 7 as their next upgrade even though Windows 8 has been out for 14 months, that's a problem. All they need to do is change the right-click on start button context menu to a more 'metro' look and add an "Apps" section to bring it back to the start screen. The guy who came up with that Windows 9 concept was on the right track.

I actually did the opposite thing.  At work, I keep hiting the windows key to get back to start screen on Win7 ... or try to get to the charm bar lol ...

Ever since Vista, I always hit the Windows key. Not for the Start menu, but so I can type the first few letters of the name of the app I want to run... Just like in Windows 8. After installing more than a few applications the Start menu gets out of control and takes to long to look through.

My son has a touchscreen notebook, and it's fine.  I like using Win8's new interface on that machine just fine (except for all the stuff that only sorta-semi-runs in that interface, like the browser).  However, I have a three-year-old notebook that suits me just fine and it doesn't have a touchscreen.  Given that, I use the Win8 native interface a lot less, and the ClassicShell start menu a lot more. 

I really think the Win8 interface is great for touchscreen devices (I use a Windows phone, for heaven's sake) but it's just not nearly as well-suited to using a machine with a mouse, a touchpad, or an eraserhead.

Believe me, my hesitation with respect to Win8's interface is not the same thing as all those folks who baby-ducked onto XP and are now so sad that it's (finally, thank god!) going away for good.

 

Rumors suggest that this will indeed, at least in part, feature a convergence of the Windows Phone and Windows 8 app stores. Again, only rumor, so take it with a grain of salt.

Are they going to upgrade the email app? Outlook.com is actually much better than the app, which shouldnt be the case.

They also desperately need to upgrade the Music app. Zune client pisses on it from a great height. That's another fundamental app that is unusable in current form.

I love Win 8.1, but cant believe how they released it with such glaring deficiencies.

Unfortunately, I agree. I've reverted to iTunes until this is addressed. Playlist management and synchronization to devices are the most annoying for me. While I'm at it, I'm am also pretty annoyed with the music download limit of 5 (admittedly I did not reading TOU/EULA thoroughly/ at-all). I miss Zune. Sigh.

I remember reading that Office's Outlook was to become a Store app, so perhaps that will replace it? Or at least give you a nice alternative.

I sure hope so. To me, that was one of the more useless things to add to RT. Nice gesture and I guess good if trying to cater to businesses, but I just don't feel it for personal use. I'd prefer to avoid the desktop altogether on RT.

Not sure about that one. I use Office Outlook at work (2010 and 2013) and it sucks pretty bad. Sure, it has its place in corporate enviroment and works there but as soon as you want to do anything else than what is served 'out of the box' - you're out of luck. I've ran into so many silly issues where I was unable to do what I wanted that it isn't even funny anymore...

I use Outlook as my primary mail client and I haven't had any problems, having said that if you have a weird server configuration or you don't use exchange then that could be the cause of issues.

Its not that Outlook is broken (tho it has caused us some probkems every now and then) but rather that it doesn't let me do what I want more often than not. Two things from top of my head:

- no support for labels/tags which means it is easy to lose a mail from sight once it is moved to another folder from inbox

- can't sync calendars automatically, I can only manually copy entire calendar or single entries

Which service are you using? Outlook has categories (equivalent of labels/tags) and fully featured calendar sync.

I use 2013/2014 in a corporate environment and find it extremely well featured. Which particular features are you missing?

Agree that the Xbox Music app is still terrible.  It doesn't carry over all of my playlists from WMP.  It doesn't sync properly with my Windows Phone.  It's just crap.  There's really no excuse at this point.

It still sucks indeed and I still don't like the interface. I bet they will release yet another new version with new interface and still loads of features missing. I'm starting to lose hope in MS and music.

I agree, the app currently built in is very disappointingly bad, especially when, as you say, compared to Outlook.com.

Win8 is great on my Surface but unless the Start Menu becomes fully functional again I will not have any interest in using Win 8 on my desktop with a 27" non-touch monitor. My next desktop will also have a 27" non-touch monitor.

A fully functional start menu is never going to happen, by the time this is out the start menu will be a decade old UI paradigm. It's more likely to be just the right click menu repurposed into a start menu for the hold outs and luddites!!

Why don't you just download a third party start menu? Mine fits in really nicely with w8 and it also works perfect

While I agree with you, this is only using it on my small 10" Surface. On big 27" monitor, the experience might not be so great without touch support.

He's entitled to his own opinion, and for him (and many others), non-touch support on larger displays (and even smaller ones) just isn't up to par.

I agree.  I'm running Windows 8.1 on my desktops without touchscreens and have no issues.  All of which are multimonitor systems with up to 24" monitors.  It works just fine and I prefer it to Windows 7 any day.

People are entitled to their opinion and preferences, these are mine.  It just bothers me when people flat out try and tell others that Windows 8 sucks on desktops or non-touch devices as if that's a proven fact.  It is not.  In my experiences with people in both the home and corporate enviornments Windows 8 is not a problem by any means.  Your experiences may vary but when I explain Windows 8 to our users and show them how to use it, they actually really like it.

I think it often comes down to presentation and attitude.  If people go into change with a closed mind or bad attitude then yes, they are more likely to resist it.  But when I come in being excited about the technology and show people how to make the system work for them, how it can improve their experience, they can embrace the change and actually become excited about it themselves.  Again...  just speaking from my experiences.

For example, on Win7 I click Start... move up to my pinned Word app, hover over it for a second and a list of all my recent documents pops out. I can then select the Word document I want. I'm aware that I can do the same in Word by going to File, then selecting from the Recent list. But in the morning I like to launch all of my items at once - so multiple word docs, maybe an excel sheet, a couple of visual studio solutions etc. It's much more efficient to launch them all from the Start menu.

Document called Mydoc.docx

- press windows key
- type mydo... Oh first option is the document.
- Press enter.

I can open any application on my computer in less than 2 seconds that way. Every. Time.

I find the start screen is just as functional if not more so than the start menu. I don't see the problem, sure a small detail like this may not be present, but have you considered pinning your frequently used apps to the taskbar? From there you can still right click and access jumplists to recent documents. As far as I'm concerned Windows 8 introduced aesthetic changes as well as adding a huge amount of functionality while removing very little functionality. Windows 8 can do a lot more things than Windows 7 or xp and it can do so more efficiently. The biggest difference between the start menu and start screen is the way it looks.
As for this story, that's all well and good, but these screen shots show no improvments or innovation, they seem like a pretty useless leak

Ridiculous. Windows RT is the new Windows experience, stepping back to Windows 98 is a mistake. And you know what? In a couple years here Apple and other OS competitors will "suddenly" announce a "revolutionary" and "more intuitive" UI system that puts the emphasis on bringing information straight to you on your simple, "beautiful" and customizable START SCREEN without having to dig through menus and options. AKA what Microsoft already did with Windows 8 RT.

MS could fix the start menu thing without re-introducing the start menu but by grouping the app list into folders that expand when you hover your mouse over it or tap if you using touch. I never wanted the start menu back but now that I have a bit installed on Win8 if its not pinned on the start and you don't remember exactly the name of the program you gotta search through a long list which also looks a but jumbled the way its layed out. Fix that and then no need for start menu.

Can't you group the applications by type? I've sorted all of mine so that apps related to finances are in a group called "finance".

It doesn't seem much different than having to search through a hierarchical start menu without knowing what you are looking for, so I don't understand. I'll play with it tonight to see if I can find out exactly what you're referring to.

Am I confusing the Start screen for the "all applications" screen maybe?

MS should include the old Start menu if user chooses to be in desktop mode by default, instead of the Start screen. Is that too dificult?

I'm hoping there will CalDAV support in the Calendar app in this update, that is really the only thing that I want for several Google Calendars I need to view and edit (subscribing on Outlook shouldn't be the "solution"). They did it right in Windows Phone, I'm hoping this feature finds it's way to 8.1 sooner than later.

I really don't get everyone's disliking of the start screen in W8. I'm a 3d modeler so I constantly work on my non touch screen desktop computer with dual 24 inch monitors. I have no trouble at all with it and find it faster than when I had windows 7. I have all my modeling applications in one group on the start menu and just hit the windows key to launch them freeing up room on my task bar for actual open applications. I love that it sinks the layout to my surface pro so I don't have to search for them. Hitting the windows key and searching through everything is easy as well. All these things were possible in windows 7 but now it's synced across my devices and looks much more clean/ laid out. Haters gonna hate I guess...

Side note
Snapping an app like my mail client or facebook chat on a small portion of a screen while I work saves space and is super clean. Props.

As someone had said before there should be an option to switch metro interface as well as start menu for example while using a tablets with touch u need metro and while using it with keyboard and mouse u want start menu that would solve everyone s prob.

Since installing W8, my mouse lives a lonely existence in my laptop bag.

Keyboard and gesture enabled touchpad are all I need. This is on a nearly 6 year old laptop too, not some new piece of hardware with an i7 and a touchscreen.

Invest a little time in adapting to W8 and cast off the old out-dated Start Menu longing that is holding you back. The Windows key has existed forever and is perhaps the least used key around in my experience. However, once you find the power of it you won't look back.

I really hope that MS don't force the Start Menu on us as it'll be a massive step back in a world that is otherwise taking great leaps forward. Perhaps if Apple had thought of the new UI then all the journos telling us it's wrong might have pitched their tent in the for camp?

GREAT screenshot. It reveals... err.. nothing. Could just be a screenshot of current Windows 8.1 and shopped build version. Hard to believe this is newsworthy.

I don't think any of you techies have already tested W8.1 neither for 1/2 times...you are locked at lockscreen still waiting to listen the "tondoron din din" access sound... Shame on you

Any chance of any Desktop improvemenst in this new version? 8.1 add pretty much nothing in this regard.