Microsoft Releases Windows 8.1 August Update

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Update: Microsoft has pulled its August Windows update mentioned below after reported crashes.

Microsoft released the next set of updates for its controversial (to say the least) desktop operating system Windows 8.1. Microsoft released Windows 8.1 update earlier this year, and now instead of continuing with a consistent naming convention (Microsoft has the worst naming conventions anyway), the company is calling this the "August Update."

Image: Tech Tip: August 18, 2014

Microsoft August Update

It's nothing impressive, mainly a lot of security and bug fixes for the OS, Office, and firmware updates for Surface tablets. Earlier it was speculated that this update would include a new Start menu that combines aspects of the new Modern UI and the traditional Start menu, but Microsoft decided to scrap that, and it will presumably be available in the next version of Windows, codenamed "Threshold" which is said to be launched early next year.

According to Microsoft, some of the features and improvements include the following:

  • Precision touchpad improvements – three new end-user settings have been added: Leave touch pad on when a mouse is connected; allow right-clicks on the touchpad; double-tap and drag.
  • Miracast – exposes a set of Wi-Fi direct APIs for Independent Hardware Vendor (IHV) drivers or OEM drivers to develop Windows 32-bit applications that run on all supported x86-based or x64-based versions of Windows 8.1, enabling the computer as a Miracast receiver.
  • Minimizing login prompts for SharePoint Online – reduces the number of prompts with federated use in accessing SharePoint Online sites. If you select the "Keep me signed in" check box when you log on for the first time, you will not see prompts for successive access to that SharePoint Online site.

Microsoft also said in the blog post:

"Our goal is to continue to deliver improvements to Windows through regular updates in order to respond more quickly to customer and partner feedback."

"Customers can expect that we'll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of "Update Tuesday."

If you have Windows set to automatically update, which is the default, you should be prompted to restart in the next couple of days. If you want it right away, go to PC Settings > Update and Recovery > Windows Update and install the updates.

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LAST UPDATED 8/18/2014