Today at Build 2014 Microsoft announced the availability of Windows 8.1 Update 1 on April 8th to the general public, but it’s available now to MSDN subscribers. Not wanting to waste any of the precious resources made available us MSDN folks, I promptly downloaded the bits and put them on my Surface Pro. Installation required applying 5 Feature Packs, and one system restart, total of about 15 minutes. Very simple, and none of my personal info or settings on the machines were modified or reset. Here’s my initial findings:
The Power icon now appears on the Start screen in the top right corner, next to your account picture. Nice quick way to Shut Down or Restart your machine without swiping from the right, tapping Settings, tapping Power, tapping Shutdown/Reset.
The Store icon now appears in the taskbar by default, giving end-users the opportunity to find apps even quicker by having the store icon more visible other than on their Start screen or buried in their Apps somewhere when they remove it from their Start screen.
Hold down the Ctrl key and left-click (or tap) on multiple tiles to select them as a group, for removal, movement, etc.
Right-click on the tiles and get the traditional context menu instead of having to use the app bar at the bottom. Much more familiar feel to experienced Windows users
System resources were well within normal limits too. Low CPU utilization, avg memory consumption, and very low overhead (only 770 MB for all 5 feature packs combined!)
UPDATE: After installing the RT (ARM) version of Update 1, it seems all of the same changes apply with the exception of the Power icon at the top right of the Start screen. It’s not there, not sure if it was deliberately left off of the RT build or if it’s some security setting I have on my girls’ Surfaces. Either way, it’s a discrepancy. Everything else seems to be the same as far as I can tell.
Overall, so far so good! They also mentioned in a future release that the traditional Start menu was returning, as well as Cortana personal assistant integration from Windows Phone as well as other great features were coming. I’m very pleased that this was implemented in a series of feature packs instead of a major update requiring numerous restarts and altering of customized properties and settings. I’m looking forward to the next iteration with the additional changes and innovations!