Windows 8.1 Update 1 is rumored for launch sometime this spring, possibly around March, though if you really want a taste of what’s coming you can find a copy now. The Verge found the update on a file sharing site and and found that it reveals some of the final changes we can expect when Update 1 is available to everyone.
While we were hoping for new options to escape the “Metro” user interface altogether, it appears that a direct boot onto the desktop isn’t included in this build. It’s about two weeks old, however, so perhaps that’s still coming in later publications. In the meantime, The Verge noted several changes, including the ability to snap Metro apps into your desktop task bar and better controls for anyone using a mouse instead of a touchscreen. For example, you can click a small icon at the top of apps now to choose to run two of them side-by-side (instead of dragging), or to close/minimize an app. Clicking an app in Metro mode will also now present a menu for resizing a live tile. There are also small changes to the search and shutdown functions.
That’s all that The Verge was able to dig up for now, though we really hope there are more advancements coming in the pipeline. So far, it’s definitely clear that the changes are tweaked to please desktop users and, as one personally, I’m glad that’s a point of focus. Boot to desktop will be an even more welcome change, especially since I never use the Metro UI, so my fingers are still crossed for that feature.