By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 03, 2014 07:49 AM EDT
Windows 8.1 Update 1 is now finally official, as Microsoft introduced the next update to Windows at its BUILD 2014 developer conference in San Francisco.
The long-awaited update aims to bring some notable improvements and refinements to the Windows experience, as well as fix what users criticized in previous versions of the operating system.
"We believe deeply in the notion that delivering a compelling personal and modern experience across all the devices that matter in your life should not mean sacrificing familiarity. Windows 8 and 8.1 were first steps, and we continue to make refinements based on customer and partner feedback," Microsoft touted in a company blog post on Wednesday, April 2.
"The Windows 8.1 Update delivers a collection of refinements designed to give people a more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard, and mouse inputs. It also brings improvements for business customers, really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices."
The next update to Windows will launch on April 8 and is largely aimed at mouse and keyboard users, enhancing their experience through a slew of tweaks and improvements. Starting from April 8 (Microsoft's usual Patch Tuesday for the month), users will be able to download the update for free.
The new OS update will also bring dedicated power and search buttons, which will considerably facilitate the currently cumbersome processes. Windows 8.1 Update 1 will also bring right-click context menus for desktop users, as well as the ability to pin Modern apps to the taskbar.
Moving the mouse cursor to either the top or the bottom of the screen, meanwhile, will activate a title bar, which will make it easier to close or switch between Modern apps.
Another notable improvement lies under the hood, as Microsoft has also reduced the hardware requirements to run Windows 8.1. While devices previously required at least 2GB of RAM to run Windows 8.1, the new code optimizations in Update 1 now allow the OS to run on hardware with just 1GB, and a minimum 16GB of storage.
These changes in requirements will surely come as great news to OEMs, as they will now be able to build even cheaper devices running the latest Windows OS.
Lastly, Microsoft also promised to provide a future update to Windows 8.1 that will finally bring back the Start Menu, and do it properly this time. The future update, slated to roll out sometime later this year, will also allow users to run Modern apps in windows on the desktop, but this option is not yet available in Windows 8.1 Update 1.
In the meantime, check out the video below to see what Windows 8.1 update 1 has to offer.