On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases security and other updates to its major products in an event called Patch Tuesday. A week before Patch Tuesday, however, the firm issues bulletins that describe what those patches will be. So now we know which changes are coming in next week's release of Windows 8.1 Update 2. As promised, it's nothing major.
I most recently cover Windows 8.1 Update 2 in Windows 8.1 Update 2 is Shipping This Month. In that article, I explained the history of this update, and how it's evolved—devolved, really—into an inconsequential release. Which is too bad, in a way: For a brief few weeks at best, Update 2 was going to be fairly important, and was to have included the new Start menu that will once again debut in "Threshold"/Windows 9 next spring.
Water under the bridge, right? What you really want to know is what new features this update does include.
According to a new post to the official Blogging Windows blog, Update 2—again, now called the "August update for Windows 8.1," will include the following new features:
Precision touchpad improvements. Microsoft has added three new settings for trackpads: "Leave touch pad on when a mouse is connected," "Allow right-clicks on the touchpad," and "Double-tap and drag." That first one is huge for me: My upgraded Windows 7-era Ultrabook has a custom control panel for this functionality, but the "Disable trackpad when external USB pointing device plug in [sic]" option never "sticks" and I have to keep reapplying it avoid mistaken trackpad swipes. Fingers crossed.
Miracast Receive. Don't get too excited at this one, as it's not actually an end-user feature. Instead, Microsoft is adding a set of Wi-Fi Direct APIs to Windows that will enable developers to create desktop applications will let your PC (x86/x64 only, obviously) become a Miracast receiver. In other words, you will be able to wirelessly project the screen from another PC or device to your PC's screen.
Minimizing login prompts for SharePoint Online. This change reduces the number of prompts you get when accessing SharePoint Online sites courtesy of a new "Keep me signed in" option.
Windows 8.1 Update 2—sorry, we have to pretend that's not what they still call it, so it's the "August update for Windows 8.1"—will ship on Tuesday, August 12 via Microsoft Update/Windows Update. You know, like all normal Windows updates. Update 2 will roll out gradually via Windows Update, or you can manually choose to install it immediately, and it will be marked as optional for those on Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).