Today, as part of the regularly-scheduled set of Patch Tuesday updates, Microsoft has delivered the eagerly-awaited Windows 8.1 Update 1. Here's what you can expect today, and in the future.
Update 1 is only for Windows 8.1
If you're still running the original version of Windows 8 (or RT) for some reason, Update 1 is not for you. However, don't forget that you can upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1 for free via Windows Store.
Update 1 is for all versions of Windows 8.1, including Windows RT 8.1
You can get Update 1 for any version of Windows 8.1, including "Core," Pro, Enterprise or RT.
Update 1 is free
And as I noted in my fairly exhaustive review, it's a combination service pack and feature pack in that it includes both fixes (previously released and new) and new features.
Update 1 is delivered via Windows Update
Unlike Windows 8.1, which was curiously delivered via the Windows Store. From Windows 8.1, navigate to PC Settings, Update and Recovery, Windows Update, and click the Check Now button.
Update 1 is being deployed gradually
Don't see the update right now? Relax. You'll get it over the next few days.
What about businesses?
Businesses can get Update 1 through the Windows Update Catalog, deploy via WSUS, and so on. It will hit the Volume License Service Center on April 14.
You can also get Update 1 from MSDN or TechNet
Believe it or not, I don't recommend getting it that way, however. When you install this update manually, you actually have to install several separate updates in a very specific order. It's easier to just get it through Windows Update.
Update 1 is not optional
This one is interesting: You can't ignore or hide Update 1, unless you don't care about getting future updates. Going forward, Update 1 is the new servicing baseline for Windows 8.1, so you will need this to get next month's security updates and all future updates.
Most of the new Update 1 features are aimed at making the Modern mobile environment easier to use for traditional PC users.
This is a good thing
More updates are coming
While it's not clear if there will be an Update 2, or whether these changes will be in Windows 9, Microsoft has announced that it plans to keep providing future updates to Windows 8.1 that will include the ability to run Modern apps in windows on the desktop, plus a new Start menu.
Modern apps running in floating windows on the Windows 8.1 desktop courtesy of ModernMix
Need to know more?
I've written an excellent book about Windows 8.1 called the Windows 8.1 Field Guide. It already covers Update 1, comes in at 550+ pages and will be updated regularly going forward. Best of all, the digital edition (PDF, MOBI and EPUB) is just $2. Seriously, it's only $2. You can find out more at the Windows 8.1 Field Guide web site.
It will sync with Windows Phone 8.1
If and when you upgrade your Windows Phone 8 handset to Windows Phone 8.1 this year, many settings will sync between your Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets and your handset, including your Start theme color, open IE tabs, and more.
Enjoy Update 1.