Windows 8.1 Update 1 Leaked to public

Today has not been a great day for Microsoft after the company made Windows 8.1 update 1 available on their servers to allow employees to update to the new version it was leaked to the public too. Microsoft intended to keep the public away from this update by labelling the files with non obvious filenames. Unfortunately for them people were able to access these files with a simple software tweak that fooled Microsoft’s servers into thinking they were internal Microsoft employees.

Microsoft have since patched this vulnerability meaning you can no longer download the files directly from their servers. However the damage has already been done, those who managed to download the files have released them to various file sharing services allowing anybody to download and install the update on their systems.

Windows 8.1 update 1 is not officially supported by Microsoft yet and even though Microsoft released the RTM version on Wednesday which is a good representation of the final product it’s worth noting that some hardware specific drivers and services may not be fully compatible yet. If you do decide to search out the update online you should proceed with utmost caution as with any unsupported software there will likely be issues.

As we mentioned on Tuesday Microsoft will be officially releasing Windows 8.1 update 1 on April 8th, about a week after their Build developer conference. Our advice would be to hold off until then rather than risk installing this released build from unofficial sources. For more information about Windows 8.1 update 1 check out our post from earlier this week.


Windows 8.1 Update 1 coming soon

Yesterday we brought you news about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 release including the new digital assistant called Cortana. Today we have just heard news that Microsoft is finalizing Windows 8.1 (update 1) desktop operating system and a release is expected as early as next month. It has been revealed by Russian leaker WZor that Microsoft has recently signed off on a final version of the ‘8.1 update 1 for Windows 8, known internally as RTM (Release to Manufacturing).

The update was originally announced at MWC (Mobile World Congress) whereby Microsoft referred to it as a ‘Spring update’ for Windows 8.1. It’s not yet known how Microsoft intends to brand the latest update but Windows 8.1 update 1 does sound like a bit of a mouthful so maybe we will see something like WIndows 8.1.1 or 8.2?

The majority of the features for this release are aimed at keyboard and mouse users and will bring with it features such as:

  • Windows 8 Apps will show on desktop Taskbar
  • New Title bar on top of Windows 8 Apps (minimize, close and snap)
  • Adding Shut down button to Start Adding Shutdown button to Start Screen (non touch-screen devices only)
  • Automatically boot to desktop (non touch-screen devices only)

Microsoft have also lowered the specifications required for running Windows 8.1 Update 1 which will allow manufacturers to build 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage which should help in bringing lower price points to Windows 8.1 devices. Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8.1 update 1 on April 8th not long after the companies Build developer conference which is taking place April 2 - 4.

Windows Phone 8.1 to introduce Cortana digital assistant

Microsoft's next version of it’s Windows Phone Operating system (Windows Phone 8.1) will come with an assistant much like what has been available on iPhone in the form of Siri or on Google Android handsets as Google Now. Microsoft have been working on Cortana the name for the new digital assistant for over a year now and are planning to reveal the feature at the company's upcoming ‘Build’ conference along with a developer preview of Windows 8.1.

Cortana will replace the current built-in Bing search functionality currently found on Windows Phone Operating systems. Whilst the name Cortana comes from a female fictional artificial intelligence character from Halo, it is thought that Cortana will be represented by a circle rather than adopting a female like appearance. Upon interacting with Cortana the circle icon will animate based on whether it’s thinking or speaking.

Although Microsoft have been using the name Cortana internally during the development it is unclear whether it plans to keep the name Cortana or use some other moniker upon launch. Much in the same way that Siri allows you to customize how you want to be addressed you will be able to set how you wish to be addressed by Cortana, and whether by name or a nickname. Cortana will use a notebook feature that allows it to save and store data and access such things as location, personal information, reminders and much more. It has also been announced that Cortana will have some Google Now like features including the ability to track flights.

The Cortana service will be backed by services such as Bing and Foursquare which will enable it to have some of the contextual power similar to that found in Google Now. How it performs in relation to Siri and Google Now remains to be seen but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the struggling Windows Phone OS.

Windows 8.1 Preview: What you need to know

Those of you eager to check out the new Windows 8.1 Preview have a few choices as to how and where to install it. Let's cut right to the chase and review the different options.

Update Windows 8
If you're already running Windows 8, you can simply update it to Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store, as CNET's Jason Cipriani explained earlier this week.

One word of warning before you proceed, however. The Windows 8.1 preview is essentially a beta of the new OS and is by no means a finished or polished version. Therefore, you shouldn't update to Windows 8.1 on your main or only PC. Instead, reserve the update for a spare or non-essential device outfitted with Windows 8.

Your first step in Windows 8 is to browse to Microsoft's Windows 8.1 preview page. Click on the Get it now button. At the Download Windows 8.1 Preview page, click on the Get the update button. You're prompted to open or save an msu file. You can open it directly or download it and then double-click on it to install it. You're then asked to install an update for Windows. Click Yes. After the installation completes, you're prompted to restart your PC.

Windows restarts to install the new update. Log back into Windows 8 at the lock screen. You should see a message inviting you to get Windows 8.1 Preview for free. Click on the link to Go to the Store where you can download the update...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET


Microsoft talks Xbox One naming, privacy and more (Q&A)

REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft's got a new Xbox on the way, and according to the company, it's the foundation for the next 10 to 20 years of home gaming and entertainment.

The console, which has not yet been given a price, release date, or live game demos was shown off here on Tuesday and left just about as many questions as it did answers about where Microsoft is taking one of its most popular products.

CNET sat down with Jeff Henshaw, the group program manager for Xbox Incubation, to try to get some of those answers. That includes whether the company thinks naming a console "One" when it's technically the third-generation is confusing (spoiler: Microsoft thinks it won't be), whether the company will keep its much-disliked Microsoft Points currency around, and whether there will be hardened privacy for a system that depends on a camera designed to watch your every move...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

Windows 8.1 update official and dated, Microsoft no longer Blue

As expected, Microsoft has ditched the "Blue" codename for its forthcoming free Windows 8 update. Windows 8.1 will be available "later in the calendar year", but a preview version will be opened up for public download on 26 June.

Revealed during JP Morgan's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in the US, Windows 8.1 will address many of the issues users of Windows 8 have put forward since its launch last year. Its release confirmation was discussed by Microsoft's chief financial operator Tami Reller, who previously spoke about the update on a Microsoft blog posting.

She revealed some of the features of Windows 8.1. "It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play," she said.

"The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft."

Reller also dropped the hint that the Windows 8.1 update will allow for smaller devices, as Microsoft has long been rumoured to consider 7- and 9-inch tablets.

As reported on Engadget, she said that Windows 8 was great for everything from the "smallest tablets" to desktops.

Source: Pocket-Lint 

Microsoft announces Office 2013 and 365 pricing, nudges users towards annual subscriptions

While we still don't know exactly when Microsoft will unleash Office 2013 and Office 365 upon the world, we do know how much they'll cost. While standalone versions, licensed for use on a single computer, will still be available, the new strategy makes it more affordable for many homes and business to opt for a subscription package instead. Office Home and Student 2013 (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) will cost $139, while Home and Business adds Outlook for $219, and the top of the line Professional package includes all of those along with Access and Publisher for $399. Compare those to the two Office 365 packages, which promise customizations that follow their users around, expanded cloud storage, access to all of the apps and automatically receive any future updates that come out for them.

[Source: Engadget- Read more there]