Windows 8.1 Update 1 due April 8th, when XP dies

Microsoft’s next big update for Windows is just around the corner. According to new reports, Windows 8.1 Update 1 is due to arrive on April 8th — the same day that Microsoft pulls the plug on Windows XP. April 8th also happens to be a patch Tuesday, which is as good a time as any to push the update to the public. No sense upsetting an established update cadence just for a minor OS bump, right?

MSDN users will get access to Windows 8.1 Update 1 early, though only on April 2nd. Historically they’ve gotten a much bigger head start, but Microsoft’s made a number of changes to their subscription offerings (including shutting down TechNet) over the past couple of years.

So what can you expect from Windows 8.1 Update 1? Minor improvements and bug fixes, mostly. Don’t expect sweeping changes — like the return of the Windows 7 Start Menu or windowed Metro apps.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore noted recently that the update is also about addressing complaints from hardware partners. There’s been a big licensing change: OEMs that build systems that will sell for $249 or less will only pay $15 for Windows. System requirements and the software footprint have been reduced, too. Windows 8.1 Update 1 should run much better on lower-end systems like the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

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