The first major update to Windows 8.1 could be ready for release as early as March and we’ve been bombarded with multiple leaked screenshots over the past week or so. The first batch of leaks suggested Metro apps will be getting a close button and the ability to be pinned to the taskbar.
The latest batch of spy photos reveal dedicated power and search buttons positioned next to the user account icon on the Start screen. These should make it much more convenient to access said features versus having to navigate the Charms bar.
Other changes include a new desktop-style context menu within Metro tiles. When you right click these tiles, you’ll get a mouse-friendly menu instead of the app bar at the bottom of the screen. We’re told, however, that the app bar will still appear if a right-click is initiated using the touchscreen interface. As such, it’s designed to make desktop users feel a bit more at home within the Windows 8 environment which has been a common complaint since its release.
That doesn’t meant this is a desktop-only update. As the always-informed Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet recently pointed out, the update includes changes that could help the operating system run more smoothly on mobile devices with small memory footprints – think 1GB versus 2GB of RAM.
Foley has been told the update could arrive on March 11, which conveniently enough, just happens to be the second Tuesday of the month – right in line with the company’s typical software release schedule.