At Microsoft's Build 2014 developer conference in San Francisco, the company announced that the next update to Windows will launch on April 8. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is largely geared towards mouse and keyboard users through a range of tweaks and improvements, and from April 8 - Microsoft's usual Patch Tuesday for the month - you'll be able to download it through Windows Update.
Update 1 already leaked through Windows Update last month, giving users a way to try out the features ahead of schedule. The update will bring dedicated power and search buttons to the Start screen, new right-click context menus for desktop users, and the ability to pin Modern apps to the taskbar. Inside Modern apps, you'll also find a title bar and the taskbar if you mouse to either the top or bottom of the screen, making it easier to switch between and close Modern apps.
Microsoft is also reducing the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 8.1 thanks to code optimizations in Update 1. Previously devices required at least 2 GB of RAM to run the OS, but Microsoft has reduce this to 1 GB alongside a storage requirement reduction to 16 GB. The changes in requirements mostly benefit OEMs, who can now build even cheaper Windows-powered devices.
In other news, Microsoft provided a sneak peak at a future update to Windows 8.1 that will bring back the Start Menu. Pictured above is a prototype version of the Start Menu that will be seen in the update, showing a mash-up of the Windows 7-style desktop apps list with the Windows 8 Start Screen's Live Tiles.
The update will also bring the ability to run Modern apps in windows on the desktop, as shown through the same demonstration. Neither of these features will be available in Windows 8.1 Update 1, but Microsoft says it will come in an update sometime later this year.