While a second update to Windows 8.1 is just around the bend, it's a larger update codenamed Threshold that's getting most of Microsoft's attention these days. Said update, which could arrive as Windows 9, isn't expected until the spring of 2015 although a preview is set to arrive later this year according to a report from ZDNet's well-informed Mary Jo Foley.

It should come as little surprise that one of Microsoft's main goals with Threshold is to make it a more viable option for users still clinging on to Windows 7 whether by preference or necessity.

To do this, the Redmond-based company will be adding several new features aimed at "desktop" users - a segment that many felt was largely ignored with Windows 8's heavy mobile focus. For example, the Start Menu was expected to return in the next Windows 8.1 update but it has since been pushed back to Threshold.

While it was nice to see Microsoft looking to the future with touch-oriented controls and the like, the reality is that many systems still rely on a keyboard and mouse as the primary (only) method of input.

It's still too early to know for sure but Foley's sources tell her that Threshold is looking like it could arrive as a free update for all Windows 8.1 users and maybe even Windows 7 Service Pack 1 users. We'll no doubt be hearing more on the subject in the coming weeks and months.