If you’ve been hiding out in the woodshed for the past several weeks you may not be aware that Microsoft is planning on releasing their first major update to Windows 8. A Service Pack, if you will, with a super secret code name of 8220;Blue” (don’t tell anyone).
Well, a Service Pack may not be an appropriate reference as Microsoft has stated that the release of Windows 8 also brings a period of faster development and more frequent releases. Following their own agenda they have been feverishly working on Windows 8.1 and I expect it to debut as a Beta in late June.
This fast paced development cycle is also fanning the flames of the rumor mill and the top rumor is a return engagement for the Start Button. Personally I believe this will be more of a “fine tuning” of Windows 8 – a chance to tidy up the overall Metro experience and tie up loose strings. If the Start Button does appear in 8.1, and it isn’t in the latest builds, it will most certainly not include the Start Menu of pre-Windows 8 days.
I was able to find a leaked build of Windows 8.1 and load it in a virtual machine. Above and below are screenshots and commentary – click on an image to see the commentary. Remember this is a leaked pre-beta build of Windows 8.1. Nothing is set in stone, but it does give a good indication of where they are heading and what you’ll see on your machines later this year!