Microsoft polishes up Windows 8 ahead of launch

It's T minus 17 days until Windows 8's general release, and Microsoft is putting some final finishing touches on the release-to-manufacturing build of the operating system. Earlier today, a patch that improves Windows 8 RTM's performance, compatibility, and power efficiency became available through Windows Update. The full list of enhancements is outlined on the Building Windows 8 blog as follows:

  • Increased power efficiency to extend battery life
  • Performance improvements in Windows 8 applications and Start screen
  • Improved audio and video playback in many scenarios
  • Improved application and driver compatibility with Windows 8

(In case you missed all the headlines, Windows 8 hit RTM status on August 1, and the RTM build has been publicly available since August 15.)

Now, today's patch is more than just a last-minute tune-up. Microsoft says that, with previous versions of Windows, PC makers got first dibs on such updates, while folks running the retail version of the OS often had to wait for the first service pack to come out before enjoying the same tune-ups. That approach resulted in some users "working to uncover these OEM enhancements in a desire to have the most up to date Windows," the company says. Thanks to improved testing and automation, however, Microsoft claims Windows 8 will be "up to date for all customers starting at General Availability."

Good on the Windows team for making sure all early adopters get the best experience. I'm sure that won't preclude initial kinks from cropping up altogether, but early adopters need all the support they can get.

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