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.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    The best part of this post is when the author is suggesting that MS getting with the times and updating their OS ahead of a SP is this grand achievement worthy of praise and song and dance and a novel and an action figure. And a breakfast cereal.

    They could call it Service Packs. With every box, you get a new patch for Windows. Nutritious (and loaded with sugar) and healthy for both you and your PC.

    They could plaster Ballmer’s pic on the front.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    For a product designed to make you smear your screen with fingerprints all day, I would imaging one polish isn’t enough.

    It will either need constant polishing, or you will just have to accept that it’s always going to look like crap.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    I just realized why MS is forcing the tablet/smartphone OS on us in the desktop. Right now many people are hesitate to switch platforms to even try a different OS. Cellular company contracts, new hardware, loss of apps, etc. contribute to this. But almost everyone uses Windows on a desktop or laptop. By exposing everyone to the tiled Windows Metro interface, you get a taste of what it is like to own a Windows Phone. It’s risky but if you like the OS you might just like the OS on your next smartphone or tablet.

      • burntham77
      • 7 years ago

      Use one platform to sell the other… it does make sense. I owned a Zune and loved the interface. When Windows Phone 7 came out and had some of the same elements of the Zune, mainly in the way it handles music and podcasts, I knew I wanted to replace my Zune with a Windows Phone. After using WP7 for a bit, I found myself saying, “I want this on a tablet” which is what we will get with Windows 8 tablets. Clearly their strategy is working on me.

        • Diplomacy42
        • 7 years ago

        except the first rung of the ladder “I liked the way it handled music”

        Nobody is going to get that from windows 8 on a desktop. woo hoo, another app store to buy angry birds from, and this time you can play it on a 5ghz– hex-core processor with dual GPUs. booya.

        who needs steam anyway.

    • mcnabney
    • 7 years ago

    Can you really call it Windows anymore?

    Everything runs full-screen unless you force it back to the old desktop (which MS doesn’t want you to do and you CAN’T on the RT version)

      • GTVic
      • 7 years ago

      Hey another uninformed Windows 8 critic. Surprise, surprise, surprise…

      Here’s an article you can read:
      [url<]http://gizmodo.com/5916706/6-things-os-x-mountain-lion-should-steal-from-windows-8[/url<]

        • sschaem
        • 7 years ago

        hahahaha!! You cant be serious ???

        This is EXACTLY why windows8 cant be called a window OS anymore. There is no windows.

        and with analysis like “Remember when Apple was the one with the reputation for chic, daring new visuals, and Microsoft was the stale, frumpy crone? The wheel of fate has turned”

        And the screen shot is what look like the AOL kid login page from the late 90s.
        purple and green square out of order and place.

        This all so laughable…. its sad 🙁

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      There are windows. They’re all just hidden behind one another. Srsly. I know you can’t wait until the PC experience is just like iOS. I know… I …can’t…

      /weep

    • Oldtech
    • 7 years ago

    Didn’t the CEO of Intel say that Windows 8 was an unfinshed product? This sure proves him right.

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      no. apparently, he didn’t. they backtracked on that statement.

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve “heard” (aka, not tested) that Win8 is stable, but “Metro” is kind of forced in and not all parts of the system reflect Metro. Plus many/most people hate Metro for the desktop.

      In this way, I can understand about Win8 not being “ready”.

    • Krogoth
    • 7 years ago

    I shall be enjoying the delicious fountains of tears from the haters.

    • chischis
    • 7 years ago

    Have MS made any improvements to the horrendous DPC latency in “current” versions of Windows 8?
    [url<]http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2250925[/url<] Or is it true that latency readings are currently wildly inaccurate? Apparently they are, but people are still reporting extensive audio issues in Win8.

      • willg
      • 7 years ago

      “Windows 8 Compatibility: The DPC latency utility runs on Windows 8 but does not show correct values. The output suggests that the Windows 8 kernel performs badly and introduces a constant latency of one millisecond which is not the case in practice. DPCs in the Windows 8 kernel behave identical to Windows 7. The utility produces incorrect results because the implementation of kernel timers has changed in Windows 8 which causes a side effect with the measuring algorithm used by the utility. Thesycon is working on a new version of the DPC latency utility and will make it available on this site as soon as it is finished.”

      [url<]http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml[/url<]

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      That is an overall very informative link, but I can’t help but notice how stupid/uninformed many of those posters are.

    • Sam125
    • 7 years ago

    I’m finding it very difficult to care about anything Windows 8.

    Heck, the news about Logitech’s new G710 is more exciting as at least that’s bringing mechanical keyboards back into the spotlight.

    • StashTheVampede
    • 7 years ago

    Even without the Start menu and the general hatred toward Windows8, I’ll likely pick this up at the upgrade prices. The boot up time improvements are always welcome and I know I’ll have to support this down the line.

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      I need to find out if I can purchase the $40 upgrade for each of my 5 current Windows licenses, XP, XP, Vista, and 7, and 7. I’d do it just to have the licenses in my back pocket for future builds.

      These were all prior full machine licenses, except that the Vista one was an upgrade and one of the Win 7’s is tied to my 1-year-old Asus laptop.

      Once I’ve been on Windows 8 for a couple months, I won’t need to keep old OSs around except for possible VM testing…but I thought there was a way to get them for that purpose.

        • cygnus1
        • 7 years ago

        Just go get a technet pro license. Coupon codes get the initial price to usually around $250. That gives you volume license keys for all the enterprise versions of windows and office

    • BIF
    • 7 years ago

    Hopefully they have fixed IE 10. I have trouble entering posts and upthumbs/downthumbs with IE10, so I use Firefox whenever I’m running the RTM. Thumbs for everybody!

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      man, i don’t think that’s an ie10 problem. i’m using it right now, and i don’t have an issue. idk what it is though…

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        It just now happened. I shall see if there are updates pending. This machine is folding now and has been running since Sunday. Maybe I need to apply updates and/or reboot.

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      This is 10.0.9200.16384, give it a try.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Mythbusters already proved that you cannot polish turd.

      • 5150
      • 7 years ago

      Actually, they PROVED you could polish a turd.

        • jdaven
        • 7 years ago

        Link please.

          • no51
          • 7 years ago

          [url<]http://lmgtfy.com/?q=polish+a+turd+mythbusters[/url<]

            • BIF
            • 7 years ago

            Okay, that’s just wrong.

            You get a +1 and the porcelain trophy for having the stones to provide a link.

            Uh…no no, there’s no need for me to actually VIEW it, but thanks anyway…

            • jpostel
            • 7 years ago

            So totally worth watching.

            • pedro
            • 7 years ago

            Very cool, cheers!

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        it’s deanjo, facts don’t matter. 😛

      • entropy13
      • 7 years ago

      They proved that you could, as others have already said. What they also proved is that even if it’s polished, it’s still turd.

      • Unknown-Error
      • 7 years ago

      Then, I suggest you watch it again – [url=http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/polishing-a-turd-minimyth.htm<]Link - Discovery[/url<], [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI<]Link - YouTube[/url<] Edit : Off-course Turd is still Turd, even if it is glossy.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    THEY ADDED A START MENU!

    (haha, gotcha)

      • 5150
      • 7 years ago

      IT ALREADY HAS ONE!

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        LOL at both of you guys.

        Waitaminit….who downthumbed you both?

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        It does not have one unless you install “Start 8” from Stardock.

        Which I love, by the way. Both Start 8 and Stardock, that is. Ya gotta root for anybody who keeps bees!

          • green
          • 7 years ago

          i gave it a try and it sort of does have one
          pressing the start button activated the full-screen start “menu” formely known as metro
          at least it did so on one of my monitors. the others still displayed the desktop.

          really though it was the next evolution
          in comparison to how the start menu was in ’95, it just kept changing and getting bigger and bigger
          it was just a matter a of time before they said “screw it, we’re going full screen”

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            You went full screen, man. Never go full screen.

          • Forge
          • 7 years ago

          Start8 seems nice and all, but why would I pay Stardock 5$ for something that Classic Shell offers for free?

          • Sahrin
          • 7 years ago

          >It does not have one unless you install “Start 8” from Stardock.

          …the Metro homescreen *is* the “Start Menu.” It has access to everything that you could get to from the old start menu. My biggest complaint is that they buried the search functionality, but honestly I get it … I didn’t use it that much in the first place.

      • Shouefref
      • 7 years ago

      But what about the Start Button?
      That’s an important point of orientation.

      • dashbarron
      • 7 years ago

      Holy crap. [b<]Actually,[/b<] it does have a start menu, a greatly enhanced one. The only difference is the missing start button...but the start menu is still invisibly in the bottom-left corner once the mouse hovers over it. Or you can access the start menu another 3 ways. Seriously, not that big of an issue, especially for a site filled with "tech-enthusiasts...."

      • Wirko
      • 7 years ago

      They woke up, realized that there’s 21st century around them, and made the user interface FULLY SKINNABLE AND EXTENSIBLE.

      (…ha…ha…?)

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      …at this point I really have to wonder if you people have been using the new OS at all…ever.

      It has a start menu, in fact the main difference between the Metrodern UI Style and the old Windows 95 style is …the start menu now takes up the entire screen.

      Hell, they even have a taskbar in the new UI. I really…I mean I don’t understand this Win8 bashing (saying criticism implies that it’s informed and you’re critiquing something, and neither of those is true in your case). Before I used the OS, I assumed that it was just FUD…but now that I’ve been using it for a month on my main machine. I really…I mean you guys really, honest to God have just not used the OS. It’s not that you don’t like it or you aren’t experienced, it’s Vista all over again – someone told you it was bad and you’re regurgitating that opinion.

      It’s actually really interesting to watch. Can’t wait until Windows 8 SE comes out (like Win7) and everyone tells us how much they love it.

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