Windows 8.1 Preview Getting Third Wave of Updates
Microsoft this week released three more nonsecurity updates to Windows 8.1 Preview.
This third wave of updates is dated July 23 and addresses flaws and stability issues associated with the operating system and Internet Explorer 11. The new updates to Windows 8.1 Preview are tersely described by Microsoft in three Knowledge Base articles:
- KB 2870257 Service metadata packages in Windows 8.1 Preview. This fix addresses problems with the service metadata packages of "some network operators." For instance, the patch can fix issues with the "tethering: feature. Microsoft has previously described tethering as a Windows 8.1 networking feature that can enable a device to serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
- KB 2871052 Stability of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 Preview. No details are provided on what is getting fixed.
- KB 2871055 Viewing a Web page with a timer in Internet Explorer 11 Preview on Windows 8.1 Preview. This bug is described as being an issue with Web pages set to render in the IE 10 document mode that also contain VBScripts associated with timer code. When the pages are viewed in the IE 11 Preview browser, the VBScript code doesn't start correctly, according to Microsoft.
The three fixes are being released through Microsoft's Windows Update service, so they'll arrive automatically for those with that feature turned on.
Microsoft has been releasing Windows 8.1 Preview fixes on a more accelerated schedule. For instance, so far, about 11 fixes have been released over a four-week period. This faster release cadence may either be a new policy for Microsoft's beta software or it may be a model for more frequent OS updates to come for Microsoft's flagship OS.
Microsoft seems to be addressing basic problems in Windows 8.1 Preview in these patch releases. While the OS is still at a beta test stage, a more polished version is near at hand. Microsoft has indicated that the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8.1 likely will arrive sometime late next month. The RTM is the version used by PC manufacturers to prepare devices for shipment. The exact date of the RTM release hasn't been publicized yet.
Windows 8.1 restores the Start button (or something like it), and allows bootups directly to the Desktop side of Windows 8.1, among other improvements. Installing the Preview, though, comes with lots of caveats.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.