Windows 8 given last-minute updates

Microsoft says a new update system in Windows 8 means users buying new computers won’t have to wait for a Service Pack to get the latest changes to the OS.

Windows 8 given last-minute updates

The software is due to go on sale on 26 October, but the company said the first updates was already available in a bid to include changes introduced between the Release To Manufacturing and General Availability versions.

According to Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows at Microsoft, the “cumulative update” includes performance enhancements, improved media playback and longer battery life, but the company also said changes to the way it updates the operating system should mean users get updates much earlier than in the past.

“With every release of Windows we have had approximately 8-12 weeks from when we released the code to OEMs and manufacturing and when the product was available on new PCs and for retail customers,” said Sinofsky in a company blog.

“This time has historically been used to match newly developed PCs, which can include a variety of new or enhanced components, drivers, and companion software, with the final code for Windows.”

According to Sinofsky, because late changes to the operating system were distributed via OEMs, with dozens of changes for each manufacturer, end users often wouldn’t see the benefits until the first service pack.

“While those changes could potentially apply to a broader range of PCs, we did not have in place the testing and certification to broadly distribute these updates,” he said. “Customers would have to wait until the first Service Pack to see these enhancements. We know many people would spend time working to uncover these OEM enhancements in a desire to have the most up to date Windows.”

Microsoft said that because of changes to the process and better test tools it would be able to deliver post-RTM updates as they were developed.

“By developing better test automation and test coverage tools we are happy to say that Windows 8 will be totally up to date for all customers starting at general availability,” Sinofsky said. “We will of course continue to issue and publish changes and enhancements from this point forward, just as we have done with Windows 7.”

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