Microsoft's update to the Windows 8 operating system is reportedly complete and has been released to manufacturers. Noted Microsoft commentator Paul Thurrott tweeted on Friday that Windows 8.1 had reached RTM status, but Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the report. The update will improve the functionality of the operating system and bring back some features whose absence in Windows 8 generated user complaints.
Earlier this month, reports emerged that testing of Windows 8.1 was nearing completion. Microsoft confirmed that the update was proceeding well and said that it would launch at on October 17.
The update will bring a number of changes to Windows 8, including new options in icon sizing within the Modern user interface. It will also have new lock screen options, and users will be able to snap applications to part of the desktop.
Notably, the update will also give users the ability to bypass the touch-centric Modern UI entirely and boot directly to the traditional Windows desktop. many users complained upon the release of Windows 8 that the interface was difficult to navigate and too far removed from prior iterations of the operating system that had largely come to define desktop computing.
Windows 8.1 will also see the return of the Start button, although in a modified form. The absence of the Start button was one of the biggest concerns among users that had become accustomed to a certain way of interacting with Windows.