We are pleased to be releasing a set of improvements to Windows 8 in broad areas of performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback, and compatibility. These improvements are available starting today via Windows Update. We wanted to briefly talk about our improvements to the engineering system and in particular the speed at which we were able to deliver these updates to you.

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. 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. Because these hardware and software components are brand new, it could be the case that they uncover the need for changes and improvements to Windows in the areas of fundamentals.

We would often create dozens of changes for each OEM for these new PCs. Those changes would be deployed during manufacturing of those PCs and thus would be invisible to customers. 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. As a result, customers would have to wait until the first service pack to see these enhancements. We know many folks would spend time working to uncover these OEM enhancements in a desire to have the most up to date Windows.

During the final months of Windows 8 we challenged ourselves to create the tools and processes to be able to deliver these “post-RTM” updates sooner than a service pack. 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. If you are an MSDN or enterprise customer, these updates will be available for your Windows 8 PCs via Windows Update as of today (October 9), following our standard cadence for Windows Updates on the second Tuesday of each month at about 10:00am.

As we have always done, any updates will have a knowledge base (KB) article and documentation. Documentation for these updates are documented here, and the text is reproduced below. We will of course continue to issue and publish changes and enhancements from this point forward, just as we have done with Windows 7.

We think this new pace of delivering high quality updates to Windows will be a welcome enhancement for all of our customers.

--Steven


KB article title:

Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 General Availability Cumulative Update

Description:

Windows 8 Client and Windows Server 2012 General Availability Cumulative Update is available. This cumulative update package provides a collection of performance and reliability improvements that are designed to improve the Windows 8 experience. We recommend that you apply this cumulative update as part of your regular maintenance routines.

Improvements:

  • 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

Known issues:

  • When you turn a Windows feature on or off, the computer may require a restart. For example, this action may be necessary when you turn Remote Access on or off.