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Surprise: Microsoft updates Windows 8 ahead of release

by David Needle

October 9 2012

Microsoft says Windows 8 is now faster more, energy-efficient.
Microsoft says Windows 8 is now faster more, energy-efficient.

It was generally believed that Windows 8 was in lock down mode ahead of its official release October 25, but today we found out that’s not the case.

Microsoft has made a number of prerelease versions of its highly-touted OS available to developers and business customers and signaled after the last Consumer Preview release that Windows 8 was essentially finished, pending further testing and bug fixes that would be addressed leading up to its commercial release later this month.

But in a blog post today, Windows president Steve Sinofsky says Microsoft’s now made a number of improvements, including overall performance and power management, that will be part of the new release.

Getting ahead of the Service Pack curve

Historically, Microsoft releases a Service Pack after a new release of Windows, to address bugs, performance and other issues it finds can be improved. But Sinofsky says his team “challenged ourselves to create the tools and processes to be able to deliver these “post-RTM” updates sooner than a service pack.” (RTM stands for Release to Manufacturing).

“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.”

The improvements to Windows 8 cover performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback, and compatibility. Microsoft says these improvements are available starting today via Windows Update.

This is the second major bit of Windows update news in the past week. Microsoft also recently announced it will refresh many of the built-in apps that come with Windows 8 in time for the launch.

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