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Microsoft KILLS Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Patch Tuesday

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Microsoft has at last revealed the date when its second major update to Windows 8.1 will ship to customers: never.

Despite months of speculation that the software giant has been planning to push out another major update roll-up for its latest OS this year, much like it did with the oddly named Windows 8.1 Update in April, Redmond mouthpiece Brandon LeBlanc blogged on Tuesday that we can forget it.

"Rather than waiting for months and bundling together a bunch of improvements into a larger update as we did for the Windows 8.1 Update, customers can expect that we'll use our already existing monthly update process to deliver more frequent improvements along with the security updates normally provided as part of 'Update Tuesday'," LeBlanc wrote.

That's right, it's "Patch Tuesday" no more. As surely as if those two words were never spoken, LeBlanc has changed the name of Microsoft's monthly dump of security fixes to "Update Tuesday," meaning we can expect new features to show up along with our critical patches from now on.

"Examples of some of these non-security updates are the Windows Store Refresh in May and the June update to OneDrive to improve your control of sync," LeBlanc said.

"Some of these improvements might be more visible or even new features, while others might be more 'behind-the-scenes' that improve things like the performance and reliability of your device."

The latter, we suspect, would be the kind of updates that fix bugs. But let's not dwell on the negative.

According to LeBlanc, the next Patch Update Tuesday – which will happen on August 12, just as it happens on the second Tuesday of each month – will include just three new feature bundles, rather than the dozens some were hoping for.

First, three new settings in the touchpad control panel will allow you to leave your touchpad active even when a mouse is connected, select whether right-clicks are allowed on the touchpad, and enable dragging by double-tapping.

Second, a new set of APIs will allow Windows devices to act as Miracast receivers.

Finally, Microsoft has reduced the number of times you'll need to enter your password when accessing SharePoint Online sites.

That's about it, and LeBlanc said this new approach will apply to Windows Server 2012, too – although it doesn't sound like there will be many changes to that OS arriving on August 12, beyond the usual security fixes.

The elephant in the room, of course, is just when we can expect to see the new and improved Start Menu that Microsoft has been teasing us with since this year's Build conference in April. The latest scuttlebutt suggests it has been put on hold until sometime in 2015, but at this rate, we may have to wait until the debut of "Threshold" – the major update that's widely expected to ship as Windows 9 – before we see any major new features. ®

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