About a fortnight before the formal release of Windows 8, Microsoft has released an update for the operating system that it says provides improvements in "performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback, and compatibility."
The update will roll out via Windows Update to those currently using early versions of the OS. Microsoft has promised increased power efficiency to extend battery life, performance improvements in Windows 8 apps and Start screen, improved audio and video playback in many scenarios, and improved application and driver compatibility with Windows 8.
In a blog post, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky said the changes are ones that might normally be included in an operating system's first service pack. "[But] 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," he wrote.
The release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8 was provided to hardware partners in August.
In the past, Sinofsky has said that Microsoft would typically spend the time between RTM and general availability matching new PCs with the new version of Windows. Inevitably, issues would arise, but changes would be made behind the scenes before the PCs were delivered 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," Sinofsky wrote. "As a result, customers would have to wait until the first service pack to see these enhancements."
This time around, Microsoft said it developed "better test automation and test coverage tools, [so] Windows 8 will be totally up to date for all customers starting at General Availability."
MSDN and enterprise customer will get these updates today, after Microsoft's regular Patch Tuesday updates.
Microsoft last week started updating the apps that were included in the RTM version of Windows 8, so they are ready for 26 October.