The next Windows 8.1 update may enable the operating system to run on smaller, cheaper tablets.

The target release date for Windows 8.1 Update 1 is reportedly March 11, according to ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley, who suggests the update will further reduce the operating system’s memory and disk space requirements. That would enable the Windows 8.1 to run on cheaper hardware, which would be ideal for tablets targeted at schools or developing countries.

March 11 is a Tuesday, which is when Microsoft typically delivers Windows updates. Russian Windows leaker “WZor” previously suggested the update would arrive in March but didn’t specify an exact date.

The upcoming update will also make it easier for PC users to shut down their machines, according to WZor’s leaked screenshots. A power button now appears prominently on the top right of the screen, next to a new search button. That should quiet criticisms that the shutdown and restart options aren’t easily accessible in Windows 8.

The screenshots also suggest the ability to pin Windows 8-style “Metro” apps to the taskbar, bringing the separate Metro and desktop environments one step closer together.

Unifying currently separate Microsoft experiences appears to be a major focus for Windows 9 (“Threshold”), which is supposedly due out in April 2015.


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