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Microsoft’s upcoming update to its Windows 8.1 operating system was leaked yesterday, giving users who took the time to download it a glimpse into what the OS will be like after the update is expected to officially release sometime next month. A post on the Verge has the full scoop about the ways the update will make subtle changes to the Windows 8 experience, delivering tweaks to the OS that keyboard and mouse users have been hoping for. While the leak has been plugged by Microsoft, the update itself is being hosted at mirror locations—though curious users should only download and install it at their own risk.

According to the post, the update will give users the option to pin Metro apps to the taskbar, as well as bringing the taskbar to show while using Metro apps. The update will also provide controls to Metro apps that will allow users to minimize, close, or snap applications, much like traditional Desktop-style applications have had for the last several generations of Windows. And, of course, the shutdown button is apparently making a comeback to the Start screen.

That’s the bulk of the UI changes, though the post also reports that “Microsoft is also tweaking the amount of disk space that Windows 8.1 utilizes.” That’s always a welcome change, especially after 8.1 already drastically reduced the amount of disk space used by Windows 8. More space for your stuff is always better, right?

But while some of those changes to the UI sound good, they’re certainly not everything users might want out of Windows 8 in general. For that, you may want to download Start8 and ModernMix, two tweaks from Stardock Software that gives Windows 8 the more traditional Start menu and allows you to run Metro apps in resizable windows in Desktop mode, respectively.

Those particular tweaks aren’t perfect, but they work pretty damn well in general, more than justifying their cost of $5 apiece. If the reports regarding the leaked update are to be believed, it seems that users may want to grab these tweaks anyway, since Microsoft doesn’t seem to have any real intention of alleviating the real UI problems Windows 8 users have had for a while now.

[Source: The Verge, Image via Neowin]

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