Microsoft has taken the wrappings off Windows 8.1 Update 1, packing in a slew of new features to entice users to upgrade to its latest operating system.

The meat of the update is all about the desktop experience, restoring some core Windows 7 functionality, and making life a little bit easier for mouse and keyboard users.

Perhaps the biggest plus of the update is that Modern, formerly known as Metro, apps can now be pinned to the taskbar. Microsoft has also pinned the Windows Store to the taskbar by default, but it can be removed if desired.

A number of other changes are in, including access to context menus in the Modern Start screen, and the return of the red X button for Modern apps.

Sadly, the most called-for features, including the traditional Start Menu and windowed Modern apps, have been held back for a future update.

How to get the update

To get the update, you will need to first install Windows 8.1, which is available from the Windows Store.

You'll then have to install the following patches, labelled Important, from Windows Update in the order given: KB2919442, KB2932046, KB2919355, KB2938439, KB2937592. These links cover the 64-bit version.

For those on 32-bit machines, try: KB2919442, KB2932046, KB2919355, KB2938439, KB2937592.

And last but not least, the ARM links are: KB2919442, KB2932046, KB2919355, KB2938439, KB2937592.

Update 1 is not really an optional upgrade, as Microsoft won't roll out any future security patches to your Windows 8.1 computer if you don't have it installed. This does not apply for those still on Windows 8.

With Windows XP support ending today, it provides another option, at the very least.