The long rumored Update 2, now called just "August Update," for Windows 8.1 has been released today. For those waiting for it to show up through Windows Update or delivered from your friendly network administrator, it will be available just a little later today or whenever your IT administrator deems it worthy and necessary.

But, for those IT administrators who would like to download it and test it prior to developing a patching plan for this month's updates, the August Update is now available for download from the Microsoft Download Center.

For x86: Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2975719)

For x64: Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2975719)

And, I highly suggest that you do take the time to download and test. Any IT administrator worth his/her salt will want to download the August Update and give it a once (or twice) over, just in case there's some unforeseen issues. Unfortunately, Microsoft has introduced us to a bevy of issues with its patches over the past few years. Even more recently, Update 1 for Windows 8.1 was a troublesome update, causing all sorts of installation issues that took Microsoft several iterations to resolve.

But remember, as troublesome as Update 1 was, it is a critical update. Windows 8.1 Update 1 is a requirement to install the August Update. In fact, it’s a requirement to continue to receive any further updates – period.

August Update is not a major update and only brings a few new features to Windows 8.1, along with some performance and stability improvements. But, this month's August Update does set a different tone for Microsoft.

Gone are the days when major feature additions are lumped together into a single, huge update like we saw in Update 1. Instead, Microsoft is shifting to providing smaller, monthly updates for Windows 8.1, essentially sticking its latest operating system in the same category as the other currently supported OS versions.

Additionally this month, we are hearing Microsoft attempt to eliminate the stigma of Patch Tuesday by giving it a new name: "Update Tuesday." I guess it sounds less ominous that way.

In addition to delivering the August Update today, Microsoft is also sending a total of 9 security updates your way, covering everything from Internet Explorer to SQL Server to Office. Get ready! Get patched! Or, as Microsoft wants you to now say it: "Get Updated!"