Microsoft caves in: Windows 8.1 Final available to MSDN and Technet Subscribers

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 9, 2013
Updated • Sep 10, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

Microsoft's announcement that it would not make available the first big update of Windows 8 early to Technet or MSDN subscribers was heavily criticized by the majority of tech sites. It meant basically that subscribers had to wait until October 18th, just like anyone else, before they could get their hands on the new version of the operating system.

This was a huge policy change as subscribers always received early access to RTM versions of Microsoft products. The idea here was to give companies and professionals ample time to test a Microsoft product for compatibility issue and other issues.

The primary purpose here is to provide subscribers with enough time to make sure that their hardware and software products are compatible with the new operating system. Developers too benefit from early releases as they can make sure that their apps and programs run without issues on the new operating system version.

Microsoft today announced that it has changed the decision that it made some time ago. The company has published Windows 8.1 downloads on MSDN and Technet for subscribers to download right away.

Windows 8.1 RTM and Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO images are available right now on both websites. The following editions are available on Technet:

  • Windows 8.1 multiple editions x86 and x64
  • Windows 8.1 multiple editions x86 and x64
  • Windows 8.1 language packs

The size varies between 2643 Megabytes for the Windows 8.1 x86 ISO image and 3723 Megabytes for the windows 8.1 x64 ISO image. The language packs have a size of 1415 (32-bit) and 1873 (64-bit).

Ars Technica notes that volume license versions of Windows 8.1 will be made available at the end of September. Microsoft notes that it continues to develop "online services that Windows 8.1 uses", which means that services and software may change after the RTM version of Windows 8.1 has been installed on a computer system.

Microsoft has made available the Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate today as well for developers to download.

Installation of Windows 8.1

Microsoft's official stance is that you will lose access to apps and programs when you install the final Windows 8.1 RTM on a system running the Windows 8.1 Preview.

It is however possible to bypass that restriction by installing this small tool. It will change a single file on the ISO image so that you can install Windows 8.1 over Windows 8.1 Preview without losing anything.

A test upgrade of the Windows 8.1 Preview to Windows 8.1 RTM that Microsoft released today had the result that I was able to keep all applications and programs that I had installed during the preview release. I have used the small tool linked in the previous paragraph to prepare the ISO image before the installation.

Once installed you get to chose between express or custom setup. I highly suggest you select custom, as you can modify a variety of settings including update-related preferences, whether you want Smartfilter to be active, or if you want to submit data to Microsoft (most off by default).

The start screen and the desktop will look exactly like in the preview release that you upgraded from.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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