Windows 8.1 RTM available for download

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#1
Just a quick heads-up for any TechNet or MSDN subscribers: Microsoft has reversed its original decision to withhold Windows 8.1 RTM from developers/testers/subscribers via MSDN or TechNet until it was available for update/sale to the general public, and you can now grab a copy of Windows 8.1 RTM from MSDN/TechNet.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#2
Sure after my subscription has expired. :lol:

Sadly if it is anything like the preview it wont run on my machine. I tried to install the preview build and it says that my machine is not compatible. So I might be sticking with just Windows 8. Oh well, not looking to upgrade anytime soon. If worse comes to worse, I could always go back to Windows 7.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#3
Alex, from what I understand Windows 8.1 should be fully compatible with PCs that can run Windows 8... (and, surprisingly, Windows 8 runs better than Windows 7 on older computers, probably because of the dropping of Aero, 3D effects, and other graphics-intensive visual candy).

Just a thought, but if the message you saw said "..is not compatible with the version of Windows..." there's actually a good chance that you were seeing a 32 vs 64-bit error, as that's the (very vague) message that's displayed if you try to use an x86 disc on an x64 install or vice-versa?
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#4
Well the error I saw was from the update trying to come from the Windows Store. I think it is due to this new requirement:

For 64-bit installations of Windows 8.1 Preview, your CPU must also support CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF.
From what I see in CPUz, I do not have that. I have MMX, 3DNow, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSE4A, x86-64, AMD-V. But no where is it listed that I have the ones required for 64 Bit use. So I am guessing that is where the error is coming from. So while Windows 8.1 should be fully compatible, they have made it much more difficult for older PC's that do not have the newer technologies. I know it isnt the video card as I have a GTX260 in here. So the GFX isnt a issue, it is the lack of support for what they say Windows 8.1 will require. Only if they changed the requirements not to have those 3 items will it end up working for me.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going
Staff member
#5
Am burning the 8.1 Pro ISO to a DVD-R as we speak. Am going to attempt to upgrade from within my existing Win 8 Pro w/MC and understand that I will have go through the "Add Features" routine again and use my old MC key to get that back.
I'm wondering what "Windows 7" customizations this will break?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
Alex, are you currently running Windows 8 32-bit or 64-bit?

You're right about the increased CPU-level requirements for a 64-bit install, but if you try to install the 32-bit version of 8.1 (or its betas), you should not see that message. (although if your Windows 8 is 64-bit that would mean needing to format and reinstall..)

Peter: good luck, thou art brave of heart to attempt this. Let us know how it goes!
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#7
I am currently on 64 bit and wouldnt want to go back to 32 Bit. I have to much RAM for 32 Bit. It wouldnt use the 6GB I have installed. So like I figured, the upgraded CPU requirements means I wont be able to run Win 8.1.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going
Staff member
#8
Installed it this morning and had to change the product key back to my Media Center one in order to reactivate that. Uninstalled my A/V first and then ran the DVD from setup.exe. No issues except it obliterated Vista Windows Mail hacked a la Windows 7, not surprising. What was surprising, however, was that it left my old style Windows Calendar hack intact and my desktop address and quicklaunch toolbars as-is and my Start 8 boot-to-desktop option OK.
One other thing that I find so annoying with the latest MSFT installers, for some reason, if one has dual displays or like me, a TV and a monitor plugged in, it will for some reason insist that your TV, which hitherto was the secondary display, is now the principal one. When I first got caught by that it took me a while to realise that I didn't really have a black screen failure....!! Why it does that I haven't the faintest idea but it's very annoying.

Edit: Got WM and WCalendar both working and interlinked using the Tutorial on SevenForums (that tutorial has since been removed for various reasons).
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#9
So interesting factoid. From the response I had above about the CPU requirements, seems Microsoft has changed their mind. Cause as of right now I am operating on Windows 8.1 and am fully operational. Granted it was a complete and utter hassle. After modifying the Registry to install programs to a mechanical hard drive instead of my SSD, I had to revert those changes to upgrade. Now after the upgrade, and switching the registry back, the system was completely unstable. So that forced me to yet again format and reinstall. Now I had written down my Media Center serial, but not my Win8 serial. So I got stuck installing Win7, as I don't have a copy of Ubuntu handy, and then getting my Win8 serial. Formatted and installed Win8 and updated to Win8.1 right away. Now have to go back, redo my registry edits and from there install my software.

But for the most part, it seems that the CPU requirements they had stated were not true. They must have reverted them back to just the Win8 requirements as they realized that they would exclude a big chunk of their user base of Win8.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#10
Alex, did you end up running the 32- or 64-bit version of Windows 8.1?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
I haven't booted W8 since June, and at the moment I don't even have a multi-boot. I shifted the Vista and XP HDD (and with it my HnS) outside the PC into a caddy and moved my Movie/TV collection inside with the W7/W8 HDD.
The consequence is that W7 (active) boots all the time and my only other bootable option would be W8 if I were to set it active.
Is it worth my while booting up W8 again to bring it up to date ?
Is 8.1 being offered as a WUD update yet on W8 systems, or is it still just a TechNet option ?
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#12
Alex, did you end up running the 32- or 64-bit version of Windows 8.1?
It is 64 Bit.



Which is why it is strange that I was able to perform the update.

I haven't booted W8 since June, and at the moment I don't even have a multi-boot. I shifted the Vista and XP HDD (and with it my HnS) outside the PC into a caddy and moved my Movie/TV collection inside with the W7/W8 HDD.
The consequence is that W7 (active) boots all the time and my only other bootable option would be W8 if I were to set it active.
Is it worth my while booting up W8 again to bring it up to date ?
Is 8.1 being offered as a WUD update yet on W8 systems, or is it still just a TechNet option ?
I like some of the new options. Like being able to use my desktop background as my Start background. The addition of the "Start Button" is alright but force of habit has me using the keyboard key anyways. But it is there for those that prefer the button. The other little things I can pick out right away, there is an arrow on the start screen now, that brings up all your apps. Installing an App from the Store doesn't automatically place the app on your start screen. Not sure if that is a preference setting or default. Havent dove into that just yet. The update for now is only being offered through the Store. There is no ISO available but I found a workaround for that. :wink:

I now have the Windows 8.1 ISO waiting to be burned to use with my Windows 8 serial for install if I choose to do a fresh clean install again. But really as of right now I haven't even dove into installing all my apps and all that yet. Pretty much this is a vanilla install with my Store Apps installed. I haven't had much time to play with it due to work.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
Well here I am in 8.1 and already I hate it again !
The update was supposed to keep all my personalization and apps, but most of it has disappeared.
It didn't reinstate X-Mouse so I can't even scroll the right way. Rerunning it appears to work but Windows ignores all the custom changes.
It's removed all my desktop gadgets and Classic Shell so I'm back to the MS "my way or the highway" pseudo-desktop.

Still, I only installed it just to grab it before they decided to make me pay in future, and for future-proofing purposes, so it's reset the active flag and back home a useful environment on W7.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going
Staff member
#15
You upgraded from 8 or from 7 Terry?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#16
I'm back in 7 now.
I upgraded 8 (which hadn't been used since June) to 8.1.
It took about 4 hours, a chunk of which was bringing 8 up to scratch with WUD (144 fixes since June) before downloading 8.1 from the store.
Don't imagine I'll use it till W9 except perhaps as an emergency backup if 7 were to break.
The only use it's being put to is as a boot manager.
Rather than switching W7 back as active, I set it up as a (default) second option in the W8 BCD, using a handy little utility I found in my W7 apps folder, called EasyBCD.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going
Staff member
#17
How odd. Upgrading from 8 to 8.1 hardly changed anything as far as I could see.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#18
How odd. Upgrading from 8 to 8.1 hardly changed anything as far as I could see.
From what I have seen it was a lot of cosmetic stuff more than anything else. Mainly to make those happy that they have a start button back, access to all apps without having to right click , the ability to use desktop background as start background and the addition of the new tooltip helpers. Other than that I couldn't really see to many changes.
 

Ex_Brit

If you're going through hell, keep going
Staff member
#19
Yes and actually one of the changes they talked about was in IE11 which I have yet to see - some extra toolbar or something at the bottom, maybe I misread about that. But unlike Terry's experience it kept all my personal stuff, except for hacks like Vista Windows Mail.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#20
I upgraded my only Windows 8 install: the one in a virtual machine. FWIW, Windows 8.1 has a new kernel version number, 6.3 (up from 6.2). Any software doing OS checks by kernel version will need to take that into account (guilty!).

They did that back when Server 2008 R2 was released (confusing as anything, as Server 2008 was 6.1 - same as Vista - but Server 2008 R2 was 6.2 which was the same as Windows 7!)

Anyway, similar experience to Terry and dismal UX fail on Microsoft's behalf. Their site had links to "upgrade to 8.1" but clicking it launched the Windows Store where nothing was visible. I had presumed I was up to date with the Windows Updates for that Windows 8 install, I Googled around for what felt like an hour (probably closer to 5 minutes, but I can see it taking Joe Somebody a day or two :wink: for an offline installer (I actually already had the 8.1 ISO from MSDN) or a direct link to the update, but could find nothing. Running Windows Update indicated several "updates for Windows 8" and many security patches (even though I was up to date just two weeks prior!) but no "Windows 8.1" option.

I chose to install all available Windows Updates, still nothing. Click the links again, still nothing. Then I figured I'd run Windows Update again, and lo and behold, no Windows 8.1 listed, but several more generic "Update for Windows 8" KB entries/hotfixes/whatever. Installed those, ran WU again, found more updates, installed, and WU kept finding the same update over and over and over again for me to install and install it would, just to keep finding it available again and again. Launched the Windows Store desktop tile (no way to get there without Metro?) and suddenly I could see the fullpage tile everyone was talking about that said "Upgrade to Windows 8.1". Upgrade took forever, I went to the gym, came back, and it was stuck on a prompt midway through (something silly like "are you sure you want to do X?") meaning I had to find something else to do until the upgrade finished. But in the end, it did go through.

I can't comment on whether the shell was reset as it was quite-literally a stock install with no personalizations or customizations. Took some fiddling and a few false starts to "disable" Metro on my own (instead of following a guide) — I honestly can't see why these Metro options are available by right-clicking the taskbar and changing its properties. Oh well.

Yet, I'll probably still upgrade my desktop to Windows 8(.1), now. I'm still running Windows 7 and having no real problems (other than the usual Windows stuff) and really don't have the time to format and reinstall (I have absolutely zero confidence I can actually utilise the "upgrade" feature on my real dev machine, it absolutely will need to be clean-installed)... Some of the new APIs available in Windows 8 and the new task manager and other small enhancements here and there are just nagging at me once-a-week or so... we'll see what happens!