Microsoft: Windows 8.1 has hit RTM; no early access for MSDN or TechNet

Microsoft has announced today that both Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT has officially hit RTM and that the code is now in the hands of OEMs to allow them to pre-load machines for the upcoming launch in October.  Windows 8.1 will be launching on October 18th with the Windows Store getting it a tad early on the 17th to align with the time zone differences around the world.

Antoine Leblond, an SVP for Microsoft, also confirmed in the announcement that MSDN and TechNet users will have to wait until October 18th, stating:

While our partners are preparing these exciting new devices we will continue to work closely with them as we put the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience at general availability on October 18th. This is the date when Windows 8.1 will be broadly available for commercial customers with or without volume licensing agreements, our broad partner ecosystem, subscribers to MSDN and TechNet, as well as consumers.

That seems to suggest that more updates could be on the way before the final bits are made available to consumers.

Windows 8.1 is a refined blend of Windows, as noted by Steve Ballmer, and brings back the Start button (but not the menu), additional customization options (such as boot to desktop) and other features that will help address some of the criticism that Windows 8 has received.

Windows 8.1 is part of Microsoft’s new rapid release cadence that will see the company push out updates to its platforms on an annual basis rather than in incremental spans. This is a dramatic shift from Microsoft’s previous release cycle and for Windows, they have passed the first test of the updated cadence. Of course, hitting the first one is likely much easier than hitting the second or third, so we will be watching closely to see if Microsoft is able to maintain this momentum.

As with other builds that have been sent to OEMs, the RTM build may leak ahead of its retail launch. While this is not a guarantee, if the previous patterns are an indication of a future leak, don't be surprised to see these bits hit the web a tad early.

With Microsoft’s aggressive Windows 8 and RT push, especially in the tablet segment, we will be curious to see how Microsoft plans to inform the consumer about the improvements with Windows 8.1. Will they release a series of commercials or will they rely on the new tutorials that will come with the OS?

Source: Blogging Windows (Microsoft)

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I love how they seem to think giving us the Start Button back will appease all those who complained, including myself. But what we wanted was the Start Menu, not the button per se!

We are no appeased, we are more angry at your arrogant attitude MS!

MS is a debilitating condition that can affect every aspect of everyday life... Yep sums them up!"

I couldn't believe it when I clicked on the start button, and it just switched to the metro UI.. wtf? They've simply put a button on a hot corner!..

Thank god startisback had a version for 8.1 waiting (well, beta, but good enough)...

Agree with a another comment above that metro has no place on a desktop, is minimalist appearance and lack of flexibility makes it unusable as a desktop environment IMO. eg, I often have half dozen or more windows open and scattered all over my desktop, and can min/max, drag them out etc.. again, luckily, another 3rd party app from stardock tries to resolve this..

One of the first option after install should be desktop or tablet mode, where the former completely disables the metro ui... Whilst I initially did like the look of it, and its live tiles, I just simply cant work with it as effectively as with the traditional desktop.

It's ridiculous!! The OS that need a fast pace development Win Phone is on 18 months!! even basic apps like FM radio is not available still even if the hardware support it months ago, the upgrades are way too slow to came ! you need to hurry up to try to survive but you take it easy.
The OS that need a very slow pace, like server 2012, that you want to make sure that it's rock solid, steady and compatible is on 10 months schedule!! Nobody care if it's Win 8, 8.1, 8.11a... Everybody care that the OS is stable, easy to use, easy to find out... The people chat on facebook, on twitter, play games, run offices programs they dont' want reinstall everything every 6 months, risk that the program that they use break down for no reason. They care about that new gmail design, that cool new features on social networks not how many threads Win 8.3 support more that 8.2 or 8.1 or 8, It's crazy !!! .....It's ready but it's not as ready as We'd like so We hold on it 2 more months. Win 7 as long as photoshop, office, autocad, games works just fine who cares ? Why risk to reinstall a perfectly setup pc that run all just fine from scratch with a new OS that slow you down with stupid UI, break some things, for what ? to talk about that you have the latest version...

Edited by mazzy80, Aug 27 2013, 7:32pm :

mazzy80 said,
It's ridiculous!! The OS that need a fast pace development Win Phone is on 18 months!! even basic apps like FM radio is not available still even if the hardware support it months ago, the upgrades are way too slow to came ! you need to hurry up to try to survive but you take it easy.
The OS that need a very slow pace, like server 2012, that you want to make sure that it's rock solid, steady and compatible is on 10 months schedule!! Nobody care if it's Win 8, 8.1, 8.11a... Everybody care that the OS is stable, easy to use, easy to find out... The people chat on facebook, on twitter, play games, run offices programs they dont' want reinstall everything every 6 months, risk that the program that they use break down for no reason. They care about that new gmail design, that cool new features on social networks not how many threads Win 8.3 support more that 8.2 or 8.1 or 8, It's crazy !!! .....It's ready but it's not as ready as We'd like so We hold on it 2 more months. Win 7 as long as photoshop, office, autocad, games works just fine who cares ? Why risk to reinstall a perfectly setup pc that run all just fine from scratch with a new OS that slow you down with stupid UI, break some things, for what ? to talk about that you have the latest version...

What? Windows Phone 8 was released 9 months ago.

This isn't going to do Microsoft any favours publicly. They are going to get ripped apart for such a big gap between OEM hand off and developer access to the same build.

Windows 8 is solid OS, no doubt about that. But Metro UI on workstations is crap too and there is no doubt about that too! I, when predicted that Windows 8 would fail in GCC market, someone here made fun and asked me to help him with the lottery, as I can see in the future. What I said about Windows 8 exactly happened!

If anyone has doubts about this, visit any GCC country and go ask any IT retailer about Windows 8 and don't be surprised at their answers. This release of Windows 8.1 is a failure too, which again time will prove. Microsoft is all about marketing it and exciting people about it now, but 2-3 years down the line you will see the real picture and Microsoft may probably finally admit that this was a failure just like they did after 2-3 years of release of Windows Vista. They are doing exactly the same thing, which they did while they released Windows Vista.

It just bugs me that nobody at Microsoft never thought to add a unified notifications center like WP8 GD3 is rumored to get. The icons on the lock screen or numbers on the tiles just don't cut it.

I'm due a reinstall. I have a lot of left over files from software thats been and gone. Waiting until 8.1 though.

If i were Microsoft i would just keep it under wraps until it hits the market.. this RTM BS is nonsense in todays market. With that being said, GA availability is probably delayed awaiting visual studio 2013 RTM and other updates needed..

So, even though Technet subscriptions are being discontinued after September 30, they're still going to post new software on the site for subscribers after that date? Since my subscription expires 9/22, perhaps I'll have to renew it for one more (and final) year.

devHead said,
So, even though Technet subscriptions are being discontinued after September 30, they're still going to post new software on the site for subscribers after that date? Since my subscription expires 9/22, perhaps I'll have to renew it for one more (and final) year.

As far as I'm aware you can redeem in September only if you have bought in August. So your auto-renew probably won't happen.

(Check the small print online)

That part I realize. But I was hesitant about renewing, especially if they aren't going to be making new releases available after September 30 of this year. I'm kind of scared that after 9/30, Microsoft will make some other brilliant announcement that Windows 8.1 won't be available for Technet subscribers on October 18.

I officially moved over the Preview full time yesterday, will just have to prepare to reinstall apps when the RTM becomes available. Couldn't wait any longer.

The RTM that will last on 1st or just after will be basically the same. The only difference in a Retail ISO and one that has leaked before GA will be that the GA has some of the windows updates included. The ISO that will leak will be the same but without the updates (hence why hash will be different.)

But however you do it be that, installing the leak and downloading updates via windows update Or waiting for GA ISO and installing it the results will be the same.

So if you do see a leak dont be scared to download it thinking its not finished.

This update thing is nothing new happend with Windows RT. Also whenever you get a RTM/Retail ISO and install on day #1 of GA there will be windows updates. This will be no different.

The difference on GA day will be if you installed with the RTM ISO leaked you will have more updates than if you were to use a retail ISO

I, too, am disappointed being a Technet OS subscriber, but those complaining about not being able to test ahead of time for your companies: Are you telling me you would have rolled out this update to your employees by October 18? Waiting another month isn't going to kill you. When I did XP SP2 testing back in the mid 2000s, I spent at least three months with end users testing all of our software and custom apps on it.

Some things need to be tested that will run on employees' home computers. It took me two hours to figure out how to get my company's Juniper VPN to work in 8.1, and naturally our support desk wasn't prepared to help. There will always be a few of us who upgrade on launch day, and it would be great if those responsible for tech infrastructure support had access to these things early for testing.

Devs, I can see. Pushing it to Prod systems right away doesn't make a lot of sense. In my company, we NEVER roll something out right away. Exchange Rollups, SharePoint Service Packs, even Windows SPs, because I have seen previous companies burned in the past by pushing out the latest and greatest right away and then something doesn't work. Heck, there was an Exchange patch this month that caused issues across many organizations. It pays huge dividends to wait.

freak180 said,
So even thought its RTM there is still a possible chance of updates.... so basically its not finished... ugh
Windows 8 received a few hundred megs update on the launch day as well. So it's not the first time.

I guess the updated apps aren't ready yet as well? The OS could be fine for the most part but at this point it's not just the OS going out but new versions of the core apps and so on.

GP007 said,
I guess the updated apps aren't ready yet as well? The OS could be fine for the most part but at this point it's not just the OS going out but new versions of the core apps and so on.
They're built-in. But yeah, MSFT can further polish apps, since they always can push updates through Store (which for 8.1 happens automatically)

that makes me a sad panda that TechNet/MSDN doesn't get it early, damn handy for testing and any beta makes test pretty much invalidated as even if they as close as close can be you can never be sure of the same results of a beta than an RTM.

That kinda s***s I must say not being earlier available on MSDN/TechNet...
So basically as BAV0 states... why pay the premium?

As we have learned with Snowden...if you have temps working on a top secret project...you will have leaks.

Only a matter of time.

Why don't we get it earlier, we pay a lot for MSDN, what's it good for if we don't get RTM bits in time to test it before GA?

BAV0 said,
Why don't we get it earlier, we pay a lot for MSDN, what's it good for if we don't get RTM bits in time to test it before GA?

I think the problem is GPU drivers that are still buggy. Intel, nvidia, AMD will use this time to produce new drivers supporting WDDM 1.3 (which brings support for miracast, changes with text rendering with HW acceleration, ...).

because of the army of trolls and stupid journalists who criticized Windows Vista before its release due to immature 3rd party drivers, Microsoft wants the launch of Windows 8.1 to be perfect.

if MS releases win8.1 now, idiots will call it Vista 2, because drivers are still immature, OEMs haven't released firmware updates (especially for atom tablets) to improve compatibility with win8.1, and features like miracast may not work reliably due to bugs with gpu drivers and receivers' firmware.

link8506 said,

I think the problem is GPU drivers that are still buggy. Intel, nvidia, AMD will use this time to produce new drivers supporting WDDM 1.3 (which brings support for miracast, changes with text rendering with HW acceleration, ...).

because of the army of trolls and stupid journalists who criticized Windows Vista before its release due to immature 3rd party drivers, Microsoft wants the launch of Windows 8.1 to be perfect.

if MS releases win8.1 now, idiots will call it Vista 2, because drivers are still immature, OEMs haven't released firmware updates (especially for atom tablets) to improve compatibility with win8.1, and features like miracast may not work reliably due to bugs with gpu drivers and receivers' firmware.

Don't see how when its still win 8.

link8506 said,

I think the problem is GPU drivers that are still buggy. Intel, nvidia, AMD will use this time to produce new drivers supporting WDDM 1.3 (which brings support for miracast, changes with text rendering with HW acceleration, ...).


Hmm, then again, MSDN is largely about developers, not end users. A developer may wish to test software on the RTM more than having optimized graphics drivers ready.

You're right about the journalists, that's probably MS's reasoning too.
Windows 8 too, 'failed' even before the launch because of them, but with 8/8.1 the apps are an important part of the OS, they need to be 8.1-ready by launch! And what about regular software, that had a lot of issues with Vista too, how can we avoid this in 8.1, early MSDN access!

T1OOOO said,

Don't see how when its still win 8.

they don't use the same display driver model.

windows 8.0 uses wddm 1.2, whereas win8.1 uses wddm 1.3.

of course a wddm1.2 driver should still work on win8.1, but sometimes there are incompatibilities (for example the atom clover trail wddm 1.2 drivers was unable to render text properly in windows 8.1).

most of the hardware sold with win8.0 will receive updated gpu drivers for win8.1. Just give the OEMs some time to make sure they are mature enough before letting everybody play with win8.1.

Northgrove said,

Hmm, then again, MSDN is largely about developers, not end users. A developer may wish to test software on the RTM more than having optimized graphics drivers ready.


there should be no compatibility issue for win32 apps with win8.1.

as for store apps, vs2013 hasn't hit rtm yet, and win8.0 apps are supposed to run perfectly on win8.1.

of course it would be nice to have access to win8.1 RTM around October 1st, because at that time most GPU drivers should be ready and shipped to OEMs, so the users experience should be similar to what is shipped on October 18 on new machines.

link8506 said,

I think the problem is GPU drivers that are still buggy. Intel, nvidia, AMD will use this time to produce new drivers supporting WDDM 1.3 (which brings support for miracast, changes with text rendering with HW acceleration, ...).

because of the army of trolls and stupid journalists who criticized Windows Vista before its release due to immature 3rd party drivers, Microsoft wants the launch of Windows 8.1 to be perfect.

if MS releases win8.1 now, idiots will call it Vista 2, because drivers are still immature, OEMs haven't released firmware updates (especially for atom tablets) to improve compatibility with win8.1, and features like miracast may not work reliably due to bugs with gpu drivers and receivers' firmware.

A lot of Vista drivers were still buggy well after the OS GA and this in spite of the fact that MS even delayed the OS release, it was made available in January, in order to give more time to Intel and co. to fix them.
Of course minus havens cannot check facts before insulting other people....

Fritzly said,

A lot of Vista drivers were still buggy well after the OS GA and this in spite of the fact that MS even delayed the OS release, it was made available in January, in order to give more time to Intel and co. to fix them.
Of course minus havens cannot check facts before insulting other people....

I know that, and it confirms my point

vista was a major upgrade. 3months between RTM and GA were not enough to bring perfectly stable drivers, but without these 3 months the situation would have been even worse.

here, win8.1 is a minor upgrade, but since it introduces a new display driver model version (WDDM1.3), it requires a little time between RTM and GA so that drivers are stable enough (fortunately, it requires much less work than the migration from the XP driver model to the WDDM 1.0 in the vista era)

my point is that if MS allowed people to download the RTM right now, the experience would not be great due to immature GPU drivers, which would lead people to compare win8.1 to vista.

in two months however, there should be no such problem.

[quote=link8506 said,]because of the army of trolls and stupid journalists who criticized Windows Vista

if MS releases win8.1 now, idiots will call it Vista 2[quote]

wow

There is no valid reason that they can't put it up on MSDN today either. as devs and it pros we need to test it before we get our next batch of computers with 8.1 pre-installed,

vhaakmat said,
There is no valid reason that they can't put it up on MSDN today either. as devs and it pros we need to test it before we get our next batch of computers with 8.1 pre-installed,

Who cares? the beta works correctly, and there is nothing new in the final one that is not in the beta, they can delay it anther year, still the same.

The RTM and the beta should be very close, just the RTM is the one that was tested end to end and ready to go on new PCs, the rest is the same, ugly UI is the same, etc, etc

You're seriously delusional if you think the Beta is the same as the RTM.

I guess Windows 8 hate does make people blind...

john.smith_2084 said,

Who cares? the beta works correctly, and there is nothing new in the final one that is not in the beta, they can delay it anther year, still the same.

The RTM and the beta should be very close, just the RTM is the one that was tested end to end and ready to go on new PCs, the rest is the same, ugly UI is the same, etc, etc

People with a professional reputation that develop on or produce Microsoft platforms that would like to make sure their software / systems are OK.

"Tested on a beta/rc/leaked ISO from Russian WAREZ" doesn't really cut it.

john.smith_2084 said,

Who cares? the beta works correctly, and there is nothing new in the final one that is not in the beta, they can delay it anther year, still the same.

The RTM and the beta should be very close, just the RTM is the one that was tested end to end and ready to go on new PCs, the rest is the same, ugly UI is the same, etc, etc


In the Preview I cannot view my pictures because they are located in the Skydrive folder; the fact that the above mentioned folder is by default in the C: drive and I cannot move it somewhere else is a big issue. Just two quick examples......

john.smith_2084 said,

Who cares? the beta works correctly, and there is nothing new in the final one that is not in the beta, they can delay it anther year, still the same.

The RTM and the beta should be very close, just the RTM is the one that was tested end to end and ready to go on new PCs, the rest is the same, ugly UI is the same, etc, etc

You contradict yourself. Saying there is nothing new in RTM and then saying they should be very close builds doesn't work for developers. RTM, as you say, is tested end to end. That means there relatively should be no more bugs, flaws, etc. Beta is just beta and often those releases address specific bugs but not all. For this reason, developers are looking to get their hands on a true RTM to ensure that it will work.

Tarrant64 said,

You contradict yourself. Saying there is nothing new in RTM and then saying they should be very close builds doesn't work for developers. RTM, as you say, is tested end to end. That means there relatively should be no more bugs, flaws, etc. Beta is just beta and often those releases address specific bugs but not all. For this reason, developers are looking to get their hands on a true RTM to ensure that it will work.

What I meant to say it is not the end of the world, released today to MSDN or 1 month from now to MSDN, developers can still do their job.

Plus I can assure you, Windows 8.2 will resolve tons of issues with Windows 8.1, and Windows 9.0 will make people laugh at 8.1 and 8.2

Seketh said,
You're seriously delusional if you think the Beta is the same as the RTM.

I guess Windows 8 hate does make people blind...

One more thing:

I have been so excited to install the latest Windows 3.1, then 3.11, then Windows NT 3.5 just wow, then Windows 95 (very nice and crashes) then NT 4.0 a BIG wow, then …… 98 Me 2000 XP Vista 7 8 , 8.1?

Release after release, 20 years of failed Microsoft attempts to organize and label my photos, albums, or my documents.

Nothing they make is exciting anymore, and I assure you they will keep doing the same thing over the next 10 years, but this time they will run out of money and go home.

john.smith_2084 said,

What I meant to say it is not the end of the world, released today to MSDN or 1 month from now to MSDN, developers can still do their job.

Plus I can assure you, Windows 8.2 will resolve tons of issues with Windows 8.1, and Windows 9.0 will make people laugh at 8.1 and 8.2

I think you need to look at it from another point of view then. Because this isn't about 8.1, 8.2, etc. resolving issues. It's about a developers ability to ensure that when the latest version is released their products are currently available and supported. Otherwise you have people that upgrade and stop using their software products OR you have those that don't upgrade at all just to continue using their software products. There's no win/win there. An early RTM release available to developers ensures that hopefully on Day 1 or close to Day 1 that when a user decides to upgrade to 8.1, their software can go with them.

You also seem to state that Microsoft hasn't given you a single piece of software to help you organize your files. A couple of issues with that. First, the very thing you probably need is a 3rd party developers software that will do just that in any way you want. The issue being complained about here is non-early access for developers to do that very thing - providing you with software to do more with Windows 8.1. Second, it's not like Microsoft has forced you to use their product for the past 20 years. If it's that bad, switch to Linux or Mac. Sounds like you put yourself through that torture.

john.smith_2084 said,

One more thing:

I have been so excited to install the latest Windows 3.1, then 3.11, then Windows NT 3.5 just wow, then Windows 95 (very nice and crashes) then NT 4.0 a BIG wow, then …… 98 Me 2000 XP Vista 7 8 , 8.1?

Release after release, 20 years of failed Microsoft attempts to organize and label my photos, albums, or my documents.

Nothing they make is exciting anymore, and I assure you they will keep doing the same thing over the next 10 years, but this time they will run out of money and go home.

when people get older, they're no longer excited by shiny new things. Fact of life.

people before you were happy with DOS and were unimpressed by windows 3.1, and would surely have though that Microsoft would no longer be there by the year 2000.

their opinion, and yours, doesn't matter much. MS is here to stay.

Personally I've been very impressed by Windows 8. However a lot of people don't understand the potential of the new form factors it enables (such as hybrid tablets), but it should become more clear during the lifetime of win8.1 thanks to cheaper hardware.

many people said MS would die because of Vista, and that people would migrate to Linux when they stop using XP. It didn't happen, and Windows 7 is a success. As will be win8.1 (or whatever comes shortly after).

OS is ready, improved Modern Apps are not. Preview build is enough for developers, they wish to have overall good picture of 8.1 when is released with polished apps. Reason for this are "reviews". My opinion...

john.smith_2084 said,

What I meant to say it is not the end of the world, released today to MSDN or 1 month from now to MSDN, developers can still do their job.

Plus I can assure you, Windows 8.2 will resolve tons of issues with Windows 8.1, and Windows 9.0 will make people laugh at 8.1 and 8.2

Windows 9 will be awesome since the new Metro ecosystem will have been on the market for 5 or so years.

Do you know if they brought Windows 7 Start Menu back -and not just an icon that leads to Metro UI and the built-in Marketplaces? Did they remove all touch-related bloat and Metro UI? Did they fix the blurry fonts on Metro UI, Metro Apps, Metro & Desktop IE? Did they update the desktop icons in order to be consistent? Did they add some true improvements, like Windows Media Player? They could add .mkv support, subtitles support on all formats etc...

If yes, I'm looking forward with you likewise... Otherwise, no Win 8.1 for me either.

PC EliTiST said,
Do you know if they brought Windows 7 Start Menu back -and not just an icon that leads to Metro UI and the built-in Marketplaces? Did they remove all touch-related bloat and Metro UI? Did they fix the blurry fonts on Metro UI, Metro Apps, Metro & Desktop IE? Did they update the desktop icons in order to be consistent? Did they add some true improvements, like Windows Media Player? They could add .mkv support, subtitles support on all formats etc...

If yes, I'm looking forward with you likewise... Otherwise, no Win 8.1 for me either.

And you call yourself an "elitist"? You know the answers to these questions, so why troll?