Windows 8.1 Update is a mandatory update for Windows 8.1 users

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in October 2013, and while it was recommended for all Windows 8 users, it was not a requirement to continue receiving support from the company. That won't be the case for Windows 8,1 users when it comes to Tuesday's release of Windows 8.1 Update as it will be delivered via Windows update.

In a Microsoft Premier Field Engineering Platform blog post, the company flat out says that Windows 8.1 Update is a required download for Windows 8.1 users. The blog post states:

Failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014 (get busy!)

Windows 8 users who have yet to update to Windows 8.1 don't necessarily need to also download this update, although it might not be a bad idea. Microsoft has already announced that it will stop supporting Windows 8 in the very near future. Previously, the company indicated that it will end support for Windows 8 two years after the launch of Windows 8.1, which would be on October 18th, 2015. Now a new FAQ page says that the final date for Windows 8 support has been moved back a few more months and it will now end on January 12th, 2016.

Mainstream support for Windows 8.1 will end January 9th, 2018 and Extended Support will stop on January 10th, 2023.

Source: Microsoft

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79 Comments

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ultimate99 said,
Shouldn't it be available now?

If it's being pushed like other Windows Updates this month, they tend to go live at about 6-7PM GMT.

As you've not mentioned this, perhaps I misunderstood this part of the post when I read it:

>>>
Windows 8.1 media/WIMs/TechNet ISOs/Store bits/etc will be slipstreamed with this Update in the near term
>>>

I was under the impression this meant they'd start putting 8.1 out through Windows Update to move all 8.0 users to 8.1.1.

Or did I misunderstand?

Actually from what I can tell, it's more like whatever ways you'll get to Windows 8.1 media wise, it'll have Update 1 integrated into it, rather than the stock one that got released since October (or even earlier). But about the Store bits, that's intriguing. Either they mean that the Store apps will be also come up-to-date within the ISO, .wim and such or that there might be a better way to get it than just from Windows Store.

I won't be installing this update until 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is updated for compatibility with it.
Mandatory update or not, I'm not letting it break one of my favorite Explorer add-ons.

Even for a rapid release, the changes are pretty major and groundbreaking (not literally, though :p). Still, this gives us some time to hold the update off until May hits, even afterwards but apparently the upcoming updates won't be installable. Hopefully the devs will get 7+ Taskbar Tweaker working by on Update 1 by then.

DJGM said,
I won't be installing this update until 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is updated for compatibility with it.
Have you donated to the upgrade effort?

Mandatory for Windows Server 2012 R2 too. Excellent. And it took about an hour to install on a dual cpu / 3GB RAM sample VM. And we only find this information out a week before it's released. Good going Microsoft - thanks a lot.

Pissed. Off. But thankful we haven't RUSHED to deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 everywhere yet :|

Edited by Chicane-UK, Apr 8 2014, 7:37am :

PotatoAlchemist said,
Is it that bad that it's -this- mandatory from their perspective?

It's just frustrating from my point of view because it's as inconvenient as a Service Pack to deploy, but it simply was not made clear that it would NEED to be installed in order to continue getting updates. And even then, Microsoft gave you some grace to get a Service Pack installed and didn't immediately drop support for non-service packed systems.

Oh - and no mention of the update on their support matrix.

http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=17383

Not happy.

That seems to be a very aggressive stance, especially on the server market. On the consumer side, it seems less of an inconvenience (for some it still is) because it tends to mimic the rapid upgrade cycle that of a mobile experience. Putting the rather free pricetag away for this update, it still is something more of a major update than minor because it can cause some software compability issue nonetheless.

I can only advise you to do various testings both on virtual and on the actual hardware, even if it's just one machine or two, to ensure everything is in order and that it won't be a pain getting the others updated with this must update too.

PotatoAlchemist said,
That seems to be a very aggressive stance, especially on the server market. On the consumer side, it seems less of an inconvenience (for some it still is) because it tends to mimic the rapid upgrade cycle that of a mobile experience. Putting the rather free pricetag away for this update, it still is something more of a major update than minor because it can cause some software compability issue nonetheless.

I can only advise you to do various testings both on virtual and on the actual hardware, even if it's just one machine or two, to ensure everything is in order and that it won't be a pain getting the others updated with this must update too.

My plan is to find some sacrificial / low usage systems out of the number we've provisioned, create a new group for them in WSUS and then test applying this update in our maintenance window, to see how they cope. Then look to roll that out across the rest of that estate once we're satisfied it installs nicely.

Chicane-UK said,

My plan is to find some sacrificial / low usage systems out of the number we've provisioned, create a new group for them in WSUS and then test applying this update in our maintenance window, to see how they cope. Then look to roll that out across the rest of that estate once we're satisfied it installs nicely.

Sounds like a plan. As long as the tools are ready for capturing and deployment, it should go seamless more or less. At least hopefully the update isn't something that might disrupt this process. :p

Will you be able to go to 8.1 Update through Windows Update straight from a Windows 8 install, or do you have to go to 8.1 first then update?

That's what I want to know as well. Will it detect that if you are running Windows 8 and don't have 8.1 update already installed that this new update wont even be shown? I'm curious to find out now :)

No issues with this whatsoever. I installed it from MSDN and happy with it. The changes are for better.

blade1269 said,
For some reason I can not install 8.1 on on machine with a pentium 4. Does this update fix that?

I'm certainly sure that Windows 9, Windows 10, Windows 11, Windows 12, and all future Windows will be gratefully blessed by such inability.

Uhm, the EOL date for Windows 8.0 isn't moved back. Microsoft stops supporting Windows versions always in the first month of the next quarter, that kind of thins always happen in January, April, July or October. As 18 October is AFTER the second Tuesday of that month (Patch Tuesday), they take the first Patch Tuesday of the next quarter. It was well known that supported for Windows 8 ends in January 2016.

Yes, it is "logical", but adds confusion to the "1 billion users". Let's face it, wasn't "8.1" just introduced to distance from the "Windows 8" name?

agtsmith said,
Yes, it is "logical", but adds confusion to the "1 billion users". Let's face it, wasn't "8.1" just introduced to distance from the "Windows 8" name?

This only adds more confusion. A major update to Windows. Being delivered by Windows Update rather than the App Store, unlike the update from 8.0 -> 8.1. Not a major version number increment, but introduces UI and functionality changes. Not even being referred to as a Service Pack which Windows customers are traditionally used to, even though it bears all the hallmarks of a Service Pack.

Honestly Microsoft need to get a grip.

I don't understand all the people who keep agonizing over the name endlessly. Do you think an average user cares? If it comes via WU and they have it set to download and install without intervention they'll probably not even know they have Update 1 installed.

I think the fact that the update from 8.0 To 8.1 is installed via the store is the reason many people are still in 8.0. If it had been installed through Windows Update more people would be on 8.1.

CAP-Team said,
I think the fact that the update from 8.0 To 8.1 is installed via the store is the reason many people are still in 8.0. If it had been installed through Windows Update more people would be on 8.1.

No I am at Win 8 with StartIsBack and have no plan to get 8.1 or anything further. I don't like too much skydrive integration in OS with no option to uninstall it and don't like too much tablet interface specially change in Explorer.

Auditor said,

No I am at Win 8 with StartIsBack and have no plan to get 8.1 or anything further. I don't like too much skydrive integration in OS with no option to uninstall it and don't like too much tablet interface specially change in Explorer.

so you don't like how there are too many touch features in windows 8.1 vs windows 8.. yet you wont download the update that increases productivity for mouse and keyboard users.. strange logic

Lachlan said,

so you don't like how there are too many touch features in windows 8.1 vs windows 8.. yet you wont download the update that increases productivity for mouse and keyboard users.. strange logic

Personally I'm surprised he has Windows 8 installed at all, what with all the incessant inane whinging he does about it. Complaining about OneDrive integration, which can be completely ignored if you so choose, there's a new one.

Tablet change interfaces in File Explorer; clearly has no idea.

Wow, so you're on a crappy first release OS that isn't optimised because you don't want too many tablet features? You do realise 8.1 fixes a lot of the things you probably hate, and 8.1 update 1 fixes even more of them?

Auditor said,
I don't like too much skydrive integration in OS with no option to uninstall it

You can do a gpedit to disable OneDrive you know.

Ideas Man said,

Personally I'm surprised he has Windows 8 installed at all, what with all the incessant inane whinging he does about it. Complaining about OneDrive integration, which can be completely ignored if you so choose, there's a new one.

Tablet change interfaces in File Explorer; clearly has no idea.

With StartisBack, I don't even bother to touch metro at all. Most of the update on Win 8.1 is related to make metro more bearable for people who do not have StartisBack program. There is no special enhancement or feature in either 8.1 or 8.2 for desktops which really warrants update. The only reason I got Win 8 was because I got it for $15.

They did mention starting with Windows 8 they are going to deploy rapid updates, but yes, this is indeed fast, and there's another huge update (feature pack) coming on later this year. Not to mention the update rollups in between which practically happens every month or two.

Raa said,
So effectively it's a service pack...

... except it isn't. :p

This terminology is probably going away for good.

Expect more features in incremental updates instead of milestone builds.

(Anyone that wants complete 'images' or a 'service pack' can roll updates into a build. Microsoft should also be rolling updates under future updates, so the same bits won't have to be updated several times on a new install.)

The nature of Windows and how the OS is updated is changing and will continue to evolve over this next year significantly.

Raa said,
So effectively it's a service pack... ... except it isn't. :p

No, it isn't. A service pack would contain no new major features. The only exception is Windows XP Service Pack 2.

mahara said,
You didn't say what I explain.

You didn't seem to notice I said it wasn't a service pack.

mahara said,
Do I sound disagree with what you originally said?

Yes you directly disagreed with what I said, presumably from the fact you thought that I thought 8.1u1 was a service pack (which it isn't), which I mentioned in my original post.

Raa said,
Yes you directly disagreed with what I said, presumably from the fact you thought that I thought 8.1u1 was a service pack (which it isn't), which I mentioned in my original post.

Do I?

Raa said,
Indeed.

Then you inappropriately accuse me without asking me first whether I do or I don't. Do you think it's such an appropriate attitude?

mahara said,

Then you inappropriately accuse me without asking me first whether I do or I don't. Do you think it's such an appropriate attitude?


No I did not. You specifically addressed my comment with a negative response, hence disagreeing with what I said.
Therefore no, I don't think my attitude is inappropriate.

windows 7 is getting old now dude, 8 months or so of mainstream support left in it.

That's what really done my head in with other system builders and PC shops actively throwing the 'rollback to 7' option to users instead of a little educating, they will be stranded soon.

duddit2 said,
windows 7 is getting old now dude, 8 months or so of mainstream support left in it.

That's what really done my head in with other system builders and PC shops actively throwing the 'rollback to 7' option to users instead of a little educating, they will be stranded soon.


Ok, how about major corporations who have just finished migrating thousands of machines to Windows 7? Do you honestly think those corporations are suddenly going to turn around and adopt a new operating system that quickly? It'll be at least two to three years before the company I work for even considers migrating to Windows 8... if they even migrate at all.

About the only systems that'll be going to Windows 8 are specialized systems for factory floor operations and maybe sales/marketing (they're happy with their iPads at the moment). But the average office worker (including engineers, designers and graphics folks) will remain on Windows 7 on their desktops/laptops until Windows 7 is no longer supported... just as with Windows XP.

I recall folks with 8.0 being deactivated after installing 8.1 will such a thing happen after applying this new update for 8.1?

No. This is just an update to an existing version although the issue you mention seems very strange. Something tells me those installations were not legitimate if that happened.

shinji257 said,
No. This is just an update to an existing version although the issue you mention seems very strange. Something tells me those installations were not legitimate if that happened.

Or they're confused with the discounted keys Microsoft were offering at the start, as they only worked with the upgrade ISO provided by Microsoft. The newer 8.1 disc images didn't immediately work (at least not with a work around).
This could be seen as keys being deactivated.

@Sagum - correct, the problem is that the Metro UI did not display an error message regarding why the product failed to activate. On a PC that I build this last month I had the exact same issue. Win8 failed to activate despite deactivating the install from the machine I was migrating from.

It wasn't until I opened the activation menu through the desktop that It gave me an error that windows was not able to activate as it was an upgrade install. Re arming the SL Manager and changing a reg key fixed the problem. (FYI if you're affected by this see BarryInk's post http://answers.microsoft.com/e...98fb-4634-a468-04645a8ee097)

It's worth noting that this error message not appearing in the Metro UI has since been patched, and you you will be able to handle all activation from there and get proper error info :)

There are a lot of under the hood improvements coming with Update 1 so it might be difficult to support installations without it.

Is that bad? MS can't patch atop something missing Fixes ;P
Update 1 is not just new little UI tweaks here& there.... Its quashed bugs, Found exploits, inner reworkings of code, lots of cleanup

I got no problem with this at all