Windows 8.1 Update ISOs now available on Microsoft TechNet and MSDN

While early builds of Windows 8.1 Update have been leaked on the Internet for the past few months, today Microsoft officially released the ISO files for its major new upgrade to its latest PC OS for its TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

In addition, Microsoft has also released Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update 1 to TechNet and MSDN users. As we have previously reported, Windows 8.1 Update will be made available as a free download for anyone who has a Windows 8 or 8.1 PC in less than a week on April 8th.

Today's ISO file release on TechNet may be one of the last major software downloads for that service. Microsoft announced in 2013 that it would no longer take any new subscribers to TechNet. Current members still have full access to the service until their subscriptions eventually run out.

As we have reported before, Windows 8.1 Update offers a number of tweaks to the OS, especially for people who still use a mouse and keyboard as their main way to control a PC. Microsoft also plans to bring back a version of the Start menu on the desktop UI in yet another future Windows 8.1 update.

Thanks to Neowin forum member 'cantoris' for the tip!

Source: TechNet and MSDN | Image via Microsoft

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My results trying to install the updates on my x64 8.1 system which originally was updated from 8.0 to 8.1. Below is proper order for install and the issues I get when trying to install.

1. KB2919442 - already installed
2. KB2919355 - 0x8007000d - invalid data
3. KB2932046 - already installed
4. KB2937592 - failed
5. KB2938439 - failed
6. KB2949621 - not compatible with system

Cellar Dweller said,
My results trying to install the updates on my x64 8.1 system which originally was updated from 8.0 to 8.1. Below is proper order for install and the issues I get when trying to install.

1. KB2919442 - already installed
2. KB2919355 - 0x8007000d - invalid data
3. KB2932046 - already installed
4. KB2937592 - failed
5. KB2938439 - failed
6. KB2949621 - not compatible with system

Worked three times for me on systems which were also upgraded as yours was..

Cellar Dweller said,
My results trying to install the updates on my x64 8.1 system which originally was updated from 8.0 to 8.1. Below is proper order for install and the issues I get when trying to install.

1. KB2919442 - already installed
2. KB2919355 - 0x8007000d - invalid data
3. KB2932046 - already installed
4. KB2937592 - failed
5. KB2938439 - failed
6. KB2949621 - not compatible with system

Worked fine for me.

patseguin said,
I thought you couldn't download OS's anymore on Technet.

You will until your subscription expires. You just can't renew. Mine is good for about another month yet.

in-app/within app search is now NO LONGER integrated with the main Windows search! To search in the Store, for example, you have to use the Store's search box and can no longer use the main Windows Search for that. I have Bing search suggestions disabled by the way.

Interesting to see the KB article for the update:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2919355

This caught my attention:
"... is a cumulative update that includes all previous released security updates and nonsecurity updates."
So it is like a service pack as well as just a visual feature pack sort of thing.

Of particular note for Enterprises is this line:
"All future security and nonsecurity updates for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 require this update to be installed. "

I'm slightly amazed (and not in a good way) that the Update ISO (just the patches for an existing installation) are just a bunch of standalone KB MSU's and a text file telling you which order to install them in, rather than a slick installation process! At least Service Pack ISO's previously used to just have one installation to run.

It's not a SP. Also this release (not an ISO) is meant for IT professionals who normally use DISM to update installation images. Sure a single file is better than 6.

Breach said,
It's not a SP. Also this release (not an ISO) is meant for IT professionals who normally use DISM to update installation images. Sure a single file is better than 6.

I appreciate that. It still seems strange. And I say that as an IT Professional.

Single file is better, no question. I believe two of the files are preparatory HFs required to make sure that the core file installs fine - Microsoft has done this before in 7 if I am not mistaken.

I am speculating the other files are just hotfixes targeting OEM issues which are not really critical. Why weren't they included in the core file? Could be issues identified post-sign off, issues which some OEM may opt to apply, some wouldn't etc.

Chicane-UK said,

I appreciate that. It still seems strange. And I say that as an IT Professional.

I disagree - this a preview of what's going on WU in a few days and the perfect format for slipstreaming or WUS deployment. It's not aimed at true end-users. You've always got the option of just waiting. I don't know where you got an ISO from - I dl'd a zip file..

dangel777 said,

I disagree - this a preview of what's going on WU in a few days and the perfect format for slipstreaming or WUS deployment. It's not aimed at true end-users. You've always got the option of just waiting. I don't know where you got an ISO from - I dl'd a zip file..

Apologies - ISO was just a typo. I got the ZIP file from MSDN :)

I think you have to use the generic key (well I did) to install 8.1 then use a real / retail key to activate it. It worked fine

morpheus6969 said,
No it was the final, the Windows8.1-KB2949621-v2-x64 is a Hotfix.

Which means the final and the leak differ.
If it's v2, it's had changed contents, not another hotfix (but still needs reapplying regardless)

Just to make sure everyone has factually correct information:

1. The WZOR release contained 4 files, the WU leak contained 6
2. The MSDN release contains 6 files but is missing one HF (KB2939087) and contains another instead (KB2949621-v2)
3. The hashes of the WZOR leak match the WU leak's which matches the the official release's

KB2939087 is indeed missing and we don't know why and what it does. The WZOR/WU leak didn't contain the KB2949621-v2 HF

So people who installed the leak (all 6 files) have an extra HF KB2939087 and need to manually install KB2949621-v2 to align. That's the difference.

KB2939087 was the enabler for the update... it has been removed from existence ;)

KB2949621-v2 is the second version of the hotfix, there was previous talk of a hotfix to OEM from the leak, but not sure if V1 of the hotfix leaked.

When you press the Windows key does it automatically open search? How about disabling the taskbar on Modern UI apps? I am not liking the new store layout I saw in the keynote, it is not content over chrome. Sad it is no longer touch first..

Does MSDN have Windows RT downloads?

ians18 said,
When you press the Windows key does it automatically open search? How about disabling the taskbar on Modern UI apps? I am not liking the new store layout I saw in the keynote, it is not content over chrome. Sad it is no longer touch first..

Does MSDN have Windows RT downloads?

Windows RT shouldn't be available, since OEMs need to make specific firmware for it.

ians18 said,
When you press the Windows key does it automatically open search? How about disabling the taskbar on Modern UI apps?
When the Start Screen comes up you can start typing. It's been that way since Win8. If you choose to show Metro apps on the taskbar then the taskbar will show on top of Meto apps too (not permanently of course).

It is not just the isos. The zip files with all the files are up to. it includes a readme on what order to install it as.

Tip : For me KB2919355 took a little while to install so don't freak out if it looks like it froze.

elenarie said,

Assuming you mean Dreamspark Premium, nope, not yet.

Wish It would hurry, got every software from MS except WIN8.1-update and only got one more month until it runs out lol , unless I go back and do another round of IT Studies :D

Same question here. I want my keys that have been gathering dust to work when the Start Menu version is released in the near future.

JHBrown said,
Same question here. I want my keys that have been gathering dust to work when the Start Menu version is released in the near future.

What's stopping you from running Windows 8.1 with something like Classic Shell? Its Start menu is more powerful than the crappy Windows 7 one anyway.

Good question. Would be nice if so. I have a copy of Pro that I got as a cheap upgrade for my laptop. Would suck if I have to install 8, 8.1, and 8.1 U1.

techbeck said,
Good question. Would be nice if so. I have a copy of Pro that I got as a cheap upgrade for my laptop. Would suck if I have to install 8, 8.1, and 8.1 U1.

I imagine it does. I used 8 and 8.1 with same key. My guess is 8.1U would also be ok with the same key =).

Scabrat said,

I imagine it does. I used 8 and 8.1 with same key. My guess is 8.1U would also be ok with the same key =).

I must be mistaken then. I didnt think a 8 key worked on an 8.1 install.

techbeck said,

I must be mistaken then. I didnt think a 8 key worked on an 8.1 install.

I am pretty sure mine did. But now you have me second guessing myself =)...

Scabrat said,

I am pretty sure mine did. But now you have me second guessing myself =)...

Damn, I was all excited. And yes, doesnt take much to get me excited these days. :)

Kaze23 said,

What's stopping you from running Windows 8.1 with something like Classic Shell? Its Start menu is more powerful than the crappy Windows 7 one anyway.

Take a look at seven articles down from this one.

JHBrown said,
Take a look at seven articles down from this one.

Cool, a Start menu will be returning in Update 2. I'm talking about since Windows 8/8.1 has been released.

Kaze23 said,

Cool, a Start menu will be returning in Update 2. I'm talking about since Windows 8/8.1 has been released.

I do not find the Start Screen more powerful than the Start Menu. It is what it is! I've been using my Start Menu since 1995 and I happen to be more productive with it. Different folks, different experiences.

To install Windows 8.1 with a Windows 8 key, you must first install Windows 8.1 with a OEM key that you can find easily on the internet, of course, you won't be able to activate. After the install is done, you'll be able to enter your Windows 8 key in the control panel and it'll activate. Just make sure that the OEM key is for the same version as yours (Core or Pro....).

Thanks. I can get an OEM key off a machine at work. I have Pro at home and got it for $15 when they had that promotion for a discount after you buy a system with Win7.

warwagon said,
Can you use your Windows 8 keys during install?

No. The installer is expecting a Windows 8.1 key (retail package keys are generated using a different algorithm). If you need to use a prior Windows 8 key you will need to use the Windows 8.1 KMS or dummy key (depending on what you find) then change to the Windows 8 retail key after installation. Both Windows 8 and 8.1 keys should activate fine.

techbeck said,
Thanks. I can get an OEM key off a machine at work. I have Pro at home and got it for $15 when they had that promotion for a discount after you buy a system with Win7.

If you are planning on using a Windows 8 OEM key they won't work on a machine other than the one they are paired with from the factory. OA 3.0 changed it so the keys are randomly generated per machine and are actually embedded in the system firmware so they can't be re-used on a different machine.

techbeck said,

I must be mistaken then. I didnt think a 8 key worked on an 8.1 install.

for TechNet people, it doesn't. My Win 8 keys do not work with 8.1 and vice-versa.

briangw said,

for TechNet people, it doesn't. My Win 8 keys do not work with 8.1 and vice-versa.

You have to install 8.1 using the default key, you can then change to your 8.0 key and activate as normal after that.

Scabrat said,

I imagine it does. I used 8 and 8.1 with same key. My guess is 8.1U would also be ok with the same key =).

I did the same. Its just an update, so its not going to change as far as needing a different product key. Aren't all updates free with Microsoft? UpGRADES are one thing. UpDATES, well pretty self explanatory, one would think. ;)

techbeck said,

I must be mistaken then. I didnt think a 8 key worked on an 8.1 install.

Mine didn't. Probably depends on the license. It was from Dreamspark Premium. OEM licenses will most likely work since they are embedded into the motherboard.

InsaneNutter said,

You have to install 8.1 using the default key, you can then change to your 8.0 key and activate as normal after that.

Yeah, I know that works but I didn't have a default key to use at the time when prompted to put in a key the last time I installed 8.1.

Breach said,
Source? I don't think anyone said whether it will be Update 2, 3 or Windows 9?
Talking about the return of the Start Menu? They didn't specify Update 2 or 3 or N, but did say it would be coming in a future free update to Win8, not Win9. That, and windowed Metro apps too.

Romero said,
Talking about the return of the Start Menu? They didn't specify Update 2 or 3 or N, but did say it would be coming in a future free update to Win8, not Win9. That, and windowed Metro apps too.

I was actually messing with the metro apps getting their title bar to come up and expecting them to go to windowed mode but alas it isn't meant to be yet.

briangw said,

for TechNet people, it doesn't. My Win 8 keys do not work with 8.1 and vice-versa.

It isn't limited to Technet/MSDN. Most people who got Windows 8 will get the free 8.1 update via the Windows Store however those of us that got a Windows 8.1 disc can't use a retail Windows 8 key on that disc because the license check during install is different than it is in the OS itself.

shinji257 said,
I was actually messing with the metro apps getting their title bar to come up and expecting them to go to windowed mode but alas it isn't meant to be yet.
Until Build all of us knew windowed Metro apps were due only in Win9, but the news of this second update to 8.1 is what caught us unaware. Good news though and they should hurry up and release it.

shinji257 said,

It isn't limited to Technet/MSDN. Most people who got Windows 8 will get the free 8.1 update via the Windows Store however those of us that got a Windows 8.1 disc can't use a retail Windows 8 key on that disc because the license check during install is different than it is in the OS itself.

Cant you just change the check with an install setting? I think there is a way to do it =).

You can add a file that makes it believe it is a VLK install I think which skips the key prompt. However there isn't one to make it accept a Windows 8 key during the Windows 8.1 install process. This still requires the end-user to do said modification either on a resulting flash drive or create a new DVD to install from.

shinji257 said,
You can add a file that makes it believe it is a VLK install I think which skips the key prompt. However there isn't one to make it accept a Windows 8 key during the Windows 8.1 install process. This still requires the end-user to do said modification either on a resulting flash drive or create a new DVD to install from.

Yeah, that's one of the annoying things about Win 8 re: the forced entry of the key. Didn't need to do that with Win 7 off the bat; not sure why MS is forcing it now and never heard the reasons why.

Too many people were getting free rides on the Windows 7 installs by skipping the key prompt. If you skipped it you got 30 days then could just rearm it to reset the counter. Now it is forced and if for some reason you do get past it you only get 30 days. Rearming it no longer resets the timer.

The_Observer said,
I guessing you can upgrade from r2 to r2.1 on server 2012?

The following 2 items are on Technet/MSDN, so I would say yes

Windows 8.1 and Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Update (x86) - (Multiple Languages)

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Update (x64) - (Multiple Languages)