back to article Windows 8.1: Read this BEFORE updating - especially you, IT admins

Microsoft is rolling out Windows 8.1 as a free upgrade for all Windows 8 users. But installing the new OS may not be as simple as it sounds, particularly for those with multiple PCs to manage, or those who installed the earlier Windows 8.1 Preview. The basics are simple enough: Windows 8 users can apply the update by …

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A quick look at Duke2010's previous posts will show that he may not be entirely neutral when it comes to Win8, if you know what I mean ...

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Tip

In case anyone is wondering (as I was) if this update will remove the HEIGHT restriction for running apps, the answer is no. Only the width restriction for snap has been removed / modified.

No big loss really.

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Windows 3.1 came on just a few floppy disks. Storage improvements allow us to have more.

More what? Exactly.

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Anonymous Coward

A few? Try 6… 7 if you count the optional printer drivers disk.

I think they were 720kB floppies too if I remember correctly. I'll have to dig them out and have a look later.

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Coffee/keyboard

I was going to say 'more floppy disks'

But then they don't sell them anymore...

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Anonymous Coward

So after the upgrade finishes, and you are logging in for the first time, it asks you if you are user so-and-so. Of course, you are, so you acknowledge this, and then the system automatically shuttles you to log in to the system via your Microsoft account. Well, I don't have one, and I don't really want one. But it almost seems as if there is no way around this--it wants you to create an account on the fly. Well, there is a way around this. I went back to the screen where it asked if I was user so-and-so, and I told it no. Seconds later, I got to the regular login prompt for user so-and-so, logged in with my regular password, and yee-haw, was at the desktop. So the point is you do not have to make a Microsoft account to log in, although they try really, really hard to convince you that you do.

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Common Mistake

Once again, the semantic difference between a software "upgrade" and "just a newer version" rears its ugly head. I've yet to discover the rationale behind why anyone would decide to go through this sort of grief just to have the biggest numbered version available. Does the newer version guarantee to save more time in speed, safety, or error-free operation than the time it takes to install? Or is basically cosmetic, and if so, what is the incentive? There'll be an even bigger number available in a couple months.

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3.5Gb download - then why the Hell does it insist that I need a minimum of 20GB free disk space???

I think the planned evaluation of 8.1 is going to wait for a few weeks (or more) before it proceeds here!

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Silver badge

It will unpack the compressed data into a temp folder, then it will create a virtual root somewhere where it will copy all the crap a second time ... that is easily 3.5+7+7 Gb ... so there you go ...

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Plus...

...it has to download additional software for the NSA.

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Anonymous Coward

I would just like to point out:

In order to use Windows 8.1's "remove everything and reinstall windows" feature you actually need to "insert media" such as the installation disk. Which means Microsoft are going to need to provide the ISO or something so that it can be burnt to a disk or flash drive, otherwise how else are we going to use that feature? Never? Do we have to install Windows 8 then 8.1 every time when requiring a fresh install of the os e.g. if something was to go wrong and make the os slow/unusable?

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Silver badge

Re: Do we have to install Windows 8 then 8.1 every time

Yup.

Welcome to Microsoft ! Where was it you wanted to go today . . . ?

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Re: Do we have to install Windows 8 then 8.1 every time

Hmm. The ISO I got from Technet works like a charm.

Usually ISO releases come a bit later on, but patience is not a virtue shared by many on the web.

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Gold badge

Re: Do we have to install Windows 8 then 8.1 every time

"The ISO I got from Technet works like a charm."

It's probably secretly marked as the technet version and so will stop working next year when your licence to use it expires. Similarly, the volume licensing ISO is probably marked so that it doesn't accept non-VL product activation keys.

I mean, if both of these things *weren't* true then Microsoft really couldn't say "there's no ISO and never will be".

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I downloaded the patch last night in HK, took around 30 minutes which is comparatively slow on a 200mbit line. I found it somewhat hard to find the install link initially as i was using the regular Win7 type desktop. Installed in another 30. I have a reasonably fast Ivy Bridge I5 with an SSD, It seems similar to 8 but I use the start8 application which makes it resemble Win7.

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Did it last evening.....

Got home, started desktop, tethered nexus 5 phone with three SIM, started download, took dogs for a long walk, popped into shop on way home, about 2 hours after I left returned and download complete and going throught checks etc, 2 and a half hours after start was rebooted and up and running, seems a bit quicker etc, still need to test things but was painless over mobile broadband to update.

Spent rest of evening watching Netflix via tethered phone. Thanks 3 for the unlimited data at good speeds so I don't have to pay £30 a month for landline and broadband......

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3.5GB per download?

So that's going to take, um, ZERO GB out of my download limit.

Can't believe people have deployed this crap, we stuck with Windows 7.

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You will be bored but...

Honestly guys - just install Xubuntu. It will take about 30 mins and all future updates are free and easy. Also, tens of thousands of apps are available free from the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The problem is you will have a clean, easy-to-use desktop which just sits and waits. You can run apps and do things - but the whole job of dealing with the OS will be gone - so you will be bored!

The good news is that once you've weaned yourself off the 'Dealing with Windows problems' addiction you can get on with other stuff - such as Reddit, finding the really cool sites, developing for Android, doing your accounts, etc etc etc.

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Re: You will be bored but...

bored

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You will be bored but...

I did that, but couldn't find Photoshop, Cubase, SQL Server and all the other stuff I want to use on there.

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What a load of crap!

It's amazing that you appear to be so utterly incompetent. I never have to 'deal with Windows problems'. I install Windows, and it runs regular updates whilst I'm asleep at night. I can easily use alternative drives for my data transparently, and I never once have to see a command line. Oh, and my applications all work - unless I deliberately go out of my way to install beta drivers/versions/applications.

My drivers all auto-update as well. It keeps my PC performing fantastically.

I can play a vast larger array of games, and there are thousands of applications developed for it. It also has a support base of millions. I can develop in the most advanced programming languages in the world. I can even do my accounts - what an interesting and EXCITING option you presented for using that OS...*snork*.

So instead of sitting there trying to call to the 'guys' like you're everyone's pal, perhaps you should actually try using Windows without trying to make a problem out of it. Every Linux proponent I've ever known in my years upon years upon years always have the same issue. They can install their favourite variant from the array of fractured choices and spend hours fiddling with this and that to get things into the place they want them and get it working right, but then when you watch them install Windows they suddenly sit there and become utterly braindead by choice. I've watched a number of them even start clumsily clacking heavily on the mouse and moving the pointer around the screen like they've never touched a mouse. It's purely down to a 'don't want!' mentality.

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Silver badge

Re: You will be bored but...

These Linux people can't spell

They spell 'Photoshop' as 'Gimp' and 'SQL Server' as 'Postgress'

Savages :-)

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Sticking with my Mac and Windows 7

A 3.5 GB downloadable update is way too much. Windows XP takes up only about 2 GB of a hard drive and Windows 2000 even less. Getting it form the MS Store is also a further insult added to injury. I will stick with my Macs and Windows 7. Or just add Classic Shell to get your start menu back.

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Stop

Perhaps

MS don't want you to upgrade to 8.1. They seemed to think 8.0 was perfect.

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Is this the New DOS 4.0?

Sounds cheaper and faster to pay someone else to do the "upgrade" for me, and yes, I've got one of those limited BW accounts; whoever would NEED more than 10GB a month with no streaming video's or audio?

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The new 8.1 search...

is just horrible. Which is a shame because the old one was really the only thing I liked about 8.

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Anonymous Coward

So bloody predictable.....

It appears that none of you here like Windows or Microsoft, so why don't you just use something else and shut up. This is all so predictable and incredibly boring. It's equivalent to me moaning about a car when I can get a competitors car that performs better, is safer, more reliable and best of all is free. Would anyone moan about that? No cause they've got better things to do with their lives; they'd just go for the car that was free. I came on here to get some genuine insight on 8.1 and yet again the comments are swamped by the same old MS bashers talking the same old predictable crap. Get a life and grow up.

What the hell is the point in moaning? If you don't like MS just don't use their bloody products.

This may very well be my lat visit to the Reg forums.

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Mushroom

Re: So bloody predictable.....

2 things, some here are not anti 8....

And who made you God ? Sod off where you belong until you have the balls to post under your own name....

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Re: So bloody predictable.....

It was me, I do have the balls to use my own name. No one made me God, where do I claim that? I'm just giving an honest opinion which I expect will be very unpopular with most readers. This is TERRIBLY boring and so VERY predictable, I'm constantly amazed by anti-MS sentiment when there are plenty of very good alternatives, most of them free. Just use them and stop expending all that energy on moaning about MS, I really don't get it.

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Re: So bloody predictable.....

Good point! After all, none of us need to use Windows for our jobs, none of use ever play PC games, and there are absolutely no PC-only programs that anyone ever uses.

BTW, didn't you say you weren't going to visit the forums again?

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Re: So bloody predictable.....

Erm, no I said it MAY be my last visit. I could not be called upon to show my real face and back away from such a challenge. It will be the last forum I visit that contains the usual juvenile anti-MS rants though. I can't be the only person that thinks they're repetitive and unoriginal (and downright boring).

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Re: So bloody predictable.....

I must concede, you are right. These anti-MS rants are boring and predictable. Problem is, MS keeps giving people new reasons to rant!

And aside from aimlessly ranting, some people are actually giving specific arguments as to why this is a bad thing. It's not like everyone's simply screaming "it's from MS, so it must be bad" over and over again.

So how about coming up with actualy arguments as to why the complaints are unjustified, as opposed to just decrying their unoriginality?

For example, you still haven't addressed the issue of Windows being unavoidable in certain circumstances, and thus switching to Linux is not a universal panacea.

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Re: So bloody predictable.....

Im with you on this one Hans. I bet most of these moaners don't even have Win 8.1. Just see any opportunity to hate MS and say how great Linux is.

Im different, I give everything a fair chance. I have tried many Linux builds. Bodhi was the best in my opinion. But I still had to jump through the most hoops ever to get things working properly. There is no way anyone can say Linux is easier to use than win or Mac.

And then once its running, its ok as a web browser or email machine but what about the rest?

I like to play around with producing music, I like to play games - Linux has an inferior offering compared to Mac / Win. Ok you can use WINE to run those Windows apps but why mess about getting that to work (half the time doesn't work fully) when you can just install the app in Windows where it will work natively?

Anyway, although Im no big fan of Linux you wont catch me commenting to Linux news saying how bad and useless it is.. In fact Linux is great for some things. Its not just the Linux moaners that are boring, the XP moaners are worse. Im sorry, you cant cling onto that ancient OS FOREVER. Get yourself an SSD and some more Ram and upgrade your OS at least to win 7. PLEASE!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So bloody predictable.....

Im different, I give everything a fair chance.

Does "everything" include bestiality?

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Silver badge

Re: So bloody predictable.....

I have ardour with a Prodipe keyboard and an AVID Mbox sound card ... tried to install Protools on Windows 7, it complained about some drive label being too long, and the sound card made fuzzy noises (as in guitar distortion) ... tried it on Mac OS X (with case-sensitive file system) and I got the same fuzzy noises ... installing just the driver for the sound card worked fine, though (without pro-tools). I could not get the keyboard to work with anything else than the software provided on the CD on Windows... on Mac OS X it went like a charm ... but as I said, the sound driver was borked.

I contacted Protools about it and after some weeks gave up ... I went through some howto's on the web for Linux & ardour and have not looked back ... it works.

When it comes to games, I totally agree ... I refuse to use wine, too much dicking around ... I tried crossover, doesn't work - no direct3d support and again, I refuse to dick around - I am too old for that ... I am not into computer games, this was for the kids (probably the reason why I lacked motivation to hack it together).

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Trollface

I have an easier solution...

Go and install Linux Mint instead... only one download needed of a .iso file to burn the install disk from... then have fun blasting window 8 off your machines and replacing it with a sane solution...

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Re: I have an easier solution...

With all respect Linux Mint doesn't compare to Win8, 8.1 or 7.

I gave it a go on my PC, it didnt match the resolution of my monitor (2560x1080) I had to get the command line involved and still its not right. Graphics drivers I had to setup manually messing about with third party drivers (Nvidia Geforce 570). Sound problems with my Asus Xonar STX card (sample rates displayed in Mint not the true sample rates outputted).

So its far from just stick the iso in and off you go.. Actually Windows is the only OS I can just stick in and off I go. It sorted all of the above out first time without question. A bit of waiting around while it sets up but who cares, once it was done I log in and it works.

Win 8.1 boots A LOT quicker than Mint and Ubuntu too.

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Re Win 8.1 boots A LOT quicker than Mint and Ubuntu too

In my experience, It does get to the lock screen quickly, and you can then type your password/do squggilies into the login screen. Then you have to wait on that screen for quite a while before the start screen, (or desktop if that's you preference), actually appears, while it actually loads the o/s proper.

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Re: I have an easier solution...

> Win 8.1 boots A LOT quicker than Mint and Ubuntu too.

That's because when you select shut down in Windows 8, it goes to sleep. Win 8 _never_ shuts down. Waking from sleep is obviously much faster than a cold boot.

That's also how Windows 8 is so fast at starting apps: it never closes apps, when you click close it hides the interface and switches the app to the background. Next time you start it, it's flipped to the front.

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Silver badge
Joke

Last system I had Windows on reported the following error:

Windows has been stopped to prevent further damage to your computer, or something like that .... so I installed Linux.

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Sweet irony

I have upgraded to Windows 8.1 and tried to access our Microsoft Partner Network site only to be told:

"Please use a Microsoft supported browser"

Turning on compatibility mode resolves it but I thought I would share the irony.

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It matters not what MSFT's rationale is for forcing separate downloads for each upgrade. The fact is -- it's simply stupid and unnecessary -- yet another overpaid bonehead in Redmond.

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Anonymous Coward

Big download for just a start button.

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FAIL

What a farce (though should we really be surprised?)

I'm one of the lucky ones, downloaded successfully via the Store within an hour of launch. Booting straight to desktop this morning made me smugly happy!

No such luck for my colleagues trying to update today. For many, the Windows Store doesn't even show the 8.1 tile at all. So we tried downloading the ISO from MSDN instead. 12 KB/Sec for a 3.45 GB file? Sure, I've got three days to spare, who hasn't? But of course the download failed around an hour later. And couldn't be resumed. Using the supposedly-resilient Download Manager...

Other points of amusement were the incompatibility of Microsoft's Download Manager with their own browser. That's right, the ActiveX control doesn't run under IE10 or higher (without forcing compatibility mode). Catch-22, anyone? In reality, the Java-based version of the DLM running in Firefox is more accessible. Also worth mentioning that only the N version of Win8 Pro would even start downloading at all, presumably the vanilla ISO with Media Player included is the more popular choice...

IMO it's a sad state of affairs when the only reliable and fast way to get hold of a copy of the 8.1 upgrade is to torrent the ISO. If you're going to force your customers to use a single online upgrade channel, do it right. I could name a certain fruit-based device peddler who already achieved just that...

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Can't Install if your Users or Program Files are on a different partition!

Be warned. If you've moved your User profiles folder or the Program Files folder to a different drive or partition other than the C: drive then you can't update to Windows 8.1

It just comes up with the error 'Can't update to Windows 8.1. Sorry, it looks like this PC can't run Windows 8.1. This might be because the Users or Program Files folder is being redirected to another partition.'

I have to call THAT the greatest fuckup I've seen by Microsoft since Vista...

....and to forestall the obvious, tedious, comments - I actually think Windows 7 was good, and I've liked 8 and the Metro interface all along - because I spent 10 minutes laying it out properly and using the Desktop mode as normal. Funnily enough, if you spend even 10% of the time you'd spent whining on forums about it, you'd realise that you only actually ever needed the Start menu very, very rarely - especially since the Windows 7 improved taskbar came along.

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Silver badge

Re: Can't Install if your Users or Program Files are on a different partition!

You did not know quick launch ...

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Linux

Options.

If you are upset by all this - why not take a quick look at Ubuntu?

The download is nowhere near 3.5G, it is free and you can try it out from the ISO without installing anything on the local drive.

The latest Ubuntu version 13.10 was released this week.

I still love Windows on my game machine and for business desktop apps, but for everything else, Linux is worth a look.

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Re: Options.

Sorry but Yawn........

I don't want Linux or need it, I want a simple just works approach to my desktop / laptop life. Thats why I have Windows on the PC (8.1) and a chromebook for the laptop. I have never felt the need to use Linux and the one time I looked at Ubuntu it didn't like my graphics card and expected me to search the web for something to us as a driver rather thsn just installing it or be on the CD that came with it. I spend enough time at work faffing round with computers without starting again when I get home.

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Re: Options.

"I don't want Linux or need it"

...

"Thats why I have"..."a chromebook for the laptop"

Umm....

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Silver badge

Re: Options.

> I don't want Linux or need it, I want a simple just works approach to my desktop / laptop life.

"Simple, just-works approach"??? And how does that have *anything* to do with Win8? You want something to work, you should be using LinuxMint.

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