back to article Microsoft does a U-turn, releases Windows 8.1 to developers early after all

After facing a backlash from developers concerned that they wouldn't get early access to the latest versions of Windows, Microsoft has released builds of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 to its MSDN and TechNet subscription programs, more than a month ahead of the updates' official launch date. "We heard from you that …

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  1. Erik4872

    Scary and unbelievable

    Hmm, while you're at it, can you:

    - Put the Aero and Windows Classic interfaces back into Windows as options

    - Put the Start Menu back in as an option

    - Put colors back into the UIs of your dev tools and server management applications

    - Reverse your decision on the TechNet Subscription cancellation

    Basically, if you could just undo everything you decided in the past 4 years or so, I'd appreciate it.

    I guess Microsoft figured out it was a matter of time before someone started seeding a botnet-controlled or virus-infected version of the OS, and that they should just release it rather than have a bigger problem on their hands. Overall, I'm glad they made a few incremental changes with 8.1, but I'm hoping 8.2 is just Windows 7 with all the improved under-the-GUI stuff. Given the 180s Microsoft has been doing lately, I'm not going to be shocked if it is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scary and unbelievable

      You could always install a 4 year old OS if you want to live in the past...

      The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

      (I already installed 8.1 from TPB - works fine with TechNet keys.....Lots of nice minor improvements have been made.)

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        >The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

        Are you talking about back in 2002 when they failed miserably or are you talking about now where they are about as me too an offering as there is?

        1. Jess

          Re: Scary and unbelievable

          They weren't ahead of the curve in 2002, they were years behind. Newton, Palm Pilot, etc.

          Wasn't there some sort of EU project in the 90s which resulted in various designs that never happened like the Acorn Newspad?

          I always assumed that MS just took several years longer than everyone else and decided to try and sell it anyway.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        > The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

        On touch devices, yes. However how many PCs out there are touch-enabled? Very few.

        Honestly, are there really that many applications for desktop PCs that benefit from a touch interface?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        "The future is touch and gesture"

        Gesture is fine, but touch will get 10 to life!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        I'm guessing your occupation may be a barista...

      5. MysteryGuy

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        > You could always install a 4 year old OS if you want to live in the past...

        I've been around long enough to see that new is not always better. Unfortunately, I've seen some programs get worse and worse with each new release as the company seems to have lost the plot, or gone off on a new plan that they alone think is a great idea, or added unneed bloat, etc.

        Windows 8 seems like such a bad idea to me (for the desktop) that it makes me value the 'old' version. I dread ever being forced into using Windows 8.

      6. Paul Shirley

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        >The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

        Meanwhile in our reality, touch and gesture is the present and recent past back to at least 2007 and Microsoft are (as usual) late to the party.

        Not surprising for the company that had the lead with pen based computing and still got nowhere.

      7. MIc

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        Oh no!! positive comment regarding a company that is cool to hate!! DOWN VOTES FOR YOU!

        1. Vociferous

          Re: Scary and unbelievable

          > Oh no!! positive comment regarding a company that is cool to hate!! DOWN VOTES FOR YOU!

          Do you know why everyone (except masochists) hates going to the dentist? Because it's painful and unpleasant.

          Do you know why everyone (except pad users and MS fanbois) hate Win 8? Because it's painful and unpleasant.

          Sometimes people have reasons to dislike something. If you're a PC user with keyboard and mouse there is excellent reason to dislike Win 8.

          1. Anonymous C0ward

            Re: Scary and unbelievable

            I don't hate going to the dentist, but my teeth are good enough that I don't need any work and I'm out of there in a couple of minutes.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: Scary and unbelievable

              I don't hate going to the dentist either and most would regard my childhood experiences as barbaric (teeth drilled without novocaine). What I do have trouble with is having their number on me at a time to make an appointment.

              That being said, it was a bad example against Windows 8.x. Of course, so far I haven't seen a palatable comparison because nothing else deserves to be compared to it. Maybe politicians, but even that one is iffy.

            2. Euripides Pants Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: teeth

              "my teeth are good enough that I don't need any work"

              Dentures, eh...

      8. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        "The future is touch and gesture"

        Hmm I feel bad for using a usb mouse and keyboard on my android tablet now :'(

      9. monkeyfish

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

        So far, I think there have been 29 failed irony detectors. Have an upvote.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: Scary and unbelievable

          >So far, I think there have been 29 failed irony detectors. Have an upvote.

          Hush you. I need the cheap upvotes when I can get them to get my gold status.

      10. Thomas Duffin IV

        Re: Scary and unbelievable

        > The future is touch and gesture, and Microsoft are ahead of the curve!

        That is the funniest thing I've read on here this week!

        Apple are so far ahead of the curve they are coming round to lap Microshaft now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They also figured out that if the don't give it to developers, the developers wont develop for it :P

  3. Vociferous

    Is anyone keeping track of how many U-turns Microsoft has done?

    Seems to me we're more talking "triple somersaults" than "u-turning" by now.

    And it *still* hasn't fixed the worst/fundamental problems with Win 8 GUI.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Is anyone keeping track of how many U-turns Microsoft has done?

      If they do many more u-turns and about-faces people will begin to wonder if they're giving up on the IT business and are practicing to run for political office...

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Is anyone keeping track of how many U-turns Microsoft has done?

      It doesn't matter how many complete rotations and twists you make after your feet leave the board, the difficulty level still won't save you if you belly flop at the water surface.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    Utter BS

    "We've listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback." = Bollocks

    If they had listed to what was being asked / complained about / offered as advice then we would not have the product that we have today.

    If they had listened we would be reading about how great W8 is, unfortunately this is not the case. W8 definately has some goods elements, it's just that they are overshadowed by the bad ones.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Utter BS

      What the customer wants is not necessarily what they really want. Still, looks like MS messed up one or another.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    Hang on

    MSVS 2013 requires Win 8.1? I thought they were allowing us to carry on using Win7 for developing?

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Hang on

      Who knows what they are doing going forward what with all the U turns lately. Ballmer not packing his stuff immediately and there not being more certainty to the road map going forward (including who will lead the company and their vision) is going to hurt in the near term.

    2. Pascal

      Re: Hang on

      It's not a final requirement.

      The issue is with the Release Candidate version of .NET 4.5.1 that VS 2013 RC requires. It will not install on Windows 8 "Preview" which already includes some sort of "Preview" build of it that is not upgradable.

      It's "can't use on 8.1 Preview", not "won't run on 7"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JDX

      "MSVS 2013 requires Win 8.1?

      Only if you're going to program for their app store, otherwise it will be perfectly usable on Windows 7 as well. It's basically the same issue with VS2012; it works just fine on Windows 7 (that's how I use it) but you can't program anything for TIFKAM unless you use a Windows 8 host.

      Here you'll find the official system requirements for Visual Studio 2013.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: @JDX

        Thanks guys. And to the dumbos who down-vote honest questions, get a life.

  6. stephajn

    Makes me sooooo glad....

    ....that I switched to running Linux Mint instead. Have had it up to HERE with Microsoft's ways lately and enough was finally enough. The Windows 8.1 "upgrade" doesn't feel like they listened at all except to put a certain button back. The rest seems all enterprise focused. Well....where I live.....the only Enterprises around here are stuck in the past on Windows XP and only just now realizing that Windows 7 may be an option.

    I still rely on some MS products like Expression Design (alternatives anyone?) and Visual Studio. But I am looking closer at MonoDevelop these days and hoping I can transfer my skills over to that.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Makes me sooooo glad....

      I am at the stage where I feel like selling my business and letting someone else carry on and deal with MS.

      I've just had enough.

    2. BobChip
      Happy

      Re: Makes me sooooo glad.... Alternative VG software

      I did the same as you several years ago. I also run Mint these days.

      My vector graphics software of choice is Corel Draw (Suite). This (Version x6) runs only in a Win environment, so I run it in VirtualBox with Mint as host and an old copy of Win 7 as guest. Corel is now the only win compliant software I use, and this setup works a treat. (everything else I use is native Linux anyway) You could also run Adobe Illustrator or ACD Canvas in this setup, or try Xara Xtreme which runs under Linux anyway. Inkscape - also runs under Linux - is worth a look, if you only have fairly lightweight graphics requirements.

      Unless I am mistaken, MS have ditched Expression Design, as it never seriously competed with any of the packages named above. No matter what you go for, or what environment you run it under, you will have to get a newer VG package, and you will face a significant learning curve.

      Corel Draw X6 because (a) I know it well and (b) it is still by far the cheapest and best value package for the capabilities it gives you, particularly if you start by buying the older version X5.

  7. Arachnoid

    Just in time

    For the next price hike

  8. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    There really are still people developing for microsoft?

    Gosh, next you'll be saying they have their own search engine and not some mere script kiddie wrapper round a real one.

  9. P Taylor

    How big !.

    Downloading it now from TN.

    At a massive 3.7GB !, how big !, just for an OS.

    What happened to Windows just being 11mb and fitting on a few floppy discs.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: How big !.

      What happened to Windows just being 11mb and fitting on a few floppy discs.

      Well, the world no longer uses floppy disks and stuff has got faster/bigger. And Windows has got Shinier.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: How big !.

      3.7Gb is bugger all, less than a 20min download. What pissed me off is how 4Gb of Win8.0 instantly bloats into a ~20Gb footprint and needs another 25Gb+ of working space just to unpack. How fscking incompetent do you have to be to need that much space for a clean install?

      1. stephajn

        Re: How big !.

        "instantly bloats into a ~20Gb footprint and needs another 25Gb+ of working space just to unpack."

        Just out of curiosity....how much of that is in your Windows\winsxs folder?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How big !.

          It will allocate ~ twice your memory for the paging file and then the same as your memory size for a hibernation file - all of which can be disabled if you prefer....I suspect that accounts for a lot of the space you mention.

          It installs amazingly quickly.....By far the fastest OS install I have even seen.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: How big !.

        Disk space and memory are practically free. Just ask Bill, he'll tell you that again.

  10. johnwerneken

    not on madn aa

    Academic INSTITUTIONS can get it not DreamSpark Premium students. Also it appears to LACK an opton to upgrade with installed aps in place.

    1. lesession

      Re: not on madn aa

      > Also it appears to LACK an opton to upgrade with installed aps in place.

      That's because this is a full operating system ISO for developers to test and develop on - the in-place upgrade is still being held back until 18th October.

      As it says in the article and on every other bit of coverage on the Interweb.

  11. Philomena Cunk

    Problem is

    People will find out a month earlier that 8.1 isn't the magic bullet that Microsoft are pretending it is.

    The problems with Windows 8 remain deep into 8.1

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Problem is

      But but but there's a start button! (which opens Metro)

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