Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 8.1

Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 8.1

Summary: Microsoft is beginning the process of making Windows 8.1 generally available worldwide.


On October 17, at 7 am EST (4 am PST) Microsoft is kicking off the next phase in its Windows 8.1 rollout: General availability (GA)


Starting today, users already running Windows 8 and/or Windows RT will be able to download the free Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store. As of October 18, Windows 8.1 will be available preloaded on new devices and in boxed software form.

Those not upgrading from Windows 8 will be charged between $119.99 (core) and $199.99 (Pro) for Windows 8.1. Those running a preview version of Windows 8.1 should expect to have to reinstall their apps, while those moving straight from Windows 8 to 8.1 (without installing the preview on their devices) will not.

Though the updated Windows 8.1 Store is only open as of today for updated and new app submissions, there are a few developers who received preferential treatment so that their apps would be ready to download from the Windows Store alongside Windows 8.1. The third-party, Windows Store/"Metro-Style" apps for Windows 8.1 which are launching today include:

  • Facebook (official app from Facebook itself)
  • Hulu Plus; 
  • Evernote; 
  • eBay
  • Netflix; 
  • NOOK; 
  • Adobe Photoshop Express
  • Disney Fairies;
  • Box; 
  • Adobe Reader Touch
  • Microsoft Solitaire (Arkadium)

Microsoft released to manufacturing Windows 8.1 back in August. Initially, company officials planned to make the Windows 8.1 RTM bits available only to its PC partners at that time. After developer and customer outcry, Microsoft softened its stance and allowed various constituencies to get the Windows 8.1 RTM bits via MSDN and TechNet.

Microsoft officials confirmed to some members of the press and select testers that they would be updating the Windows 8.1 RTM bits by the time Windows 8.1 was generally available. The first set of updates were set to include refreshes of the apps that are bundled with Windows 8.1, such as Microsoft's own Bing apps.

The updates also were expected to include fixes and performance improvements to the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT RTM bits. Over the weekend, builds of these updates (KB2894179, KB2883200, and KB2894029) — collectively known as GA Rollup A — leaked to the Web

Microsoft will be delivering the first set of updates during next 24 hours to customers via Windows Update, according to my contacts. When I asked this week if the Rollup A updates were part of today's general-availability release, a Microsoft spokesperson told me: "These updates are a part of Windows 8.1, and a part of the general installation process. We remain committed to quality for our customers.”

Update: These three post-RTM updates are available for download as of October 17. (Thanks, Richard Hay, a k a @WinObs.) The three: A General Availability rollup, a performance update and a fix for Runtimebroker.exe. If you already have the Windows 8.1 RTM bits (thanks to your TechNet or MSDN subscription benefits), all you need to do is apply these three updates on top to be current. You don't need to first reinstall the Windows 8.1 RTM bits that are available for download today.

Windows 8.1 is launching simultaneously in 230 markets and 37 languages. It's a free update to Windows 8.

Windows 8.1 is designed to make Windows more palatable to those who may have been put off by changes instituted as part of Windows 8. It includes a Start Button (but not Start Menu); a boot-straight-to-desktop option; the ability to have up to four Metro-Style apps open side-by-side; an updated version of IE (IE11); and a host of new business-focused features.

Visual Studio 2013 and .Net 4.5.1 also are generally available, as of today. 

A few additional links that might help with the update process:

How to update your devices from Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 RT previews to the RTM bits (follow the links in the post using IE as your browser, as Chrome isn't displaying all links)

Updating your Surfaces from Windows 8.1 preview to 8.1 final

* Download links for Visual Studio 2013 and .Net 4.5.1 final bits


Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Tablets, PCs


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Really

    So its been a year already since Windows 8, gosh times flies...
  • When?

    when will it appear in the store, or how is it named.

    Doing a search under Microsoft, Windows 8.1 or Windows Update is not bringing anything useful to light.
    • a large tile

      As a large tile. The first app on the start screen of the Windows app store.
      • Yeah

        after an hour of looking on line, mentioning it here and on Twitter, it suddenly appeared out of nowhere - I did another search for Windows and found nothing, then hit the back button and there it was on the home page of the Store!

        It looks like they might be restricting access based on server load. I'm hearing lots of people, especially in the UK, moaning that they can find it.
        • Yeah I had to do a reboot.

          Microsoft likes reboots. So I tried a reboot, and then my 8.1 upgrade appeared in the Store.
          • I tried a reboot

            but it didn't work. There seems to be no way to actually get this update. I've made sure W8 is fully updated and tried rebooting a couple of times. Nothing seems to get me to the 8.1 update.

            I wonder if MS will find an even more asinine way of updating for future releases! I'm prepared to put money on it!
  • Today?

    I think it's only available "today" where it's already tomorrow. ;-) I.e. New Zealand. The rest of us have to wait until it's Friday 00:00 local time.
    • Yep, today.

      So maybe we don't have to wait until midnight after all. I just went to the Store, and the update is available right now. (Thursday 14:25 European time).
  • It would be nice if

    you could download the upgrade and write it to an external drive, a flash drive, or a DVD before installing. Although I have Windows 8 Pro so the upgrade is free, I have never liked upgrading from within. Whenever possible, I download a new version of software and install from local media. I have learned from hard experience that I have less problems this way.
    • Vista to 8.1

      My laptop was state of the art when I bought it, but came with Vista. I upgraded it in place to 7, and then 8, and right now my 8.1 update is coming down (very slowly). Never had one problem. I think Windows 7 was a real turning-point for MS, in that the OS really was fully polished and from then on, Windows has basically "just worked."
      x I'm tc
      • Same here!

        Had the same situation. And it works better now than ever before. Boots much much faster and is generally snappier. Course replacing the 250 G it came with with a 500G hybrid helped a lot too!
      • I agree

        Windows 7 and Windows 8, in many respects, are much better - faster and more stable. I still despise the very nature of Windows 8, but there its no doubt it is faster and more stable - but simply awful beyond words to actually use.
    • Upgrade vs Full Install

      The upgrade process is also such that it hardly makes a difference anymore, an "upgrade" just copies all your current stuff into a folder named "Windows.old" and copies all your "My Documents" stuff over to a new profile rather than formatting the hard drive.
    • Your hard experience may be dated. Should be ok to upgrade

      Microsoft has put a lot of work into its installer api's. I've done a lot of upgrading and it works great.
    • Would be nice and necessary

      I've had too much trouble with live updates. Will definitelly wait unti I can download a clean ISO for a fresh reinstall. Also, I have 8.0 installed on an external drive and want to install 8.1 on my current Vista partition.
  • Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 8.1

    I will be downloading this update tonight. Need to get it before the rush starts.
  • Amen!

    So be it.
  • gr8

    painless upgrade (other than reinstalling apps) from 8.1 preview on surface pro. everything is zippier, and I'm hoping the metro apps won't crash as much no.
  • More bad medicine

    So instead of the bitter pill Windows 8. We have the awful sugar coated syrup Windows 8.1. Will anybody care? After get stuck with Windows 8 on my small Acer V5 I use for travel. I am at least thankful a reasonable improvement can be had with 8.1. Although some of the "free" third party fixes did better months ago. I would have thought given a year Microsoft could have done better?
  • Upgrade to Windows 8.1 form Windows 8

    http://www.alerts4it.blogspot . com/2013/10/Upgrade-to-Windows-8.1-form-Windows-8.html