Microsoft backs down: Developers can now download Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 RC

If we we’re clinical psychologists (we’re not) we might suggest that Microsoft is suffering from dissociative identity disorder, something also known as multiple personality disorder. The company has been doing 180s on products and announcements more frequently than anyone one company should. Take for example some of the backtracking Microsoft did with the Xbox One and features announced back in May at the unveiling compared to what will now be available on launch on November 22nd

And today, the most recent example – developers can now download Windows 8.1 RTM via TechNet or MSDN.

Microsoft officially announced that Windows 8.1 will be available on October 17th. Developers eager to get their hands on the bits were disappointed when Microsoft said that they would not be able to get them until the same day as consumers – on October 17th.

In the past, developers had access to RTM bits of Windows via MSDN or TechNet. This is helpful because it gives developers time to test their software against the version of Windows that consumers will be using. However, Microsoft decided not to go that route this time. At least not until today.

In a post on the MSDN blogs, Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer announced the availability of Windows 8.1 RTM , Visual Studio 2013 RC and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM starting today. If you’re in the development or IT community you can grab them either through MSDN or TechNet.

The Windows Store won’t be open for new Windows 8.1 app submissions until October 17th, but developers can at least get a head start and make sure the apps they have work.

What apps are you working on for Windows 8.1?

Source: MSDN (opens in new tab) Via: ZDNet

  • Does it mean i can upgrade with the iso file from now on without any troubles like reinstalling anything later?
  • As long as you're going from 8.8 to 8.1 RTM then you can upgrade fine. You only have to reinstall apps if you're going from the preview to RTM.
  • Wow 8.8! Good to know you can downgrade from the future! ;)
  • The '.' is actually a full stop. Now read again.
  • If GP07 would have used a space (8. 8) instead of (8.8) it would have been more obvious.
  • You're missing a "space" after the ".".
  • 8.8? :O
  • :P
  • 8.8??
  • You already could. These ISOs are the exact same ones leaked two weeks ago. Same hash.
    I upgraded my Lenovo X230 tablet to 8.1 and it's a nice improvement. It forced me to upgrade using a generic, invalid serial though. It wouldn't accept my legitimate serial until after it had been installed. I went to the activation settings and entered my real serial in there and it took it, but I had to do phone activation for some reason.
    I later clean installed it on two other computers that had Windows 8 in their UEFI but I also had to install with an invalid serial and then enter the legitimate serial after installation. On those two computers it activated online so I didn't have to deal with phone activation. I guess maybe a Windows 8.1 serial is not exactly the same as an 8.0 serial because the installer won't accept it but Windows itself and the activation servers do.
  • Woohoo!!!
  • I like a company that listen.
  • Yes, but a company that is wrong on so many things in the first place and needs to "listen" to understand them (despite those things being so clear to everyone) is still in trouble.
  • The way they've been working on 8.1 though, RTM isn't what it used to be. Expect a number of day one patches to be released on GA.
  • It is working with ZERO issues on my 3 computers that I've installed it on. I don't see why they wanted to withhold it from MSDN, TechNet, and DreamSpark. It makes no sense.
  • Innovation is a funny thing. Everyone says they want it but are rarely willing to accept it unless it falls within their comfort zone.
  • ^ This just made my list of favorite quotes.
  • Are you suggesting that witholding the Windows 8.1 RTM from developers is innovative? That's an unusually optimistic way of looking at it...
  • My thoughts exactly. If they make a bad call, and do a 180, that's better than sticking to their guns an pissing alot of people off in the process. You can make as many mistakes and bad calls as humanly (or corporately) possible, but if you fix it, its no problem to me!
  • Me too, have no problems with it! Plus Microsoft have been so used to glacial pace in the past in updates that they're bound to lose some footing as they shift to faster cadence. I'm sure in time, things will settle down. 
  • But don't you see, if they appreciate the fact tha Microsoft is listening, then they don't get to put a phrase like "Microsoft Backs Down" in the article headline, and then less people will click on the headline. It's incredibly cynical, but it's how the tech press operates.
  • You's Ballmer's management, what did you expect?
    Oh, and expect some good stuff for Windows 8.1 from me! ;)
  • How about a hint. :)
  • Why is the title says back down, it sounded like a coward. How bout MS listen to feedback
  • Feedback had nothing to do with it. All the iso's were already leaked, every developer/enthusiast/geek could have it if they wanted.
  • There is difference between official and leaked...
  • i'm saying they made it official because it was already leaked. not pirated hacked iso's, exact md5 hash iso's. this is not really new, been happening for years.
  • Ah, thn it makes sense....i m just being a developer is against any kind of software piracy.
  • I wouldn't really consider it piracy. The leaked ISO is the exact same one Microsoft is serving up with no modifications.
    I downloaded and installed it on 3 PCs using legitimate serials. Two were new PCs that needed clean installs to get rid of all the shit and I thought I might as well install 8.1 directly. The other (first one I installed it on) was an upgrade install from 8.0. It's working perfectly on all 3.
  • Maybe official, but is the "key" you generated official?
  • no keys generated. you obviously have to use your own legit keys. it still requires activation and if you dont have a legit key it aint happening. what kind of place do you think this is?
  • Hmmm. I am a TechNet subscriber and there is a key. Are you saying, I can use my existing key?
  • Yes. Since 8.1 is a free upgrade all 8.0 keys will activate 8.1. The only issue is the 8.1 installer doesn't accept 8.0 keys so you have to use a different key to install (or no key if you modify the installer). Once installed you can go to the activation settings and enter your old 8.0 key.
  • Ok thanks. So the key they provide is for new installs, if one doesn't have win 8. Wow. That was fun
  • I did
  • Without having read the article I feel I can respond appropriately: "What?! Microsoft changed their minds again. This obviously is an example of a poorly managed company that is doomed for failure. This has completely ruined my life" or "What?! Microsoft refused to change their minds again. This is an obvious example of a company that refuses to listen to its customers. This has ruined my life" that's about how these go right?
  • It's always a no-win situation for MS. No matter what they do, there's always a negative knee-jerk reaction.
  • I couldn't agree with you more!
  • So you bitch if they don't listen and now that they do, you say they are going to fail? Makes no sense.
  • He's not saying that, he's saying this is what people would say based on the the title.
  • Ahhhh. Ok. Sorry bro
  • No beef. He didn't indicate that he was being sarcastic, but my sarcasm meter went off lol.
  • So, they just didn't make the deadline for meaningful RTM, and now it's a presentable product?
  • Deadline?
  • "The Windows 8.1 Enterprise SKU will be available to MSDN/TechNet and volume licensees before the end of September."
    This makes me very happy. :)
  • Just got the license key from the VLSC website, but the download isn't up yet. Hoping it will be up tomorrow.
  • A Windows 8 Enterprise MAK should work with 8.1 Enterprise, right? (the standard and pro keys for 8 works with 8.1) I already have the 8.1 RTM Enterprise ISO but haven't tried it yet.
  • Its a bit strange. The license key they listed doesn't specify enterprise, pro, etc. Just Windows 8.1
  • The ISO has all version, and key works for them all
  • Great news. Thanks
  • Nevermind. The license key is all the same for all versions for VLSC. So I would think it would work, but I haven't tried it yet.
  • The Windows 8 Enterprise MAK key doesn't seem to work after upgrading (installed fine, but can't be activated) :/
    Upgraded from 8 Enterprise with 8.1 RTM Enterprise ISO...
  • Yea I just tried the upgrade with the RTM ISO from MSDN and I can confirm it does not work with a MAK license key. Need to wait for VLSC to upload their ISO 
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 mate. :)
  • is there just one iso for all editions or how do i upgrade from 2012 datacentre
  • Good job
  • LOL The problem is not so much that they do the 180º turns, is that they announce the stupid ideas before. However, have you thought that all these "announce X then revert to Z" may be a marketing stunt? Think about it. Microsoft has still a bad reputation from the years where they monopolized computers and software in general. With these stunts, they announce awful things, wait for the consumers to protest and then come and change to what the consumers want, passing the idea along that they care a lot about consumer feedback and that they are in it for the users. It is a clever scheme, certainly. And, to a degree, I think it's actually working. Again, the XboxOne is a good example. Every since they reversed those stupid DRM policies, the attacks on the console came down and sales went up again.
  • ^this
  • Not agree on this one bro. Cause Xbox brand was already successful then why introduce some stupid policies and ruin the brand name?
  • True. But it worked right? People were talking non-stop about it. And now Xbox users got the idea Microsoft really cares about what they think...even when they don't.
    Of course, I'm being Machiavellian here. Microsoft may always just be acting stupid :P
  • Doubt it. It would be the dumbest stunt ever. They're hurting their image by announcing bad policies and then doing 180's. Especially when they're taking something existing that works perfectly and then making it terrible before reversing course.
  • Damn, I want the RTM too. Waiting until October is too much for one human. ^^
  • ISOs have been available for 2 weeks. They're unmodified, same as the ones Microsoft is now giving officially to developers.
  • Microsoft also usually uploads their new OS to dreamspark months before everyone can get it and I just checked again and still no Win8.1 Pro on it..... :(
  • It's a shame usually they are on Dreamspark too...looks like its just MSDN and TechNet.
  • tried 20 minutes the download didn't start, it must be really crowded.
  • Sam, you are one heck of a writer. I truly enjoy your stuff. Keep it up.
  • 8 minutes till my download completes. Working great here in Australia..
  • They should do the same thing with windows phone.....and then we'll have at least more apps at the marketplace.
  • I like multiple personality disorders like that.
  • While it's really fun to upgrade my laptop and desktop to 8.1, it's a real bummer to still not be able to upgrade my Surface RT :(
  • Installed both around a week ago from leaked ISOs, like anyone else who is interested and can use google. Now they started distributing it to devs who don't know what the torrent is:)
  • Or maybe to devs who understand that downloading operating systems from random people on the internet may not be the safest thing to do.
  • First, there are well known trusted release groups out there not the random people, second, you can install it in virtualized environment, and third, if you affraid about compromising your privacy better not to install Windows at all (PRISM);)
  • Or it may not be a privacy issue but the moral principle of not pirating software
  • Yes... I think there are a number of valid reasons why not to do this.
  • It's useless without a legitimate key that you already paid for.
  • Download just finished after multiple tries. Wish me luck with all those drivers!
  • Too bad its not on DreamSpark Premium yet.
  • Same as me, they still have no love at DreamSpark Premium, at least yet. Maybe we can wait more further.
  • Probably because it leaked on 9/5. You can upgrade from preview to RTM with a hack. Look on mydigitallife forums.
  • I suspect this was less a case of "backing down" or "listening to feedback" (although yes, it has outward appearance of both, and one they can mention thanks to us all) but of internal timetables now aligning, when they were not known to align at the marketing-chosen announce date in August. Under promise and over deliver, especially when marketing is choosing dates. I'd guess the internal timetable related to Visual Studio, as they'd been pretty dark on VS before, and now it's mentioned.
  • @Sam: the date for General Availability is October 18th, not the 17th. Thanks for sharing this out with the community!
  • ...and this is the company who bought the mighty Nokia...
  • Wonder if clean installs activate on preactivated hardware like windows 8 does. Like how it checks the slic table on the bios, no need for OEM certs.
  • Unfortunately it does not! What's worse is you have to use a third party program to read your Windows 8 key and save it somewhere before clean installing. When clean install OR doing an upgrade you have to use a differen key (legit or not) to install it and then you can enter your legitimate key that is contained in the SLIC table manually before activating. It activates fine though.
  • Call it what you will, the fact is developers were screaming access to 8.1 and MS first say no and now MS listen and released it. It's a positive thing.
  • so no RT version of 8.1??? I guess I'll install it on my yoga, but I really wanted this on my's so unstable.
  • Microsoft changes their mind almost as much as Obama
  • "We're not providing Windows 8.1 RT RTM bits for MSDN or TechNet" subscribers, a Microsoft spokesperson clarified via e-mail.
  • Downloading! :D
  • Can I upgrade a retail windows 8 pro copy to this if I download it?
  • And most important, do we have to reinstall all the programs, not the apps, the programs?
  • Yes, but you must first give it a different serial key to install. The installer doesn't like Windows 8.0 keys but once installed you can give Windows your legit 8.0 key and it will work fine and activate then.
  • Next just please let us install Visual Studio on Windows 7. And don't give me any virtualisation crap, just bundle that as well.
  • One has to wonder how many hundreds of thousands of developers MS has alienated with this stupid policy.  And having to log into your MS account just to create a project in Visual Studio...  dark days.
  • Its also available on Technet...
  • No, and I don't agree with them withholding 8.1, BUT I do agree with Microsoft's shift towards secrecy and I understand that every change has downsides. My reply was directly to AgentThe Great saying that MS list of failures means they are in trouble. MS's true goal right now is not about delivering any specific thing, it's about shifting their approach to the market. I'm happy to see them do that, regardless of occasional flubs. By measuring the fate of a company this size at a micro level, you are cutting them off at the knees. Innovation means significant change- it is not a gradual progression. That is revision.
  • Why would your app not work in 8.1 lol