Windows 8.1 Preview: An Enterprise Call to Action

Windows 8.1 Preview: An Enterprise Call to Action

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With the announcement of the availability of the Windows 8.1 Preview , and the release of the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO images this morning, we would like to encourage all organizations to evaluate this new release, including all the new features described in What's New in Windows 8.1, as well as all the smaller enhancements and refinements throughout the product. We look forward to receiving your feedback as we begin this important part of the Windows 8.1 release process.

Remember that Windows 8.1 is still in development, and as such there is always some risk involved when using it, so testing on lab and other non-critical computers is recommended. For broad deployments we recommend that you target final Windows 8.1 release later this year.

In preparation for those broad deployments, we also would like to encourage you to evaluate the essential new deployment tools that have been updated for Windows 8.1 Preview:

There are a few different ways you can install the Windows 8.1 Preview release to begin your evaluation:

If you have…

Consider these options

Computers running Windows 8 , Windows 8 Pro (retail- or OEM-activated), or Windows RT

Following the steps on the Windows 8.1 Preview website to install an update to enable the preview installation via the Windows Store, then install from the Windows Store.

Computers running earlier operating systems, or ones to be used for a clean (bare metal) installation

Download the Windows 8.1 ISO file. Use this with MDT 2013 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 to refresh existing computers, or burn to a DVD or copy to a USB key for simple installation.

Computers running Windows 8 Pro, volume activated

Download the Windows 8.1 ISO file. Use this media to either:

  • Perform an in-place update of existing Windows 8 Pro installations
  • Refresh existing computers using MDT 2013 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2
  • Burn to a DVD or copy to a USB key for simple installation

Computers running Windows 8 Enterprise

Wait for the availability of the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview ISO, which should be available in the coming weeks. Watch for an announcement on this blog when it is available.

It’s also important to note that while computers running Windows 8.1 Preview can be updated to the final Windows 8.1 release, this update process will only migrate the data on the device. All applications (from the Windows Store or desktop applications) will need to be reinstalled as part of this process. To illustrate:

If you are currently running…

Going to…

This will migrate:

Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Preview

All data, settings, and applications

Windows 8

Windows 8.1 final release

All data, settings, and applications

Windows 8.1 Preview

Windows 8.1 final release

Only data

For those using earlier operating systems, the OS refresh processes implemented by the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and System Center Configuration Manager (or other similar tools) can be used to automate the move to Windows 8.1 while preserving data and settings, and can also install any needed applications as part of that process.

For more information about the Windows 8.1 Preview, please visit the Windows 8.1 Preview website or the Windows 8 Zone on the Springboard Series on TechNet. Thank you for your efforts, and we look forward to hearing what you think about this exciting new release.

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  • shiften
    0 Posts

    The Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview is available here:

  • pwirtz
    0 Posts

    At this point I think it's a safe assumption that there will be no preview of Enterprise, that we'll just end going right to RTM which isn't so bad considering how close we are (rumor wise).

  • BrentM
    0 Posts

    Any update on the availability of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview?

  • Stephen L Rose - Thank you for the reply. Mostly I am looking for DirectAccess, I jumped the gun on my Surface Pro and installed the 8.1 preview. I really miss it. We moved to DirectAccess for all mobile users last year and we are not rolling out Windows 8 tablets and Surface Pros. I would like to be ready to upgrade everyone when 8.1 is released. We are also considering Win8 To Go for some situations, but have not implemented and probably won't till 8.1 is released.

  • For us we really wanted to test DirectAccess with our Surface Pro's and Lenovo Yoga's.  Without DirectAccess I cannot give it to anyone since our VPN solution does not work on Windows 8 or 8.1 for that matter.  Yes we can get a 3rd party VPN solution but why cause confusion.

    Also for DirectAccess I am wondering if anything improves around the experience.

    We also use Windows 8 To Go but only for IT People at this time as we find it a better solution than using MS DART which can support multiple OS's with on USB stick.

    I could go on but you get the drift.

  • tboggs13-

    We handed out Windows To Go sticks with Enterprise preview installed on them at WPC. We did not hand out Enterprise bits to attendees.

    As for release, I can not give a date at this time just expect it in the next few weeks. Sorry I can not be more specific. What features are you looking to test with Enterprise? Windows To Go, Direct Access or BranchCache?

  • I heard they were passing out copies of Enterpise at WPC, I was really hoping it would drop last week. So yes, what is the definition of "very soon" in MS terms?

  • @Stephen l. Rose

    well, technically, neither of us said 'a few'... but anyway, any idea what "soon" is?  1 week, 2 weeks, a month?

    we've heard RTM end of august, so its not like there's be much point if the preview is a month away.

  • koawmfot

    Sorry, I think my definition of a few is different from yours. :) It will be here very soon and you will have the ability to test Direct Access, BranchCache and Windows To Go with that build.

  • "Wait for the availability of the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview ISO, which should be available in the coming weeks. Watch for an announcement on this blog when it is available."

    its been 3 weeks, any update on the availability of an Enterprise preview?

  • There's a lot to like in Windows 8.1, but there are still some glaring issues. I am running the preview and still cannot use Mordern Apps behind an authenticated proxy. There is no place to enter credentials and you are never prompted for them. Any chance this will be resolved in the RTM? It makes the new user interface virtually useless in a corporate environment.

    Also, the screen scaling issue still need a lot of work. It is impossible to transition from the Surface screen to a larger monitor without having to log out and log back in - and have everything look right. This really defeats the purpose of mobility and seamlessness tat Windows 8 seeks.

  • Dave, it should work. There have been some issues with people that have built in recovery portions having issues. We do have a dedicated 8.1 forum- (, try posting this issue there for some support.

  • I tried to install Windows 8.1 preview on my Samsung Series 7 tablet (running Windows 8 Pro). It got all the way through the install and setup process then automatically went back to Windows 8, failing to complete the Win 8.1 install process. Any thoughts regarding Samsung Series 7 tablet running Windows 8.1 preview?

  • andrewscott48209

    If you downgrade to 8, your experience moving to GA will be the same as it was moving from 8 RTM to 8.1 CP.

  • Can I downgrade to Windows 8 then upgrade to the final and keep my apps, or will the store know I downgraded from a preview and not keep my apps?

  • rseiler
    5 Posts

    It's interesting that KMS/MAK would somehow preclude the store upgrade, as versions of volume-edition Windows dating back to Vista never had a problem with service pack upgrades, which are also significant upgrades. The store upgrading process is somehow less capable at this point in its development?

    Yes, it's good that there's some way to upgrade, but an in-place upgrade is much more of an ordeal than what's happening on the consumer side. Sure, you don't lose apps or data, but you do lose a lot of time waiting for it to finish, as it's a clean install followed by a migration of apps and data, and the more of that you have the longer it takes.

  • You will not be able to do a through store upgrade on volume editions due to the KMS/MAK requirement. If the users are still on Windows 8, you can perform an in place upgrade keeping all apps, data, etc...or do a clean install. Both are options.

    You can:

    Perform an in-place update of existing Windows 8 Pro installations.

    Refresh existing computers using MDT 2013 or System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2

    Burn to a DVD or copy to a USB key for simple installation

  • Stef,

    Right now we are only testing a specific number of language packs and do not have plans to add additional ones at this time. We will support all of the current Windows 8 languages at GA.

  • rseiler
    5 Posts

    That's quite "interesting" about volume editions. Please tell me that the simple upgrade method is going to be available for RTM. There's no way we want to endure "in-place updates" on every machine. Those basically do a clean install and migrate back your settings, etc.

  • Any news on when this will work for Windows RT that uses some other version of English ?? (Australia here and it will not update)

  • Why did Microsoft remove "Create Image" from 8.1?  It's a good thing I did an Image burn before I upgraded.   This is very disappointing.   Please tell me you made a mistake and are putting it back in!!!

  • jjbowles
    43 Posts

    Are there new AD templates for 8.1?