Reversal: Windows 8.1 now available to developers via MSDN and TechNet, torrent leaks were the only option before this

By on September 9, 2013, 2:01 PM
microsoft, windows, leak, developers, msdn, technet, windows 8.1

Update: Microsoft should either stick to a decision or make a better one in the first place. After receiving some expected backlash for not distributing the final version of Windows 8.1 to developers via MSDN and Technet, today they reversed course. Windows 8.1 RTM is now available for downloads to developers along with Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate.

Original story follows below:

Earlier in the week, Microsoft revealed that Windows 8.1 had been released to their hardware partners, also confirming rumors that the operating system would not be available for developers and IT professionals through TechNet and MSDN until the general availability date, October 18th.

This annoyed a number of devs, who claim that it's essential for the RTM code to be available through MSDN and TechNet before the general release, so that applications can be tested and made compatible with any OS changes. Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc stated that in withholding Windows 8.1 from developer channels, Microsoft can continue to "put the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience at general availability for (all) customers."

In response to a lack of RTM code for developers, OEMs - the only people who currently have official access to the final version of Windows 8.1 - have leaked basically every copy of the Windows 8.1 RTM to the web. Neowin reports that the English Windows 8.1 Pro x86 and x64 builds have leaked to the internet, courtesy of Russian leaker WZOR.

As well as the Windows 8.1 builds, RTM copies of Windows Server 2012 R2, Essentials, Enterprise, Hyper-V, and Foundation Storage have leaked. All editions are apparently untouched, Microsoft images of the operating system: the same copies that would presumably be available on MSDN and TechNet if Microsoft had released them there.

While copies of the Windows 8.1 RTM are floating around on the internet, Microsoft will officially release the operating system on October 18th, where it will be delivered as a free update through the Windows Store to existing Windows 8 users. The update introduces a range of new features, including enhanced search and multi-tasking, an improved Start screen with new customization options, and optimizations for smaller tablets.




User Comments: 31

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ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

Well I guess this was bound to happen. A lot of pissed-off folks wanted to get their hands on the update before October and someone decided to grant their wish. I'm not saying it was right to leak the code but it's certainly not a surprise.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

The update introduces a range of new features, including enhanced search and multi-tasking

Sorry that I'm jumping on the "hate bandwagon" now but how is it a "new feature" when it was working fine in all previous versions of Windows?

I mean multitasking worked pretty good back in NT4, even NT3.1 released 20 years ago?

And the search worked good back in the Win2K days?

[link]

JC713 JC713 said:

Any exciting prerelease software released to the public will be leaked, it is a given. I think this was a bad move.

Guest said:

I find that Windows 8 search doesn't work very well. Many times I put in a search term (Explorer) and nothing happens, it just sits there. If I change from Libraries to Documents and repeat it usually works. The Metro search stinks, it's slow, locks up at times and you have to manually select Apps, Settings, Files for the results you want. I think Windows 8 Search can be improved.

abysal abysal said:

The update introduces a range of new features, including enhanced search and multi-tasking

Sorry that I'm jumping on the "hate bandwagon" now but how is it a "new feature" when it was working fine in all previous versions of Windows?

I mean multitasking worked pretty good back in NT4, even NT3.1 released 20 years ago?

And the search worked good back in the Win2K days?

[link]

Exactly what I was thinking.

BMfan BMfan said:

What I am wondering is,they say 8,1 will be released in the store,so if I never go to the store and only use windows update,does that mean I wouldn't be able to get 8,1 then?

Guest said:

Took a look at 8.1 and they have actually made things worse. A start menu for the desktop would have been nice.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

If they really put any "finishing touches" on an RTM product, that means it is a fake RTM, that's not Ready To Manufacturing.

Lurker101 said:

The update introduces a range of new features, including enhanced search

So they've broken the search tool even more?

Guest said:

Sorry, but Windows 8 and 8.1 are still worse than Vista (Windows 7 SP 0) and especially worse than Windows 7(after the rename).

coppersloane coppersloane said:

The search tool is fine on my end. Just used it to check. Swiped right, touched the magnifying glass, typed a search word into field set to Everywhere and results appeared in seconds, spanning the Internet and my hard drive. So many results came up I didn't know where to start.

I'm using Windows RT 8.1 Preview.

Guest said:

And another facepalm courtesy of Microsoft's policy. Honestly, if it wasn't for the games and general conveniences I totally would have used Linux. They're doing just fine with their own self-developed features.

Still, nice job breaking it, Microsoft. It's official, Microsoft is the embodiment of Butt Monkey, ***** Ball, and Nice Job Breaking It Hero of the technology world.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

The update introduces a range of new features, including enhanced search and multi-tasking

Sorry that I'm jumping on the "hate bandwagon" now but how is it a "new feature" when it was working fine in all previous versions of Windows?

I mean multitasking worked pretty good back in NT4, even NT3.1 released 20 years ago?

And the search worked good back in the Win2K days?

This article didn't phrase it correctly, I.e. out of context. Windows 8.1 brings enhanced multi-tasking for Metro applications, specifically, allowing them to be stacked side-by-side in full-screen mode, I.e. with a movable divider between them. The feature has no impact on desktop applications, but it is still a feature.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

This article didn't phrase it correctly, I.e. out of context. Windows 8.1 brings enhanced multi-tasking for Metro applications, specifically, allowing them to be stacked side-by-side in full-screen mode, I.e. with a movable divider between them. The feature has no impact on desktop applications, but it is still a feature.

I was being ironic, it's laughable that this feature was not there from day one.

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I was being ironic, it's laughable that this feature was not there from day one.

Like any radical change from the traditional, Metro UI was likely to skip on a few important features. They will get it right eventually. Although I personally use only desktop mode, I see changes in 8.1 as very welcome ones.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Here's a pretty detailed analysis from Koroush Ghazi who runs the TweakGuides.com website. As you can see, he's less than impressed with 8.1:

http://www.tweakguides.com/Windows81_1.html

JC713 JC713 said:

Good to see the decision reversed. If MS wants their app ecosystem to expand, they need devs to actually use the newest OS possible.

Camikazi said:

I find that Windows 8 search doesn't work very well. Many times I put in a search term (Explorer) and nothing happens, it just sits there. If I change from Libraries to Documents and repeat it usually works. The Metro search stinks, it's slow, locks up at times and you have to manually select Apps, Settings, Files for the results you want. I think Windows 8 Search can be improved.

Never had a lockup on search and explorer search bar will only search from the location you are at (if at root of C: it will search all of C . As for the selecting you can pick which is showing with hotkeys Windows+Q for Apps, Windows+W for Settings and Windows+F for Files. Not all that hard to learn, is rather easy unless you are too lazy to try something different.

Railman said:

I find that Windows 8 search doesn't work very well. Many times I put in a search term (Explorer) and nothing happens, it just sits there. If I change from Libraries to Documents and repeat it usually works. The Metro search stinks, it's slow, locks up at times and you have to manually select Apps, Settings, Files for the results you want. I think Windows 8 Search can be improved.

Never had a lockup on search and explorer search bar will only search from the location you are at (if at root of C: it will search all of C . As for the selecting you can pick which is showing with hotkeys Windows+Q for Apps, Windows+W for Settings and Windows+F for Files. Not all that hard to learn, is rather easy unless you are too lazy to try something different.

I agree that using hotkeys is very useful but I can't help feeling that they are not intuitive to the majority. I understand why so many dislike W8.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

I was being ironic, it's laughable that this feature was not there from day one.

Like any radical change from the traditional, Metro UI was likely to skip on a few important features. They will get it right eventually. Although I personally use only desktop mode, I see changes in 8.1 as very welcome ones.

Skipping core features we've had for years in the "obsolete" OS's is exactly the missing polish that they are getting smashed over. Really that is the lesson they should have learned with Vista.

TheBigFatClown said:

Microsoft are ******. They knew the builds would be leaked. I guess they didn't realize they would end up looking like jackasses for withholding the RTM from people who need it the most. Now they look like jackasses and developers still got what they wanted.

At least they realized that if you can't beat them, you can always join them. Not sure why they are being so stubborn about Windows 8. They just keep fostering the anger that is still very much alive in 50% of the Windows 7 user base by refusing to give us what we want. They have made many reversals in the past few months. There is hope for Windows 9 even if it's just a little.

Guest said:

I think their strategy was to make us use their metro interface because they are scare of losing again apple and google in the new mobile computing.

Railman said:

MS policy is not likely to change for around 12 months as it will take that time for the new management to bed in. Hopefully they may start to listen to their customers (or potential customers).

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

MS policy is not likely to change for around 12 months as it will take that time for the new management to bed in. Hopefully they may start to listen to their customers (or potential customers).

MS listens well to its customers. I have yet to see a company change so many big decisions based on feedback. The problem is, MS doesn't learn. It should be able to make more decisions which don't cause a backlash. There should be someone there saying: "this is not going to go down well, let's just not do it."

1 person liked this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

MS policy is not likely to change for around 12 months as it will take that time for the new management to bed in. Hopefully they may start to listen to their customers (or potential customers).

MS listens well to its customers. I have yet to see a company change so many big decisions based on feedback. The problem is, MS doesn't learn. It should be able to make more decisions which don't cause a backlash. There should be someone there saying: "this is not going to go down well, let's just not do it."

I have to add a little caveat to your statement... MS does not listen to its customers, it listens to their wallets. Cases in point:

The Xbox One was a miserably limited and locked down console when originally announced. Massive backlash in the tech and gamer community did nothing but push MS into a hardcore PR push to try to justify all of their awkward (and often anti-consumer but pro-profit) feature decisions. Then Sony announced the PS4 features list, the crowds rejoiced, and MS was quiet for a few days. Pre-order numbers started filtering in, and the Xbox One was losing as badly as 4 to 1 to the PS4, which obviously pointed towards a financial catastrophe if MS didn't do something. So, they backpedaled to garner favor with the gamer community again, and try to regain some of the Xbox user base that they had alienated with their initial decisions. The ploy worked, and Xbox One was on the road to acceptance. Ironically, one of the big initial features that customers really liked, even in the face of their other poor decisions, was the revolutionary sharing concept. Rather than sticking with what their customers liked, and figuring out how to properly implement it with their suddenly changed marketing directions, Microsoft ripped that feature away... Many (including myself) viewed that as a petulant punishment for their customers not bowing to Microsoft's original plans. But, it didn't matter, their about-face had put some polish back on their new console, and tearing this one feature away wasn't enough to seriously dent their pre-orders, so there was no reason to even try to make it work...

Windows 8's direction and focus were a big middle finger to the HUGE Windows user customer base, going against much of the feedback that those users were providing prior to official launch. Microsoft's "big fix" with Win8.1 ignored most of the big issues their user base reported, and is instead that very same middle finger to the long-time Windows customers, but with a manicure and some nice nail polish this time. But hey, Microsoft OWNS the OS market, so customers will just have to buy whatever MS deigns to provide them. It's a mentality we saw with the hard sell on Vista, all over again.

WindowRT sales were so dismal that MS had to take a massive hit and write off tons of unsold inventory, yet it appears they didn't listen to their customers who wanted nothing to do with RT, and are relaunching the product with a few updates to hardware, but this time losing the "RT" portion of the name, which just makes it confusing and potentially tricks some average consumers into grabbing one. After all, a confused customer and their wallet are soon pilfered.

Those are just the latest examples... It's becoming painfully obvious that MS cares about our wallets, not our feelings. Which, honestly, is exactly what I would expect from a successful corporation. Still, it would be nice to get back to the MS of old, the one that looked at their focus group and beta testing feedback and tried to actually make their products better for their customers, not just more profitable for the company. The change has been fairly obvious as MS pushes into transitioning from a software company into becoming a "devices and services" type of company.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

Skipping core features we've had for years in the "obsolete" OS's is exactly the missing polish that they are getting smashed over. Really that is the lesson they should have learned with Vista.

They did learn from mistakes in Vista, and fixed them in Windows 7, but those were different ones. At the top of the list the problems were: a) It was a huge resource hog that no hardware could handle at the time; b) Many issues with drivers compatibility; c) Very intrusive user-rights elevation.

The mistakes they made in Windows 8 are new ones, they are not repeating They were probably like - we never dumped the useful features before, might as well get started, so let's pick the top 10 most useful features and throw them away, that should freshen up the market, give us plenty of room for improvements in years to come.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

They did learn from mistakes in Vista, and fixed them in Windows 7, but those were different ones. At the top of the list the problems were: a) It was a huge resource hog that no hardware could handle at the time; b) Many issues with drivers compatibility; c) Very intrusive user-rights elevation.

Vista changed the graphics driver level (lessened the ability of graphics faults to BSOD the OS). They removed things like horizontal and vertical spanning. Win7 partially added it back. I'm sure there are more of these scenarios but that was the specific one I was thinking.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have to add a little caveat to your statement... MS does not listen to its customers, it listens to their wallets. Cases in point:

Of course Microsoft, like practically every company, is making decisions that it hopes will bring in more money. But just because you quote a particular case, that doesn't mean that you can show this directly in most cases.

Example: After saying that Visual Studio 2012 Express will only be usable for developing "Metro" applications, not desktop ones, there was a developer backlash, and Microsoft decided to allow desktop development.

So sure, it's possible that Microsoft figured that in the long run it will help it financially, but it's a free product that Microsoft isn't making anything off directly.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Of course Microsoft, like practically every company, is making decisions that it hopes will bring in more money. But just because you quote a particular case, that doesn't mean that you can show this directly in most cases.

Example: After saying that Visual Studio 2012 Express will only be usable for developing "Metro" applications, not desktop ones, there was a developer backlash, and Microsoft decided to allow desktop development.

So sure, it's possible that Microsoft figured that in the long run it will help it financially, but it's a free product that Microsoft isn't making anything off directly.

I fully understand what you are saying, but your example is an even more effective case of how self-serving Microsoft's attitude is of late... The very fact that they were planning on making VS2012 "Metro only" was a heavy-handed attempt to push everyone to the new UI that they (not their millions of users) thought should be the future. And, push everyone to pay for the upgrade, which of course would bring billions in revenue to MS.

When the devs freaked out, it's not hard to see that Microsoft's backpedal and 180 on the decision was purely self-preservation. With a growing amount of alternative platforms to consider developing for (particularly in the mobile market), the last thing MS wants to happen is the developers throwing up their hands and walking away. The biggest thing Windows in general has going for it in today's market is that the pure size of the software library available for it dwarfs any competing OS. Lose your developer community, and that can change quite rapidly.

You can literally look at every decision being made by MS lately, and see the strategy to maximize profits. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, they are a business that lives or dies on profit, so it is to be expected. But, let's not kid ourselves, the only time MS listens to their customer feedback is when it serves to benefit their bottom line.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You can literally look at every decision being made by MS lately, and see the strategy to maximize profits. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, they are a business that lives or dies on profit, so it is to be expected. But, let's not kid ourselves, the only time MS listens to their customer feedback is when it serves to benefit their bottom line.

What you're saying is so obvious that it doesn't need saying. Yet it's still an interpretation, which is less important than the facts: Microsoft has made quite a few unpopular decisions, and it went back on them. That is unusual. Not many companies backpedal so often, and as I said, this shows that Microsoft does listen to its customers (the reason doesn't change this fact). The problem is that it's making bad decisions in the first place, and that shows lack of understanding of its customers, which is a serious problem.

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