Skip to comments.Goodbye Windows 8, hello Windows 8.1
Posted on 07/30/2013 11:15:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Consider the following: Internet Explorer 11 is available as a preview for Windows 7 or as part of the Windows 8.1 preview, but not for Windows 8. Similarly, PowerShell 4 will run on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, but not Windows 8 even though it will be available for Windows Server 2012, which is the same core code as Windows 8.
So does this mean Microsoft giving up on Windows 8? Um, no.
Windows 8.1 is Windows 8, as far as Microsoft is concerned. It's an update to Windows 8 that will be available in the Windows Store, free of charge. It has new APIs that aren't in Windows 8 that Internet Explorer can use.
Microsoft will port some but not all of those back to Windows 7 for IE 11; as we understand it, the HTML5 Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions support that lets you stream Netflix in IE 11 without needing a plugin won't make it to Windows 7.
It has new versions of the controls developers built apps with too; the new alarms and timer app in Windows 8.1 uses the Windows 8.1 version of a control that's three times faster than the Windows 8 control on a low-end PC. "We could have done a lot of profiling of data, a lot of tweaking or we could just upgrade to the version 8.1 control," program manager Steven Abrams said at the Build conference.
Couldn't Microsoft just port those APIs and controls to Windows 8 as well? Well, it already has that's Windows 8.1.
Microsoft is betting that if you're prepared to install a new version of the browser and the updates to make it work, you'll be willing to do that as part of an update that also gives you the Start button so many people have been asking for and a bunch of new features.
Microsoft is also trying to put out a 'new version' of Windows in a year, rather than three, with a new version of the browser in a year rather than 18 months (which is how long it took to get from IE 9 to IE 10) and as part of a continuous development schedule that put the usual SP1 contents into Windows 8 before it went on sale and has given us 700 improvements to Windows 8 since then.
Given that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many engineers on the team, it makes sense that Microsoft has decided to prioritise resources for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 and create, test and support two versions of the IE 11 preview rather than three.
Keeping up with a continuous development cadence is going to require Microsoft to make a lot of rational decisions that don't make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. Similarly, when IE 12 comes along, I expect it to only run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.2.
You can also expect to see a significant push to get you to upgrade to Windows 8.1. The way Microsoft is trying to make that acceptable to end users and businesses alike is by making upgrading easier and promising compatibility. "Upgrading to Windows 8.1 is simple as the update does not introduce any new hardware requirements and all existing Windows Store apps are compatible," says Erwin Visser, the Windows general manager who handles the business side of the market.
That means that all Windows 8 devices will run Windows 8.1, that all Windows 8 Windows Store apps will run on Windows 8.1 (something they're working on but that isn't true in the preview), that drivers and desktop applications will work in the same way. And that upgrading to Windows 8.1 won't mean wiping systems and installing a corporate image and reloading your applications and data. Visser calls upgrading to Windows 8.1 much more like running updates or installing a service pack. And if you were planning on switching to Windows 8, just plan to switch to 8.1 instead.
To use the car metaphor that's so popular, in a year, the Windows team isn't rebuilding the car or even fitting a new engine; it's changing the tyres, swapping out the instruments on the dashboards, fitting a new car radio and tuning the engine control software.
It's worth noting that it's different for servers. A server upgrade is a major task and Microsoft doesn't expect anyone to upgrade their servers every year; the best they can hope for is that any new servers you put in place will run the latest version of Windows Server. Also, Windows Server 2012 R2 is a major upgrade from Server 2012, with a significant number of new features it's a much more impressive and compelling update than Windows 8.1, ironically. Windows Server 2012 systems will be around for a long time so they need PowerShell 4 and its major management improvements like Desired State Configuration.
Microsoft hopes that Windows 8 won't be around for long after Windows 8.1 comes out. It hopes everyone using Windows 8 will upgrade, just as it hopes we're all using automatic updates to keep our PCs up to date. After all, we're telling Microsoft to keep up with Apple and Android; surely we want the new, improved stuff, especially as it's free with better features why wouldn't you want that, thinks Microsoft. And if it can just get us to keep updating our PCs year after year, it will never have to deal with a decade of XP again.
With that combination of incentive and what we're telling Microsoft we want, why would it make sense for it to give us any reason to stay on Windows 8 when we've been so vocal about telling Microsoft to change it?
Microsoft delivers to testers Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview
Microsoft made available to testers the Enterprise version of its Windows 8.1 preview on July 30.
The Enterprise preview includes some of the business-focused features of Windows 8.1 that were not available in the Windows 8.1 preview, which Microsoft made available for download by any and all interested testers in late June.
Among the new features in the Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview build are:
Here's the full list of business-focused features Microsoft officials have said will be coming in Windows 8.1.
In a post to the Microsoft "Windows for Your Business" blog, officials noted that Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, which means support will end on January 10, 2023.
Microsoft officials said earlier this summer that Windows 8.1 will be released to manufacturing by the end of August 2013. Officials still are declining to comment as to when existing Windows 8 users will be able to get their hands on the RTM bits.
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I was going to snark ... but when you take Windows ... it is pointless and besides, maybe one day the pig will sing!
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems Microsoft has lost their way. It just seems like everything they do is a mess, a flop, or both.
I really question Microsoft’s ongoing reason for existing. Seems everyone else is eating their lunch. Also, it seems like Microsoft has a distinct tin ear when it comes to the consumer.
They should rename Windows (Wait Around)
Then they could call it the Wait Around Operating System.
Just Wait Around. There are plenty of other things to do while you are waiting for the OS to load and shutdown.
ha ha ha just kidding... : )
I tell ya, I’ve been so happy since the traditional Microsoft blue screen has been replaced by the machine freezes every time a browser waits for a response from some website.
I expect to sleep for a very long time.
Is it still possible to load Win 8, and get the free 8.1 download?
RE: Maybe its just me, but it seems Microsoft has lost their way. It just seems like everything they do is a mess, a flop, or both.
As I look at Microsoft’s Windows history, I’m not sure if this latest move from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 is anything different from what they’ve done before.
Their first attempt at Windows failed. They went from Windows 3.0 to Windows 3.1 and then to Windows 95.
Windows 98 received a less than enthusiastic response and Windows Millenium Edition (ME) was a flop.
Then came Windows XP that was a huge success. What followed was another disaster — Windows Vista. That was replaced by the superb Windows 7.
Who knows what the latest incarnation -— Windows 8 to 8.1 will be like....
I think Windows 8 is great. I don’t get all the whiners.
I get that sense too. It seems like all they do is endlessly meet and discuss what they'd like to have in an OS...all in a sealed echo chamber. Then they issue press releases that tell us how wonderful it will be and send out Steve Balmer to tell us how much we'll love it.
Every version of Windows has had whiners. They usually become the people that then love it and whine about how the next version is awful and the one they hated was perfect.
I for one have really been enjoying 8.1. Whenever I use 7 now, It feels like I’m using a relic. Even the look of desktop icons is irritating.
I think the way MS is doing it is to break all things not MS in the XP updates.
That last update really screwed up the stability of my admittedly old TV card drivers, especially when run under WinAmp.
It’s the performance, stupid, not the pictures of the screen. Blue screens were unacceptable. Feature overload was and is unacceptable. Lack of administration utilities is unacceptable. Lack of transparency in the Bizantine registry design is unacceptable. System freezes, when, as I mentioned, a browser waits for a response from a website are unacceptable in multi-processor, multi-thread systmes. Etc, etc.
Microsoft is still the go-to for business.
Microsoft doesn’t make crap off the retail consumer. They are in the business for business.
I have been running 8 since pre-release. The family uses it daily on desktops and laptops. It is just fine. I am not a huge fan of metro, but that is just fine too.
Only Microsfot could introduce software that looks worse and has less features, and call it an “upgrade”
windows 8 was the first software i ever bought that made me want to get violent
I lost almost a month of prodcutivity trying to get it to do stuff I used to do every day for 20 years.
It works for me, as well, with a noticeably faster start up. I mainly run it from the “desktop tile”. Not perfect, but not a dog.