Feeds

Microsoft does a U-turn, releases Windows 8.1 to developers early after all

Visual Studio 2013 release candidate also available

A new approach to endpoint data protection

After facing a backlash from developers concerned that they wouldn't get early access to the latest versions of Windows, Microsoft has released builds of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 to its MSDN and TechNet subscription programs, more than a month ahead of the updates' official launch date.

"We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they're readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments," Microsoft chief evangelist Steve Guggenheimer said in a blog post on Monday. "We've listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback."

The OS updates are available as ISO disc images in a variety of formulations, including x86 and x64 builds and "N editions" that ship without Windows Media Player.

Note that these images are full installation media, rather than updates for current Windows 8 installs. That means they're suitable for installing on new hard drives or virtual machines, but it also means the downloads are fairly large: more than 3GB each.

In addition to the Windows builds themselves, Redmond has also made available new versions of the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) and the Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8.1, plus the source code for a set of sample apps that take advantage of new Windows 8.1 features.

The sample code works with Visual Studio 2013, a Release Candidate version of which was also made available on Monday. This new VS2013 build requires the RTM version of Windows 8.1 RTM for Windows Store app development; it does not support Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview.

According to S. Somasegar, corporate VP of Microsoft's developer group, the final, RTM build of VS2013 will ship at the same time that Windows 8.1 reaches general availability.

That's not due to happen until October 18, so customers who don't want the hassle of downloading large ISOs – or who lack an MSDN or TechNet subscription – will have to wait until then to get Windows 8.1, when a leaner installer is still scheduled to begin shipping to all customers via Windows Update. ®

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?