The long-awaited (but not terribly well-received) and likely final suture in the Jekyll-and-Hyde version of Windows has just hit the MSDN site. For those of you who have MSDN accounts, it's time to start your downloads. For those of you without MSDN rights, in a few hours the new torrents should contain absolutely impeccable versions of the Win 8.1 Update ISO, fresh from MSDN.
If you pluck a copy from any place other than the MSDN site, make sure the file you download matches the ones on the MSDN site.
The full Windows 8.1 with Update ISO file, multiple editions (but not Enterprise), x86, U.S. English:
Filename = en_windows_8.1_with_update_x86_dvd_4065105.iso
SHA-1 = 54B8572556B316A6BECE54C5033564E3296F5951
Same thing in 64-bit:
Filename = en_windows_8.1_with_update_x64_dvd_4065090.iso
SHA-1 = 4652DC6EBFEBE02C6A63E167C36E3FAEDFB93999
The full Windows 8.1 Enterprise with Update ISO file, x86, U.S. English:
Filename = en_windows_8.1_enterprise_with_update_x86_dvd_4065185.iso
SHA-1 = FE43558B4708B4B786BC3286924813B0AAD21106
Same thing, 64-bit:
Filename = en_windows_8.1_enterprise_with_update_x64_dvd_4065178.iso
SHA-1 = 8FB332A827998F807A1346BEF55969C6519668B9
If you already have Windows 8.1 and want only the Update itself, Microsoft has kindly provided ZIP files each with six Update (MSU) files. You have to run each of the MSU files, in the sequence specified in the Readme.txt file, in order to apply the Update. (To run an MSU file in Windows 8.1, just double-click on it.)
For the Windows 8.1 Update only, ZIP file, all versions, x86:
Filename = mu_windows_8.1_windows_embedded_8.1industry_update_x86_4046911.zip
SHA-1 = A4A07FEE78097C16E969FC55C8A82A27297BA8DA
For the Windows 8.1 Update only, ZIP file, all versions, including Windows Server 2012 R2, 64-bit:
Filename = mu_windows_8.1_windows_server_2012r2_windows_embedded_8.1industry_update_x64_4046913.zip
SHA-1 = 6A5CBC6FD6C1366F1041E03820FD8508FC95A4AC
Note that the Server 2012 R2 update is only available in 64-bit.
The easy way to verify the hash codes is by using Microsoft's free File Checksum Integrity Verifier.
If you download an ISO, chances are good you will be able to install a fresh copy of Windows 8.1 Update if you convert the ISO to a bootable drive, then boot and use your Windows 8.1 activation key. (There may be some fun problems with UEFI systems -- see the instructions on Eightforums for details.)
If you download one of the Update-only ZIPs and run the MSU files in the sequence specified, you'll get a full in-place "upgrade" with none of your settings changed.
In a surprising -- and not well advertised -- turn of events, Microsoft will require that you install Windows 8.1 Update before you can install any future patches. KB 2919355 states:
Important All future security and nonsecurity updates for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 require this update to be installed. We recommend that you install this update on your Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, or Windows Server 2012 R2-based computer in order to receive continued future updates.
It appears that the Windows 8.1 Update changes are in your future, whether you want them or not.
This story, "Windows 8.1 Update -- required for all future Win8.1 updates -- released on MSDN," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.