Windows 8.1 has reached end of life as surely as Windows XP

With future patches bound to a servicing stack update and Windows 8.1 Update, Windows 8.1 is effectively a dead end

Microsoft's own Windows deployment ace Ben Hunter just posted a detailed overview of the Windows 8.1 Update installation process from the point of view of an IT professional. Hunter talks about the security patches included in the Update, but strangely he doesn't repeat the admonition that I revealed yesterday: Windows 8.1 Update is not optional. If you want to get any more patches for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, or Windows Server 2012 R2, you have to install the Windows 8.1 Update -- KB 2919355 -- first.

Hunter notes that the Windows 8.1 Update will be part of the normal Patch Tuesday process on April 8. Windows 8.1 Update images will be made available in the VLSC to all volume license customers on April 14.

You may not realize it, but you must install servicing stack update KB 2919442 before you can install the Windows 8.1 Update. (A servicing stack update changes how Windows installs patches.) As Hunter says, "We recommend that you start the deployment process for this update now, in preparation for the April 8th broad availability of the [Windows 8.1] update."

Ah, yes. A servicing stack update and then a first-ever WSUS-based Windows 8.1 Update -- neither of which has been tested outside of Microsoft, to the best of my knowledge. Kind of makes you feel warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

Hunter also explains that Windows 8.1 Update includes two brand-new security updates, KB 2922229 and KB 2936068, neither of which was available in the Knowledge Base as of late Wednesday night.

Hunter's bomb, though, comes through short and sweet:

Windows 8.1 Update is a cumulative update to Windows 8.1, containing all the updates we have released for Windows 8.1, so if you install this update you do not need any earlier updates. It also becomes the new servicing baseline for Windows 8.1, so next month's security updates (on May 13th, the next "Patch Tuesday") will be dependent on Windows 8.1 Update.

Translation: Windows 8.1 has reached end of life, as surely as Windows XP.

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