Problems remain after Microsoft yanks Windows RT 8.1 update

Windows RT/8 updates have inspired a stream of complaints. Here's an overview of what's happened, how you might recover

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The list of unanswered complainst about the upgrade goes on and on.

Microsoft isn't distributing ISO files for the upgrades. If you have one machine, going to the Windows Store to download the upgrade isn't difficult, as long as you have a fast Internet connection. But what about the organizations with 10 or 20 machines? Sure, if you have a Volume License, you can go that route, but downloading patches for 20 Surface RT machines? And why don't the Windows 8.1 "Upgrading Windows only with a product key" keys work with the Win81 downloader? Microsoft's just forcing people to use torrents.

(Solution for the nonworking upgrade keys: Install Windows 8 using the upgrade key, then apply the free update to Windows 8.1. Is that stupid, or what?)

Finally, there's a laundry list of well-considered complaints about the Windows 8.1 update posted on the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread that Microsoft engineers hosted three days ago. Here's just a short collection:

  • "Network management on Windows 7 was excellent, you could see which networks you had set up, if they were private or public, you could give them names so it was easy to manage. This is gone with Windows 8 or 8.1. How are we supposed to manage the networks now? If a user sets a public network as private I have no way of changing that, I have to use the registry (hard) or use third party software."
  • "Wireless networks once set up there is no easy way to manage them either. With Windows 7 you could easily do this, with Windows 8 you can't. What's the logic of this?"
  • "Microsoft accounts seem on the way to being mandatory. We're not there yet, but Windows 8.1 took a new step in that direction. I understand the benefits, but if you have to create accounts on a server for 50 users, and then create 50 Microsoft accounts with made-up data and throw-away emails, it's of no use. Not to mention the concerns of having confidential data where you can't control it (ejemNSAejem). So please, give a clear option to not use them and don't bother the user anymore with them... During our testing (without 'Microsoft accounts'), we couldnt install any app from the app store, not even demos or free apps. With stats revealing how little Metro apps get used/installed, you'd think MS would seek to promote use of the store much more, if just to ween out folks from the traditional desktop instead of making desktop apps the only ones they can install."
  • "There is no-way to automate [image backups] or use an external hard-drive for the backup. I used to go around an office after I set them up and run win7 backup. I'd copy all the images to a hard-drive and it would sit on a shelf until I needed it. On top of that, I'd automate a weekly image backup to a file server dedicated to desktop backups. It makes a smaller sys admin's life 1,000,000 times easier when some highly configured computer (by an expensive consultant) takes a dump. I don't believe I should have to buy extra software to do this as it was all available in windows 7 pro."
  • "In the age of SSDs, why is it that the Windows 8.1 update fails compatibility checks on Windows 8.0 if the Users folder has been redirected to another drive? What was the thinking on this? It's really a show-stopper for people that want their applications on an SSD (C:) and their file storage on traditional media (hence the reason for redirecting the Users and/or Program Files folders). I can't upgrade to 8.1 because of this."

And my personal favorite:

  • "Is there a setting for 'I don't have a touchscreen' so that all of the touch stuff gets turned off?"

There are well over 1,000 comments and lots of food for thought.

I'm sure glad I wasn't one of the 'Softies responding to the comments.

This story, "Problems remain after Microsoft yanks Windows RT 8.1 update," was originally published at 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 on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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