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Windows 8 – What’s new in Windows 8.1 and how to prepare for the preview

23 Jun

As some of you might know, the Windows 8.1 Preview and Server 2012 R2 Preview (code name Windows Blue) will become available on the 26th of June. Personally I’m looking forward to both of them and can’t wait for it. Also for those who missed it, The Windows 8.1 / Windows RT 8.1 update will be free. The final RTM version of Windows 8.1 is expected to be available August 1st.

When you’re planning to install a new version, you might want to prepare for it. Even though I tried to keep it as generic as possible, some of the steps described are not applicable to Windows RT but you should be able to understand what the goal is. You can probably also re-use these preparations when you want to update from the Preview version to the RTM version.

Preparations could include, but are not limited to:

  1. Determining if you can/want to install the update.
  2. Determining how you are going to run the Windows 8.1 Preview. Some functionality is best tested on hardware installations, but virtualized installations can be more convenient/flexible.
    • Virtualized (by example using Client Hyper-V)
      • Install Windows 8 already and wait for the 8.1 Preview to become available.
        • Will consume more space.
        • Will allow you to install the 8.1 RTM.
      • Wait for full Windows 8.1 Preview ISO to become available.
        • Will consume less space.
        • Might not allow you to install the 8.1 RTM version.
    • Physical
      • Create a new Windows To Go (WTG) installation.
        • On an officially supported WTG certified storage device.
        • On an unofficial non WTG supported storage device.
      • Create a dual/multi boot environment on a physical disk.
        • Create a new installation.
          • Gather required drivers and store them in an easy to access location.
          • Gather applications you want to install.
          • Install.
          • Installation directly to disk.
          • Use the boot from VHD method
      • Update your existing installation.
        • Ensure your important data is safe prior to updating. Even though the update should not destroy data, there is always a chance that it might.
          • Ensure you have recovery media and/or create a USB recovery drive.
          • Move/backup your data.
            • Verify if the new location / backup contains all your data. With backups, verify if you can restore
          • Sync to cloud services (Skydrive, Dropbox, Google Drive).
            • Realize this is not the same as a backup.
        • Document the installed applications (using PowerShell):
          • For Modern/Metro applications:
            Get-AppxPackage | Export-Csv -NoTypeInformation -path “C:\MyMetroApplications.csv”
          • For regular applications:
            Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate, HelpLink, UninstallString | Export-Csv -NoTypeInformation -path “C:\MyRegularApplications.csv”
        • Check if your current Windows 8 installation is healthy and if it is not, make it healthy again before installing the 8.1 Preview.
        • Install 8.1 Preview when it is available through the Windows Store
          • In the past I’ve seen issues with Service Pack updates caused by anti-virus solutions. So you might want to disable it until the installation has completed.
          • If you get an error “The windows 8.1 preview isn’t available right now. Please try again later.” take a look here.

With TechEd Europe 2013 in Barcelona and the Microsoft Build 2013 in San Francisco this week there’s probably a lot more news coming. So you might want to keep an eye on news on all websites. You can also check live streams on Channel 9.

I hope this was informative. If you have any other questions, suggestions or just want to share what you’re looking forward to the most, please leave a comment.

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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in ICT, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 8

 

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