We collected feedback from OEM partners, developers, and end users, and responded with enhanced experiences with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. We now have additional improvements and enhancements to both products through the Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update.
The Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Server 2012 R2 Update are available in two ways.
- As an Update to be used on existing installations of Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. The update will be made available to customers and system builders through Windows Update.
- As a re-released full media for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, available to system builders through Authorized OEM Distributors on May 1, 2014.
- There will be no new end item part numbers (EIPNs) or price list changes to support this update.
- The following additional changes will be made:
- Media art will be revised to include the line "Includes Windows 8.1 Update" or "Includes Windows Server 2012 R2 Update.
- The shipper label on the system builder packs will designate that the update is included. This will allow distributors and system builders to identify the refreshed media packs.
- Note: There are no Royalty changes with the update.
For Windows 8.1: The Update will be released as a Required Supplement; however, system builders will be required to implement the Supplement only when creating a new image or updating an existing image, beginning 90 days after the Update is available on Windows Update.
For Windows Server 2012 R2: Microsoft recommends that system builders evolve their offerings to this updated baseline and include the Update when creating a new image or updating an existing image.
What is included in the Windows 8.1 Update
- Improve non touch user experience by making the Start more useful and learnable with an enhanced Desktop experience.
- Enhance education and enterprise deployment with improved device management, Internet Explorer 8 compatibility mode, and provisioning student identities, acquiring and distributing education apps.
- Enable Windows on low-cost hardware with 1 gigabyte (GB) memory and 16 GB storage optimizations, certification relaxations, and Bay Trail T-CR support.
- Windows Store app improvements include the ability to pin to the taskbar, improved developer experience with monetization and reduced friction, and Bing Smart Search apps.
- Implementation of the new name for SkyDrive.
What is included in the Windows Server 2012 R2 Update
This Update Includes enhancements, bug fixes, and security fixes but does not change any of the system APIs.
- Enterprise Mode IE for Internet Explorer: Enables IT Professionals and (optionally) end users to specify that specific sites should be interpreted in a special browser configuration. This helps to avoid common compatibility problems with web apps that were written and tested specifically for older versions (especially Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8). This change is only applicable if Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration is disabled on Windows Server 2012 R2.
- User Interface: On a typical server installation where the Desktop Experience feature is not installed, end users will see a Search and a Power button on the modern Start page.
- Active Directory: A minor change to all sign-on using an Office 365 email address instead of a User Principal Name (UPN) to support a feature request from educational institutions. This change does not affect AD Schema and has no impact outside of the ability to sign on to a Windows 8.1 machine using an Office 365 email address.
- Cumulative roll-up of updates since Windows Server 2012 R2.
Use the language packs to update language resources for Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Preinstall Environment (WinPE), and Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), after the Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) has been applied. These language packs are significantly faster to install than the full MSU update package.