All about versions of Windows 8.1 and how to legally download the latest image without a subscription

    I want to share in one note important, in my opinion, information about the versioning of Windows 8.1 images, and how anyone can completely legally download the language version and edition that he needs. Given that after the release of Windows 8.1 the images were reassembled at least five times, the issue of versioning becomes interesting for administrators and enthusiasts.

    Recently, I wrote about how you can absolutely legally download the latest Microsoft Office from the Microsoft website - both the corporate version and the boxed Retail - any languages ​​and products, with all integrated updates. Today I will tell you how to do the same with the operating system - tools provided by Microsoft itself.

    But first, I want to talk about versions of Windows 8.1. Not about publications - there is a lot of this goodness in the network, namely about public versions of OS assemblies. Indeed, for any administrator it is convenient to download an image with all integrated updates than to install a hundred on your own. And download the image from the Microsoft site, and not a home-made assembly from torrents. All that I will talk about versions of Windows 8.1 applies to Windows Server 2012 R2, with the exception of the channel for free downloading of images for reinstalling the OS. But let's do it in order.

    Final build of Windows 8.1 (and Windows Server 2012 R2) numbered 9600.16384.WINBLUE_RTM.130821-1623 was assembled and signed on August 21, 2013 and already on August 27 became available for partners, and from September 9 and MSDN / TechNet subscribers. The drive label in RTM version images begins with the letters IRM .

    On October 27, 2013, Windows 8.1 became publicly available - in the Windows Store, on MSDN / TechNet and for corporate subscribers. The OS version in the corporate VL images 9600.16415 .WINBLUE_REFRESH.130928-2229 includes an update called Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 General Availability Update Rollup . The label of disks in images of the GA version begins with the letters IR1. On the Internet, this build is often called Rollup Update 1 (RU1), and less commonly, R1. Retail images were not publicly posted, but were available through the Windows Store in ESD format. The full list of included updates looks like this:

    KB2883200, KB2894029, KB2894179

    In November 2013, a monthly cumulative update of Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 update rollup was released: November 2013 , and corporate versions of images with Windows Server 2012 R2 are unexpectedly updated for everyone. Retail versions of the server OS and any versions of client OSs have not received an integrated update. Build number 9600.16422 .WINBLUE_GDR.131006-1505 is known on the Internet as Rollup Update 2 (RU2) and less commonly as R2. The label of disks in images of this version begins with the letters IR2 . Let me remind you that only VL builds of the server OS with this update are officially available. The full list of included updates looks like this:

    KB2862152, KB2868626, KB2876331, KB2883200, KB2884101, KB2884846, KB2887595, KB2888505, KB2894029, KB2894179, KB2898514, KB2900986, KB2901101, KB2906956, KB2908174

    On April 8, 2014, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 update: April 2014 , an update designed to bring the popularity of Windows 8.x on computers without a touch screen, was released. OS version is 9600.17031 .WINBLUE_GDR.140221-1952. On the Internet, the assembly is known as “Update 1”, “Spring Update” and “U1”, very rarely as “R3”. The label of disks in images of this version begins with the letters IR3 . In this version, in addition to the main KB2919355, several more updates are included. The full list looks like this:

    KB2919355, KB2919442, KB2932046, KB2937220, KB2937592, KB2938439, KB2938772, KB2939471, KB2949621

    With this assembly, editions of BING appeared in the Windows 8.1 family (known as Core Connected - free for OEMs who do not have the right to change the search and browser settings by default under the agreement. The user, of course, can change everything) and an inexpensive version of Professional Student (known as Pro for Education) for educational institutions - with the full functionality of a professional version.

    In August 2014, the updated ESD images with version 9600.17053 .WINBLUE_REFRESH.140923-1144 quietly appeared on the Windows Store . They do not appear on MSDN / TechNet, and only those who are already familiar with the ESD distribution format know about their existence (which I will talk about below). The label of disks in images of this version begins with the letters IR4. Starting with this build, the OS includes the Embedded Lockdown Manager, previously available only in Windows Embedded. By the way, if you update a previously installed OS through Windows Update, it will not appear. The full list of included updates looks like this:

    KB2919355, KB2920189, KB2931358, KB2931366, KB2932046, KB2934018
    KB2937220, KB2937592, KB2938439, KB2938772, KB2939153, KB2939576
    KB2949621, KB2950153, KB2954879, KB2955164, KB2956575, KB2958262
    KB2958263, KB2959626, KB2961072, KB2962140, KB2962872, KB2964718
    KB2965142, KB2966407, KB2966870, KB2967162, KB2968599, KB2969817
    KB2971203, KB2971850, KB2972280, KB2973201, KB2974008, KB2975061
    KB2975719, KB2976978, KB2979582, KB2980654, KB2990532, KB2993651
    Embedded Lockdown Manager KB2959936

    December 15, 2014 on MSDN / TechNet subscriptions and the download site for corporate subscribers, version 9600.17483 .WINBLUE_R5.141106-1500 with the integrated update November 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 appears . The Internet version is called Rollup Update 3 (RU3), although it is more correct to call it R5, as the name of the assembly branch WINBLUE_R5 shows. The label of disks in images of this version begins with the letters IR5 . The full list of included updates looks like this:

    KB2932046, KB2934018, KB2937220, KB2937592, KB2938439, KB2938772
    KB2939153, KB2949621, KB2954879, KB2958262, KB2958263, KB2961072
    KB2962140, KB2965142, KB2965500, KB2966407, KB2967917, KB2968599
    KB2971203, KB2973351, KB2976627, KB2976978, KB2977629, KB2978002
    KB2978742, KB2981580, KB2987107, KB2989647, KB2998527, KB3001237
    KB3003057, KB3014442, Embedded Lockdown Manager KB2959936

    Summarizing the above on versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, publicly available images have been collected six times so far. The most recent ones are available to subscribers and contain all updates included in the November cumulative OS update. For those who do not have subscriptions, the continuation of the article is more interesting, where I will tell you that you can legally download the latest version of the OS from the Microsoft website without any subscriptions. Well, or almost the latest version - at the time of writing, versions of R4 are available for free download, but I'm sure that public availability of versions of R5 that are already available on MSDN / TechNet is just around the corner.

    How to download Windows 8.1 from Microsoft without any subscriptions?

    With the release of Windows 8.1 in Microsoft, apparently, the view on the infallibility of its OS has changed. Now the corporation understands that users sometimes need to reinstall the OS. But how to reinstall the OS on a PC or laptop with a preinstalled system, if no disk was included, and the dinosaur DVD has already died out in modern laptops (and servers)? Microsoft now offers to use the tool to create installation media for Windows 8.1 . Download Media Creation Tool(A direct link is valid at the time of writing. If the utility is updated in the near future, it can be downloaded from the page using the previous link). By running the utility on a client computer with Internet access (the utility does not work on my server OS, but it works fine on Windows 7/8 / 8.1 / 10), you can select the desired OS edition, language, and bit depth, and, depending on the speed of your connection with Internet and hard drive speed, in 10-15 minutes to get the desired image with the latest version of Windows 8.1 with integrated updates.

    When choosing the Russian version, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Professional and Windows 8.1 Single Language are available (the “for one language” version, which OEMs like to preinstall on inexpensive laptops). Windows 8.1 N and Windows 8.1 Professional N are also available for English - without a media player, versions for the European Union. They perfectly install the Russian language pack - if you need the Russian version without the Microsoft media player.
    A complete list of all downloaded images (in ESD format) can be seen on your own at the link to the Windows Store website .
    It is possible to immediately create a bootable USB flash drive, or to download an ISO image from the OS.

    The boot process took me about 10 minutes on a WiFi connection, checking the image for about five more minutes on my SSD drive.

    Unfortunately, the resulting image will not have the correct disk label, and it will be called ESD-ISO, regardless of assembly. However, by installing the OS, you will realize that you have a fairly up-to-date version by simply checking for updates. As I already said, at the moment, through the Media Creation Tool, R4 assemblies are downloaded with updates for August 2014. I expect that the utility will soon begin to download already R5 images.

    By the way, only in this format is the ARM version of Windows RT 8.1 available with updates. An ESD image can be downloaded directly from Microsoft servers , converted to ISO using the ESDtoISO utility, integrated drivers for your Windows RT tablet in order to be able to make a clean installation. Attention, for Surface RT and Surface 2 it will be more correctDownload the finished recovery image from the Microsoft website .

    And yet, by installing Retail version of Windows 8.1 Professional, you can always change its serial number to client KMS from TechNet pages and activate the OS with your corporate KMS server, or its analogue. Do not download unverified images from torrents, especially images modified by enthusiasts with "something" integrated, - download them from the source!

    Also popular now: