Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Window 8 – Twenty Third Pass: Windows 8.1 Update

Today Microsoft released to some of us the latest update to Windows 8.1 – simply titled Windows 8.1 Update.  The rest of the world will get this update via Windows Update starting April 8 but I was able to install it today and see how Microsoft has capitulated to their desktop users.  More on that in a future post.

If you have access to Update then you will quickly realize installing it that any gains made in terms of the interface for keyboard and mouse users are soon forgotten due to the cumbersome install method.  Hopefully the release to the masses via Windows Update next week won’t be so difficult. 

Here is how it worked for me updating a Dell desktop, a Microsoft Surface Pro and a Surface Pro 2.  All were running fully updated 64 bit Windows 8.1 installs.  The 32 bit process isn’t that much different.

This process applies to Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1.

I downloaded a zip file that contained 7 files.  6 install files and 1 readme text file.  The readme text file gave the recommended install order for the 6 install files.  Wait, what?!  I have to manually install all 6 files?  Yup.  Progress in Update.

I didn’t find much online about this process except that Microsoft is using the word “recommended” lightly, it should say, “required”. Doing it out of sequence can create some issues depending on your hardware so I don’t recommend varying from their recommendation.

Here is what the readme text file says:

Recommended Install Order
KB2919442
KB2919355
KB2932046
KB2937592
KB2938439
KB2949621

Here is what that really means.
  1. KB2919442 – when I went to install this all of my systems said it was already installed.  If you are current with Windows Updates then you should also get prompted that this update is already installed.
  2. KB2919355 – this is the big one at 707mb.  This one took the longest to run and requires the first of many reboots when you are done.  This one also has the only quickly visible notice that anything has changed as it pins the Windows Store to the taskbar – change I quickly undid.
  3. KB2932046 – this one also requires a reboot when you are finished.
  4. KB2937592 – this one also requires a reboot when you are finished.
  5. KB2938439 - this one also requires a reboot when you are finished.
  6. KB2949621 - this one also requires a reboot when you are finished.
Really?  5 reboots?  You couldn’t somehow have packaged all of that together?  Again, I hope the experience for Windows Update users is far better.  Due to the number of reboots it took 30 minutes for my longest update.

One other note – if you are using a Surface make sure it isn’t docked to anything before installing the second update file – otherwise the second update may hang at 75% forever.

Aside from a goofy name that makes no sense, and a convoluted update method the benefits of Windows 8.1 Update are beneficial for desktop users.

Had I known I probably would have waited until next week.