Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1
Version of Microsoft Windows
Windows 8 logo and wordmark.svg
OS familyWindows NT
Preliminary name
Architecturex86, x64, ARM32
Latest build6.3.9600.17415
Release date2013-10-17
Support end2023-01-10
Server counterpart
Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows 8
Replaced by
Windows 10 (original release)

Windows 8.1 is an operating system by Microsoft. It is a free upgrade for existing Windows 8 users. It replaced Windows 8 and was succeeded by Windows 10 on 29 July 2015. This is the first version of 64-bit Windows to drop support for processors without the CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF instructions, as running on these processors will result in a bugcheck with error code 0x5D.

Although the operating system was marketed by Microsoft as an update for Windows 8, Microsoft's traditional support policy treats Windows 8.1 as a service pack.[1]

As of June 2022, it runs on 2.83% of desktop and laptop computers.[2]

It is the last release of Windows to have support for Windows Media Center as Microsoft discontinued support for the application with the release of Windows 10. It is also the last release of Windows to have the ability to create MS-DOS 8.00 startup disks, and thus to include MS-DOS in any form and to ship with a DVD release, since physical retail copies of Windows 10 and later ship with an USB mass storage device.

Main changes[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

  • The Start button was brought back (although it still leads to the Metro start screen).
  • Computer is renamed to This PC.
  • Clicking the File Explorer icon in the taskbar takes you to This PC instead of Libraries, unlike in Windows 7 and 8. Additionally, Libraries is disabled by default, you can re-enable it by right-click on the navigation pane and choose "Show libraries" or "Show all folders".
  • User folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos) added to This PC.
  • The Windows Experience Index has been removed. However, the command-line tool to determine the rating values (WinSAT) is still included.
  • New set of default wallpapers.
  • New customization options for the Start screen.
  • New Metro applications introduced, with many existing ones updated.
  • Redesigned PC Settings.

Update 1 (on non-touch devices)[edit | edit source]

  • When you hover over the top of a Metro app, a title bar appears with minimize and close buttons.
  • Right-clicking on the Start screen opens up a menu instead of the touch-oriented controls at the bottom.
  • The "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in" feature in Taskbar and Navigation Properties first introduced in the original release is now enabled by default.
  • You can pin Metro apps to the taskbar.
  • Power and Search buttons has been added to the start screen.
    • It's also possible to enable the power button on a tablet by going to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell\Launcher registry key, then create a new DWORD value named Launcher_ShowPowerButtonOnStartScreen and set it to 1, then restart explorer.exe.
  • Added dividers between apps in the "All Apps" view in Start.
  • SkyDrive is renamed to OneDrive (you can also get this in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 RTM (without Update 1) by updating the SkyDrive app via the Store).
  • The default media player and photo viewer has been changed to Windows Media Player and Windows Photo Viewer respectively.

Hardware compatibility[edit | edit source]

Windows 8.1 is officially compatible with Intel processors up to Skylake (6th Generation). On Kaby Lake (7th Generation) up to Coffee Lake (8th/9th Generation), 8.1 is not supported due to a lack of Windows Update and Intel Graphics, however, hacks have been made to get both working. For Ice Lake (10th Generation) up to Alder Lake (12th Generation), no known hacks have appeared for Intel Graphics, but the chipset drivers for Ice Lake, Tiger Lake (11th Generation), and Alder Lake have been confirmed to install without any issues.

List of known builds[edit | edit source]

Milestone 1[edit | edit source]

Milestone 2[edit | edit source]

Milestone Preview[edit | edit source]

Pre-RTM[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Post-RTM[edit | edit source]

GA Update[edit | edit source]

Update 1 pre-release builds[edit | edit source]

Update 1[edit | edit source]

Update 2[edit | edit source]

Update 3[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]