It’s official, Windows 8.1 RTM is available. Microsoft’s original intention was to hold the RTM of Windows 8.1 until October General Release; however, the development and overall technical community outcry has somewhat forced them to relent and release the RTM build early, almost in a business-as-usual fashion. Using virtualization client software, I setup a test Windows 8.1 ENT edition VM. I have some suggestions about Windows Update settings, and I also join my HomeGroup and setup File History (think Time Machine for Windows). Below is a step-by-step guide and a look at the installation process. This guide utilizes the Microsoft Account login and not a traditional local account. Pro-Tip – If you are using a VM, make sure to not use NAT (share IP with host) and to use a Bridged connection. Otherwise features like HomeGroup and other network settings can be problematic in my experience. Here we go:
Here you will select Custom if this is a fresh installation.
My virtual machine had a 60GB hard drive:
Now grab a coffee and wait. This took about 10 minutes to get to Finishing up step. Depending on your hardware configuration, YMMV.
Looks just like Windows 8, set a PC name and choose your favorite color.
I never choose Express Settings on anything I install, I recommend always choosing Customize to see and choose these options for myself. My advice would be to do this also.
I am at home, so Yes I want this functionality.
On the second page of settings here is what you will see. I recommend setting Do Not configure updates at this time, its (Not Recommended) in the drop down, but we’ll configure this later. The other settings are fine with me.
The default settings on the next page are fine with me as well. Make your selections and continue.
These next two screenshots are of the same page. First is Microsoft’s default setting.
This is the selections that I chose.
If you don’t have a network connection or your adapter isn’t identified, you’ll see this:
In my case, the network was configured properly but I got the error for some reason. I hit “Try again” and after a moment or two it worked giving me the following screen.
If you are using Two-Factor auth with your account, Windows is ready for this. I am using this service and highly recommend it.
Next, wait a moment for validation.
Now here is an interesting piece of the installation. I have the Win 8.1 preview installed on my Surface RT. It detects this Windows 8.1 device in my Trusted Devices attached to my Live account and wants to know if I want to copy over the settings and apps. I would love to skip installing apps and configuring settings so I’ll say yes.
Now we are done with the installation wizard and we wait for the OS installation to complete. Time to refill that coffee cup. Here are some screen captures of the various screens during the installation:
And here is my home screen it configured. It added all the apps in the live tile shapes I have on my Surface RT as well. Every app that has the download arrow on I had to manually click for the system to download it, but it beats having to search around or wait forever for windows to install all the apps before my system is usable.
Here I clicked the down arrow, getting a list of all my apps. A new feature in Win 8.1.
I have a successful sync of my desktop theme tied to my Live account on the classic desktop:
And here is my desktop on my current PC Win 8:
Here we have the System page open, verifying Windows 8.1 Enterprise is installed.
Note – not ALL of your account settings will be sync’d until you activate your copy of Windows. This is a default lock screen and not my sync-d theme lock screen wallpaper. Other personalization settings will be disabled until you activate:
Next, you’ll want to configure Automatic Updates. The last thing you want is for the system to decide when you want to install them. On the “metro” start screen just type in “windows updates” (without quotes) and enter into the Windows Updates settings:
Here is how I personally configured my updates. I’d like Windows to download the updates, including recommended and for all products, then let me decide when I want to initiate the installation, rather than the system choosing.
Then you’ll have to click the back arrow and most likely will have some updates to run:
Notice also here you can configure File History and Recovery, take a look over those options. I HIGHLY recommend setting up and utilizing File History at home. Think of it as Time Machine for Windows. Check out my post here on the product:
During the installation, my new VM connected to my HomeGroup and I went in and configured File History:
This ends the guide for Windows 8.1 RTM ENT edition installation. Again, I highly recommend configuring Automatic Updates when you want, utilizing HomeGroups along with File History and Storage Spaces.