Windows 8.1

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP 1 Cumulative Update 3

Last Friday (18th September 2013) Microsoft released CU3 For SCCM 2012 SP1. This has a few little fixes, but the most important part is the addition of Windows 8.1 support.

Information about the update, and the hotfix itself is available at

The install is required on Primary and Secondary sites, but not Distribution Points. It’s actually quite a nice installer and does the standard pre-requisite checks and has links to deployment instructions. It’s recommended to close all consoles, but a reboot of the server isn’t required (it will shut down a bunch of services anyway, so consider it an outage). Funnily enough, the installer says to restart your computer at the end also.


As part of the install, it will ask if you want to create packages to install the updated client, the console and server. With the push towards Applications rather than Packages you think they’d do both, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Note that you can’t update a standalone install of the console with this update, you’ll need to either deploy it, or manually run it. The install file should be located at “\\\SMS_PAA\hotfix\KB2882125\AdminConsole\i386” and the install string: “msiexec.exe /p configmgr2012adminui-sp1-kb2882125-i386.msp /L*v %TEMP%\configmgr2012adminui-sp1-kb2882125-i386.msp.LOG /q REINSTALL=ALL REINSTALLMODE=mous”

You can take out the /q to actually see the install rather than waiting for msiexec.exe to disppear from your running processes :) I also needed to reboot after updating the console.

The install process went without a hitch for me, hopefully you’ll experience the same.

Thanks to @sam1310 for alerting me to this update.

Update: To clarify, this patch is for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 management, not deployment.

To officially deploy Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 you still need SCCM 2012 R2. This explains it quite well:

 If you are still running System Center Configuration Manager 2007, the SCCM Team has announced that they will be providing an update for Windows 8.1 (and Server 2012 R2) to make them fully supported clients. However, just as Windows 8 there will be no support for Operating System Deployment.


Also from Technet:

 Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2

As with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Service Pack 1, we are adding the following operating systems to our client support matrix in Configuration Manager 2007 with SP2 (includes Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and Configuration Manager 2007 R3):

  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter

Note: Though these will be fully supported as clients, there is no plan to add support for deploying these as operating systems by using the Configuration Manager 2007 operating system deployment feature. Also, no site servers or site systems will be supported on any version of Windows Server 2012 R2.

Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Experience

Windows 8.1 has RTM’d! Now that it’s available on TechNet (R.I.P.) and MSDN, I thought I’d try an inplace upgrade from my home Windows 8 Enterprise machine to Windows 8.1 Pro.

The first thing I did after downloading an ISO was to use the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool to make a bootable USB for Windows 8.1 which is incredibly easy. Then after launching the setup.exe from the USB, I was first greeted with a screen asking for a key:

keyA bit strange that an update needs a new key, but once you enter it,  it will run a quick online check before letting you continue.

It’s zero touch from there, it’ll do it’s magic and get to the end, asking you for your Microsoft ID similar to the original Windows 8 way. A very easy upgrade process!

From here on in, it’s going to be a list of issues and comments I had:

  • The first thing I did was run Windows Update – which took about 15 minutes then came back with an error. I tried again and there were updates this time – I’ve done this on a fresh Windows 8.1 build and had similar results, so I’m guessing it’s not something you should do straight away :)
  • Next it didn’t detect my video card properly as I was stuck at a lower resolution and only 1 of my 2 screens, so I had to download the Nvidia graphics driver. There’s already Geforce drivers for Windows 8.1 in beta, so I grabbed them and they seemed to install fine, brining me back to 2 monitor glory.
  • Now that I have a start button, I can right click on it and get a handy menu. Strangely, once this menu is on screen you can’t move your cursor to your other screen… unless you move the cursor really fast! Moving it slow gets you stuck on the edge of the screen, but rapidly move the mouse and your cursor will jump over the other side. Coming back to the first screen is exactly the same, weird!
  • Right clicking on a file in Windows Explorer was fine, but if the contents of the folder you’re in change, the menu disappears. This is rather frustrating if you’ve got a program making changes to files in a folder. I’m hoping this one is a bug.
  • The default bright yellow background I received wasn’t overly pretty, but being able to set the desktop and new Windows 8 interface backgrounds the same makes for a less jarring change between the two modes. You can set this under Taskbar and Navigation properties, Navigation tab, Show my desktop background on start.
  • Also under the Navigation tab is ‘Show Start on the display I’m using when I press the Windows logo key – another good option to enable so the new full screen start menu shows on the screen you’re currently looking at.
  • Having to install all your programs again is a bit annoying (the data of the programs isn’t lost in the upgrade, so you can either install over the top or hopefully just run the exe file depending on the program)
  • Hints pop up randomly telling you how to switch windows or some other tip. A good idea.
  • The latest Java is incompatible with IE11 at the time of writing this (IE11 gives a warning saying “Several add-ons aren’t compatible with Internet Explorer’s enhanced security features and have been disabled”) , but you can still use other browsers.
  • My Computer in Windows Explorer is now called “This PC”. I guess that makes sense, but you can rename it if you don’t like it just as you could before.

That’s all I’ve hit so far, I’ll update this post with any other unexpected or interesting finds.