Windows 8

Why RTM Is No Longer a Green Light to Install Windows

As Microsoft moves to a rapid release schedule for its client and server operating systems, don’t hurry to be first out of the gate when Microsoft releases the RTM bits.


The release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone has traditionally been when Microsoft officially deems a new product or OS to be ready for consumption and officially supported, giving organizations the green light to deploy Windows in production environments, or enthusiasts their first opportunity to install the final build.

When Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 Server 2012 R2 RTM was announced in August 2013, the bits were only made available to manufacturers, enabling them to prepare new devices in time for the holiday season. TechNet and MSDN subscribers would not get access until October 18, leaving developers and system administrators waiting along with everyone else another couple of months for the release to customers (RTC) milestone.

Change of Heart

This decision created something of a furor in the IT community, and on September 9, Microsoft backtracked and made the RTM bits available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers. This was an important move, as developers in particular need to have access to the new OS in advance of customers, to ensure that applications can be updated to support new features and that existing compatibility is maintained.

Sponsored Content

Read the Best Personal and Business Tech without Ads

Staying updated on what is happening in the technology sector is important to your career and your personal life but ads can make reading news, distracting. With Thurrott Premium, you can enjoy the best coverage in tech without the annoying ads.

Windows 8.1 Pro review: RTM

Ecosystem Catch-up

So why wait two months before officially releasing Windows 8.1 to the general public? At the time of writing this article and just a month away from RTC, it’s clear that some applications and device drivers don’t work correctly in Windows 8.1, despite the OS having been RTM’d more than a month ago.

Intel and NVidia have done a good job at ensuring drivers are ready for Windows 8.1 by RTM. Microsoft’s suite of free add-on applications, Windows Live Essentials, hasn’t been updated to support Windows 8.1, and it’s not clear if there are any plans to do so.

You’ll find some websites that still need to be updated to work properly with IE11, which is included out-of-the-box in Windows 8.1. This is almost always the case with new releases of Internet Explorer. If you install IE as soon as it RTMs, you will likely find even major sites that don’t render correctly or exhibit other compatibility issues.

RTC for the Best End User Experience

If you want a smooth upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Server 2012 R2, I recommend waiting until RTC on October 18, even if you have access to a TechNet or MSDN subscription. Resisting the temptation to upgrade before RTC is likely to save time and prevent irritating compatibility problems with drivers and applications – which, considering the size of the Windows ecosystem, are guaranteed to affect a sizable proportion of the user base.

Related Topics:


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Sign up for a Petri Account

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.

Download this eBook!

External Sharing and Guest User Access in Microsoft 365 and Teams

his eBook will dive into policy considerations you need to make when creating and managing guest user access to your Teams network, as well as the different layers of guest access and the common challenges that accompany a more complicated Microsoft 365 infrastructure. The eBook will also outline some of the major decision points across four general-purpose guest access policy scenarios for how an organization can set this up with standard licensing.

Download Now

Sponsored By