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Microsoft extends Windows 8.1 Update migration deadline for business

Gregg Keizer | April 21, 2014
Microsoft on Wednesday extended the Windows 8.1 Update migration deadline for businesses by three months, but again told consumers they had less than four weeks to make the move before the company shuts off their patch faucet.

However, enterprises and other organizations that rely on WSUS (Windows Server Update Services), Windows Intune or System Center Configuration Manager to obtain and deploy patches now will have until August 12 to migrate from Windows 8.1 to Win8.1U.

LeBlanc alluded to customer complaints when he described the new deadline. "We've been actively discussing this new approach to servicing with enterprise customers and listening to their feedback regarding managing the deployment timeline," he wrote. "As a result, we've decided to extend the timeframe for enterprise customers to deploy these new product updates from 30 to 120 days."

While the additional three months will likely be welcome news to firms managing Windows 8.1-powered devices, the 120 days will still be just one-sixth the usual grace period given when Microsoft ships a service pack, or what was given Windows 8, which followed the service pack required migration timetable.

Also on Wednesday, Microsoft said it had fixed a bug that had prompted it to suspend delivery of Win8.1U to organizations running WSUS, and was again pushing Win8.1U through that channel. The seven-day stoppage of Win8.1U had reduced businesses' initial five-week window to four, and perhaps contributed to Microsoft's decision to extend the deadline into August.

Others, however, remain plagued by a variety of error messages that have popped up when they tried — unsuccessfully — to update Windows 8.1 to Win8.1U. A series of threads on Microsoft's support forum, including one that has been viewed over 18,000 times and contained more than 400 separate entries, both large numbers by Microsoft standards, were still active Wednesday.

The same deadline of August 12 also applies to Windows Server 2012 R2 Update, which like Win8.1U was released last week, Microsoft said in a separate post on its Windows Server blog.


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