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Upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Published: May 9, 2014

Applies To: Windows 8.1

If you already have deployed Windows 8 in your environment, upgrading to Windows 8.1 is a straightforward process. In this topic, you learn about the upgrade process and how to use the application model in Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager to create an application that updates existing Windows 8 Enterprise RTM clients to Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

For the purposes of this topic, we will use three machines: DC01, CM01, and PC0009. DC01 is a domain controller and CM01 is a Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard machine, fully patched with the latest security updates, and configured as a member server in the fictional contoso.com domain. PC0009 is a machine with Windows 8 RTM, targeted for the Windows 8.1 upgrade. For more details on the setup for this topic, please see Proof-Of-Concept Environment.

Figure 1

Figure 1. The machines used in this topic.

For organizations running Windows 8 Enterprise RTM, the Windows 8.1 update process is simply running the Windows 8.1 setup.exe with a few command-line switches. The switches used in this update scenario are commonly the following:

  • /auto:upgrade. Required switch that runs the update process with no user interaction.

  • /noautoexit. Optional switch. If something goes wrong during setup, wait for user input.

This means that if you have only a few machines to upgrade, or if you want to test upgrading a few machines, you can simply download Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO and run the setup.exe /auto:upgrade command. For larger numbers, you probably want to automate the setup using System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

This topic will show you how to use a very simple upgrade package that relies on the Windows 8.1 setup only to control the process. At a high level, the steps involved are as follows:

noteNote
For more advanced control of and deeper information about the Windows 8.1 update process, download High-Volume Windows 8.1 Update from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also download a Windows PowerShell script wrapper from TechNet Script Center Repository that has been written to run from Configuration Manager.

In this section, you will create the application in Configuration Manager that will run the setup.exe. In these steps, we assume you have downloaded and extracted the Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO to the C:\Setup\Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 folder.

  1. On CM01, using File Explorer, create the E:\Sources\Software Updates\Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 folder.

  2. Copy the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 setup files to the E:\Sources\Software Updates\Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 folder.

    Figure 2 Figure 2. The Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 setup files copied.

  3. Using the Configuration Manager console, in the Software Library workspace, expand Application Management.

  4. Right-click the OSD folder, and select Create Application.

  5. In the Create Application Wizard, on the General page, select Manually specify the application information and click Next.

  6. On the General Information page, assign the name Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Update and click Next.

  7. On the Application Catalog page, accept the default settings and click Next.

  8. On the Deployment Types page, click Add.

  9. In the Create Deployment Type Wizard, on the General page, select Script Installer and click Next.

  10. On the General Information page, assign the name Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Upgrade and click Next.

  11. On the Content page, in the Content Location: box, browse to \\CM01\Sources$\Software Updates\Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64.

  12. On the Content page, in the Installation program: box, type setup.exe /auto:upgrade and click Next.

    Figure 3 Figure 3. Creating the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Upgrade deployment type.

  13. On the Detection Rule page, configure the following:

    1. Setting Type: Registry

    2. Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

    3. Key: Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

    4. Value: CurrentBuild

    5. Data Type: Integer

    6. This registry setting must satisfy the following rule to indicate the presence of this application

    7. Operator: Greater than or equal to

    8. Value: 9600

      Figure 4 Figure 4. Configuring the detection rules.

  14. On the Installation Behavior page, select to Install for System and Only when a user is logged on. Then click Next.

  15. On the Requirements page, click Add.

  16. On the Create Requirement page, select Device / Operating system and then One of / Windows 8 / All Windows 8 (64-bit). Click OK, and then click Next.

    Figure 5 Figure 5. Creating the requirement for the deployment type.

  17. On the Dependencies page, click Next.

  18. On the Summary page, click Next, and then click Close.

  19. In the Create Application Wizard, on the Deployment Types page, click Next twice, and then click Close.

  20. Right-click the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Upgrade application and select Distribute Content.

  21. In the Distribute Content Wizard, add the CM01 distribution point and complete the wizard.

  22. Using CMTrace, verify the distribution to the CM01 distribution point by reviewing the distmgr.log file, or use the Distribution Status / Content Status option in the Monitoring workspace. Do not continue until you see the new application being distributed successfully.

Once the upgrade application has been created, you can create a collection to test a deployment. In this section, we assume you have the PC0009 machine running Windows 8 RTM, with the System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager client installed.

  1. On CM01, using the Configuration Manager console, in the Asset and Compliance workspace, right-click Device Collections, and then select Create Device Collection. Use the following settings:

    1. General

    2. Name: Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Update

    3. Limited Collection: All Systems

    4. Membership rules:

    5. Direct rule

    6. Resource Class: System Resource

    7. Attribute Name: Name

    8. Value: PC0009

    9. Select Resources

    10. Select PC0009

  2. Review the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Update collection. Don’t continue until you see the PC0009 machine in the collection.

In this section, you create a deployment for the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Update application.

  1. On CM01, using the Configuration Manager console, in the Software Library workspace, right-click Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 RTM, and then select Deploy.

  2. On the General page, select the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Upgrade collection and click Next.

  3. On the Content page, click Next.

  4. On the Deployment Settings page, select the following settings and click Next:

    1. Action: Install

    2. Purpose: Available

  5. On the Scheduling page, accept the default settings and click Next.

  6. On the User Experience page, accept the default settings and click Next.

  7. On the Alerts page, accept the default settings and click Next.

  8. On the Summary page, click Next, and then click Close.

In this section, you start the Windows 8.1 Upgrade application on PC0009 (currently running Windows 8 RTM).

noteNote
During the Windows 8.1 upgrade, the Configuration Manager client loses control over the Windows 8.1 upgrade process because the Windows 8.1 setup process restarts the computer on its own. However, the Configuration Manager client repairs itself (because of the operating system change), and after the application evaluation cycle runs successfully, installation information is provided in the console.

  1. On PC0009, start the Software Center.

  2. Select the Windows 8.1 Enterprise x64 Upgrade application, and click Install.

Figure 6

Figure 6. The Windows 8.1 setup started.

Figure 7

Figure 7. Later in the Windows 8.1 upgrade process.

Figure 8

Figure 8. PC0009 now running Windows 8.1.

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