MDL user “seaa” posted a registry trick that makes the 8.1.1 update show up in Windows Update. Here’s how it works.
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT this if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might brick your current Windows 8.1 installation!!!
Through Windows Update
Update: people are reporting that Microsoft patched this registry hack, please try the direct links below.
In regedit, navigate to “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\” and create a new key called “SHWindowsPoolS14″ (or download and run this .reg file), now reboot your PC and check for new updates. You should see “Update for Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems (KB2919442) – (S14 Prerequisite v01.0008)“, this is the first in a series of updates that will update your PC to Windows 8.1.1 (or whatever it’s called).
Direct MSU download links
(I added ARM download for Windows RT, but WiFi drivers might not work correctly after KB291935, they’ll be restored after KB2932046, please be careful!)
Update: Looks like Microsoft took down the KB2919355 links, I’ve made MEGA.co.nz mirrors for all 32-Bit, 64-Bit and ARM MSUs: Click Here
Update 2: removing /c/ or /d/ from the download URL resolved the problem, KB2919355 is directly available from Microsoft again. Thanks “Bobster” for posting this in the comments!
Update 3: The above trick doesn’t work anymore, all the updates are completely gone from Microsoft’s servers. I removed the links and posted my own mirrors below.
Download, unzip and install the MSUs in the following order:
It’s important to follow this order exactly! (Minor variations are possible, but just stick to this order, please)
Reboot every time you are asked to do so!
(Updates with a * aren’t part of the Spring Update according to the leaked ADK, but they do show up after the registry hack. Install them, or don’t, but I do recommend you do…)
How is this even possible??
Nobody knows for sure, but I think the registry key is an internal flag used by Microsoft employees who are “dogfeeding” (updating as soon as a new build is available for testing, almost every day) the Windows 8.1 Update. When they enable this key Windows Update will search for updates on an internal, confidential, update server, that way they will easily get the latest updates for testing and they can test if updating works properly. (A similar registry tweak was used during Vista development) Another possibility is that this key was created to specifically test 8.1.1 RTM deployement. We might never know for sure…