Hoping for a fix to the Windows 8.1 GA image

For those of you being involved in a few Windows 8.1 deployment projects already (I have), you have probably stumbled into that setup behaves a bit differently in Windows 8.1 than it used to do in Windows 8. So far no fix has been announced, but I'm hoping there will be one-.

The issue

Shorthand, Microsoft kind of broke the Windows 8.1 GA image, and the result is that the Start screen items are missing for the built-in Administrator account, which of course is a royal pain when you want to prepare a reference image.

So far Microsoft seems not very interested in fixing this issue, despite several customers reporting the bug. Instead of providing a fix, they recommend Enterprise customers to ditch their current deployment methods and start using audit mode when preparing their reference image. This is of course beyond stupid. Most (if not all) enterprise organizations, are not using audit mode during their deployment. It's more or less only OEM's and system builders that uses that feature of the Windows Setup.

 

Workaround – Use the original Windows 8.1 RTM release.

The Start screen is only broken in the GA release of Windows 8.1, build 6.3.9600.16408 (?????SW_DVD5_SA_Win_Ent_8.1_64BIT_English_MLF_X18-96759.iso). The first RTM release of Windows 8.1, build 6.3.9600.16384, that was released before October 18, don't have the issue. So if you are lucky enough to have a copy of that one around, you're good to go.

Disclaimer: I don't know if using the original Windows 8.1 RTM release is supported by Microsoft. I only know it works, and doesn't have the Start screen issue.

Also, for a really interesting read, and for some additional background info to this post, I recommend reading the following forum threads:

Below you see the difference between the GA version of Windows 8.1 vs. the RTM version of Windows 8.1:

image
The Windows 8.1 GA image Start screen, with a bunch of items missing.

Win81-normal
What the Start screen should look like (e.g. from the Windows 8.1 RTM release, before GA).

About the author

Johan Arwidmark

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Admin
Admin
7 years ago

Hi Marco,

Not really, it's not MDT that is the problem, it's a bug in Windows 8.1…. I've been told it's fixed in the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update, and that Microsoft will publish a KB on how to fix it for the Windows 8.1 GA version.

/ Johan

Marco
Marco
7 years ago

Hi Johan

Is it posible to create an windows 8.1 image on sccm and deploy that image with MDT 2013, to get around GA image problem?

Regards
Marco

Admin
Admin
7 years ago

The only workarounds I know of is either to use the non-GA image (but still RTM), or to create another user, and export/import the start-screen layout. I haven't seen a hotfix yet.

For commands, check this post: https://deploymentresearch.com/Research/tabid/62/EntryId/142/Samples-command-lines-and-scripts-from-NIC-2014.aspx

/ Johan

Andrew Robinson
Andrew Robinson
7 years ago

Hi Johan,

Is there any update/work-around/fix yet on this issue from Microsoft (Start screen items are missing for the built-in Administrator account)?

Thanks
Andrew

Admin
Admin
7 years ago

Ok, so you didn't have the image updated via WSUS before sysprep? The rollup updates should all be available there.

Thanks for posting back,

/ Johan

Dietmar
Dietmar
7 years ago

Hi Johan!

Thanks for your answer. Yesterday I installed the GA updates kb2883200 and rollup kb2884846 before sysprep. One of these updates solved the problem.

Dietmar

Admin
Admin
7 years ago

Hi Dietmar,

I'm afraid you have to file a bug on that one. There was a similar bug for Swedish in Windows 8, but that was fixed in an update.

/ Johan

Dietmar
Dietmar
7 years ago

Sorry, one more question: How can I start troubleshooting this strange behavior? Windows 8 didn't have this problem so I think I miss only a little.

Dietmar
Dietmar
7 years ago

Hi! Did you ever have the problem that after sysprep the language of the built in apps are in a different language? We deploy the german version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise. The apps are definitely in german language. After sysprep and deploy the apps are english. I pull my hairs out. The answerfile is set to de-DE in all phases.

Is this relating to the same bug?

Thanks Dietmar

Admin
Admin
7 years ago

You can absolutely use the Export/Import-StartLayout to export Start-Screen settings that you have customized.

/ Johan

maleroy
maleroy
7 years ago

Thanks for the heads up Johan, would the Import-StartLayout cmdlet be a workaround for this ?

ervi
ervi
7 years ago

Thanks for the info Johan. I was just wondering this issue the other day….didnt cross my mind that this is a bug.

saranrajappa
saranrajappa
7 years ago

Hi Johan,
I have same issue. MSFT should fix and we cannot change the image engineering process for a bug.
Let us push for it.

Thanks & Regards,
Saravanan R


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