​Microsoft has made 32 and 64 bit ISO downloads available for Windows 8.1 Enterprise for evaluation purposes. At this stage there are no VHD evaluation files available but hopefully they will follow soon for those who want to run them up under Hyper-V. The question is whether the VHDs will be Generation 2 VM or not. What’s a Gen2 VM? Well, you will have to wait until the next post…

Some resources to get you started, and some information from the Microsoft site follow…

System Requirements

What’s New in Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 FAQ for IT Professionals

Windows 8.1 TechCenter

Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation Resource Page.



The Windows 8.1 Enterprise evaluation is available in 32 and 64-bit ISO versions.


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Technical Resources

Access technical product resources—such as evaluation guides, virtual labs, training courses, and forums—at the Window 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation Resource Page.


  • Best business tablets and PCs – Enhanced user experience (improved multi-tasking, multi-monitor support, and mouse and keyboard navigation), boot to desktop, new Search experience, support for latest hardware innovation (processors, InstantGo, displays, smaller tablets, NFC, biometrics)
  • Windows apps for business – Develop, deploy, and manage new mobile apps easier and faster, across PC and Phone (commonality of app platform, same tools, consistent user experience, easy portability)
  • Mobility for the enterprise – Enhanced mobile broadband, NFC ‘tap to pair’ printing, Wi-Fi Direct printing, native Miracast wireless display, auto-triggered VPN with built-in clients, broadband tethering
  • Empower Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – Improved IT controls (Start screen layout and consistency), remote business data removal, Open MDM (OMA-DM support for Windows Intune and third-party MDM,) workplace join, work folders
  • Enterprise grade security – Modern access controls (fingerprint-based biometrics, multi-factor authentication using virtual smart cards), malware resistance (Windows Defender with network behavior monitoring and Internet Explorer 11 scan of binary extensions)

Activation and Usage Guidance

  • Plan ahead. Back up your files and settings before installing this evaluation and, if necessary, again prior to the 90-day expiration.
  • Upon installation, Windows will prompt you to activate. A product key is not required for this software. Unsure on how to activate? Visit our FAQ.
  • You must complete activation before October 31, 2014 to use this evaluation.
  • Once you activate, you have up to 90 days to use the software. You can track the amount of time you have left by referring to the “watermark” in the lower right corner of the Windows desktop.
  • If you fail to activate this evaluation after installation, or if your evaluation period expires, the desktop background will turn black, you will see a persistent desktop notification indicating that the system is not genuine, and the PC will shut down every hour.

Following the evaluation period, you will need to replace the operating system on your test computer and reinstall all your programs and data. It is not possible to upgrade the evaluation to a licensed working version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise. A clean installation is required.

Things to Know

This is evaluation software designed for IT professionals interested in trying Windows 8.1 Enterprise on behalf of their organization. We do not recommend that you install this evaluation if you are not an IT professional or not professionally managing corporate networks.

Downloading the Windows 8.1 Enterprise 90-day evaluation could take a few hours. The exact time will depend on your provider, bandwidth, and traffic. If your download gets interrupted, it will restart where it left off. See this FAQ for details. For technical questions, please visit the Windows 8.1 IT Pro Technical Forums.