I've had a few users ask whether Microsoft plans to make Media (.ISO) updates available to the general public for Windows 8.1
. The answer is no.
A spokesperson noted that the only way to update a retail-activated Windows 8 computer to Windows 8.1 will be to go through the Windows Store and download the updated bits. However, .ISO-based updates will be supported for volume-license installations (as well as for TechNet, MSDN and DreamSpark subscribers).
Why isn't Microsoft making the .ISO files broadly available for Windows 8.1? Another spokesperson told me it's because "8.1 was intended as an update for users with Windows 8 already installed." I know Windows Store downloads have been problematic for a number of users and spotty Internet has made downloading from the Store a challenge for some (especially outside the U.S.). But that's all Microsoft officials are saying right now about .ISOs.