There are valid reasons why Microsoft (or almost any other technology company) does not like the sight of early leaked copies, and this new development only adds to the case.

Windows 8.1 with Bing is now available for download, unofficially, of course.

This new version of the operating system is only designed for OEMs to install on their upcoming hardware devices, but if you look hard enough you can find a copy. No word yet on whether Redmond is offering this SKU of its flagship operating system free of charge, or at lower costs to manufactures.

But the idea behind it is simple enough — to encourage hardware partners in bringing more and more affordable devices to store shelves, thereby boosting the adoption of the modern platform.

Microsoft did confirm that the peculiarly named Windows 8.1 with Bing does, in fact, come with Bing configured as the default search engine in Internet Explorer.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of complying with competition regulations, the company does allow users the ability to switch to a different search engine like Google or Yahoo!

Additionally, this variant of the operating system will never be released for download separately, as Microsoft clearly wants to reserve this to be preinstalled by hardware partners on their devices.

If you are in the mood to check it out, however, keep in mind that this comes via unofficial channels. It’s best to stick with your current operating system in order to receive support, and all that fun stuff.

But leaked Windows 8.1 with Bing, has.

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  1. They need to have them install and uninstall other browsers and set Bing as the default on the default user profile

  2. Mike Greenway / June 3, 2014 at 9:06 am /Reply

    Is this the unofficial channel that installs malware before you download it or not?

  3. All installation media of Windows 8.1 with update 1 can install the “with bing” variant, simply change the build in ei.cfg (or delete ei.cfg and select it when you’re installing).

    This is true with all of the technet/msdn iso’s available directly from Microsoft.

    • Curious – the appeal of Windows 8.1 with Bing is that it is free for OEMs to license/install on their computers, would Windows 8.1 with Bing installed after adjusting/removing ei.cfg file also be without license/activation issues after install?

      • There would be no way to activate it – keys are only provided for OEM’s to install into their bios on pre-installed machines, there’s no non-generic (ie, activation-ready) keys available – at least, unless Microsoft decides to give people 8.1 with Bing for free.

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