The ISOs are now available for anyone to download.
Windows 8.1 Preview (English)
right got me a 2012r2 and win8.1 vm and so far from a manageability point of view its a whole heap better in a very short space of time ive set up a start screen (removed crud i dont want and moved stuff round just to make it non default) and logged in as another user and they have that start screen AND cant modify it (i kind of wish they could add but not remove apps maybe ms could add a my start screen bit at the end so they get a std custom start screen but can still pin folders/apps (and i can always override the policy for staff laptops if the need arises but with ther arrow to all apps im not sure its an issue)
start button is pointless really but is more obvious than hovering over the corner.
Right click teh start button and you now dont have cmd prompt/admin its been powershelled out of the menu (i wonder if i can hide these for users?) and you can turn off /restart from here as well)
all in all thats one of my biggest annoyances with windows 8 solved
Windows 8.1 Support Lifecycle Policy
Windows 8.1 builds on the foundation of Windows 8, and includes many enhancements and great new features in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. Windows 8.1 also introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities for businesses. The lifecycle of Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8 with support ending 2023-01-10. Windows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the General Availability of the Windows 8.1 update to continue to remain supported under the Windows 8 lifecycle. With the availability of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview, it is time to start planning your deployment and there are deployment tools and guidance available to help make these updates seamless for customers.
Customising the start screen still doesn't really help... we have um.. hundreds of applications in our "Departments" section on our start menu and dumping them on everyone's start screen (even in sections) will be a horrible, horrible mess.
Does anyone know if there is a GPO for setting the start screen as transparent as described in post 16 by @Zenden please?