Computers

How to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

How to upgrade Windows 8 to Wi...
Here's how to update Windows 8 to the new Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store
Here's how to update Windows 8 to the new Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store
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Select the Windows Store tile to get the 8.1 update
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Select the Windows Store tile to get the 8.1 update
Here's how to update Windows 8 to the new Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store
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Here's how to update Windows 8 to the new Windows 8.1 via the Windows Store
A preview of the changes in Windows 8.1 are displayed before you install
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A preview of the changes in Windows 8.1 are displayed before you install
Run Windows Update manually before installing the update
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Run Windows Update manually before installing the update
File history is one tool built in to Windows 8 that allows you to back up important files and folders
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File history is one tool built in to Windows 8 that allows you to back up important files and folders
Monitor the progress of the Windows 8.1 download and install
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Monitor the progress of the Windows 8.1 download and install
A restart is required to complete the installation of the Windows 8.1 update
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A restart is required to complete the installation of the Windows 8.1 update
Windows displays several screens while upgrading to 8.1
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Windows displays several screens while upgrading to 8.1
As always, you'll need to agree to the Microsoft terms of service
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As always, you'll need to agree to the Microsoft terms of service
Previously installed modern apps are being fetched from the store
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Previously installed modern apps are being fetched from the store
Windows 8.1 has been successfully upgraded from Windows 8
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Windows 8.1 has been successfully upgraded from Windows 8
Run Windows Update after upgrading to ensure you have the latest bug fixes and security patches.
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Run Windows Update after upgrading to ensure you have the latest bug fixes and security patches.
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Windows 8 wasn't the greatest success for Microsoft, but the much anticipated update, Windows 8.1, is now available either electronically or through traditional physical discs in retail outlets. Here's a look at how to get your Windows 8 system ready and the process of upgrading to Windows 8.1 through the electronic update now available in the Windows Store.

Prepare your Windows 8 system

Before jumping in to the upgrade there's a few things you'll need to do before installing. First, make sure you have all of the latest updates for your system via Windows Update. Even if you have your system set up to receive automatic updates, it's best to run it manually to ensure you have all of the latest ones.

Run Windows Update manually before installing the update
Run Windows Update manually before installing the update

The second thing I strongly recommend is to create a back up of all important documents, pictures, videos, etc. You don't necessarily need to create a system image, though it wouldn't hurt, but make sure everything important is backed up on an external drive, network location, or DVDs. If you have File History set up, just run it before proceeding with the update. If you have a service like CrashPlan that's constantly running in the background, you should be good to go.

File history is one tool built in to Windows 8 that allows you to back up important files and folders
File history is one tool built in to Windows 8 that allows you to back up important files and folders

Download and Install Windows 8.1

Now it's time to update and get your new version of Windows. Hit the Windows Key to get to the Start screen and select the Store tile.

Select the Windows Store tile to get the 8.1 update
Select the Windows Store tile to get the 8.1 update

Next click on the Update to Windows 8.1 for free (you can't miss it, it's the first thing you'll see in the store). The next screen will give you a brief preview of what new features Windows 8.1 provides. Click Install.

A preview of the changes in Windows 8.1 are displayed before you install
A preview of the changes in Windows 8.1 are displayed before you install

Now just wait while the update is downloaded and installed. This is a major update at around 3.5 GB for the 8.1 Pro edition, so the amount of time it takes to download will vary depending on your connection speed and how busy Microsoft servers are. However, you can continue to use your system while this download it taking place.

If you have the option of a wired Ethernet connection rather than Wi-Fi, I'd recommend using it to provide a much more reliable connection for faster download speeds and to reduce the risk of getting disconnected during the install. Also ensure you're connected to mains power to avoid potential power problems.

Monitor the progress of the Windows 8.1 download and install
Monitor the progress of the Windows 8.1 download and install

When it's done, you'll receive a message that your computer needs to be restarted. Finish up any work you're doing and save it because from this point until it's done, you can't user you computer. It will restart several times while the 8.1 update is being installed.

A restart is required to complete the installation of the Windows 8.1 update
A restart is required to complete the installation of the Windows 8.1 update

You'll see a series of different screens showing you what is going on during the installation.

Windows displays several screens while upgrading to 8.1
Windows displays several screens while upgrading to 8.1

You're almost finished. Agree to the software terms of service.

As always, you'll need to agree to the Microsoft terms of service
As always, you'll need to agree to the Microsoft terms of service

There will be a few more screens displayed letting you know what Windows is doing, like the one below, which is getting modern apps ready that were already installed.

Previously installed modern apps are being fetched from the store
Previously installed modern apps are being fetched from the store

Success! You're all done. You have the latest version of Windows on your system and you start digging into the cool new features it has to offer.

Windows 8.1 has been successfully upgraded from Windows 8
Windows 8.1 has been successfully upgraded from Windows 8

Wrapping Up

After installing the 8.1 update, I recommend running Windows Update right away. There's already updates for the final version, one of which is the General Availability Rollup.

Run Windows Update after upgrading to ensure you have the latest bug fixes and security patches.
Run Windows Update after upgrading to ensure you have the latest bug fixes and security patches.

If you are running the 8.1 Preview version, when you update, you'll need to reinstall all of your modern apps and desktop programs. One nicety of the upgrade is your modern app tiles will display on the Start screen. Then all you need to do is click the tile to download them.

Finally, after you have Windows 8.1 set up and ready to use, check out our article: Coming to grips with Windows 8.1: Tips and Tricks which will help introduce some of the new features of the OS.

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28 comments
Gringo
what a huge disappointment. I stopped the video when he first says something about just 'swiping upwards'. I thought the whole Windows 8.1 upgrade was to get RID of the stupid requirement to wipe something across your display. I just spent $2500 on two new Lenovo laptops, and guess what, they are laptops. Not some teenagers telephone.
Apparently, Microsoft has abandoned those who would create contend, in favor of squeezing a few bucks out of those who only consume it.
This is worthless to me. Sorry I waited all these months for it. Hello Apple. Meet your newest convert.
Sheena Hocking
I really wish I could downgrade on my laptop from Windows 8 to XP. I agree with Gringo...I will probably go with Apple next time I need a new laptop.
John Waller
Since you CAN get rid of the swipe, where is the complaint?? You do have to change the setting yourself, there are many articles out there that tell you how. If the upward swipe upsets you that much, then going to Apple would not fix things for you. For that matter, if the upward swipe is your biggest complaint, then you have no problems as it has to be the most trivial issue of Win8.
Zack Conway
You obviously have not seen the classic start button download you can get from ninite.com which will make your desktop just like windows 7. It is great for all the people too lady to learn a new OS and just give up. Either way, there is far more security in Windows 8.1 then other versions, so feel free to talk bad about something you aren't even trying to learn.
Simon Sammut
If you have a touch screen, Win 8.1 makes sense, but i still don't get the 2 environmnet concept???? why not have one environment with touch friendly icons? It has to be the most bizzare release of an OS ever. Stability wise though, it's rock solid and it boots so fast.
Paul Hobbs
Excellent another great update to improve what is fast becoming my favourite OS. My iPad sits in the corner unloved. For all those who are too lazy to learn how to use Win 8, please go to Apple and stop whingeing, you will find everything there that you need, but nothing that you want.
For the turkey who complained about having to swipe....why don't you learn to use the right mouse key FFS!! Makes me think you are nothing but paid Apple employees trying to drum up some business.
The fact that this OS provides the best of both worlds for consumers and creators shows that they are actually ahead of the curve. The Surface Pro is a beast and kicks some serious A$$.
Starper
Having teethed on an IBM 604, with punch cards and a hand wired board , back in 1956. Then IBM compatible desktops running Win 3.1, working my way up thru Win 95, Win 98, to Win XP-Pro, and now Win 7, I can't see what all the fuss is about. All of these opsys had their problems, every body complained when they had to upgrade. they all argued Windows versu Apple, and so on. I found Windows 7 really nice, and would love to see Windows 8. What is so damn hard about upgrading from one version to another. Try seting up a complete system in a hospital. Installing all the cable for the entire building, setting up each terminal, installing the software and then having to maintain the system. I did this mostly by myself, but learned a lot. I still use Win XP-Pro on my 3 main workstations (SOHO), plus one running Ubuntu for some work. Come on you people, if it's too hard for you, you need to have a 10 year old show you how. My grandson, learned to use both Mac and Windows by the age of 10. I'm looking forward to Windows 9.
Raymond Duron
@Gringo - So you are going to spend 4 times the amount of money on Macbook's that you spent on your lenovo's because there are swipe options?
You can enable the feature to boot directly to the Desktop and you don't need to swipe anything. Windows on the desktop still have the Red X, and you never need to go into the Metro Interface.
Being a hardcore Desktop Windows user for so many years I agree about some of the features but 8.1 allows for us to get our desktop back and never really need to interact with the teenager phone screen UI.. I am looking forward to installing the 8.1 Update.
Egg Gallardo
Just do what i did . Install start 8 from stardock and 8gadget pack to install your gadgets . i set up my windows 8 to be like windows 7 . I know microsoft sucks alot at the moment for not listening to there consumers but you can have the best of both worlds with windows 8 . You just need to do some research on how to make it like windows 7 . I hate windows 8 as it is but modified to windows 7 i love it .
Ed
This is a funny article. It explains how to upgrade to Windows 8.1....but anybody who's read anything online this week knows that if you upgrade to 8.1, you stand a chance to brick your precious Windows tablet! Thanks, but no thanks....