How to Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 [Gallery]

Brian Burgess shows how to upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Troubleshooting and images included. Gallery.

aNewDomain — If you have a valid copy of Windows 8.1, you’ve probably already seen the message offering you a free upgrade to Windows 10. We showed you how to upgrade your Windows 7 computer to Windows 10 last week. But what if you’re running Windows 8.1? Check out my How To gallery below, follow the instructions and this upgrade will soon be behind you.

Important Note: This will perform an in-place upgrade of your OS, and while all of your photos, music, documents and other files should transfer without any problem, make sure that all your important data is backed up before starting. Also, create a USB Recovery Drive so you can boot from it and restore your system back to Windows 8.1 just in case something goes awry.

How to Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

The first thing worth noting is that while the upgrade shows up in Settings > Windows Update, you have to use the desktop version of Windows Update. If you try to use the modern Settings app, you’ll see the message shown below.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 Modern Updates

To open the desktop version of Windows Update, use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key+X or right-click the Start button and select Control Panel from the hidden power user menu.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 Control-Panel-Windows-8

Open the desktop version of Control Panel and  select Windows Update.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 windows update

There you will see the following message letting you know your Windows 10 upgrade is ready. Click Get started.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 get started

Next you’ll (of course) agree to the Microsoft Software License Terms. Click Accept.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 license

Now you’re ready to kick the process off … click Start the upgrade now.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 start upgrade

If you want to schedule the update for another time — like when you’re at work, or sleeping — you’ll only be allotted a three day period to install. Also, if you decide to schedule the upgrade, remember to keep your PC on and plugged into a power source during those hours.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 schedule upgrade

When the upgrade starts, grab your mobile device and play some Candy Crush (or whatever your favorite game is) because the process can take quite a while. The amount of time it takes will vary between systems.

You’ll get the following screen letting you know Windows 10 is installing, and your PC will restart several times throughout the process. If you’re the obsessive type who will watch the progress no matter what, don’t worry if it seems stuck at a certain percentage. It’s working. Just let Windows do it’s thing.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 installing

To get Windows 10 up and running quickly, select Express Settings. If there are other settings you want to change (particularly privacy ones), you can always do it after the initial installation.

how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10 express

The setup process will also tell you about new built-in Windows apps, like Groove Music, Photos, the new Edge Browser and the digital assistant Cortana. After browsing through those screens you’ll see the newly designed login screen. Type in the password for your Microsoft account.

Windows 10 Login how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10

That’s it! You’re ready to start rocking Windows 10!

Windows 10 how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10

Run Windows update manually, too.

While Windows security and stability updates will be downloaded and installed automatically, you should get ahead of the game and run Windows Update manually. Not only will you have important security and stability patches up-to-date, but you’ll also get the latest drivers for your computer’s hardware.

To do this, go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates.

check for updates how to upgrade windows 8.1 to windows 10

Still not sure if you want to upgrade? Check out this aNewDomain article “10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10.” And check out Sandy Berger’s article on her experience with the upgrade — she says it was “painless.”

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

For aNewDomain, I’m .

All screenshots: Brian Burgess

About the author

Brian Burgess

Based in rural Minnesota, Brian Burgess was one of the founding editors at aNewDomain and at He is also the editor of GroovyPost. He specializes in gorgeous tech How To galleries, heavy metal, playing guitar, and watching Star Trek.

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