How to Upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 (gallery)

Written by Brian Burgess

In advance of the Windows 8.1 upgrade coming soon, definitely update Windows 8 first. Then do the upgrade to 8.1. Here’s how to do both. Gallery. — If you’ve had trouble trying to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, now is a good time to try again. The upgrade process initially had a rough start. Servers were overwhelmed. But now the kinks are worked out. And the update is free if you already have Windows 8. Here’s how to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 — and also how to upgrade Windows 8.1 preview to Windows 8.1 final.

The latter is tougher. As time recently ran out on Windows 8.1 preview, after your update you’ll have to reinstall all of your desktop — non-Modern –apps and desktop programs. To reinstall Modern apps, just tap their tiles on your Start screen to install them again.

Note: If you’re installing a lot of free or Open Source programs, anyway, definitely consider using Ninite freeware makes the process so much easier.

The Windows 8.1 Update 1 is Just Around the Corner

Microsoft Windows 8.1 update will soon be in its final rev. Not a major update — think of it more as a service or feature pack — it does make Windows 8.1 easier for those users who’ve had a hard time losing the traditional desktop. If you’re system still is running Windows 8, it’s time to update to Windows 8.1. Then, in a couple of months, you’ll be able to enjoy the new update hassle-free.

Windows guru Paul Thurrott was able to get some hands-on time with a leaked build of the 8.1 update. Check out what’s new by checking out his article here. In the meantime, follow my steps below to update Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, so you’ll be ready for the 8.1 update.

Leaked Build of Windows 8.1 Update

How to Update Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Before you run the update there is a bit of housekeeping you should do first.

Start off by manually running Windows Update. Do this even if you’re set to receive automatic updates. Before installing Windows 8.1 you need to make sure the OS, apps, and drivers are all ready to go for a more-seamless upgrade process.

After that, back up all of your important data. Create a System Image. That’s excellent insurance in case all goes completely haywire with the upgrade. I also recommend updating all of your Modern apps.

You’ll see the number of apps that need updating on the Windows Store tile on the Start screen. Just go in and update everything that needs it. Windows 8.1 allows automatic updates of Metro apps by default – so this should be the last time you have to think about updating them.

Windows Update

After that, it’s time to install the 8.1 update. The process is easy. Open the Windows Store and you’ll see the following large tile, just click on it.

Install Windows 8.1

On the next screen you’ll see a general overview of what Windows 8.1 has to offer. Here I’m updating my Windows 8 Pro system with Windows Media Center.

Click Download.

Windows Store

Now wait until the system downloads the Windows 8.1 update and installs it on your system. As always, the amount of time it takes depends on your Internet speed and the computer hardware. Mileage varies.

8.1 Installing

Your computer will need to restart a couple of times during your Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 update.

Restart Windows

While your system restarts and everything is being updated, you’ll see a series of screens like the ones below letting you know what is happening.

Apps from Store

Installing 8.1

You’re almost done. Just agree to the license terms, type in your Windows Account credentials and follow the onscreen instructions for setting Windows 8.1 up.


Once Windows 8.1 installs successfully, make sure to run Windows Update. There are several updates that have already been implemented in this release. Those include a General Availability Rollup, as well as other bug fixes and security patches you need.

Windows Updates

After installation and updates are complete, check out what’s new in Windows 8.1. Also, to help get you started, check out this article containing five key tips for the new OS. There are some essential navigation tips you’ll need in there.

Another thing you’ll want to do is check out the new built-in Bing apps. They’re brand new for Windows 8.1. And they’re surprisingly powerful.

App View Windows 8

For, I’m the How To gallery captain Brian Burgess.

Based in Pelican Rapids, MN, Brian Burgess led the relaunch of BYTE with Gina Smith, co-founded with Gina, John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle in 2011, and serves as the editor-in-chief of He is the How To gallery captain here at Email him at or and find him on Google + and on Twitter as @mysticgeek.

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