Judith from Chico, California
I recently purchased a Lenovo all in one pc with a terabite hard drive. Only to get it home and discover that it came already loaded with w8 and with no re-installation media. The only option Ive found so far is to make a mirror image of my system but this requires another terabite hard drive! Microsoft offers a free ‘update’ to w8.1. But this is done online and if you choose to keep it will wipe out W8. As usual Microsoft gives light info which brings up more ?s than answers. As when suggesting you back up your files before updating to w8.1 I’m unsure if flash drives or disks are useable. And last but not least Lenovo has its own security partition on the hard drive to reset to factory let alone Lenovo apps and programs. Lenovo’s web site is no help there. I like W8 but wonder where and how to do things like partition my hard drive to install other operating systems. Or even duplicates with different additions for different uses. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Judith, the first think you need to do is take a breath. Updating to Windows 8.1 is the same thing as say switching from XP to 8. You really aren’t getting a while new operating system, you’re just adding an update to Windows 8. While it’s not a bad idea to back up files like documents and photographs before running the 8.1 update, the 8.1 update will not wipe out the programs or files installed on 8.
You can actually still use your computer while the update is installing. The update takes a few hours to complete, but you won’t notice any really drastic changes between 8 and 8.1. There’s really no need to worry about how partition your hard drive or installing other operating systems.
If you’d like to back up files like music, documents and photographs before doing the upgrade, that’s fine. Actually, all these files should be backed up anyway. You can use flash drives or CDs or, even more conveniently, a cloud service to back up your files.
Click here to check out an article  with step-by-step walk-through of the Windows 8.1 installation process.