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How To Download And Install Windows 8.1 Upgrade

Saturday, October 19th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Windows 8

Robin from Hereford UK writes:

I carry out voluntary work for a charity in the UK showing how to use computers tablets etc… for elderly persons.
The question is for those who are on W8 they want to know what they have to do on the PC or laptop to get the new update.

Robin, I actually just did this on my own computer and I made a point of taking screenshots so I’d be able to walk our readers through the process as well. Now you’ll need a licensed copy of Windows 8 to do this update. You can’t use this free update to go from Windows XP or Windows 7 to Windows 8.1

To update Windows 8, you’ll need to start with the Start Screen.

Choose the tile for the Windows Store.


 When it opens, you’ll see the option to update to Windows 8.1 for free.



A co-worker got this screen, saying the preview version was available.


However, when he selected it, he saw the same screen as I did.


Click or tap Download to start the process. This download took me three hours on a high-speed Internet connection.


On the bright side, I was able to continue using my computer during the download.



A couple of times I was sure that it had stalled, but it kept going. It just took a long time.When it’s finished you’ll need to stop what you’re doing and restart the computer. During the configuration process it will start restart several times.



You’ll need to accept the terms of service and there is a pretty long configurations process. At least Microsoft breaks it up by changing the background colors as it loads.

When it’s finished, you’ll be able to choose between Express setting or customizing settings. I went with Express.


You will  then need to log on with your Microsoft Account, that could be your, Hotmail, Live Mail or MSN e-mail address or an account you set up when you purchased Windows 8. 


Microsoft will then send a security code to your cell phone or to an alternate e-mail address that you’ve set up for the account. You’ll have to enter that code to verify that you’re the owner of the account. If you haven’t set up alternate contact information, you’ll be asked for provide it. However, if you sign into your Microsoft account before you start the the 8.1 upgrade, then you might not have to enter the security code.

Once the security code is entered, this screen will appear explaining that SkyDrive is now front and center on your computer. The photos you take with your PC or tablet will be automatically backed up to SkyDrive and it is now the default location to save documents.


Click Next and you will be taken to the Start Screen.



Two things I noticed right away:

This little button that appears when you hover over the lower left of the Start Screen. It also appears in the lower left of the Taskbar is desktop mode.

Clicking or tapping it will switch you back and forth between the Start Screen and Desktop mode. It performs the same functions as a Desktop tile or the Windows key.

Also, the Search function has been redesigned to look sleeker. You select what you want to look for from a drop-down menu. It feels slightly slower to me.

 Once you upgrade to 8.1, you’ll notice some changes in some commonly-used app. I’ll go over some of the differences this week.

~ Cynthia

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19 Responses to “How To Download And Install Windows 8.1 Upgrade”

  1. William Foutch says:

    Very helpful. I will download it tomorrow. Manny thanks.

  2. Bea Ray says:

    This was an excellent article. I think that I am going to hold out on purchasing a touchscreen laptop until it has Windows 8.1 pre-installed after noting the three hour download time.

    Thank you!

  3. John Wagner says:

    I have Windows 8 Pro but I can not access the Store.
    I have searched high and low. It appears all my updates are current.
    My store tile is color green and has 17 in lower right corner.
    I ran windows compatibility and all seems in order.
    Any suggestions or help?

  4. Peggy says:

    Hi Cynthia
    Great Tutorial. May I suggest one thing, all updates must be carried out for Windows 8 before commencing the update.

  5. Doug says:

    I have up graded to 8.1 but only took about an hour and a half, 20 min. on download and the rest on install. Still like win.7 better. Don’t see where 8 is any faster but it all right to play with.

  6. Carrie says:

    Where can I get a Liecine copy of window 8 do need to buy windows 8 to change over from windows XP. I ahve my copy of window 7 from my laptop and I use my window 7 copy to chang ove from XP. if so can you tell me how? Since they are saying after Jan their will be no more surport for XP, which I completly, love.I hope I am making sease, I just don’t want be left out and have to go an speand a lot of money to buy another computer to get help if need it. Thank for any help you can give me. Carrie

  7. Nance Nicholls says:

    I just updated to 8.1 version last night. After it finished said I need to update or install three more things – desktop, video and one other thing. Okay – However I haven’t a clue how to get there to do it. Says to close all programs and then go to the extractor in another window. Believe me – this is my first experience with Win 8 and figured I might as well update to the 8.1 and learn that as I won’t need to learn two versions. I’m an oldie here at 79 and used XP for years. However up to that point the update went along smoothly.

  8. sheilah says:

    i am trying to upgrade to 8.1 from 8.0. i have tried twice but it will not complete. get as far as rebooting and then it says could not be installed..
    i have checked on all updates and am told all have been updated.. but not able to instatll 8.1
    What can i do to get past that..

  9. Robert says:

    I am window 8 if I do a free upgrade to windows 8.1 will I loose andy files or folder or apps even thing I ook on the internet for and put them on the start screen

  10. […] It’s a large update, but it won’t make major changes to your computer. I detailed the process of upgrading to 8.1 in this article. ~ CynthiaTags: windows 8, windows upgrade, Wndows 8.1 This entry was posted on Monday, April 28th, […]

  11. […] XP. It won’t overwrite your files and you can even use the computer while it’s updating. Check out this article about the upgrade for some assistance. ~ CynthiaTags: windows 8, Windows 8.1, windows upgrade This entry was posted on Monday, May 26th, […]

  12. Robert says:

    will I loose any files folders picture if update to window 8.1 from windows 8

  13. lynn fux says:

    Every time I click on windows 8.1 for free on the tile within the store nothing happens except for a quick outline of the tile which disappears.Nothing appears for a download and I have been trying this for months. Can someone help. thanks,Lynn fux

  14. FRAN says:

    I am grateful to WS for all the valuable and helpful tips I have been able to glean from so many of the WS newsletters.

  15. Margaret Gregory says:

    thanks I yet need much help but I getting there I do not know very much about great grandchildren know more!!!! i want to set up the icons on my screen

  16. […] 8 and not 8.1, I want you to take the free upgrade to 8.1 just as soon as you refresh the PC. You’ll need to go to the Windows Store to find it. Windows 8 no longer has security support and isn’t safe to […]

  17. […] Then go to the Windows store and select the update to 8.1.  You can learn about that process by clicking here. […]

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