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How To Download And Install Windows 8.1 Upgrade

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 Outlook.com, 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