If you’re still running Windows 8 – it is time to upgrade. Do it now folks, because your security support is over.
Microsoft generally offers security support for operating systems for 10 years from the time of release, but in the case of Windows 8, you need to take the upgrade to Windows 8.1 if you want security support to continue.
In many ways, Windows 8.1 is basically a Windows Service Pack and users have 2 years from the time a service pack is released to do the update. If you don’t have the latest service pack you aren’t going to get any updates.
Once you’ve updated to Windows 8.1, your security support will be extended until 2023. Now, you might think, well I’ll just update to Windows 10. You aren’t going to see that free upgrade option until you update to Windows 8.1.
The good news is that Windows 8.1 won’t overwrite your files or programs. The bad news is that it does take some time to install. Back up those important files first, though. Because you never know when something could happen.
Unlike other updates that come through Updates, this one you have to get in the Windows store.
We’ll 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 or you may have to search for Windows 8.1
Tap on the result and you’ll see this screen.
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 OneDrive is now front and center on your computer. The photos you take with your PC or tablet will be automatically backed up to OneDrive and it is now the default location to save documents.
Click Next and you will be taken to the Start Screen.
But you aren’t done yet. You have some updates to get. Start typing “Windows updates” from the Metro/Modern start screen or search for Windows update in the Search Charm. Then choose Check for updates from the results.
The Windows Update center will open. You will either see available updates displayed or you can choose Check now to see what’s available. You can click on any available updates to install.
Once all of these updates have installed, you should get a little Windows icon in the lower right of your desktop. Click on it and will have the option to update to Windows 10.
If you choose to upgrade to Windows 10, your security support will extend until 2025.