Microsoft has made the official announcement about the Windows 8.1 release date. Windows 8.1 is slated to be released in its final version on October 17, 2013. It will be available at midnight local time for all Windows 8 license holders.

For those looking to get a new PC with Windows 8.1, you’ll have to wait until October 18 to do so at retail locations and online. We have covered the Windows 8.1 update in great detail on TechNorms, and this is your complete guide to the Windows 8.1 release.

Don’t forget to bookmark this Guide for future reference, since we will keep updating it with new details.

What is Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 is the first major update, or service pack, for Windows 8. Windows 8 was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and was released for general availability on October 26, 2012. The service pack has been released after less than a year, which tells us Microsoft is pretty serious about bringing in new features and implementing user feedback.

Windows 8.1 introduces a variety of updates, features and changes to the OS that users wanted, such as a Start Button tied to the Win + X Menu, new enhanced apps and even the ability to boot to the desktop to bypass the Metro design.  We’ve compiled a full list of all changes to Windows 8.1.  Everything you ever wanted to know, learn about and have a walkthrough for TechNorms has provided.

Here are some more changes and guides you’ll be interested in reading up on before Windows 8.1 rolls out to all users:

As you can see, there are a lot of exciting new features coming to Windows 8.1.  Keep this page bookmarked as we update it as your complete guide to Windows 8.1.  Our latest update to this page was on September 17, 2013.

How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1

Before the Windows 8.1 upgrade goes live, make sure you’ve created system recovery media for your PC. This can be done in a variety of ways, and we’ve covered many of them here at TechNorms. Make sure you’ve backed up your files, photos, music and other personal information as well.

As long as you didn’t upgrade to the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview, you will be able to seamlessly transfer your apps and data during the update. Unfortunately, if you chose to install the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview, you will have to essentially do a “fresh install” when updating which will erase your apps and programs.

At midnight local time on October 17, you’ll be able to log on to your PC and download the official upgrade from the Windows Store.  It will automatically be added to the Windows Store and all you’ll need to do is login to the Microsoft Account on your PC you bought Windows 8 with.  From there, you’ll be prompted to download and upgrade your computer to Windows 8.1.

We don’t recommend anyone to sit up waiting for midnight to roll around on October 17 to upgrade to Windows 8.1. There will be a lot of Windows users who will try to do that which will make the download take longer and the overall install process be more frustrating for you.  This can make the overall process much longer for users who just want to upgrade on their own time.  Waiting for a few days, or even the weekend, will be much easier for users to upgrade to Windows 8.1 than trying to do so the night of the release.


While Microsoft won’t force users to upgrade to Windows 8.1, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t when it released on October 17, 2013. Windows 8 may be a disappoint to many new computer owners and those who upgrade, but Microsoft is making an effort to address user concerns and add new and useful features to Windows 8 in 8.1.  Are you ready for Windows 8.1 like we are?  We can’t wait for October!

What features or updates do you want to see in Windows 8.1? Let us know by commenting below.