Windows 8.1 was released for all Windows 8 users on October 17, 2013. It’ll be available for consumer purchase outright on October 18, 2013. The upgrade process is fairly simple, or at least simple in Microsoft’s eyes. We’ll show you how to upgrade to Windows 8.1’s final release whether you’re upgrading from Windows 8 or from the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview.
Before you begin the upgrade process, you want to ensure that you have system recovery media and make sure you backup your files and personal information. This should be done whether you’re using Windows 8 or the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview.
If you upgrade from the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview to the Windows 8.1 final release, you will have to reinstall all apps and desktop programs. However, some users have reported – myself included – that files, folders, and other information have carried over flawlessly. Others haven’t been so lucky, so we strongly recommend backing up your data before upgrading.
Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8.1 Pro Preview
We’ll be showing you the bulk of the upgrade process from the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview to Windows 8.1 final release. The steps are relatively the same if you are upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1 and we’ll point out any differences below.
The upgrade itself needs about 13 to 15 GB of free space on your computer in order to install properly.
When you first log into Windows 8 or 8.1 Pro Preview, you’ll receive no notification to upgrade.
You’ll need to open the “Windows Store” to begin the process. You would see the Windows Store tile on your Start Scree. If it’s not visible, press WinKey + Q to access Windows Search and type in store.
Now, you should be immediately greeted by the Windows 8.1 upgrade. However, it’s been reported that it doesn’t always appear for users. If it’s there, click it, if not, follow the next step.
If this is the case, you’ll want to open any Web browser you use and enter this in the URL field:
This will bring you directly to the upgrade for Windows 8.1 within the Windows Store.
Click “Download” after reading through the terms and conditions.
Some users reported being directed to the next screen, Installs, and being shown the progress of the download. Others weren’t directed here and were redirected back to the main Windows Store menu with no Windows 8.1 upgrade in sight.
Since Windows utilizes a background and no notification update system in Windows 8.1, rest assured that Windows 8.1 is downloading in the background and you’ll be prompted to continue once the download is ready.
Since the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview was installed, when the download is finished, you’ll be warned you have to reinstall your apps and programs. Click “Continue” to begin the upgrade process.
Next, you’ll be prompted to restart your PC. If you don’t do this manually, Windows will automatically restart after 15 minutes.
After the reboot, your PC will begin the upgrade process to Windows 8.1. It varies from computer to computer, but it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for most setups.
Once the upgrade is complete, you’ll need to re-accept the License Terms for using Windows 8.1.
If you are upgrading from the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview, you’ll walk through all the steps to personalize, login and setup Windows 8.1 as if it were a clean install. If you are upgrading from Windows 8, your settings, programs, apps and files will transfer over and you’ll just need to agree to the License Terms to continue.
You may notice some of your apps and software links aren’t available on the Start Screen anymore. If this is the case, click the “All Apps” link at the bottom and manually pin those items back to the Start Screen.
You may also need to tweak some settings as many PC settings changed in Windows 8.1. However, for the most part, the bulk of what you customized in Windows 8 will be the same after the Windows 8.1 upgrade.
Troubleshooting Windows 8.1 Upgrade Issues
TechNorms will be featuring an entire series of troubleshooting steps shortly to help with any issues that are popping up during the Windows 8.1 upgrade. Keep your eyes peeled for that coming up soon!
In the meantime, the two biggest issues you’ll run into include: The download freezing and the upgrade not launching
If the download freezes, we recommend closing the Windows Store, restarting your PC, and launching the upgrade again. You may need to do this several times to clear the download cache and get it to kick start again. Until fewer people are trying to download the Windows 8.1 upgrade, chances are you’ll stall a few times during this week.
If the upgrade doesn’t launch, as we suggested above, use the following manual command in the URL bar of any browser on your Windows 8 machine:
This will take you directly to the download acceptance page and bypass the rest of the Windows Store in the process. This should allow you to begin the download process and start the upgrading one.
Still facing issues? Check out our Guide to Troubleshoot Windows 8.1 Upgrade Issues.
As you can see, the overall process of upgrading Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 isn’t difficult, it can just be time-consuming. This will change in the days to come as fewer people are upgrading because they already have. If you wait to upgrade, the steps remain the same and you may face less frustration waiting for the download process to finish.
Remember: TechNorms is here to help you through any issues you have with the Windows 8.1 upgrade or installation. Contact us in the comments below or feel free to e-mail me at melissa[@]technorms.com with the troubles you’re facing. We’ll be happy to help!