Windows 8.1: A how-to guide to installing Microsoft's update
The latest version of the Windows operating system is now live - here's how to install it on your machine
Microsoft launched Windows 8.1 yesterday, an update for the Windows 8 operating system that adds back the start button as well as expanding the functionality of search and multi-tasking.
DVDs and digital downloads are both available from the Microsoft Store, costing £99.99 for the basic package, £189.99 for Windows Pro (this gives you enterprise features like remote desktop, extra encryption and the like) and £49.99 for the student version (this requires some form of authentication). These prices are all less for upgrades from Windows 7 (see below).
For those downloading the update it’s about 3.5GB in size and can run in the background whilst you carry on using your computer, but given that this is a recent release it’s reasonable to expect strained servers and slow downloads.
Those caveats aside, see below for a guide to getting Windows 8.1:
NB: These notes only apply if you’re a private customer or a small business. Enterprise customers who purchased Windows 8 through the Volume Licensing program will be able update en masse.
If you’re running Windows 8.1 preview
Extra keen Windows fans might have installed the Windows 8.1 preview released back in June but unfortunately Microsoft will punish you (very slightly) for your dedication. You can grab the update just like Windows 8 users (see below) but it’s recommended that you back up saved game files as they apparently don’t make the jump. Apps installed in the preview will also need to be downloaded again.
If you’re running Windows 8
Users already running Windows 8 will have the simplest ride. Simply head over to the Window Store via the live tile and download the update for free. It’ll probably take a couple of hours, with a restart and a log-in required once it’s done.
If you’re running Windows 7
Windows 7 users will have to consider the fact that that their computers won’t be touch-enabled (one of the standards for hardware running Windows 8 from the box). Touch isn’t mandatory for Windows 8 but it’s certainly very useful – navigating through those live tiles with the wheel on your mouse is much less satisfying than flicking about with your hand.
The jump from 7 to 8 will be a big one (from 8 to 8.1 less so) but if you’re keen then first check that you have the required specs: thats 16GBs or 20GBs of free space (for the 32-bit and 64-bit versions), a 1GHzprocessor, 1GB or 2GB of RAM (for the 32/64 versions again) and a graphics card capable of running Microsoft DirectX 9.
The upgrade should keep personal files (eg Office documents and pictures) but a back-up is still a necessity, just in case. It'll cost £75 for standard Windows 8.1 and £125 for the pro version.
If you’re running Windows XP or Vista
Microsoft have said that “Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista" but you can upgrade to 8.1 (if your machine can handle it) by jumping first to Windows 8, and then grabbing the update. Backing up is mandatory as settings and files won't be saved.
Still, if you are using a machine running Windows XP or Vista then it's almost certainly more convenient to go shopping for a new device altogether. If this is you then make sure you don't trash your old device - check out groups like Computers for Charities or Computer Aid International to see how your old PC or laptop might help someone in the developing world.
Life & Style blogs
Airline food across the classes: Ever wondered what the other half are eating?
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Huawei P8 review: best phones nobody's seen from the biggest company nobody's heard
The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive - it's where the CIA gets its coffee fix
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
- 1 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 2 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£30000 - £36000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: C# Developer A highly s...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A market leading software...