How to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Windows 8 users rejoice!  You can finally upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free and the entire process is extremely easy.

In this tutorial, I’m going to take you on a step-by-step walk through of upgrading your current Windows 8 laptop or desktop to Windows 8.1.  The total time to complete the upgrade varies but depending on your internet connection, computer speed, and ability to follow directions (lol) you’ll probably hit the finish line in anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes.

1. Make sure your computer handle it

First things first: does your computer have what it takes?

Microsoft recommends at least a 1GHz CPU with 1GB of RAM for 32bit systems (2GB of RAM for 64bit) and at least 16GBs of hard disk space.

If you’re good – proceed!

If not, you’ll undoubtedly get a mean error like I did about having an unsupported configuration.

Windows 8.1 Pro not supported CPU

Incidentally, if you’re using VirtualBox (like me) and getting this error even though you know your CPU exceeds the system specs then you need to configure VirtualBox to support CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF.  This is usually an issue with 64bit installations but the fix is super easy.

Just close your virtual machine, kick open the command prompt, CD to your VirtualBox directory and enter this:

VBoxManage setextradata "C:\Users\Vonnie\VirtualBox VMs\fixedByVonnie 8UG\fixedByVonnie 8UG.vbox" VBoxInternal/CPUM/CMPXCHG16B 1

Just make sure you substitute your username after the \Users\ folder and your path to your .vbox file.

Okay I had to cover that for my Virtualbox friends; back to business…

2. Install Windows Updates

The Windows 8.1 update automatically drops into the Store App but it’ll never show up if you never update Windows 8.

I know that sounds silly but I impetuously flipped open the Windows store expecting to find the Windows 8.1 update waiting for me but ended up scratching my head for a few minutes trying to figure out why I never saw it pop-in.

If you’ve never installed any updates or don’t have the most current updates then you’ll never see the Windows 8.1 update; therefore, the first step is to run Windows Update!

Press the Windows Key + w and enter this:

windows update

How to install Windows 8 updates

As you can see, I’ve never updated my PC that’s why I have over five dozen updates to install.

Click the link under the Window’s updates header to see the gamut.   To get started, I’ll go ahead and click install 63 important updates automatically.

Installing Windows 8 Updates

You can scroll through the updates but I suggest just clicking Install to kick start the process.

You should download the whole shebang to make sure your PC is current in every area.

It took me about 30 minutes to grab everything.

Windows 8 Updates

And then another 30 minutes to install…

Windows 8 Updates Installing

After the updates finish, Microsoft might nudge you to reboot. Don’t try to save time by skipping this step!  Some updates can only properly finish after restarting the computer.

Finish installing updates, reboot

The Restart now button is a bit of a misnomer because it doesn’t immediately restart the computer.  Windows actually takes 10 to 15 minutes to clean things up before it restarts.

Configuring Windows updates

You’re ready to install the Windows 8.1 update when your computer displays the log-in windows.

On the Start Screen, click the green shopping bag tile to whip open the Store App.

Windows Store App

By the way, that little number in the bottom right corner of the App represents the number of Apps that have updates waiting to install. Technically, you don’t need to install these before initiating the Windows 8.1 upgrade so if you’re in a time crunch I suggest you forego these and just click the big purple Windows 8.1 box.

Upgrade to Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 comes replete with goodies such as universal search, new customization, more apps and a freggin’ Start Button.

Yes, you get the Start Button back; that alone should be reason enough to justify the upgrade.

Download Windows 8.1 Pro

Click the Download button and then forget about the update and use your computer normally.  The download and installation occurs furtively in the background and only bugs you when it finishes.

Windows 8.1 Installation

It’s almost 4GB in size…

Windows 8.1 Applying Changes

So it’ll take a while…

Windows 8.1 Preparing to Restart

But it inexorably pushes forward and will ask you to reboot again.

Windows 8.1 Upgrade Restart

This is a good time to take a break from the computer and run some errands, practice  mixed marshal arts or learn how to play the drums because user intervention isn’t required for about another half hour.

Windows 8.1 upgrade Setting up

When it hits 100%, the computer…

you guessed it…

reboots itself  and does 10 to 15 minutes of more preparation before launching the setup screen.

Still setting up Windows 8.1

When you return from martial arts practice (or trying to play the drums like Art Blakey) you should see the pedantic, License terms screen staring you in the face.

Windows 8.1 Pro License Terms

Stare it down and boldly click I accept.

Windows 8.1 Express Settings

In the next Settings screen, I recommend using Express Settings because it’s the fastest way to get going with Windows 8.1 and you can always customize things later.

Now you can sign-in with your Microsoft Account.

Windows 8.1 Microsoft Account

Enter the 7 digit code sent to your cell phone…

Windows 8.1 Verification Code

Then click Next to use Skydrive integration.  Trust me, it’ll make your life a whole lot easier.

Windows 8.1 Skydrive Integration

Now finally, click Next, recline, and grab a beer because you’re on the home stretch.

Setting up Windows 8.1

Now you can sink your teeth into your tasty new operating system….

Doesn’t it look delicious?

Windows 8.1 Upgrade Finished

The first thing I would do is optimize Windows 8.1 for the desktop and check out these three ways to use Windows 8.1 like a Ninja.

Enjoy!

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Posted in How To, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with: