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Upgrading your OS - Windows 8.1 (Existing Windows 8 and RT Systems)


Windows 8.1 is a free update for existing Windows 8 and RT users. To update your computer from Windows 8 or RT, first check to see if your system meets the minimum requirements, to view those, please click here. When upgrading, your files, desktop apps, user accounts, and settings will be migrated. Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 come with some new built-in apps, and it will update or replace some of your existing built-in apps. Your existing Windows Store apps will not migrate, but once the update is complete, you can reinstall all of these apps at once, or just the ones you want. The installation time runs from 30 minutes to several hours, based on your system. You may continue work during this time, but a restart will be prompted once the update installer download has completed.

  1. To begin, back up any important date or files for your system. Plug in to your power adapter if you are on a tablet or laptop and connect to the internet. Also install all the available Critical Windows Updates for your system.
  2. To download the 8.1 installer, click on the Store tile button. The 8.1 update should now display, if it does not, please see this page for systems which can not update through the Store.
    • Please note that some OU office computers running Windows 8, typically run the Enterprise version of Windows 8. This version can not update to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store.
    • If you installed Windows 8 using an ISO from or from your college Microsoft Imagine (formerly DreamSpark) site, you might be able to install Windows 8.1 using a similar ISO from those same sites. A new Windows 8.1 product is now available on those sites, which will generate you a new download installation ISO and Product Key.
  3. If the 8.1 update does appear in the store, tap or click Download. The update will download and install in the background while you use your PC to do other things. The installer will check to make sure you have enough disk space, that your apps and devices will work with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, and that you have all the required updates.
  4. After the update is downloaded, you'll see a message telling you that your PC needs to restart. It will give you 15 minutes to finish what you’re working on, save your work, and close your apps, and then it will restart your PC for you. Or you can restart it yourself.
  5. After the computer boots, you will be prompted to agree to the license terms and then select your settings configuration. You may use the Express settings or configure them manually and select the options you desire.
  6. Next you will be asked to sign in with your Microsoft Account. If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 8 or Windows RT, your account name will be filled in for you. If you previously used a local account for this, you'll need to sign in with your local account first, and then it will ask you to set up a Microsoft account, which you can use to sign in to your PC after the update.
    • If you wish to continue using a Local Account, select Create a new account, and then on the new account page, choose Continue using my existing account.
  7. If this is your first time setting up a PC with Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you'll see the new SkyDrive settings options.
  8. Finally, because Windows is always being updated, it’s possible that critical updates have become available since Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 were finalized. Windows checks for these critical updates when you finish setting up Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 for the first time, and if it finds any, it will download them automatically. Downloading and installing these updates might take a few minutes, depending on the updates you need. Your PC might also need to restart one or more times to complete the updates.
  9. To reinstall your Apps after the upgrade process:
    • On the Start screen, tap or click the Store tile to open the Windows Store.

    • Swipe down from the top edge of the screen or right-click, and then tap or click Your apps.

    • Select all the apps you want to install, and then tap or click Install.

  10. Also note that you may need to re-login to any websites which had previously stored your login cookies. Some of your programs may also load using their first start up procedures.
  11. For help on setting up your new Start Screen, please see this guide.
  12. If you need any additional assistance with the installation process, please call our help line at 325-HELP (4357). 

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