How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1 From Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Start Screen

Windows 8 users who’ve been waiting for a better user experience don’t have to wait any longer. Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 is available as a free upgrade for any PC running Windows 8. With just a few simple steps, you can get important new features, including the ability to see multiple windows in Modern UI, a Start Button and a search function that returns results both from the web and your hard drive. Here’s how to upgrade your Windows 8 PC to Windows 8.1.

1. Make sure your PC has all recent Windows updates. If you’ve been using Windows 8 steadily you are probably up to date, but if it has been a few days since you last logged in to your PC, follow these steps to check.

MORE: How to Make Windows 8.1 Look and Feel Like Windows 7


1a. Click settings on the Charms menu.

Charms Menu

1b. Click Change PC settings.


1c. Select Windows UpdateSelect Windows update

1d. Click the Check for updates now button to see if there are any new files. Check for updates now

1e. Force any updates to install immediately by clicking on the “We’ll install . . . automatically” link then Intall.

Install updates

MORE: Top 8 Windows 8.1 Tablets and Hybrids

2. Open the Windows Store app.Load Windows Store


3. Click the Update to Windows 8.1 button. If you don’t see this button on the screen, check for updates again, close and reopen the Windows Store or reboot your machine.

Click Update to Windows 8.1

4. Click the Download button to confirm. 

Click the download button

You may have to wait 30 minutes or more for the install to download, but you can keep using your computer during this time.

Downloading WIndows 8.1

5. Click Restart Now when prompted.

Click Restart

Your computer will then take several minutes installing Windows 8.1, complete with at least one reboot. You can walk away from your computer and do something else for 5 minutes or more because your input won’t be required for a while.

MORE: Top 10 Ultrabooks

6.Click “I Accept” when presented with the License terms.

Accept License Terms

7. Click Use Express Settings at the bottom of the screen. You can also choose custom settings, but we find the Express settings work well for most users.

Use Express Settings 

 8. Sign in to Windows as you normally would.


Sign in to account

9. Allow Windows to send a security code to your phone if it prompts you. You can skip this step, but may not be able to sync your account across PCs without performing it later.

Let Windows SMS you a code

10. Enter the code you received on your phone at the prompt.

Enter the code

11. Click Next on the Skydrive screen.

Click Next on SkyDrive

You will then have to wait a few minutes while Windows finishes the install process. You’ll see some messages on the screen that say it is setting up and installing apps. 

Windows 8.1 Setup screen

After another couple of minutes, the Windows 8.1 Start screen will appear and you’ll be ready to go 

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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  1. charles Says:

    The microsoft website appears to be only for RT, does not work on pro for some reason

  2. Kashif Says:

    I’m using Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit. After installing and restarting my PC i didn’t get the any message “Get Windows 8.1 Preview for free”. Even i restart several time.
    Please tell me the solution.

  3. NoFear0411 Says:

    I have installed the update it asked me to reboot,rebooted and than nothing happens everything is the same.I’m running Windows 8 pro 64 bit! Some help please!

  4. albza Says:

    I’m having this truble right now clicking on the Windows8-RT-KB2849636-x64 file…

  5. Joe Osborne, LAPTOP Associate Reviews Editor Says:

    @Charles: Do you mean Windows 8 Professional or Desktop? I think this is for both RT and Desktop, at least. We’re downloading the Preview on Windows 8 Desktop right now. Keep in mind that Microsoft’s servers must be getting slammed right now, so keep trying!

  6. jared Says:

    Soooo, what if you don’t get the pop-up after restarting asking you to go to the windows store? When I try to do the manual update again it says ‘already installed’. I’m just kinda sitting here waiting for it to pop up (story of my life).

  7. badawy Says:

    am not getting the windows store popup!!

  8. Ammar Says:

    I’m using Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit. After installing and restarting my PC i didn’t get the any message “Get Windows 8.1 Preview for free”. Even i restart several time.
    Please tell me the solution.

  9. Fatih Says:

    Everyone listen to me
    You need internet explorer to download the update ! it does not work with chrome or firefox !

  10. Michael A. Prospero, LAPTOP Reviews Editor Says:

    I haven’t tested this, but try opening the Windows Store manually. That may get the process going.

  11. Fatih Says:


    ==== FOUND A FIX ====

    1. Place and rename the MSU file in an easily accessible place, e.g. C:\8preview\preview.msu
    2. open command prompt in administrator mode.
    3. Type: Expand –F:* c:\8preview\preview.msu C:\8preview\
    4. Type: DISM.exe /Online /Add-Package /PackagePath:c:\8preview\

    Replace the “” on the end of step 4 with” for 32-bit versions and “” for RT versions.

    Your text will be corrupted in the Windows 8 store for the 8.1 download page on restart, but the Windows 8.1 preview should download once the servers become less overloaded.



  12. J7 Says:

    Having the same issue as the users above. No prompt for the download. Opening the store manually does nothing. Searching for “Windows 8.1 Preview” or anything similar does not show the update.

  13. tech_droid Says:

    Also note that the Windows 8 Enterprise version will require the ISO files instead of the Store Updater…

  14. Utsab Mitra Says:

    Same here. Not getting any prompt to download from store.
    Running Windows 8 Pro 32-Bit

  15. Me Again Says:

    Just as I have learned with Microsoft since conception, as I have been working with their operating systems since the beginning many many moons ago… always being first in bites the big one, but it usually is worth it in the end. You just get to deal with all the frustration for free.

  16. DzoDellinger Says:

    So, any info for the people that installed update and restarted their PC, but not have goten the message for install…

  17. Rachit Sharma Says:

    I have the same problem. After restart didn’t get the message to Update to Windows 8.1 via Windows Store.
    @Michael A. Prospero could you please elaborate how to do it manually in Windows Store?

  18. abdo Says:

    iso Files are available now in this site

  19. Bogdan Says:

    Same, not getting any prompt to download from store. Using Windows 8 Pro 64-Bit
    Any solution ?

  20. Trevor Says:

    downloading now iso file win 8.1 but no download percentage showing
    only flashing lights on modem,how will i know when download has finished

    29/06 at 01:30

  21. Trevor Says:

    Please do not tell me when lights stop flashing ha ha


    found the answer to my problem press the close button bottom right corner
    23 minutes to go lovely

  23. Ron Garson Says:

    Another great execution by Microsoft. What a disaster.

  24. ramkishore Says:

    what is meaning of downloading(windows 8.1) error code 0x80072ee2

  25. JJ Says:

    I get about halfway through the installation and then it just freezes. I am a big Microsoft fan and it is a good thing I am because my experience with Windows 8 has been somewhat of a nightmare. I am about ready to bite the formatting bullet and go back to Windows 7.

  26. T.SAM Says:

    same problems here : (windows 8.1) error code 0x80072ee2 JUST AN OTHER FAIL AGAIN W.8

  27. Marc Jan Says:

    I have tried several times to download and install windows 8.1 preview. Prior to each attempt I uninstall the windows 8.1 installer, re-install the helper, reboot, then attempt to download the 8.1 preview, the download first off will take hours, hours hours, which at some point it will completely stall out or you will receive and error message which of course has absolutely no explanation attached to it as to why it did not download nor install.

    I am very curious as to if so many users are experiencing a faulty download/install how did these individuals who reviewed the 8.1 preview get it to install?? did Microsoft send them the upgrade on a brand new laptop for them to test it and review?? I am serious if this is an indication as to what to expect in windows 8.1 well then they are off to a really bad start! It is causing me to question the entire windows 8 OS, and prior to this I really did not have much of an issue with Windows 8 but now………

  28. george Says:

    the return of the start button is a JOKE. Don’t expect to see your familiar start menu, as this was just a trick to get you back on the start screen with the tiles. You can right click and get some extra options, but I don’t really need quick access to disk manager for example.

  29. Windows Says:

    Windows 8.1 Download :

  30. Jerry George Says:

    I’m using Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit. After installing and restarting my HP laptop even get started. I can’t do nothing, even get to safe mode. Whats goin on? Thanks

  31. Patrick Says:

    I started the 8.1 update on Oct. 18th. My win 8 Toshiba had already told me bring down Toshiba’s 8.1 prerequisites before bringing down 8.1 from Microsoft.

    Note that when I first set up my win 8 laptop, I had not used a account, I used a local admin account. I linked it to account later when I installed Visual Studio Express. During the 8.1 installation setup steps, it would not let me proceed until I supplied the account-name and password. Then, when 8.1 started, it had renamed my only admin account name to the user name. I do not know how to rename the account back to the local “mylogin” name I had with 8. I created a new local admin user name of the original, but the User folder name is now “mylogin_2″

    What I really worry about is the problems I had when the user name does not match the folder name under the Users path. This had happened during a migration of XP at work, broke lots of 3rd-party apps.

    Does anyone have any experience with this or a fix for it?

  32. luke Says:

    Thanks for the instructions BUT since upgrading on the HP pavillion all in one touch screen, the touch screen wont work!!! Why not??

  33. Pesoen Says:

    i have windows 8 pro, and i have yet to see the “get windows 8,1 for free” thingy, i have all updates, i checked my key was still valid(had windows 7 without a valid one for some reason) and still nothing, any ideas yet?

  34. Alex Says:

    disculpe yo tengo el windpws 8 pro original y ago estos pasos perdere mi licencia ?? o se instalala normal con mi licencia???
    espero si respuesta gracias

  35. Bobbie Says:

    If you do NOT want to use a Windows Live Account as your primary log on do the following:

    When it asks for your Live credentials do not enter them but go to “Create Account” instead. At that point use the “Create Local User” option. Then enter your existing name and password.

  36. Frans Says:

    I did all of these steps, only I choose the option to give the code later. My 2weeks old hp pavilion is after it restarted black and Dead!!

  37. Lewis Says:

    Hmmm, so Windows 8.1 is not downloaded via Windows update… So it’s not an update, but kinda…

    Weird. I wonder if it ships with WSUS? I wonder how enterprises are meant to upgrade if it’s not an update?

  38. Madhu Says:

    After upgradtion windows 8.1 in my HP TS 14-n020se the scree left blank and I could not start my pc. also i lost windows 8. pls help

  39. diana Says:

    i have windw 8, I was told to go to any windows store in nyc and they will do it for you- to upgrade to windw 8.1

  40. Charlie Says:

    More junk in a .1 package.

  41. Charlie Says:

    Stay with 7 and save your hair.

  42. Chris Says:

    OMG those ADS on every image are SO ANNOYING – I won’t be coming back here

  43. fucker Says:

    betichodon bhan ke lodhon usse kuch nahi hua

  44. Rashad Says:

    I like the update
    It works fine with my vaio fit 15

  45. verma Says:

    i am using windows 8 single language.i had downoaded 8.1 single language from windows store.after all the steps rebooting,sign in,code varification and sky drive next option….,my screen suddenly becomes black just after sky drive option ,with only cursor is visible for a log time..and when i refresh my system once again win. 8 appears..i hv repeated all these process 3 times,but all times same result=black screen.
    what should i do???
    plz give a proper solution.

  46. mme Says:

    i am BEGGING anyone to explain this to me – seriously – why doesn’t microsoft simply offer the update the same way it has offered the endless daily hello called ANOTHER microsoft windows update … scared of getting lost in the crowd?

    ps HATE the charms – HATE HATE HATE the charms!

  47. Richard Padgham Says:

    downloaded 8.1 now everytime I try to open something I get asked if I want to open, save etc. then another pop-up window. PITA how do I stop this

  48. ANIL GAIKWAD Says:

    not yet updated

  49. Herman Justus Says:

    Will you need a key after upgrading from the store? I lost mine

  50. Usman Says:

    Similarly I tried to upgrade to win 8.1 it just got stop on 62% and restart downloading kindly help plzzzz…….!

  51. Yearight Says:

    Using Windows store update…takes forever to download. Does anyone have the same experience? Will the forever really be forever or should I expect it to actually finish the dl? Impossible to tell cos there is no progress bar or anything telling if something actually happens or not.

  52. Philip Says:

    My windows 8 is up to date but Windows 8.1 doesn’t appeare in my Store . Why?

  53. akanana Says:

    My download experience with 8.1 was an expensive result. After step 5 my laptop froze so I had to take it to be repaired. They had to wipe the laptop clean and start over. I’m not very happy with Microsoft and feel they should pay my bill…

  54. Marcus Alford Says:

    I did this upgrade and had some issues. After clicking restart now, when the PC rebooted i had no video output. I had to think why. I realised that my video cable was a DVI connection and that there needed to be a HDMI connection instead. Once i setup the video with a HDMI connection I was back on track. Mind you i did freak out a little. i turned off the PC during the process, after I knew the PC was in sleep mode.

  55. Chris Says:

    Here we are 5 months after it launched. I spent hours on this. Gets as far as “Installing Windows 8.1 We’ll let you know when we’re done.” Then “Something happened…” Unbeleivable!

  56. Sue Says:

    Thank you. Two small words, but they convey so much. I’m aged 62 and I’ve only been using a computer for three years, and yesterday it broke. Windows 8.1 wasn’t working. I knew how to restore it to 7, but after that, nothing. I followed your steps to the letter and I’m thrilled to say I now have 8.1 back and working. I feel really empowered at the moment. Thank you again.

  57. kelly Says:

    I get this error code 0x80240031 when trying to download windows 8.1 single language. please help me out.

  58. Mitch Scharoff Says:

    HELP (Please)!!! Two days ago I clicked “Refresh” on my Windows 8.1 HP Laptop, and when it was done, “8.1” was gone (which it warned would happen), BUT, as I’ve gone to the “Store”, there’s NO indication of HOW to find “8.1” again – I don’t see it Anywhere in the Store. HELP (Please) !!!, and a Big Thanks for your time…
    All the Best, Mitch Scharoff

  59. Gary Says:

    As usual – all the wonderful hype about Microsoft’s WOW! But just try to find out how to fix the broken WUSUS system, when it doesn’t want to download the windows 8.1 update…… Then all of a sudden Microsoft is more clandestine than the CIA – and answers are just not available…

    I am struggling with an 0X8020002e error – and getting this update is seeming to be impossible……. and of course you can get it nowhere else than MS broken Windows update system.

    Seriously Microsoft – this is a real thing! Fix it for FS!

  60. Dale Says:

    I have been trying to install the new 8.1 software; however, the window seems to stay stuck at 37% done (for hours!) Consequently, there must be something wrong either with my machine or the new software. Help please!

  61. Debbie West Says:

    Hi! I tried installing Windows 8.1, but after 6 hours it’s only at 40$ usually and then it fails, giving me an error code. It’s not always the same code but it always starts with 0x800. I looked up those codes, and Microsoft had given someone directions how to fix the errors. The woman trying to install never did get her Windows 8.1 installed either. I don’t think it has anything to do with my pc but everything to do with Microsoft. I have an HP Pavilion laptop, and have Windows 8, which keeps moving all my media every time it updates. I also have to reset my default Internet browser back to Google every time it updates. If you can give me any suggestions, I’d appreciate it. Thanks!

  62. fredrick roswold Says:

    You know, a lot of this win8 win8.1 stuff just seems to have gone way backwards from what we had in XP or win 7, For example it says I can keep working, but how in blazes do I get back to the “Installs” screen to view the status and where is just some basic info, like what percentage??? or simply does not work, like I hit a button on the screen and nothing happens, nothing. Oh, I go to Chrome, it works fine… duh, please explain, why MS web page does not work with IE11?

    I mean, are these people over there at MS total idiots or what?

    And tell me this, why do we all have to go to support groups for help? MS just seems to have passed it off to others to sort out their junk.

  63. Jessie Says:

    not working for DVD with my laytop ( Window Media Player where is missing in my folder???)I am deaf woman so pls help me…

  64. Gary Ensor Says:

    no comments

  65. susan Says:


  66. vpvalentine Says:

    W O W

  67. martha Says:

    Computer is locked up after 82%.. Computer has black screen with HP loco and the spinning wheel. Have tried ctrl alt delete; hard shut down, removing battery… NOTHING Can not get into that computer to do anything. HELP!!

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