On October 17th, Windows 8.1 will be available. This is a free update for all current Windows 8 users. I have used the Windows 8.1 Preview already, but I returned to Windows 8 because you cannot install the RTM directly over the preview version, or so it is said.
I cannot tell you how important this is. Make sure you back up your personal files. This can be done either on another partition of your hard drive or on a external disk. Do not forget your email files, if you use a mail client like MS Outlook. Especially your off line files and your archive are very important and are usually filed on your C:/ drive. How you do this, is explained in this article (Dutch / English).
If you use a password manager, do not forget to backup the datafile either. As most password managers work ‘in the cloud’, it is very likely that you will find out only after you have started the installation.
Now you have made your back up, you can start to get ready. Have your Original Windows 8 installation (either on USB stick or on DVD) and your activation key near. Windows 8.1 is available through download and can be found on the Microsoft / Windows website or in the store.
You also might want to brew a nice mug of coffee or tea, because installing will take some time. But hey, it is Windows. The users are used to that, I presume.
Downloading and installing
The download is available through the Windows store. You need to update your current system before downloading. Depending on your connection speed, it might take a short or longer while, the download for Windows 8.1 is about 3 GB. The update will install itself, clean and easy.
As I noticed, the update will come in English. You will need to install additional language packs after the install has completed.
I also have a Surface RT running Windows 8.1 RT Preview. To install the RTM without returning to the RT OS takes some patience, time and searching. The (Dutch) website Tweakers.net provided this link: click. You have to make sure that your device is fully updated, before downloading, and you may need to restart your device before the update is visible in the store.
Update 18/10/2013: it can be installed over the Windows 8.1 RT Preview. You may need several attempts, so don’t give up after just one time.
Login and connect
As it was the case with Windows 8, to get the full experience you should connect with your Microsoft account. The seamless integration with the Microsoft services is pretty neat. In Windows 8.1, the user experience is even better; it works just… smoother. If you do not want to, there is no need for it, though. You can also work with a local account.
Reviews on Windows 8.1
I will not write any review on Windows 8.1. There are plenty to be found on the internet already, with all the personal likes and unlikes. I am a person that hasn’t missed the startbutton for a second and can work with the operating system on devices both with and without touch screen.
To be honest, I do not understand those who are screaming for the start button to return. The functionality is still in the same place, only less visible and you will need to click the right button in the left – bottom corner to find the extra menu. And there is always the charms bar, and just by typing from the start screen – you know, with the tiles – you can find a lot already. I do understand that people missed starting directly to the desktop. Well, that functionality has been built in and can be switched on.
What Windows 8 and 8.1 is, to me
Windows 8 and 8.1 (including the RT versions) is a new stage in personal computing. As it is fit for all sorts of devices, except for the mobile Phone, and the start screen can be synchronised on all your different machines, it decreases searching time (dude, where’s my app) and increases productivity or play time. I like the duality, although I cannot wait until a touch friendly version of MS Office will be available.
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