Windows 8.1: Everything You Need To Know

Windows 8.1 has been officially released and is available to download right now. We've rounded up everything you need: what it offers, how much it costs, how to upgrade individual machines and how to tweak it to meet your needs.

How To Upgrade

Your upgrade options will vary depending on what you're currently running on your machine.

Windows 8: If your machine already has Windows 8, then 8.1 is a free upgrade. Just hit this link to open the Windows Store and update your system. It's a fairly hefty download (between 1.8Gn and 3.63GB depending on the version).

Windows 8.1 preview If you installed the Windows 8.1 preview release, you need to make sure that the Store is open first, then click this link from your browser to access the upgrade advice page. (Windows 8.1 automatically updates apps, so there's no update mechanism where you can check for updates to the entire OS on this occasion.) You have to update by January 2014.

Windows 7, Vista or Windows XP You'll have to pay for an upgrade, and that's not particularly cheap at official prices: $149 for the standard version, or $69.99 if you're a student. The Pro Pack release (which upgrades you from the basic version to Pro) costs $249, while the Pro release on its own is $399. Don't pay full price though; we've rounded up the cheapest deals for Windows 8.1.

There's currently no distinction between upgrade and full version pricing, and the software you receive is a full version which can install on any PC (unlike Windows 8, which was released at a much cheaper promotional price initially but wasn't made easily available in a full version at retail). You can order a DVD or choose to download the update.

System requirements for Windows 8.1 are a 1GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 20GB of hard drive space. In reality, you would not want to run Windows on a machine with so little memory; 4GB is the bare minimum.

What's New In Windows 8.1?

Not sure if Windows 8.1 makes sense? Read our overviews of what's on offer in the latest version. If you're not familiar with Windows 8 — a much bigger jump for users of earlier Windows releases — check out our .

How To Tweak Windows 8.1


Comments

    Thanks Angus. Useful post!

    I just downloaded 8.1 with media centre, and it was 3.42gb. Appears to be slightly smaller than the 3.63gb you mentioned. Not a biggie, just noting the difference.

      Thanks for the pointer. Difference between editions, I imagine (the 3.63Gb is the Pro figure). I'll update the text to reflect that.

    Can you add a how to remove the Start Button? It's a waste of space on my 11" tablet taskbar.

    To download the Australian language pack
    Settings > Change PC Settings > Time and Language > Region and Language > Add or click Australia > Then Options and download the language pack

    Finally, autocorrect wont be in American!

      Office's language settings have had Australian options for twenty years (shipped with ALL English language versions) and have been refreshed with updates from Macquarie. Most people never seem to use it because they leave the bulk of their machine with US settings.

        I was fine in office, but internet explorers auto correct would Americanise (woo, didn't change to Americanize) all my words under 8.0.

          Apart from the canard that z/s is an American vs everyone else thing, did you make sure that you had language set to Australian? Didn't experience this problem myself.

          Does your current spell-checker remove apostrophes from everything?

          Last edited 03/04/14 12:06 pm

            It was set to Australian with other languages deleted, the only difference after the update was it allowed me to also download a language pack.

              Hmmm. I remember setting my Win8 display language to English (Australia) back in March. This wasn't new: http://andrewtechhelp.com/how-tos/133-configuring-windows-8-and-windows-rt-to-spell-correctly-outside-the-us

                Ah Christ, that's a pain in the arse. As I said, I had my display language set, but obviously no language pack. Much easier now.

    cannot download.. its only offering 8 with 8.1 coming soon.

      Paul Thurrot has instructions on how to force the update. http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/windows-81-upgrade-guide-electronic-upgrade-options

    Mine and a lot of other peoples PC's are experiencing *major* issues with browsers at the moment ranging from IE to Chrome to Firefox. Often you have to reload your browser 2 - 3 times just to get a page up and running. I tried reinstalling Chrome, seems to work a little bit better, but this is indeed worrisome, especially when my net connection was *perfect* an hour ago...

    Anyone else having the problem of you click the upgrade link from windows 8.. it takes you to the store and then nothing? Tried it on Microsoft's page and on here with the same result?

      Doh.. Just figured it out.. I am using Enterprise version and need to download it from MSDN.. just a gotcha for people out there. =p

    I upgraded this morning. The only issue noticed was a DPI issue (fuzzy fonts and icons). Fixed quickly:

    http://www.askvg.com/fix-bold-blurry-or-hard-to-read-font-problem-in-windows-8-1/

    Does the Windows Store upgrade thing work with a Local account?

    Still Confused

    I bought a brand new notebook a few weeks ago with Win 8 (Standard) on it. for my wifes workplace, she needs Professional installed on it. At that time, places like officeworks were selling the Pro-pack upgrade for $59, but everything was unavailable due to the pending 8.1 release. It seems I now need to pay at least $237 to go from 8 (Standard) to 8.1(Pro). Or can I go to 8(Standard) to 8(Pro) [but I don't think this is available anywhere anymore] Still then get a free upgrade to 8.1(Pro)?

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