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 .