If you’re using Windows 8, it’s time to upgrade to Windows 8.1, for free, a day ahead of promised General Availability of Windows 8.1 by Microsoft. Microsoft is providing Windows 8 users the free upgrade to Windows 8.1 in order to address some of the major gripes that the early adopters have over the new operating system, while making the OS even better by bringing to table several new apps and features.

Windows 8.1 contains several major changes and features which many Windows 8 users have yearned for, such as ability to boot directly to desktop; Start button; no classic Start menu yet but now touch-enabled tile-based Start screen has quicker access to All Apps by swiping up and more configuration to mimic classic Start menu; improvement to onscreen keyboard, hands-free gesture using camera (think Kinect) for supported apps, automatic background update of apps, lock screen access such as answer Skype calls and take photos with camera for supported apps, better multitasking of Modern (Metro) apps, global search, ability to open more than 10 web pages and side-by-side in touch-based IE, improvement to default apps such as Mail, addition of new apps and etc.

Blogging Windows has mode details on the new features and enhancements of Windows 8.1.

How to Get Windows 8.1

Unlike previous updates, hotfixes or service packs for Windows operating system, Windows 8.1 is not offered through Windows Update. To initiate the upgrade to Windows 8.1, visit Windows Store, and you should be presented with the option to update to Windows 8.1 for free.

Free Windows 8.1 Update in Windows Store

If you have previously upgraded to Windows 8.1 Preview from Windows 8 with genuine license, you can grab Windows 8.1 for free from Windows Store too, without the need to reinstall Windows operating system.

Have no Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 license yet? Windows 8.1 is available for $119.99 while Windows 8.1 Pro can be had for $199.99 from your local retail store or online store such as Amazon.com.

The final version of Windows 8.1 RTM rolled out include many more updates that fixes bugs that discovered since the OS is RTMed months ago. If you download and install the leaked Windows 8.1, do check for hotfixes pushed through Windows Update to improve the system stability.

Remember to back up your data before starting the update, just in case something goes wrong. Best still, create a system image which allows you to easily recover the system by restoring the image. It’s also important to check if there is updated Windows 8.1 drivers for your PC’s components.

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  • I really like Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 adds tighter integration with several Microsoft-owned services. Windows 8.1 also adds support for a number of new and emerging technologies, such as 3D printing, Wi-Fi Direct, and Miracast media streaming. You get the ability to get apps from the Windows Store though. I like it a lot.

    http://www.ubiquitycorp.com/company/board/chris-charmicheal

  • well, we also should pay attention to preparation before we upgrade or install Windows 8.1: http://www.windowspasswordsrecovery.com/articles/win8/what-you-need-to-do-before-windows-8-1-upgrade-or-installation.html

  • colorfully moon

    Thanks for posting this! you can get a legit Windows 8 Pro product key from officebfh.com at a low price ,up to 70% discount! We will also help you to install and activate it.

  • Mia

    My 8.1 upgrade from Win 8 murdered the Shop. The Shop reveals (tile shows in top left area on mouse-over) but goes back back to Start Screen instantly without going anywhere. No information – nothing. Everything else such as other flooring like SkyDrive works. Also Shop will not open from web browser.
    Microsoft does not provide an ISO file so no way to renew.

  • BartV

    After installing 8.1 on a upgrade of 8.0, Business Contact Manager keeps crashing Outlook 2013. An no support from M$. Again we are paying Beta testers for M$

    For me MS stands for Multiple Sclerose, but maybe i do some shorcoming to those people, not M$

  • obd2

    The Store opens (tile shows in top left corner on mouse-over) but reverts back to Start Screen immediately without going anywhere. No messages – nothing. Everything else including other tiles like SkyDrive works. Also Store won’t open from browser.

  • CodenameXE

    Some editions of Windows 8 don’t support the free update to Windows 8.1. These include:

    Windows 8 Enterprise

    Editions of Windows 8 Pro that are installed by enterprises using KMS activation

    Editions of Windows 8 that are installed using an MSDN ISO, and activated using multiple activation keys

    If you’re running one of these editions, you can’t install the free update to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 from the Store

    More info:-

    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/why-can-t-find-update-store

  • barberic

    My 8.1 update from Win 8 killed the Store. The Store opens (tile shows in top left corner on mouse-over) but reverts back to Start Screen immediately without going anywhere. No messages – nothing. Everything else including other tiles like SkyDrive works. Also Store won’t open from browser.
    Microsoft does not provide an ISO file so no way to refresh.

  • simsan

    The link for ‘Windows store’ just does not work, neither from the note from reader Darkknight or from mydigitallife. Pls advice. thnx – sim

    • My Digital Life Editorial Team

      It works only on Windows 8.

  • bogdanic

    Rumors: the update to Win 8.1 will uninstall all applications (office, chrome, steam, everything) not only the ones installed from Win Store.
    So, be sure to backup everything, just in case rumors are true… and not just isolated cases.

  • ms-windows-store:WindowsUpgrade

    or

    ms-windows-store:WindowsUpgrade?ocid=GA8-1_O_WOL_Hero_Home_81Update_Pos1_01

    If you can’t see the Windows 8.1 update in Store, copy and open the above link in your browser.

    • Joseph Rinehart

      thank you for all your help, better help than the tech (supposedly)from microsoft, he just wanted to sell me a warranty for$149, even though i just got this pc in may, and i am still under the original 90 day warranty