How to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Preview: Screenshot Tutorial

Windows 8.1 is a free update to Windows 8 and a preview version was made available as we had seen in our earlier post . Windows 8.1 final version will be coming later this year. In this post we will see the steps involved in upgrading your Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Preview, with screenshots. You can install Windows 8.1 Preview through the Windows Store or by using ISO. We will see both the methods. But before we commence,  there are a few things you may want to read about the Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 Preview Upgrade Policy.

Upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 via Windows Store

For installing Preview from Windows Store, first you have to install a small update to enable the Store Update experience. So go here  and click on Get the Update.


That’ll actually install the Windows8-RT-KB2849636-x64.msu update and will ask you to restart the PC for the update to take effect. Once you restart, you’ll get this screen.

upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Click on ‘Go to the Store’.


Click on the Download to initiate the download which is ~2.5GB. And as it downloads, you can keep working. You can see the download progress. You can right click to cancel or pause the download. Depending on your Net speed, it’ll take long time to finish the job.


If you decide to stop the download, make sure you uninstall the associated Windows Update. Open Control Panel and search for View installed updates. Look for the Microsoft Windows category and then uninstall KB2849636. Or you can try the same, if you come across broken downloads or any problem in download.


Once the downloading is completed, everything will done and you’ll be ready with the Windows 8.1 Preview test run.

Upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 using ISO

At the time of yesterday  announcement the ISO was available only at MSDN/TechNet subscribers, but now ISOs for public download are also available. You can go here and get the preferred ISO. The Key is also provided there. After downloading make sure to verify SHA-1 hash value.

Once you have the ISO downloaded and you are upgrading from Windows 8, and as it supports ISOs natively. Just double clicking the ISO will mount it, and from there, you can just run the Setup.exe to begin upgrading.

So there is no traditional way of preparing the bootable DVD if you are running Windows 8. Though you can burn the ISO to make a bootable disk and then install it. In fact the official FAQ says “If you start your PC from removable media that you created when you downloaded the ISO, you won’t be able to keep your apps, Windows settings, or personal files when you update.” So this in-place upgrade is preferred. But if you are facing some problem in your existing Windows 8, its better to do a clean install.


Running the setup.exe will start the installation process


It will check for any updates and might ask you to go online and install the latest updates. You may keep connected net during installation.

upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Then you’ll have to enter the Product Key. The key for Windows 8.1 Preview ISO is provided on the site itself or you can check in earlier post . This key is only for Windows 8.1 Preview ISO. Those installing via Windows Store won’t require any Product Key.


Then agree to the License terms.


Now the next step is very important, it provides option what to retain after upgrading. You can choose Windows Settings, personal files and apps so that all these are kept as it is. I have observed that some apps seem not to be behaving properly after installation.

upgrade windows 8 to windows 8.1

After choosing what to keep, it’ll be ready for installation.


Then the installation starts. During the installation, PC will restart several times, also it’ll take a while to fully complete the process.


For me it took more than an hour for the full installation. It took a long duration when it reaches the new Windows 8.1 Betta fish screen and complete all Windows settings. It’ll then ask you for the various settings. You can choose Express Settings – this quickly sets up your account. Then it  sets up SkyDrive using Cloud Storage and finally it installs apps.

At last you’ll have the Windows 8.1 Preview with lots of new, nifty features to play around and ready for you providing feedback for further improvements.

Screenshot (80)

The best thing using this method was, apart from the new apps which comes with 8.1, it installed all my Store apps which I was using earlier and also all the software like my earlier installed Office 2013, various browsers, small desktop apps all were as it is & working. My data folders too were intact. It was also observed that after installation of Windows 8.1 Preview, free disk space increased as compared to when it was using Windows 8. After the Preview install, I got about 7 GB of more Free space.

In our next post, we will see how to install Windows 8.1 on a separate partition.

Some points to note:

  1. Although Windows 8.1 Preview is stable and have been thoroughly tested, but it isn’t the final product. You should back up your data and shouldn’t install this on your Production machine.
  2. Those running Windows RT will have to upgrade via Windows Store only. While those using Windows 8 Enterprise have to upgrade only via ISO.
  3. Uninstalling the preview isn’t supported. However, it may be possible to restore your entire system to its factory condition. But Apps that did not came with the PC will need to be reinstalled and apps that you installed while using the preview may not be available through the Windows 8 Store.
  4. The Preview is available only for 13 languages.
  5. Windows RT 8.1 Preview requires a PC running Windows RT with 10 GB of free storage space.
  6. If you want to upgrade from a PC running other than Windows 8, then data, settings etc you want to retain will differ.
  7. At present Windows 8.1 Preview is not supported on some tablets and PCs with newer 32-bit Atom processors including: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2, ASUS VivoTab TF810C, Samsung ATIV Smart PC, HP ElitePad 900, HP ENVY x2, Fujitsu ARROWS Tab. So check if it says “Update Not Applicable to this computer”. Most of them are expected to be supported during the Preview, so please keep checking.
  8. If you are using Windows 8 with Media Center, it’ll be retained if you install via Windows Store but Media Center will be removed if you install using ISO. Though later on you can reinstall using Windows 8 Pro pack or using Media Center Key.

Also check this this post for answers to more such queries.

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.


  1. chief1

    If it’s a preview what benefit is it to me? In particular based on your concern about loss of existing data. I’m sort of inclined to wait for the real thing.

  2. Yes, it might be a good idea for you to wait for its final version.

  3. global

    For windows8 Support


  4. John Mertz

    As usual, Microsoft pricing is OBSCENE. I have 8.1 Basic. All I want is the Remote Desktop host capability. I will not pay their blackmail. I will, instead, go to a third party for 15 bucks or so.

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