Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tech Alert: No. 8.1

Upgrade to Windows 8.1

Today was my first foray into Windows 8. A friend’s shiny new laptop was supposed to come pre-installed with Windows 7,  64 bit - instead, it arrived with the much unloved Windows 8. Now there’s not much I DON’T know about Windows 7, so this was all going to be a voyage of discovery!

My first thoughts were to upgrade it to the latest version of Windows - version 8.1. This upgrade aimed to add some functionality back into the OS, based on a truck-load of negative comments from various sources about the current version - version 8. So, first stop in getting the 8.1 upgrade was to ensure that the current machine was fully up-to-date with it’s err, updates.

It WASN’T! This was a brand new machine, and ever-vigilant Windows Update revealed 89… yes 89 updates, before it would even let me near downloading the 8.1 upgrade. Then, after the 89 were installed, it was another 16…  then another 4. Finally, after about six-hours of updating, version 8.1 appeared in the Windows Store, as a promised, as a free download. If a brand new PC needs over 100 updates, it might be worth checking yours, well before you upgrade!

Reports suggested that the ‘8.1 upgrade’ download could be as large as 3.5 Gb - and that’s a BIG download. Even with our super fast internet connection here, the download seemed to take forever - all I can assume was that I, together, with the rest of the geeks out there, were all trying to get their hands on the latest shiny Windows upgrade at the same time, and the poor servers were having a nervous breakdown. Six hours later, the upgrade to Windows 8.1 was complete.

So, here’s what I learned:

Winking smile It’s worth upgrading, but you will need a fast(ish) and reliable internet connection

Baring teeth smile Be patient, it’ll take a while to grab all the files it needs

Smile with tongue out Make sure you are plugged into the mains before starting the download

Open-mouthed smile The upgrade is completely free, but…

Surprised smile You must make sure your current machine is FULLY up-to-date with all the Microsoft updates first, otherwise 8.1 won’t show in the Windows Store

..and whilst I’m on the subject of upgrades, don’t forget that if you are still using Windows XP, support ends in July 2015, and from that point on, your PC will more susceptible to nasties because Microsoft won’t be sending out any further security updates. If you’ve been thinking for a while about buying a new PC, maybe now is a good time to go shopping. There are various strategies you can follow you preserve all your ‘stuff’ on your current machine and Microsoft has a helpful guide HERE

More blogs to follow once I get my head round this super-new OS from Microsoft!