Upgrading to Windows 8.1

Upgrading to Windows 8.1

May 6th, 2014 by Christopher C. Wright

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Since the death of Windows XP, Petaluma business owners have asked us how and when they should upgrade their systems to a more modern operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. After the much-panned release of Windows 8, Microsoft has released a major update to the OS creatively titled Windows 8.1. Free for the next several weeks, today we discuss the benefits of upgrading to Windows 8.1 from an existing Win8 system and how to get the most out of your expanded interface.

Why you Should Upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

Windows MetroWhile many people using the Windows 8 “Metro” interface on their tablets and phones appreciated the large-button menus, a vast departure from the Windows XP and 7 style of interface, many desktop users expressed a number of complaints at the sudden shift. With Windows 8.1 Microsoft hopes to alleviate many of those concerns while also providing an improved user interface, regardless of platform.

  • The Start Button — the biggest visual desktop departure from previous versions was the removal of the Start button from the taskbar. With Windows 8.1 the iconic menu button is back, acting as a gateway to the metro interface. In addition a new “boot to desktop” feature is available, where the computer goes directly to your desktop instead of the metro menu when you log in, both features that were highly requested by Windows users.
  • Reduced Drive Footprint — though the hefty 8.1 update is nearly half a gigabyte itself, after installation the amount of space Windows takes up on your harddrive is actually reduced, in many cases up to 15%. This is owed to more dynamic libraries and graphics, better categorization of files to reduce duplicate storage, and a more unified filesystem hierarchy.
  • Better Search — in addition to being able to search directly from the metro menu by typing your query, now Windows search is powered by Bing, providing you with a visual and easily-navigable list of results much more suited to presenting you the information you were looking for.
  • Automatic App Updates — no longer requiring you to upgrade each application from the Windows Store individually, now Windows 8.1 will automatically update your apps in the background; never feel like you’re being nagged by “pending updates” ever again!
  • Better Multi-Monitor Support — many users, both of desktop PCs and tablets, rely on external monitors to display an ever-increasing amount of information on their desktops. Windows 8.1 greatly increases the control you have over which display goes where and what is presented on it. This is a particularly huge update for those using more than two monitors.

How to Upgrade to Windows 8.1

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from an existing Windows 8 install is exceptionally easy. As we have discussed previously, Windows Updates are a crucial aspect of running a Windows device. Before installing Windows 8.1 you will need to make sure you perform all updates through the Windows Update application. Once that’s done, usually requiring a reboot or two, open the metro menu and open the Microsoft Store, which is usually the second tile on the left. This update is absolutely free for the next several weeks, so now is the perfect time to grab it. Installation is simply a matter of clicking the “Download” button and letting the system update itself.

Immediately after your system reboots for the last time, we highly encourage you to run Windows Updates again. In addition to the security and usability updates available for Windows 8.1, there is a major patch called simply “Windows 8.1 Update” which adds even more features and options than what we’ve discussed above, available from within Windows Updates. Once your system is completely updated, enjoy the new features and functions of your laptop, desktop, or tablet!

Have Questions?

Call us at 415.462.6297 or email us at info@msmbnetworks.com for a free consultation to identify your needs and come up with a workable plan to move forward, including important updates like Windows 8.1. Call us today!

MSMB Networks — Your IT Professionals!

Christopher C. Wright is the CTO of MSMB Networks, focusing on network and system administration, upgrade planning, disaster recovery, and IT budget analysis in Petaluma and all over Sonoma and Marin Counties. With more than fifteen years of hands-on experience, he is committed to educating and protecting his clients, ensuring they receive the best individualized support possible. Email him at christopher@msmbnetworks.com

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