We recently downloaded and installed the update and decided to create a how-to guide for those who may not be as computer savvy. We have also included a list of the latest features integrated in the update, as well as an account of our own personal experience while downloading and installing it.
How to Install the Windows 8.1 Update
Head to your Control Panel and go to Windows Updates. Install updates if you have them waiting to be installed. Your PC will likely reboot if you have updates waiting. If you don’t have anything waiting, just close this window.
Now, head to the start page and open the Microsoft Store. In the Featured Apps spot you should now see a big icon that is prompting you to upgrade to Windows 8.1. This is a free upgrade.
If you’re ready to go, click the download button in the top right and you’ll be taken to the download page. If you’re on a portable device, now is a great time to make sure you are connected to power. Finally, if you have some things you need to finish up on your computer, you can close this and go back to what you were doing during the download process.
When our update was finished installing, the screen of our laptop went black. We had to manually shut off and restart our computer.
You may be asked to sign back in to your Microsoft account or to select your color preferences again, but these are signs that Windows 8.1 has been successfully installed. When the Start Page reappears, you have reached the end of the download with your documents and applications intact.
New Features in Windows 8.1
• More Lock Screen and Start Screen Options - Microsoft already had picture passwords, but now that feature has been expanded to allow multiple images to be pulled from the local storage. This effectively makes the Lock screen into a digital photo frame. You’ll also be able to capture pictures with the device’s camera, or answer Skype calls, without unlocking first. The Start screen now has more tile sizes and background colors, as well.
• Extensive SkyDrive Integration - Perhaps the biggest and best change in Windows 8.1 is extensive, all-inclusive SkyDrive integration. SkyDrive is a personal cloud storage service from Microsoft that enables customers to store, synchronize and access their files across Windows PC and Mac OS X computers and laptops as well as mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, including Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices and Apple iOS-powered iPhones and iPads. Now, when you set up Windows 8.1, you will be prompted to turn on SkyDrive — and by doing so, SkyDrive will be integrated right into Explorer.
• Better Search - For whatever reason, Microsoft didn’t include true universal search in Windows 8. In Windows 8.1, searching the device will pull up apps, local and SkyDrive files, and settings. There is also a Bing Internet Search integration. All you have to do to search is simply start typing while on the Start screen. Overall, the entire search and All Apps view experience has been significantly rearranged to help out mouse-and-keyboard users.