How to Prepare for the Windows 8.1 Release

Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 to the public on October 17, 2013 at midnight local time around the world. Windows 8.1 makes much needed changes to the OS that will make using it easier for users who weren’t happy with what Windows 8 originally had to offer. Whether you were waiting for the final release or you upgraded to the Pro Preview already, we will show you how to prepare for the first major upgrade to Windows 8.

We cannot stress enough the importance of creating a system backup or some form of recovery media before upgrading to Windows 8.1. If you chose to preview Windows 8.1, you should have created recovery media prior to installing the preview; if you didn’t, you may run into issues should something go wrong during the Windows 8.1 final release upgrade process.

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Note: This only applies if you previewed Windows 8.1.

Microsoft warned users if they upgraded to Windows 8.1 on their primary drive instead of via virtual machine or partition that they would lose all their apps and programs. While this frustrated many users, you will have to deal with it come Windows 8.1’s release date.

In order to prepare ahead of time, pre-download your programs and apps. Download all the installers you need and backup your app data to removable media. While you won’t be able to download installers for Windows 8 apps, you can back up your Windows 8 app data with our guide here. After you upgrade to Windows 8.1 and install your apps, you can then use your app data backup to import your settings into those newly installed apps.

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While Windows 8.1 will be available at midnight on October 17, 2013 for you, you may not want to download it right then and there. While Windows enthusiasts might want to get started right away, let’s be honest: If everyone tries to download the Windows 8.1 update at once, it’s going to take a long time. Microsoft’s servers might even go down over the night due to server overload.

There’s no reason why you can’t wait a day or two to download and install Window 8.1. In fact, we recommend it for all Windows users. Windows 8 will still function, and you can even opt to go weeks or months before updating all together if you want. There may come a point where you’ll need to install the upgrade down the line but Microsoft is not forcing it upon you on Windows 8.1’s release date.

Windows 8.1 is a much needed update to Windows 8. While it may not have lived up to the hype for many users, it does add some functionality and improvements that will make the transition easier for those still on the fence about Microsoft’s latest OS. When release day arrives, upgrade as you see fit and enjoy the new features added to Windows 8.