If you've heard about Windows 8.1, but are unsure about how to get hold of the new operating system (OS) update, then worry no more. The upgrade process is relatively simple, whether you are working on a PC, laptop or mobile device.
The first question to ask is whether you are hoping to upgrade your existing hardware or looking to buy a new connected device.
Purchasing new hardware
Buying a new computer, tablet or smartphone is the easiest way to access Windows 8.1, since the latest version of the OS comes pre-installed. This means that from the moment you set up your new device, Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro will be available to use.
The latest version of the Microsoft OS offers a range of potential benefits, including great ways to personalise your system, faster full-screen browsing, touch-screen capability, firewalls and security, live updates, in-built apps and cloud storage.
Windows 8.1 gives users a range of display options, including intuitive tiles designed for touch-screen users, and the familiar Windows desktop and Start button. This allows users to customise with their favourite apps, people, and sites - meaning everything you need is just a tap or a click away.
Upgrading your operating system
Whether you are able to upgrade your computer or device's OS depends on the age and model of the machine. PCs, laptops and devices purchased in the past few years are likely to be compatible with Windows 8.1, however older systems may not be.
System requirements for Windows 8.1 include a 1GHz processor or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2, 2GB RAM and 20GB available hard disk space, a 1024 × 768 screen resolution, a DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver, and access to the internet.
How do I know if my system is compatible?
It is easy to find out whether your system is equipped to run Windows 8.1 - you simply need to use the Upgrade Assistant. This is a free download that scans your computer, desktop applications and connected devices to see whether they will work with the latest version of Windows.
Once the Upgrade Assistant has run, it provides the user with a free compatibility report - potentially giving them the green light to download Windows 8.1, or urging them to invest in new hardware. If your system is compatible, Upgrade Assistant will give you the chance to buy, download and install Windows 8.1 online.
What if I'm already running Windows 8?
If you are using a Windows 8.0 PC or device, there are no concerns about compatibility - you will be able to upgrade to Windows 8.1. More so, this download is available for free. Users simply need to visit the Windows Store to download the update and ensure their system has all the features it is entitled to.
If you are upgrading from Windows 7 - the Microsoft OS included with new machines between 2009 and 2012 - you will be required to pay for Windows 8.1. But in most cases, it will be possible to install the update on your existing hardware.
How long does the upgrade take?
For all users, the time it takes to download Windows 8.1 will depend on the speed of your broadband connection. If you're using a super-fast fibre service, the process may take as little as 30 minutes from start to finish. Customers using copper-based ADSL broadband might be required to wait up to three hours for completion, but this varies according to each individual user.
Learn more about the potential benefits of Windows 8.1 by clicking here.
Posted by Alex Boardman