Skip to main content

How to Download and Install Windows 8.1

Posted July 2013 by Steve Sinchak

Windows 8.1 offers new features under the hood to make it the fastest, most secure, and easiest-to-manage Microsoft operating system for desktops, laptops, or tablets. Available as a free update later this year, a prerelease version is available now for you to try.

There are two methods to install Windows 8.1: Using the Windows Store or with the traditional ISO file that can be written to a USB device or a DVD.

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 using the Windows Store

This is the easiest method to install Windows 8.1 but it requires a minimum of 20 GB of free space on your primary OS drive. To get started, head over to and click the purple Get The Update button.

The file you downloaded is a patch that adds support to download Windows 8.1 to the Windows Store app. After the patch is downloaded run it and click through all of the confirmation boxes.  When installed, you will be asked to restart your PC.

After your PC is restarted you will be asked to go to the Windows Store to download and install Windows 8.1. If you miss the notification, you can always just click the Windows Store icon on the Start Screen and you can't miss it.

Install Windows 8.1 using ISO files

Using an ISO file can be more destructive than the Windows Store method but is the only way to install Windows 8.1 on brand-new hardware or in a virtual machine.  Additionally, I always recommend using clean installs instead of upgrades when possible since you typically will experience fewer issues.

Visit to download the appropriate ISO files for your PC.  I recommend the 64-bit ISO unless you have very old PC hardware.

If you want to install from a USB drive instead of a DVD, check out this article:

Where is the product key?

Windows 8.1 requires new product keys when installing from ISO files.  For the preview, you can use NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F.

Related Posts

Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 includes the Windows Defender SmartScreen service for years that prevents users from accidentally browsing to known malicious and fake phishing websites. While Microsoft Edge is a great browser and has many very strong security features, Microsoft understands that many people choose to use Google Chrome.  As such, Microsoft still cares about the security of the web browser...

Read More

It happens every few months.  My operating system drive runs out of space, and I must begin the hunt for things to delete or move to another drive. As a first step using a cleanup utility such as CCleaner is helpful, but it only finds the easy targets such as temporary files. Unfortunately, deleting these files does not typically...

Read More

If you are among the millions of “cord cutters” that are saying goodbye to cable and satellite, or if you just want to gain access to the dozens of free channels broadcast over-the-air then this article is for you.  Similar to tuning in over-the-air channels on a TV you will need an antenna and a tuner to receive local TV channels. In order to watch TV on Windows 10 I like to use HD Homerun network...

Read More

Shopping for a hard to find item on that is always sold out? I was recently on the hunt for an external GPU enclosure that would show up in small quantities on Amazon.  After failing to snag one by randomly checking periodically, I figured there must be a better way. Microsoft Flow to the rescue!

Read More