Update from Windows 8.1 Preview to Windows 8.1

Thank you for using Windows 8.1 Preview. The preview is no longer available for download, and the license for it expires January 15, 2014. If you have not yet installed the final version of Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, you should do so now.

If you are still running Windows 8.1 Preview, you'll see the following notification every time you sign in. After January 15, 2014, your PC will also restart every 2 hours and you will lose any unsaved data.

Preview expiration screen

To install the final version, tap or click Get Windows in this notification or complete the steps in the following sections.

Updating to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1

Your options for updating to Windows 8.1 depend on how you installed Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows RT 8.1 Preview.

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I installed the preview from the Windows Store or I installed the preview using media while Windows 8 was running

You can download the update for free from the Windows Store. You'll be able to keep your personal files, but you'll need to reinstall your apps. Make sure you have any original installation media that might be required for apps that were not installed from the Windows Store.

  1. On the Start screen, tap or click Store to open the Windows Store. If you're not signed into the Store with a Microsoft account, sign in with one now.

  2. With the Store open, return to this page.

  3. Download Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.
    (You can also enter ms-windows-store:WindowsUpgrade into the address bar of your browser to reach the download page.)

Note

To find out more about updating to Windows 8.1, see Update to Windows 8.1: FAQ.

I installed the preview by booting from ISO media

If you installed Windows 8.1 Preview by booting from ISO media, you can update to the final version of Windows 8.1 Pro using the Windows Store, but your system won't activate until you buy a Windows 8.1 license and product key. You can do this by following the instructions when you activate your system, or by purchasing a DVD of Windows 8.1 Pro.

If you don't want to buy a copy of the Pro edition of Windows 8.1, you should return your PC to its previous operating system before installing Windows 8.1.

Returning your PC to its previous operating system

In some cases you might want to go back to your previous operating system before updating or upgrading to Windows 8.1. You have different options depending on what version of Windows your PC was running before you installed the preview.

Warning

  • When running Windows 8.1 Preview, if you used Add features to change editions, you might need to reinstall or reactivate using your edition product key. To find out more about changing product keys, see KB2750773.

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My PC was running Windows 8 before I installed the preview

If your PC was running Windows 8 you might be able to restore it back to Windows 8 by using PC refresh. Your personal files won't be affected, but apps that did not come with the PC will need to be reinstalled and apps that you installed while using the preview might not be available through the Windows 8 Store. To find out more about using PC refresh, see Restore, refresh, or reset your PC.

If your PC was running Windows 8 and you installed the preview by booting from media, you'll need to restore your original operating system by using recovery media created prior to installation or by following instructions provided by your PC manufacturer. You can then install Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store. For detailed instructions, see Update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8.

My PC was running Windows RT before I installed the preview

If your PC was running Windows RT, you can't go back to Windows RT. You'll need to upgrade to Windows RT 8.1 through the Windows Store.

My PC was running Windows 7 before I installed the preview

If your PC was running Windows 7, you can buy and download Windows 8.1 by using Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant. In Upgrade Assistant, you'll have the option to install Windows 8.1 now, later, or using media with an ISO file or a USB flash drive.

My PC was running Windows Vista or Windows XP before I installed the preview

If you were previously running Windows XP or Windows Vista you'll need to reinstall your previous operating system from a recovery partition you created prior to installing the preview or from recovery or installation media that came with your PC (typically DVD media).

Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro aren't designed for installation on devices running Windows Vista or Windows XP. Some features such as touch might require a new PC. If you were previously running Windows Vista or Windows XP, you should go back to your previous operating system by using recovery media and buy DVD media to install Windows 8.1. Before installing, see Upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows Vista or Windows XP.

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