W8_1_featI use my Surface RT a lot. I have it connected to my Office 365 accounts and online services and remote into my desktop at work if I need to use any full Windows 8 desktop applications. I have found it the Surface RT to be a very productive device. So I was keen to find out what has changed in the final release of Windows 8.1 as soon as I could and start bending it to my will.
I set my alarm for 12am NZDT 18th Oct and got up excitedly to move my Surface RT from Windows 8.1 Preview to Release. Trying to find the Windows 8.1 Update in the Windows Store was the first challenge. Getting access to the store was initially difficult as many people were trying to download 8.1. But I soon discovered I need to take some additional steps.

  1. Installed a firmware update.
  2. Cleared my Windows Store cache. Start > “wsreset.exe” – Thanks @PaulBowkett
  3. Visited http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/update-from-preview – Thanks @maryjofoley. The NZ link to the same content displayed a 403 – Forbidden page initially.
  4. 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. Doing this first will make it so that you can see the progress of the installation once it starts.
    2. After opening the Store, return to this page.
    3. Click to download Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.
  5. The Store reported Windows 8.1 was installing.
  6. Once installed, you will be guided to connect to wireless and reconnect your Microsoft account. After doing this, resist the urge to configure, play and explore. Visit the Control Panel and search for Updates.
    Right Charm > Settings > Change PC Settings > Update and Recovery > Windows Update > Check Now.
    Checking may take 20-30 min to download and offer a final firmware update. On the Surface RT, this contained 4 updates and installed in approx. 5 min.
  7. Now, play and configure to your hearts content.
    1. Explore the new Mail, People and Calendar apps.
    2. Click-2-Reinstall the apps you had installed before.
    3. Allow your settings to sync.
    4. Re-enter passwords in some apps and services, to recreate the connections and configure the app/service as it was before the upgrade.
    5. Connect to your Office 365 online services with Outlook, OneNote and download your offline mailbox / notebooks.
    6. Sign into Office with your Office 365 account or Microsoft Account and re-connect to your cloud services and storage.

Here’s how the install unfolded via tweets.




























    1. Thank you Akash. Have you installed Windows 8.1 yet? How was the experience for you? I am glad I have been using Windows 8 with a connected Microsoft account. It made restoration of services, settings and files much easier.


      1. WINDOWS 8.1 UPGRADE PROBLEM: My laptop OS is Windows 7. Additionally, I havea paid subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E3, as it is the version
        which supports Project 2013. However, I am concerned about upgrading to Windows
        8.1 from an improperly patched Windows 7 OS. It appears I may be required to manually
        reinstall all of my apps and settings.
        First, I am making these three requests because this laptop is currently my only
        device. In other words, I am working with only a 365 Cloud safety net and I do
        not yet have the necessary files backed up to my 365 Cloud safety net.
        Yes, as an IT Applications Project Manager (PMP), I “know better.” Unfortunately,
        as a practical matter, my role as a sole proprietor is one of being stuck between federal
        contracts due to the crazies in Washington DC. That problem means my
        resources are currently very constrained – Office 365 Enterprise E3 appears to
        be my most cost-effective safety net strategy.
        1. Does Microsoft offer any “rebates” or similar “warranty support”
        for the faulty patch, Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.256? I have read this may
        be the case, but I cannot find any references.
        2. What is the best set of references for steps in backing up copies of my apps and
        related Windows 7 settings to my 365 E-3 Cloud files? I am not asking for “free
        hand-holding,” only references, which would be greatly appreciated!
        3. What references do you recommend for me to use in laying out my upgrade
        DETAILS: Here are the details. Starting about 18 months ago, around March 2012,
        Windows Update Agent 7.6.7600.256 failed. The Error Code 8007371B has remained useless
        for the past 1 ½ years. My repeated attempts over the past 18 months, using
        numerous Microsoft resources, including my paid “Microsoft Software
        Support” contract; repeated attempts with FixIT; and other systematic
        efforts, have all been fruitless.
        Full disclosure — I am very patient, persistent, and polite as I have managed
        Customer Service operations in the past.
        Unfortunately, it appears this laptop system is one of several thousand
        worldwide, which was hit by the faulty OS patch Windows Update Agent
        7.6.7600.256. Last month, I worked about 5 hours with a couple of Microsoft
        Tier-2 Software Service representatives. I paid about $100 US for this
        year-long Microsoft Software Service Support contract to access theses services.
        Unfortunately, after five hours, I was told the same thing I was told 18 months
        ago — “perform a clean OS install, then manually reinstall all of your
        settings and apps.” The only difference between 18 months ago and last
        month has been Microsoft first rolled out Windows 8, and then Windows 8.1.
        Best Regards,
        – Lee Cash, PMP http://www.linkedin.com/in/leecashpmp/


      2. Hello Lee.
        Firstly, apologies for the late reply.
        The upgrade from Windows 7 to 8.1 gives you two options for what to
        keep, “Just personal files” or “Nothing”.
        “If you choose to “Keep nothing” when you upgrade to Windows 8.1, your personal files will be
        temporarily saved to the Windows.old folder (unless you formatted your hard
        drive before installing). If you decide you want some or all of these files
        back, you can usually retrieve them from this folder.”
        From http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-files-upgrade-windows-old
        The personal files will need to be kept inC:UsersusernameDocuments for the upgrade process to keep them. Windows 7 and all your programs will be written over with a fresh
        install of Windows 8.1. It isn’t like the in-place upgrades in the past where programs will remain installed and settings will persist. Even then, the program had to be compatible with the version of Windows that was being installed.
        The good news is that if you currently have a badly patched or broken Windows 7 installation, it won’t matter because Windows 8.1 will replace it. You will need to put in some time though, to back up your applications, settings
        1. I’m not familiar with rebates or warranty support offered by Microsoft if installing an update breaks your computer.
        2. Each application and software vendor has its own standards for storing settings and data. Some follow Microsoft and store their settings in the user profile, found in C:Users. Some store their settings in the directory where the program is installed. C:Program Files”Program”. Some make use of the Windows registry for their settings. Some good programs have an inbuilt
        backup feature and create their own backup of settings and files. E.g. Dragon Naturally Speaking – http://nuance.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/15129
        There’s no easy way to say it. You’ll need to make a list of your programs and find out how best to back up their settings and data. I would still recommend backing up your settings and application profiles to a removable hard drive or a generic cloud backup service that allows you to store any file types.
        Some of those back files and settings might be able to be stored in Office 365. But Office 365 isn’t a backup tool. It’s a the main repository and you work from the document copy in that repository. By having your documents in Office 365, they are “backed up” in the event that your computer is stolen or damaged. But Office 365 is not a place to drop all your backup files
        from the many different programs available.
        3. Have a look through the upgrade process here. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/upgrade-from-windows-7-tutorial


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