Software & Apps Windows 36 36 people found this article helpful Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update Everything you need to know about Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on April 15, 2020 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email Windows 8.1 Update is the second major update to the Windows 8 operating system. This update, previously referred to as Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows 8 Spring Update, is free for all Windows 8 owners. If you're running Windows 8,1, you must install Windows 8.1 Update if you wish to receive security patches that were released after April 8, 2014. Windows 8.1 Update includes a number of user interface changes, especially for those using Windows 8 with a keyboard and/or a mouse. For basic Windows 8 information, like system requirements, see Windows 8: Important Facts. Check our Windows 8.1 summary for more on Microsoft's first major update to Windows 8. Windows 8.1 Update Release Date Windows 8.1 Update was first made publicly available on April 8, 2014 and is currently the most recent major update to Windows 8. Microsoft isn't planning a Windows 8.1 Update 2 or Windows 8.2 update. New Windows 8 features, when they're developed, will be provided with other updates on Patch Tuesday. Windows 10 is the most recent version of Windows available and we recommend that you update to this version of Windows if you can. Microsoft is unlikely to improve upon Windows 8 in the future. Download Windows 8.1 Update To upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Update for free, visit Windows Update and apply the update named Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) or Windows 8.1 Update for x64-based Systems (KB2919355). If you don't see any Windows 8 Update related updates in Windows Update, check to make sure that KB2919442, first available in March 2014, is installed first. If it wasn't, you should see it there in the list of available updates in Windows Update. While more complicated, you also have the option of upgrading manually from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8.1 Update via the downloads linked here: Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) for 64-bit Windows 8.1Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355) for 32-bit Windows 8.1 How to Tell If You Have Windows 64-Bit or 32-Bit The Windows 8.1 Update actually consists of six individual updates. Select them all after selecting the Download button. First install KB2919442 if you haven't already, followed by the ones you just downloaded, in this order exactly: KB2919355, KB2932046, KB2959977, KB2937592, KB2938439, and then KB2934018. If you haven't yet updated to Windows 8.1, you'll need to do that first via Microsoft Store. See our How to Update to Windows 8.1 tutorial for more help. Once that's complete, update to Windows 8.1 Update via Windows Update. Windows 8.1 Update isn't the entire operating system, only a collection of updates to the operating system. If you don't currently have Windows 8 or 8.1, you can purchase a new copy of Windows (the entire operating system, not just the update). However, it's no longer available for purchase directly from Microsoft, so if you need to buy Windows 8.1, you can try other places like Amazon.com or eBay. See Where Can I Download Windows 8.1? for some discussion on how to obtain a Windows 8.1 download. We also answer a lot of questions about installing Windows 8 here: Common Questions About Installing Windows on a PC. Windows 8.1 Update Changes A number of new interface changes were introduced in Windows 8.1 Update. Below are some changes to Windows 8 that you might notice: Adds power and search buttons to the Start screen (on some devices).Booting directly to the Desktop is now the default setting on new installations on non-touch devices.Microsoft Store apps can be pinned to the Desktop taskbar, just like traditional programs.Taskbar is available anywhere the mouse is.Title bar, including close and minimize buttons, is available on Microsoft Store apps.Right-click menu is available for Microsoft Store apps pinned on the Start screen.Microsoft Store app is pinned by default to the taskbar.A "new apps installed" notice on the Start screen after installing new apps. More About Windows 8.1 Update While all of our Windows 8 tutorials were written for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.1 Update, the following ones may be particularly useful if you're new to Windows 8 as of Windows 8.1 Update: How to Clean Install Windows 8.1How to Install Windows 8.1 From a USB DeviceHow to Open Command Prompt in Windows 8.1How to Open Control Panel in Windows 8.1 You can find all of our Windows 8 and 8.1 installation related tutorials in our Windows How-To area.