Microsoft is releasing another update to Windows 8, the operating system that it hopes will enable users to comfortably move between notebooks, tablets and desktop PCs. Dubbed Windows 8.1 Update, this free software download doesn’t just add a few new features for touch users. Instead, it aims to fix key issues Windows desktop and notebook owners might have had with the operating system.
Here’s how to get the Windows 8.1 Update on your device now.
You’ll need Windows 8.1 itself before you get anywhere close to downloading today’s update. That’s the major update that the company released late last year. To get it, go to the Windows Store and tap or click on the banner that says “update to Windows 8.1″ on the left side of your screen. If you don’t see that banner there, you already have everything you need.
Go to the Start Screen by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard or the Windows button below your tablet or convertible’s screen.
Place your mouse cursor in the top-right corner of your display to open the Charms Bar. Touch users should place their finger on the right edge of their screen and swipe to the left slightly.
Tap or click on Change PC Settings.
Tap or click on Update and Recovery. It’s the item on the bottom left of your screen.
Tap or click on the Check Now button. Your Windows device will contact Microsoft’s servers for any updates that you haven’t already done.
Now tap or click on each update you’d like to install. You’ll need to install all of the important Windows related updates before you can get the Windows 8.1 update. The update you’re looking for in the list is Windows RT 8.1 R2 Update or Windows 8.1 R2 Update. If you don’t see that update then you’ll need to install all of the important updates first, then return here. Tap or click Install.
Now wait for the download and installation of the new updates to finish. During the download phase you may find that your PC doesn’t let you browse the internet. All other apps should work just fine.
The Windows 8.1 Update is now installed.
Windows Store apps have broken free of the Start Screen and can now be pinned to the Desktop. This makes them a lot more accessible than they were before. The update also adds menu bars to every Windows Store app, allowing mouse and keyboard users to close or minimize each application without having to drag the entire window to the bottom of the screen like they did in previous versions. Finally, Microsoft has added right-clicking to the Start Screen. This allows tablet and keyboard users to make changes to their Start Screen in a way that they’re already familiar with.
You’ll definitely want to download today’s Windows 8.1 Update as soon as you can. Microsoft says that this update will be required for any updates going forward. If you don’t download it, you could leave your device vulnerable.