Most users think that Microsoft’s Windows operating system is just a thing that comes on their computers. They never consider coming software changes needed to keep their Windows 8 laptop, desktop or tablet running. It never occurs to them that the built in software that protects their devices from viruses, spyware and all sorts of other nasty stuff requires constant upgrading. These users get annoyed by Windows 8 updates and then they turn them off.
That’s a huge, huge mistake. Updates are a crucial component of maintaining a decent experience. You shouldn’t block updates on your phones or tablets, and you definitely shouldn’t neglect updates on your Windows 8 PCs. Here’s how to update Windows 8 if you’ve turned off updates in the past, but still want to keep your machine up-to-date.
Before we began, please note that the version of Windows we’re using is already running an update. That update is called Windows 8.1. Because of it, what you see below might look different if you haven’t gotten that update already. Microsoft began deploying it to devices automatically last year, but in case you don’t have it yet, head to the Windows Store and make sure there isn’t a banner asking you to get the Windows 8.1 update. If there isn’t an update than you’re fine. If there is, download Windows 8.1 now. You’ll need it for all future updates. Don’t put this off.
Read: Windows 8.1 Review
Windows 8.1 also includes some pretty nifty multitasking features that you’ll definitely want too.
Press the Windows key on your keyboard to go to the Start Screen. If you’re on a table or 2-in-1 there should be a Windows button that takes you to the Start Screen instead. Either is fine.
If you have a mouse, take your pointer and place it in the top-right corner of your screen to activate the Charms Bar. Touch users should place their finger on the right side of their screen and swipe to the left to reveal the Charms bar.
Click or tap on Settings Charm.
Now click or tap on Change PC Settings.
Now click or tap Update & Recovery. It’s an option in the menu setting off to the far left of your screen at the bottom. In our example, it’s listed in the ninth spot underneath Ease of Access.
Welcome to the Update & Recovery option. You’ll see a button listed asking you to Check for Updates. You’ll want to click that one to see what updates you have pending. You’ll then be asked to install those updates and get your machine running with the latest software. In our example, there’s a Restart button. That Restart button is for users who’ve had automatic updates running already and just want to get the update process over with.
Below the button area are options for looking at your Windows 8 device’s update history. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 log the time that they last checked for updates and were updated. In recent years, Microsoft has gotten better about deploying updates. It used to be that downloading an update required a lot of input from users. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 download small updates in the background when you have a stable internet connection. Your system might already be doing this if you went with the recommend settings for your Windows device.
Most updates aren’t like Windows 8.1 in that they usually don’t end up proving you with any sort of new features. As you can see from this look at our device’s recent update history, Microsoft uses Windows Update to mainly push security fixes for Windows itself. It also handles any updates for other Microsoft products. For example, Windows Update is how Microsoft Office updates are sent to users. Updated instructions for how some of the hardware inside your machine are also included here.
It’s unclear how Microsoft plans update Windows 8.1 with new features going forward. It’s entirely possible that’ll let users update using this interface or pipe all feature upgrades through the Windows Store like it did with Windows 8.1. The company is already in the testing stages for Windows 10, the next major release of Windows.
If you have updates waiting to be installed, go ahead and install them now. There is nothing more important and essential than keeping your Windows 8 device up to date.
Keep your machine up to date and it’ll serve you well.