Don’t Avoid Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1

It doesn’t matter how great Windows 8 could have been, there were always going to be a large number of users who didn’t like the operating system. They’d have held out on upgrading their machines to the last moment and searched  the internet looking for a copy of Windows 7 that they could install on their machine. Lately, I’ve noticed the same phenomenon happening with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Due to how much it changed things, there’s always a lot of people asking for advice about Windows 8. More recently though the conversation has turned to how to avoid downloading Windows 8.1 entirely. It’s understandable, that some would want to stay where they are. After you’ve spent time learning one operating system, it makes sense that you’d like to avoid changing anything else if at all possible. Windows 8.1 is different from past Windows updates though. So different is it that I think it’s a horrible idea to avoid upgrading from Windows to Windows 8.1.

How To Stop Updates on Windows 8   (2)
The Start Screen & Charms Bar in Windows 8.1

What Windows 8.1 is and What it Isn’t

Windows 8.1 is a free update that combines new features and all of the security updates that ever made it to Windows 8.

Typically, these things come in separate packages. After a new version of Windows is released, Microsoft makes security updates and feature fixes available through the Windows Update service. Over time the number of patches needed grows and users need an easy way to get them all. New security updates go out every month like clockwork, sometimes more than that if there’s a much-needed fix.

Separately from those updates provided through Windows Update are feature updates. These are what we think of as new versions of Windows. For example, Windows 7 was a big feature update for Windows Vista and so forth.

Windows 8.1 are both of these things rolled into one. If you’re one of those people who don’t like updates that add new features when you’re already comfortable with what you have, you could refuse to update Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, but you do so at your own peril because of the way Microsoft deploys updates. That’s because of its dual nature.

Windows 8.1 isn’t just a feature upgrade. There are security fixes and changes tucked into it. More importantly, Microsoft is treating the Windows 8.1 update as a stop gap. Windows 8 users can look forward to updates until January 9th, 2018, according to Microsoft. Unfortunately, that’s key because failing to upgrade to Windows 8.1 means you’ll stop getting updates a lot sooner. That’s because new Windows updates use the free Windows 8.1 update as a foundation.

Windows 8.1 Has Features You Should Care About

Security updates are key. Even more important are the very real advantages users get in the Windows 8.1 update. Take it from someone who liked Windows 8, Windows 8.1 is much better than Windows 8 across the board.

The Start in Windows 8 was immature at best. You could pin different apps to the Start Screen, but the Start Screen itself was missing some key features. Start Screen customization was almost non-existent in Windows 8. You could add a background to the Start Screen. Live tiles only came in two sizes and you couldn’t open two Windows Store apps side by side equally  and multitask. All of that is fixed in the Windows 8.1 update.

How to Stream Video to the Xbox One from Windows 8 (2)
You can boot directly to the Desktop in Windows 8.1.

Almost every single Windows Store app saw a huge upgrade in Windows 8.1 as well. Xbox Music and Xbox Video aren’t amazing but are better than the versions that came in Windows 8. Bing Search is directly integrated into Windows 8.1. App updates are installed automatically. Files are now synced across devices from OneDrive.

Read: Windows 8.1 Update – Key Feature for Mouse & Keyboard Users 

Say you hate all of this though and you just want to get to your Desktop and get work done. Windows 8.1 makes that easier. Instead of requiring third-party utilities and other stuff, Windows 8.1 adds tons of options for getting the Start Screen, Charms Bar and most other things out of traditional user’s way. You can boot into Windows 8.1 and go directly to the Desktop. You can turn the Live Tiles in the Start Screen off and just get a list of installed apps.

All of this comes without the dangers that traditionally make upgrading Windows a hassle. Windows 8.1 is an update that builds on top of Windows 8. The installation is done through the Windows Store and any files saved on your device remain there. Backwards compatibility is a non-issue thanks to Windows 8.1 being built on the same core as Windows 8. There shouldn’t be a single issue with a Windows Store or Windows Desktop app not working correctly.

Windows updates are typically scary things. I understand that. Don’t try to not upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. You need this free update. It’s a better version of Windows 8 without the risk that typically makes upgrading a pain.

28 Comments

  1. Betty

    10/17/2014 at 5:11 pm

    Help! My Lenova computer keeps attempting to download Windows 8.1. I DO NOT WANT 8.1. HOW CAN I MAKE IT STOP ATTEMPTING THE DOWNLOAD???

    Reply

    • donannl

      01/27/2015 at 3:57 am

      It always gives a “cancel” option whenever it asks me if I want to upgrade.

      Reply

      • greybuscat

        05/01/2016 at 2:55 pm

        Untrue. It does not always give the cancel option. Eventually, it only gives options to restart “now,” and in 1-4 hours. The only way out of the prompt is to sign out of Windows, and the only way to permanently disable it is to edit the registry (Microsoft themselves admit this).

        Additionally, here now in 2016, many 8.1 users are getting automatic, forced upgrades to Windows 10, so the practice is spreading.

        It’s not hard to not be ignorant. You just have to try.

        Reply

  2. freddy

    10/18/2014 at 1:27 am

    You can’t unfortunately, it’s an automatic download. Hope this helps!

    Reply

    • frty

      11/13/2015 at 5:27 pm

      Wrong.
      1.you can edit a registry string
      2.you can disable it in Task Scheduler.

      Reply

  3. Freddy

    10/18/2014 at 1:38 am

    The only other way to stop it is to buy another computer with another package completely separate from Windows 8 or 8.1 It’s the only way forward I’m afraid!

    Reply

    • Joseph Bejm

      12/05/2014 at 7:02 pm

      That is a joke…………………………….

      Reply

  4. MsN Messenger

    10/19/2014 at 10:50 am

    but they will delete my msging app and replace with Skype ;s I really like the msging app its like having msn again but don’t wanna use Skype at all gaahhhh why must I update i cant even click anywhere when it do that pop up to tell me to update. no more remind me later option >:C every time it shows up i just hit control alt delete and log out then log back in …

    Reply

  5. Tchan

    10/19/2014 at 11:07 am

    that’s all fine and dandy, but alot of us cant even get the update to complete due to a plethora of bugs. seriously wtf is microsoft doing?

    Reply

  6. Pumpkin

    10/21/2014 at 3:19 pm

    You can uninstall apps. You can also keep a close eye on each update and only update what you want. Which means keeping windows 8.1 update is in my control not computer or microsoft. I had severe problems allowing things to go automatically. I had computer sent back to be factory formatted. Now it works and im in control. 8.1 screwed me. I like basic 8. Till something better comes along, thats where im staying.

    Reply

  7. Dan

    10/21/2014 at 9:48 pm

    This recommendation to upgrade is biased. There are so many people on the internet complaining about this upgrade. The boot time is 2-3 minutes versus 40 seconds in Win 8.
    Also many people received errors like ‘THREAD STUCK IN DEVICE DRIVER’. Good luck to fix it!!
    I guess your website is sponsored by Microsoft. Their policies to push aggressive for upgrade is NOT Ok. This is NOT ok unless you Microsoft deliver a decent upgrade. Why corporations have to dictate on my money

    Reply

  8. anglohistorian

    10/24/2014 at 10:24 pm

    I can’t use Windows 8, 8.1, etc,,, I want to use my windows 7 overlay on 8, 8.1, 8.1 upgrade- stop shoving SHIT down my throat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  9. Leo

    11/03/2014 at 9:11 am

    I have nothing against Windows 8.1, but after Windows 8 was upgraded to Windows 8.1 my LEXMARK X5435 all-in one printer became non-operable from computer probably because of driver failure.I did try to find new driver for Windows 8.1 without any success.So, I didn’t have any choice as come back to Windows 8 because I need this printer to be operable from computer.
    Thanks,
    LD

    Reply

  10. Jill

    11/08/2014 at 5:58 pm

    This article left out the fact that windows 8.1 is not compatible with anything. all my virus protection quit working, my version of photoshop, conversion programs, music programs, itunes, miscellaneous programs, even my printer all quit working when i had 8.1. i ended up with a huge virus and was forced to refresh my computer and lost many of my programs not to mention many hours of putting my computer back the way i had it. the new features of 8.1, over basic 8 is not worth the hassle of losing 99% of my programs that aren’t compatible with 8.1.

    Reply

  11. Keith

    11/20/2014 at 10:12 pm

    The Upgrade is like everything Microsoft does if something is working fine they find a way screw it up 20min after upgrade internet explorer quit working error messages popped up constantly could not use computer . Thankfully I have recovery disk to do a complete recovery and fix the added partition the upgrade created . You can remove 8.1 upgrade notification using regedit just google how to remove 8.1 Upgrade notification .

    Reply

  12. kate

    12/04/2014 at 4:50 pm

    This article was not helpful to anyone seriously contemplating risks in upgrading from 8.0 to 8.1. Auto upgrades, forcing users to work with particular apps and search engines etc are PROBLEMATIC!

    My new ASUS all in one has eventually ‘forced’ the upgrade three times now and each time I am left with a non-functioning system and have to restore my computer to factory settings to recover 8.0.

    Windows 8.1 fails to work with antivirus, regularly stalls and crashes from my search engine, takes forever to boot and reset …. and effectively makes an expensive desktop useless. What on earth is going on in your user testing Microsoft????

    Reply

  13. Robert

    12/05/2014 at 2:24 am

    You are over looking one thing. Not all PCs can take 8.1. I tried upgrading as soon as 8.1 came out and the install left me with a black screen and no way back whatsoever. I had to re-install 8.0 from scratch. Forums show I’m not the only one by any means. My machine is going to have to stay 8.0.

    Reply

  14. Joseph Bejm

    12/05/2014 at 7:07 pm

    One thing windows 8.1 changed USB the way it handles, so most of my external devices that working great on 8 but don’t with windows 8.1 That’s why I don’t want 8.1 It force me once to update so I re installed 8 again. Then I found that you can change in settings not to update to latest windows. I changed that and will see what will happen. If will update any way then I’m going back to windows 7……………..

    Reply

    • Joseph Bejm

      12/05/2014 at 7:11 pm

      I forgot to say That I’m getting the blue screen on 8.1 that it said that windows had a problem and needs to be reboot. It will not fixed the problem but it will go into loop………………

      Reply

  15. Luc

    12/12/2014 at 4:49 am

    I was avoiding the 8.1 update as long as I could and then one day it updated itself and i could do nothing about it. Everything seemed fine right after the update. However, once I turned off my computer (Lenovo G580), it was impossible to turn it back on. I kept getting blue screen with “Your PC ran into a problem” error and it kept restarting for about 6 times… I tried the next day and nothing changed. After 6 or so automatic restarts it finally showed me some options. I never did any backup up so I had to restore my computer back to the state how it was when I bought it.. I did not lose my documents and pictures, however, I lost all programmes that I had installed on my PC and had to re-install everything. My OneKey Recovery is not working – I get an error there, too (error code 0x80EF0C02) when I try to do a backup.. So I guess I am screwed, because I keep getting the notifications to update to Win8.1 again.. I am really afraid that after it forces the update on me again, I will lose everything again and will spend another day re-installing and this will keep on forever.. Please help me. Is there any other way to do a backup without using one key recovery programme? And how do I get rid of the stupid Win 8.1 update?

    Reply

  16. Eric Neal

    12/13/2014 at 8:05 pm

    Does anyone else think the article author is a paid advocate for Microsoft? Anyway, I would highly suggest that you DO avoid updating from 8 to 8.1 !! More so, with Acer Laptops. Many Acer laptops run into severe problems with the update. My girlfriends laptop is a good example. The new update not only wiped out the keyboard drivers, but worse – prevented new drivers for the keyboard from being installed.

    Windows 8.1 is a prime example of Microsoft’s trying to invade everyone’s privacy as well. Did anyone notice the express settings during the installation that forced you to agree to it, such as your required agreement (e.g. servitude) to microsoft reading your doc files and using the data for marketing and advertising purposes? Just fyi, marketing can include many facets, such as selling your info that they gain from private doc files on your computer.

    I would advise avoiding 8.1 at all costs. If you want, there are many free and low cost software alternatives to give you everything the 8.1 update offers, without the many, many bugs and privacy invasion “enhancements”.

    By chance, if you want downgrade or revert back to Windows 8 without losing your files, the best method in my opinion, would be to “refresh” rather the restart. This way, you can keep your pics, vids, docs, etc, but everything else (including updates) is wiped out and the OS is reverted back to whatever OS the computer came with. I do recommend though, you do your due diligence and to a manual backup as well, onto an external cloud based website (not Microsoft) or hard disk.

    Reply

  17. Linda

    01/23/2015 at 9:27 am

    Windows 8.1 is NOT COMPATIBLE with my office and I telework. I am only able to DELAY the upgrade from Win8 to 8.1, not prevent it. The upgrade ultimately wins. When that happens, it takes about 1.5-2hrs to complete. I must get my restore disks to revert to Win8, taking another 1.5-2 hours. That’s a 5 HOUR loss in productivity for me often causing much grief and the potential for loss of important data. Your little “fixes” are killing me! They are not as important as the employment which provides the dollars for me to even utilize a laptop! It’s expensive too. I purchased THREE laptops so I could hopefully have one thats working. RIDICULOUS!!!!

    Reply

    • Linda

      01/23/2015 at 9:37 am

      Also Microsoft Win8.1 wipes out it’s own WINDOWS OFFICE!!!! Are you crazy, Microsoft???

      Reply

  18. indwnd

    01/27/2015 at 4:00 am

    I’ve looked at Windows 8.1, and I simply don’t like it. I don’t like how they’ve changed some of the more convenient and intuitive things in 8. And many complain of compatibility issues. 8.1 doesn’t work well with some programs, or the program won’t work on 8.1

    Tell you what, I’ll upgrade to Windows 10 for free sometime later this year.

    Reply

  19. aninok

    01/27/2015 at 4:06 am

    That’s another thing, Windows “upgrades” have never not been problematic. It’s always better to buy the full version (or OEM if you don’t mind not having tech support) and install the full version rather than buying the upgrade version.

    Reply

  20. Ramon

    07/03/2015 at 8:20 pm

    I have a Problem too, my windows 8.1 is about to expire. is there any way to disable the activating the product key? i think my computer asking me this every few months, i think 6month?

    Reply

  21. Barb

    07/20/2015 at 6:12 am

    i do not like windows 8.1 it stops my brightness button from working. Microsoft does’t have a fix for this. i had to go to a computer person to fix it. Months later i had a crash and had to reload everything. I stopped 8.1 from downloading automatically from advice at a knowledgeable site online. I dont know how to get needed updates for 8.0 now. Next computer will be a Mac

    Reply

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