Microsoft’s eagerly awaited Windows 8.1 operating system upgrade was released this time last month.  We look at how it’s been received and whether it is really worth the upgrade?

The latest Windows update is free and can be downloaded to any device running Windows 8 from the Microsoft Windows Store.  Any new Windows 8 machine purchase should now have 8.1 installed as standard.

windows 8.1 upgrade

Updating via the Windows Store is different from the usual ‘Windows Update’ method located in the control panel.  Microsoft have published this major update in their store to promote the fact the update is free without the usual software purchasing fees.

Updating is simple, but be warned, the download size is around 3.5GB and the updating process can take several hours, even on a fast internet connection.  To update, go into the new start screen, and click the ‘Store’ tile (as shown in the screenshot below), then select the Windows 8.1 download option.

windows 8.1 store

For further information on the update process and useful advice on preparing your computer for the Windows 8.1 update, please follow the Microsoft tutorial in the link below:

Once installed, the main noticeable feature is that the start menu is back.  It doesn’t have the same look and options as the start menu in previous Windows editions, but right clicking will displays links to the most common used shortcuts.

Another big improvement is the option to boot straight into desktop mode when logging in, as you would in Windows XP and Windows 7.  For most business users, this is a much welcomed return as many rarely use the start screen, as pictured above.

Other major benefits include:

–          Improved performance, things feel and run quicker in 8.1

–          There are more ways to personalise appearance and settings

–          SkyDrive has been seamlessly integrated to ensure easy access to docs for Office 365 users

–          IE 11 – the quickest and slickest Internet Explorer browser yet

Overall, Windows 8.1 has been received positively in the business community with little criticism.  The upgrade is definitely worthwhile, and is recommended for a faster, more business orientated operating system.