Many are anticipating the first major update to Windows 8, hoping to solve user issues such as the Start button and the Desktop. Microsoft has released a preview of Windows 8.1 so you can take it for a test drive before its actual release near the end of the year.
Windows 8.1 seems to be much more than just an update, making changes that many users have requested such as including the well-known Start button, booting to the Desktop and more Start screen options.
To learn more about this release, go to Microsoft.com and in the search bar at the top, type “Windows 8.1 Preview,” and then when the search results appear, click “Windows 8.1 Preview.”
Before you download and install this preview release, I strongly recommend you read the “FAQ” page, which will detail what you can expect and how you can help improve Windows 8.1 before its official release.
Microsoft recommends that only those who are comfortable with advance options install the preview release. I wrestled with writing about this topic because of this, but I have found that many of our residents are extremely knowledgeable about the computer and may feel confident with this installation.
Some things to do before you begin. First, and this is always the case, back up all your personal data that is on your system. You should make a copy of all four libraries, Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos, and if you have files stored elsewhere, such as on your desktop or on your local drive (this is the “C” drive for most users), make sure they are backed up as well.
Another place I also suggest you check for personal files is in the “Recycle Bin” located on your desktop. I’ve seen many people accidentally delete files, moving them to the “Recycle Bin” without knowing. You can recover these files easily either by “cutting” and “pasting,” or you can highlight the files and then click “Restore this item” or “Restore all items,” and your files will be put back in their original location ready for you to make a backup copy.
Once you have backed up your data, you may also want to set a restore point, just in case the preview installation has trouble. From your Start screen or Desktop, click “Control Panel” and then click “System.” Once the System page appears, click the “System protection” link up and to the left. The System Properties dialog box appears. Next, click “Create” and name your restore point, then click “Create.” Once the restore point is set, close the open boxes and windows.
You can proceed at this point to install the Windows 8.1 preview. Follow the instructions and be sure to leave plenty of time for the update. Reboot your computer once the update has completed.
As you work with the Windows 8.1 preview, you can report bugs and issues you experience to Microsoft to help improve Windows 8.1 before the actual release. Keep in mind, this is a preview release and will have bugs and issues to deal with, so be sure you are comfortable using your computer under these circumstances.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 12 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.