The Windows 8.1 preview has just been released on Microsoft’s servers. Do you want to take advantage of it now? No worries, installing this new edition requires only fifteen minutes, barely. Some precautions are nevertheless to be taken into consideration, in particular on the procedure for backing up the OS. Two types of installation are possible: either a migration from Windows 8.0, or an installation from a blank disk or partition (and in dual boot).
The official site of Windows 8.1First, it is essential to have a previous version of the operating system or, failing that, a OS activation code. The good news is that this code, Microsoft offers free. Your machine must also have a 1 GHz x86 processor, 1 GB of memory, and 16 to 32 GB of free space. Note that the OS does not work (for the moment) on 6 models of computers and tablets equipped with 32-bit Atom.
Macrium Reflect for backup.Once these precautions have been taken, make a full backup from your system, using a program like Macrium Reflect or Acronis TrueImage. Because once you’ve updated your system, you can’t go back, and updating to the final version will be more complicated. Note that it is also possible to use the tools delivered by default in Windows 8, which allow you to make a system backup and restore it at any time (by creating a recovery key as explained in our file).
The first step of the update… Then download Windows 8.1 from this address. You have two options. If you already have Windows 8.0 and just want to do a updating your system, just grab the little msu file delivered by Microsoft on the official page. Just click the button Download, then on Get the update, and launch the software using Windows Update. The update procedure then takes place exactly as for the installation of a patch or an update of Windows Update.
… And the second step.After a PC restart, then the Windows Store takes over and takes care of all the migration for you, downloading everything necessary and installing it automatically. Again, it will take restart, and sometimes even uninstall the antivirus (the OS takes care of deleting it automatically, but first asks for your opinion). At the end of the update, you will then need reboot the system twice, so that all changes are taken into account. You should have recovered all of your already saved applications and documents.
The ISO download page.The other way to take advantage of Windows 8.1 Preview is to recover a complete ISO file. This is useful when you want to install the new OS, while keeping the old one (dual boot). We do not recommend for the moment to completely remove the old Windows 8.0, unless you have made a full backup of the operating system. The files ISO are downloadableon this page.
The USB key creation tool.The ISO file that you have recovered can either be burned on a blank DVD using the Windows burning tool, or saved on a small boot USB key. Have a blank key of at least 4 GB, and load the USB / DVD Download Tool program (if necessary, also install .NET Framework 2.0). Click on the Browse button, indicate the ISO file you just loaded, then select the USB device where you want to save the installation files of Windows 8.1. The key is then created automatically.
Hard drive partitioning.
If you want to keep Windows 8.0 (in addition to Windows 8.1 that you are going to install), you must partition your hard drive. Press the keys [Windows] + [R] and enter the term CompMgmtLauncher. Head over Disk management, then select your disc with the right button. Choose the function Reduce volume. Assign at least 20 GB of space to your new partition (or even 32, to be quiet) and validate.
Installation on a partition in dual boot.To put the Windows 8.1 preview in place, all you have to do is restart your PC and have the machine restart on the burned DVD or the USB key you just created. See you in the BIOS or theUEFI from the computer (keys [SUPPR] or [F2] at boot), and select the device that should be launched first. Insert the key or DVD, and restart the machine. Install Windows 8.1 on the blank partition you just created, using the mode Custom – install Windows only (advanced) during the procedure. You will be asked for the installation code, we will give it back to you:NTTX3-RV7VB-T7X7F-WQYYY-9Y92F.