How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Ads by Google

Windows 8.1 is here and brings many new and improved features. The update is free for current Windows 8 users, it’s available from the Windows Store, and the installation process, if not quick, at least is easy. If you would like to boot to the desktop, take advantage of the improved SkyDrive integration, or run multiple apps next to each other with the new dynamic Snap feature, you should consider upgrading.

Just in case you don’t like Windows 8.1 or run into issues, note that the only way to roll back to Windows 8 after upgrading to Windows 8.1, is to restore a previously made system image. Unfortunately, a Windows 8 system image can only be restored to Windows 8, meaning you will need Windows 8 installation media. Fear not, we outline the entire Windows 8.1 upgrade and downgrade process here.

Why Should You Upgrade To Windows 8.1?

The free Windows 8.1 upgrade introduces new features and long awaited improvements.

Microsoft has made several changes to the user interface (UI). Not only does the Start screen no longer get cluttered with tiles when you install new apps, you can also share your desktop wallpaper with the Start screen, which makes the transition from one view to the other more natural. If you’re a multitasker, you will love that you can now snap more than two apps to display next to each other and dynamically change how much screen space each of them takes up.

Ads by Google

windows 8.1 snap   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

The most significant novelty is the deep integration of SkyDrive, offering native and free cloud storage, accessible throughout the operating system and syncing files across devices.

skydrive sync files offline   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

To the displeasure of many users, Microsoft decided to pull SkyDrive’s “Fetch” feature in Windows 8.1, but you can replace Fetch with third-party applications, for example with TeamViewer.

TeamViewer   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

In Windows 8.1 you can finally boot to the desktop. Many users were also anticipating the return of the Start button, but were hugely disappointed to find that it’s merely a shortcut to the Start screen. If you’re one of them, check out what you can do with the Win+X Menu & Editor instead.

win x menu editor custom group   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

In summary, you should upgrade to Windows 8.1 if you would like to enjoy the following key features:

  • boot to desktop
  • native SkyDrive integration
  • dynamic Snap multitasking to run multiple apps side-by-side and resize them

And there are more new or improved features you might be interested in:

  • improved Mail app, including drag-and-drop support and a toolbar to sort messages
  • universal search of apps, settings, and files
  • new modern style apps like Reading List or Food & Drink
  • an improved version of modern Internet Explorer 11
  • Tutorials; apparently Windows 8.1 is still not intuitive, at least there is help now.

Read This Before You Upgrade To Windows 8.1

If you are eager to take advantage of Windows 8.1’s new features, hold on for a moment. You can not roll back the upgrade and return to Windows 8 in case you do not like it! The only way you can “downgrade” from Windows 8.1 to Windows 8, is if you prepared a system image before you upgrade.

What To Prepare Prior To Upgrading

Run a Windows Update and install all important updates before you upgrade. You won’t be able to see the Windows 8.1 file until all key updates have been installed. Next, make sure you have sufficient storage space on your system drive; the upgrade file is between 2 and 4GB. After you cleaned up, create a backup of your files. Better yet, if you want to be able to downgrade or restore your system in case something goes wrong during the upgrade, create a system image.

You can restore, refresh, or reset Windows 8, but the option to create a backup of your data or a full system image is kind of hidden. In Windows 8, open the Charms bar and do a Search for recovery in Settings. The option you are looking for is called Windows 7 File Recovery.

Windows 7 File Recovery   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

This feature was added so you could restore backups made in Windows 7. Windows 7 File Recovery might seem familiar. Indeed, it looks the same as the Windows 7 Backup and Restore feature. Not only does it look the same way, it also works the same way, meaning it has retained the capability to create backups and system images. So go ahead and create that Windows 8 system image, which is your only chance to restore your personal Windows 8 setup, after an upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Windows 8 Backup And Restore   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Since Windows 8.1 won’t allow you to restore a system image of Windows 8, you will have to re-install Windows 8 before restoring your system image.

If you do not have Windows 8 installation media, you should create them now. This is something Microsoft has actually made fairly easy. Have your product key ready, navigate to this Upgrading Windows page, click the Install Windows 8 button, run the .exe file, and after entering your product key select Install by creating media. See the entire process with screenshots on the Supersite for Windows.

Finally, to be able to upgrade to Windows 8.1, you must use a Microsoft account to log into Windows, not a local user account. Chris has explained how to set up a Microsoft account in his article on how to prepare Windows 8 for the upgrade.

windows 8 microsoft account   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Upgrade To Windows 8.1

This is the easiest part of this whole endeavor, although not necessarily the quickest; it can take more than 3 hours, so don’t plan on doing anything with that computer for a while.

Whenever you can spare the time, navigate to the Windows Store on the Windows 8 device you wish to upgrade.

Windows Store Update Windows   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

If you don’t see this huge purple Update Windows tile shown above, then you probably have a few important updates to install. Just go to Windows Update (open Charms bar, search Settings for update, and launch Windows Update), check for updates, force pending updates to download and install immediately, then come back and try again.

If you do see the purple tile, click it, download the Windows 8.1 update…

Windows 8.1 Update   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

…and initiate the installation process.

Windows 8.1 Installation   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Your computer will automatically restart several times.

Windows 8.1 Installation Restart   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

As part of the installation process, you need to accept new license terms, choose express or custom settings, sign into your Microsoft account, verify your account with a security code sent to the registered email address, and OK the SkyDrive setup.

Microsoft Security Code   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Once setup has completed, you will land on the improved Windows 8.1 Start screen. If you upgraded from Windows 8, your files and previously installed applications will still be there. If you upgraded from Windows 8.1 Preview, however, you’ll have to re-install your desktop programs and apps, although the download links for modern apps will be waiting for you on the Start screen. Enjoy exploring the updated environment.

Downgrade to Windows 8

Are you disappointed in Windows 8.1? Don’t like how it works compared to Windows 8 or did something go wrong during the upgrade? This is the time to use your previously created system image to “downgrade” to Windows 8.

As mentioned previously, you can’t use your Windows 8 system image on Windows 8.1 because essentially, it’s a different operating system. So this is not a downgrade at all, but rather a very time intensive brute-force system restore. And here is how you do it…

First, you have to replace Windows 8.1 with a fresh installation of Windows 8 using your original installation media or the ones you created prior to upgrading. Once you’re back in Windows 8, use a Windows 8 recovery disk or restart to recovery options from the Power menu. Hold down the left [SHIFT] key and select Restart. A moment later you should find yourself in the recovery environment.

Windows 8 Restart Into Recovery   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Within the recovery environment, go to Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, and finally System Image Recovery. You will need to choose the target operating system; select Windows 8.  Make sure the drive containing the system recovery image is connected, select the image you want to restore, proceed to the Next window, click Finish and confirm that you want to continue.

Windows 8 System Image Backup   How To Upgrade To Windows 8.1 & How To Downgrade Back To Windows 8

Windows should now re-image your computer and if all goes well, you will be back in your old Windows 8 setup in just under a day. Well, nobody claimed it was fast or easy, but with some tedious detrous, at least it’s possible.

Final Destination: Windows 8.1

No doubt, Windows 8.1 is an improvement. It’s more stylish and user friendly than its predecessor. The sad part about this whole story is that it is near impossible for the average user to “downgrade”.

Although Microsoft is trying hard to simplify and build a smooth user experience, they keep failing in the details. Users have become used to certain features and still expect Windows to be somewhat customizable and controllable. This collides with simplicity and flexibility, which in this case makes preparing for a “downgrade” — which really isn’t a downgrade, but a full system restore — such a tedious process.

What is your verdict? Is is worth upgrading to Windows 8.1? If you decided to roll back, what was your main reason?

Ads by Google

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

109 Comments -

likefunbutnot

I’ve experienced a pretty large number of gotchas, post 8.1 update. Windows 8 was fine for me. 8.1 really hasn’t been thusfar. Since I have issues even on a Surface Pro, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the problems I’ve encountered are going to be commonplace at least for people who upgrade via the Store interface and probably for most people who try upgrade installs:

1. Lots of weird additional latency in wireless network connections. Seriously. A graph of ping times even to LAN local hardware looks like a saw blade, jumping from under 5ms to over one full second. This is not cool and it seems to be pretty common.

2. The 8.1 upgrade does not respect user choice of security software. You wind up with Windows Defender if you were previously using Avast, NOD32 or Forticlient. Gee thanks, Microsoft.

Windows Defender has to be turned off from within its Control Panel applet. It’s no longer possible to just disable it from the Services console. Not a big deal, but it’s different and annoying, especially since I didn’t have it enabled on Windows 8 prior to the upgrade.

I don’t believe Defender represents adequate protection and besides, it forces my computers to ignore hosts file entries, which I believe is a misfeature at best.

3. The 8.1 update screws up your non-standard Library folders. Did you have extra folders in your libraries someplace other than your C: drive? Did you have any extra libraries that you created for yourself? Because you don’t any more!

4. The 8.1 update seems to behave oddly with third party VPN software. Network connections that worked perfectly in Windows 8 seem to have “File and Printer Sharing” removed from the installed protocols and/or are re-set to the Public Firewall profile and may or may not appear in the PC Settings –> Network Connections list to allow easy user control to fix them. In my case I was able to correct these matters using Powershell, but that’s really not acceptable for normal users.

In other words, for as minor of an update as 8.1 is, it’s not as seamless or as straightforward as Vista to 7 was. In fact, I’d say it’s rather buggy. Skip it for now if you’re at all concerned about flaky behavior. There’s no difference more major than the version number change anyway.

Yves

Thanks for the review and comments. I hesitated to upgrade for so little gain but when I see the potential for problems listed in your post I will stick to Windows 8 which I really do like so far except to having to deal with massive registry corruption because of a couple of updates.

Tina S

Thank you for the thorough feedback!

Windows 8.1 can be a real nightmare for users who like to customize and be in control of things or those who have what Microsoft apparently considers “non standard” hardware. It’s sleek on the outside, but a huge disappointment otherwise.

likefunbutnot

@Tina S,

I don’t think Windows 8 is a huge disappointment as such. It’s different. Stuff got moved around. The modern UI seems silly right now.
But on the other hand, it’s subjectively faster on the same hardware as Windows 7. That’s huge. I’ve never encountered that with a new version of Windows prior to 8, and in spite of some aggravation with the changes, I’m too happy with the performance gains to go back.

I suspect that in another couple years and OS revisions the modern UI will make a lot more sense. Some people are never going to get over it, but touchscreens will become more commonplace and so will expectations for mobile integration.

At any rate, *nix users may whine about it, but every couple years every major *nix distribution seems to have a radical Window Manager/Desktop Environment revamp. As extreme as the changes have been between Windows 7 and 8, I don’t think they’ve nearly as radical as the changes some Linux distributions have gone through in terms of look and feel. I really do think anyone who is basically literate can figure out Windows 8 given a few hours of messing around.

Tina S

I totally agree that Windows 8 is a step forward for Microsoft. I’m still excited about it; I actually love the modern UI.

When I said Windows 8.1 was a huge disappointed, I referred specifically to the 8.1 upgrade, not Windows 8 as a whole. I don’t remember any Windows service packs to cause so many severe issues. And even if they did, people could at least roll back and figure out a solution on a working platform before trying again. With the 8.1 upgrade, Microsoft has locked people in; going back to Windows 8 means re-installing, which means the user loses everything they had set up previously, minus data they can back up. After that they won’t know what might happen if they try again and at some point they may be forced to upgrade. That’s just terrible.

It seems like Microsoft deployed this upgrade as if people hadn’t customized Windows 8 or installed it on non standard hardware. It’s a big disregard of why some people stick with Windows and don’t flock over to Apple for their desktop computer. To me, Windows was the perfect compromise between OS X and Linux – it’s flexible enough to be customized and you’re not locked in, yet (at least since Windows XP) you don’t need advanced skills to get along with the OS for everyday tasks, it also just works (most of the time). So yeah, maybe Microsoft is transitioning away from being that compromise.

qflux

+1000 The list is long actually. Unbelievable for a .1 release. My NVidia SLI surround setup has become a broken paperweight. Yes its on NVidia to fix, but how the heck is 8.1 so massively different that such a problem is even possible??

The VPN issue is that some clients are reporting their network identify in a way that registers as “unknown” forcing the “public” policy with literally no way to fix it short of giving “unknown” the private profile globally or directly hacking around with PS

8.1 overall is *huge* usability step backwards. Shocking how anyone defends it. Vista was a much less horrible transition IMO.

The worst part is that you get nothing in exchange for the inconvenience

Corbin

You can use a local account on 8.1 and to upgrade. It works no problem either way. On a clean install of 8.1, put in bogus info as MS account info. I’ve used local@local.com with a key mash as a password. It fails to login and gives you the option to make a local account. On and upgrade, do the same local@local.com and key mash, and it gives you the option of using an existing local account.

Tina S

Thanks for sharing this trick, Corbin!

Mike from Saskatoon

Windows 8.1 is great, except that the Compatibility checker is faulty. It checked to see if AMD has an 8.1 compatible driver, but didn’t check to see whether that driver is compatible with my video card.

Apparently AMD feels fine telling everyone with a four-year old video card to either upgrade the video card (which is essentially impossible in a soldered-in laptop) or get screwed when they upgrade to Windows 8.1

Now I can’t use the Control Center unless I do a fresh reinstall of my entire system.

I realize (now) that I should have checked with AMD to ensure compatibility, but I thought that was what the MS compatibility-check was for!

Oh, and for some reason my video docking station now functions only as a USB docking station, and refuses to acknowledge the DVI port on it. Worked fine in 8.0, but despite the Compatibility-check giving a green light – no go.

Tina S

That’s a big issues, indeed! You should be able to rely on the Compatibility checker. If the software doesn’t know whether or not your hardware is compatible, it should forward you to the manufacturer. It’s really troublesome that it would let you upgrade.

Will Schmitt

I upgraded to WIndows 8.1 a few weeks ago and really like it much better than Windows 8. No problems or issues as of yet (11/12/2013).
There is one error in your article on restoring WIndows 8.
You said you need the product key which is not accessible. Microsoft no longer makes the product code available to new computer buyers. I just purchased a new Dell Desktop from Dell. I called Dell and told them I could not find My Product Key. They informed me Microsoft no longer makes it available. It is embedded into the mother board of the computer.

Tina S

Thanks for the feedback and the added information, Will.

I bought Windows 8 and it came with a product key, so I needed the key. I guess for someone who received the program like you did with the key stored on the hardware, they won’t need it.

shrimpocat

Started upgrading, not sure about the benefits (a Start button is about the last thing I need), but decided against completing it when the process insisted on a Microsoft account. Tried that once in the past, much to my chagrin, won’t do it again. So back to 8.0 I went.

Jake

I upgraded from windows 7 professional to 8.1 enterprise. I love Windows 8.1, it’s much faster on my HP Probook 4535s than Windows 7 ever was. I just need some drivers for my fingerprint reader and the multitouch on my touchpad but hopefully HP will release them soon. The battery usage in 8.1 is also extremely good. I recommend upgrading

Nikolay

Hi, Jake!

I have got Probook 4535s too and want to ask you did you install 8.1 as a fresh copy from an ISO file and how did you find drivers? In the HP website there are not drivers for Windows 8.1 for Probook 4535s – Windows 8.1 is not listed in the operating systems list to be chosen.

Jake

The sound and network drivers are installed by Windows so the laptop is fully usable after installation. I installed a fresh copy and used the windows 8 x64 drivers to get the SRS Premium Sound working (There was sound but it didn’t have the SRS control panel). The AMD Graphics driver for Windows 8 x64 works just as well for Windows 8.1

Like Fun B

@Nikolay,

All versions of Windows Vista and newer (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) use the same driver model and therefore the same drivers. The only possible distinction is that some companies distribute 32 bit drivers separately from 64 bit while others package all of them together. As long as you have drivers that are appropriate for your machine architecture and installed OS, you should be fine.

In rare cases a helper application for given hardware might fail to install or function correctly on a new OS, but the driver itself should be fine.

Eboy

After reading the comments here and reviewing Microsoft’s 8.1 update info I have decided not
to update. I installed Start8 by Stardock a couple weeks after installing Win8 OEM OS on my
Laptop which I’m very pleased with the results. The 8.1 update benefits do not impress me nor do I need. Appreciate the makeuseof article and comments for making easy decision.
Thanks.

Col_Panek

How about a tutorial on “Upgrading to Linux Mint after Windows drives you up the wall”?

Col_Panek

Wow, lots of good articles there. “Best Linux Distros” is excellent. Well, the one about “Linux isn’t As Good…” is pretty dated…. ” Steam … probably never heading to Linux” among other things which have been improved greatly over the last couple years.

Tina S

We specialize in lots of good stuff! :)

Good to hear Linux is catching up. Maybe we should re-visit that topic sometime.

Alan M

It’s unfortunate this was not available before I installed Windows 8.1.
I put Windows 8.1 on two computers. A desktop and a laptop computer. The installation went well but when I restarted these machines, I found that many drivers and other software had stopped working.
One driver for a CAD/CAM machine totally stopped working even though the driver had been released recently for Windows 8.0.
This put the machine out-of-order but fortunately I could use an XP computer to operate.
The start button in Win 8.1 is a joke and I feel unnecessary.
I have finally got the desktop running Windows 8.0 after reformatting and full installation.
The laptop is refusing to accept Window 8.0 so major hassles there.
If I had realised a recovery would be needed instead of an undo, it would have made life easier.

Tina S

Too bad this article was too late for you, Alan!

Abdul Razak

Very risky operation.Unless it is really critical then proceed. If Win 8 can do what is required then it is not worth the risk.

Adam Smith

I upgraded to Windows 8.1 and no internet browser is able to browse the net. I had the Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome but none is working. Only the Internet Explorer 11 which has come with the Windows 8,1 is working but it is a useless programme. and you cant roll back it. Oh what a mess. How can they release a OS without testing it thoroughly. Or are they trying to monopolize the internet. If I have the opportunity I would sue the Microsoft for throwing this piece of shit on us.

LesageUK

Excellent article,and a fine response from @likefunbutnot.
I had earlier upgraded to 8 from Vista. Went fine. Then, v recently from 8 to 8.1. Was a mess. Partly my own making maybe: I had SkyShellEx installed, which their website now (but not previously) emphasises must NOT be run w/8.1. MS DOES NOT identify that SkyShellEx on your 8 going to 8.1 is a no-no. Suffice it to say that BSODs were common, and system images (made with the native 8.1 app) were held to be corrupt. Indeed, and most horrifying, when I used 8 media to reinstate, and to retrieve an 8 system image, that too was held to be corrupted as well. By good fortune I had upgraded my HDD some months ago, and my old HDD had a good working fully installed 8 on it. I am now using that and gingerly trying to update files from File Histories which I retained externally. Is a BIG mess

verma

i am using windows 8 single language.i had downoaded 8.1 single language from windows store.after all the steps rebooting,sign in,code varification and sky drive next option….,my screen suddenly becomes black just after sky drive option ,with only cursor is visible for a log time..and when i refresh my system once again win. 8 appears..i hv repeated all these process 3 times,but all times same result=black screen.
what should i do???
plz give a proper solution.

Tina S

One of my colleagues (Bruce Epper) reported he solved a similar issue by re-installing the graphics drivers. Have you tried that?

For more help, I recommend asking your question on MakeUseOf Answers. Incidentally, Bruce is an editor over there; maybe he has additional advice.

Earl

I’m having D3D Error after updating to Windows 8.1 Pro from 8 Pro, 64-bit. I can’t run some games. Whenever I run ‘dxdiag’, I get an Error – that my Direct3D is something.. something..
I can’t play my games now.. (from Steam).

Tina S

That really sucks! Have you turned to any support forums for a solution? Do let us know if you find a fix!

verma

thanks Tina.

Earl

Yea.. I asking help from Microsoft Community.
Here’s my post there: (includes all details)
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-gaming/d3d-error-after-updating-to-windows-81/84e7e066-38ef-4055-9d7e-6daf345a128c

Really, really bad.. to have an Old Laptop with Dual Graphics – AMD and Intel.

Tina S

Thanks for sharing that, Earl.

Fingers crossed there will be a solution. I don’t see why your setup shouldn’t be able to work in Windows 8.1 if it did work in Windows 8.

CHAND

Thanks for the review, but unfortunately i already upgraded to 8.1
it completely sucked mu PC . Now i am unable to use my PC
starting it self it getting hang after logging. even i cant roll back or refresh it .
only option is formatting, i lost my all data.

i suggest don’t upgrade it.

Peter Greenfield

Yes Windows 8.1 constantly reboots your computer, don’t bother!!!

Earl

Well, I am forced to downgrade to Windows 8.
Because I can’t fix my problems… (consulted Microsoft Community, they’re slow)
I can’t play my games because Direct3D and DirectX is crappy. (Sorry)
It’s good to have a USB with Windows 8 in it and a 1 TB External Hard Drive.

I recommend not to update to Windows 8.1 because of so many incompatibility with old drivers. (AMD on Laptops).
I hope when time comes Windows 8.1 will be fixed and let me be fine with it.

Regards,

drlemon

I SINCERELY wished I had read this article before installing 8.1. I’m in 8.1 hell. First, I had Black Screen syndrome which took Microsoft and me a couple of hours to bypass in order to get to the login screen. Now my machine chugs like a sedated snail (incl. XBOX). I don’t even want to begin listing the weird glitches, hangs, and repeated restarts. I was perfectly happy with Windows 8. First time ever having trouble with a Windows product.
btw, Microsoft rep acknowledged that around 30% of users are having the same problems I am. That’s a pretty high figure, if true. Waiting for the patch.

ulises

windows 8.1 is good and all but i can’t use any apps. i can’t even go to the store because it says im not on the internet and i am. only the desktop works for me. i wish i didnt get 8.1

Stuart

is crap!!!! Installed fine and is runing ok but I have kost all my local log-ins.!!! Is MS attempting to become as bad as Apple?? Last think I want is an i-PC, lol.

Jaggies

My Samsung ATIV Tablet PC is almost useless since upgrading to WIN 8.1.
The pen and touch is temperamental, either doesn’t work at all or cases jagged lines on MS One Note.
My advice: Don’t upgrade yet, stick with Win 8.

ticker

Recently had a similar issue with another tablet PC a customer brought in. I switched the driver back to a previous Win8 (pre 8.1) and have not had a problem since. The issue I had was not even the tablet portion was working. Check out the Samsung support site to see a list of available drivers and if there is an older one available for your model.
Hope this helps

SNPerry

I upgraded and now none of my apps on the start up screen work. Totally not happy.

Trevor Siefers

Since installing 8.1 this week, google no longer works and cannot get any of my games through Steam and Origin to work. I wish I had not bothered. Can you offer any help on fixing these issues?

Tina S

Use Bing? Sorry, that was a mean joke! How is Google not working? Not sure what you mean.

Apparently Steam does not support Windows 8. Did you try compatibility mode for Windows 7? Here are more tips from a Microsoft support site.

max

The exact same thing happened to me

John S

I was unhappy to move to Windows 8, but came with my new Dell. It slowly grew on me and I was happy with the performance. I have a touchscreen, but rarely use it — I didn’t buy a 27″ tablet.

So in typical fashion Microsoft applies band-aids an O/S to address criticism and releases really crappy software. Since applying the 8.1 virus my system performance has plummeted. Everything is slow to load, Office does a frequent “not responding” thing and my high-speed Internet connection often feels like dial-up.

I have no choice but to waste much of a day restoring the factory image — Windows 8.1 is crap!

Once again Microsoft is doing it’s best to sell Apple computers.

Trevor Siefers

Hi have read your how to downgrade to windows 8, unfortunately after we had installed window 8.1 so we did not create a system image before doing so. Can we still reinstall windows 8 using disk and product code without having a ‘system image?

Tina S

Yes, of course you can do that, Trevor! Just make sure you back up all your data and — if possible — your individual software settings because installing Windows 8 over Windows 8.1 means you’ll start from scratch.

The system image would have helped you to get Windows 8 back to what it was before you upgraded, with all your data, installed software, apps, personal settings, etc. untouched. Without the image, you have to set it up manually again.

Mike

So far, very pissed off. My downloader quit working and my Bluetooth headphones will not except the driver. I think they have finally drove me to Apple with this one. Microsoft has been going downhill for a decade. Every update, upgrade or new OS has more flaws than the last. Anyone remember service pack 2? BTW I read the article AFTER I upgrated, so it looks like I am screwed with many other long time Windows users.

R. W. Russell

I was (and am) a fan of Windows 8.0, even adding it to the computer classes that I teach at the local library. When 8.1 became available, I routinely upgraded my laptop in order to stay current with the latest OS. I would not do it again. 8.1 has brought headaches with my older HP laser printer (worked fine in 8.0), it’s causing weird reactions when saving edits in Excel 2010, the GUI for the Calendar app was arbitrarily changed for the worse, and you can no longer search for something in the MS Apps Store by simply typing its subject (yes, you can click the search box and type it there, but why the added step?). Those are just some of the annoyances I’m running into with 8.1, and I expect there will be more.

I used to be a great believer in the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I regret that I forgot that wisdom when I foolishly messed up an otherwise fine laptop with Windows 8.1.

Jerael Darden

I upgraded to this windows 8.1 It seems like nothing was different but there was one small difference having all this stupid problems. Now the list of problems keep going on and on. So tell me because I’m at a lost. If I wanted to murder my laptop than I would have done it myself.

Tina S

I feel your pain, Jerael. Guess you’ll have to swallow the bitter pill and re-install Windows 8, then hope they’ll fix 8.1 before the upgrade becomes mandatory. Really sucks!

Eddy Snowington

Windows 8.1 design philosophy is one of sheer arrogance. Start with the “upgrade” where MS attempts to force everyone to create a MS account. It then verifies your email account exists.
Then is tells you to enter one of those hard to read text string to verify you on YOUR OWN COMPUTER. It finally relents and states you can create your account later!

Force users to use Bing having to repeatedly tell Windows Update to “hide” Bing desktop and Silverlight . Again MS ignores your instructions.
Force users to upgrade from Win 8.0 to Win 8.1 as MS sneaks in code through Windows Update to prepare your Win 8.0 computer (KB2871389). Then when you sign on it puts up a banner stating to “upgrade” to Win 8.1 NOW. The only selection is to click on OK!
Searches all files/folders even when i the owner instruct MS to only search certain folders. Win 8.0 had the option to uncheck Search in Program Setting. Its gone now. The division of responsibilities between Search, indexing and Sync are a mess. MS is searching ALL your drives ALL the time in the background.
When starting WMC in 8.1 all USB 3.0 drives are spun up serially. I have to wait up to 1 minute JUST to see recorded TV!
I’ve specified where each type of media files is located in WMC. But these folders are ignored.
MS wants to track my system and report back to HQ. They hate WMC and have isolated and degraded its performance every chance they get. They want to monitor your searches, pay per view then stream highly tailored advertising.
The only benefits of Win 8 is its faster, native USB3 support and the nice task manager. The many inserted Internet hooks make your computer MUCH more vulnerable to being remotely compromised by criminals and governments snoops.
There is more .. but goodnight!
To image an entire disk or boot partition use the free Macrium Reflect. A fantastic product.

Tina S

Thanks for sharing your insights, Eddy!
Could you please get in touch with me? tina at makeuseof.com

William

Im very uoset with the 8.1 update..I can no longer “refresh” my computer..as I was a dummy and never made an image…Anyone know if or how I can fix this?

Chris

My irritation with win 8 lay in the faux surveys and ads that popped up nearly every time I opened a new tab or visited a new page in IE – has me seriously considering a third party browser – I deselected all pop up options I could find. Then in stupidly upgrading to 8.1 I find no way to remove the appearance of a tile like window for Windows store continually appearing on the desktop. I removed the app from the start screen, disabled any mention of app or store under PC Settings, and used software to disable win tips. All to no avail. Creating a new registry entry did remove access to store but not the pop up windows (once the green tile is removed a second window pops up warning me to contact myself as administrator because there is a problem). Too right there is a problem. I have no objection to the presence of windows store but am frustrated by advertisements popping up randomly (and over current work – had to dismiss store window whilst typing this) and over which I have no control. Especially when I paid for the software! As with the experience of others, I had to struggle to regain some measure of control as regards how I should access my files. Now looking at a reinstall of win 8 and hoping that data on a separate partition might save me from the sweat of backup and restore.

Chris

Well, removing IE and installing Firefox instead dealt with the issue of ads in the browser but as for the Store window pop ups on the desktop I had to rename the WinStore folder in order to prevent their appearance. If win 8.1 allows that action I fail to understand why it does not allow unchecking of the relevant item in services. Might just stick with the upgrade if it sticks to doing what it is told. Anyone remember Dave’s struggle with Hal? Although ‘Daisy Bell’ was not the song I was singing in this particular wrestling match.

Al

Windows 8.1 doesn’t work with certain VPN types. F5 Firepass for example. Think thoroughly before upgrading your laptop to 8.1 because it will be a real pain to wipe out a whole system and start again from scratch. From My personal experience, allow a new upgrade (Service Pack) run for at least 6 month before switching to it. That’s the Microsoft…

oliphriam

My system came with Win8 and was just perfect and After i upgraded to win8.1 my WIFI stopped being automatic, that for every time i want to login i will have to troubleshoot first. i’m not finding it funny. what do i do? please i need help

Tina S

I have no idea what the issue could be, sorry! Have you checked for driver updates, yet?

If that doesn’t help, you can post your question on MakeUseOf Answers or look for your hardware and whether other users have had similar issues on the Microsoft Support site.

Glenda

Right after I updated to 8.1 I started having heat issues. I had to stop playing all my games as the computer heats up to the point it needs to shut down. BIOS, drivers are all up to date. Opened it and checked the fan and it is just fine. Everything worked perfectly before the upgrade. I am very frustrated .

Tina S

Glenda, did you check with your computer manufacturer for Windows 8.1 specific chipset / CPU / motherboard drivers? You said drivers are up to date, just making sure.

Glenda

I sure did! It is really strange, the computer is super hot even when it is idle.

Peter

Good to read all this. I work on Win 7 PC’s here in Canada and on WIN 8 in France and will certainly not upgrade to 8.1. I hate windows !

louis

my games are running not as smooth as before with the windows 8.1 upgrade.. I am not sure if anyone here feels the same.

Glenda

Same here. Major issues with gaming and graphic cards.

C

Two graphics tablets that worked under Windows 8 don’t (seem to) work properly under Windows 8.1 anymore. Not good for Mom who needs them for her Chinese handwriting!

noitall

Unfortunately for me, I did not ready anything about the WIN8.1 upgrade. when it came up that it was available, I let it flow. Now I have no BlueTooth capability! let me rephrase, I can pair my devices via BlueTooth, but they won’t connect. Now I read this is a big issue with all types of computers running 8.1 upgrade. unfortunately (again) I do not have a prior image of WIN8 and I don’t think I should have to pay for an image from Microsoft since I paid nearly $1K for my laptop – you would think it would let you make a system restore disc like the other OS used to. UGH! I am so frustrated – I don’t see any patches out there either. Anyone have any ideas? I have an Asus laptop, purchased in late spring this year.

collin

I made a system image and a repair disk before upgrading to 8.1. However, when I tried to use the repair disk to install my 8.0 image it would not work. Since my windows 8.0 was OEM, the product key would not work for a windows 8 recovery disk download.
I had to format my hard drive to remove 8.1 and then the repair disk worked and reinstalled my 8.0 image.

Richard Schiller

Hey its been 10 years but I am still puking from a family gay member who said the CEO for Microsoft claims he called it XP because its an Ex-Perience. Yeah right, the backup excuse if no one likes it that you think your 2000 upgrade is the X- Presence of X himself. I always said he should marry Oprah.

Richard Schiller

I have a right to be bitter. I still owe Amazon the $500 for my 2 in 1 that I have had one week that so happily made me with 8.0 and then it wanted to upgrade to 8.1 and I lost my photo collage to display in the living room while it charges..

Ken

Installed 8.1 yesterday. Now my Adobe Flash Player will not function. Can anyone help?

Tina S

Have you tried to update the software, yet? Does it not function across the board or just in one specific application? Is there an error message and what does it say?

For further support, please post your question (addressing details requested above) on MakeUseOf Answers.

Ash

I upgraded from 8.0 to 8.1 on my Dell 5521 laptop. The battery life reduced from 4-5 hrs to 2-3 hrs. Also the laptop is heating up very fast

Jesse Cam

Upgraded my HP Envy last week, and the differences between Windows 8 and 8.1 appear to be too negligible to overlook any of the potential technical issues, as enumerated above, associated with 8.1. My own private quagmire happens to be an inability to stream music or video without it coming to a pause every 30 seconds.

khaliq shaikh

i had upgraded my laptop windows 8 to windows 8.1 . It was really good and working fine for a month then later on started updates during this time daily 2 or 3 times it use to reboot and will take lot of time to start funtionally. This use to happen daily especially last 2 week i was facing this problem daily . I was fed up with this updates it always use to automatic repair at the end. i have to restart it manually. After my due frustration i rolled back to windows 8 by refresh windows it cost all my software’s , All software’s & apps gone while switch over from 8.1 to 8. I still need a permanent solution for 8.1. Coz many new apps are only supporting 8.1 not 8 from store. I am missing that apps. Please guide me for fully functional 8.1 avoiding the daily rebooting.

StuTenn

Two things that stopped working with Windows 8.1 that worked perfectly with Windows 8 are: my fingerprint password no longer works on my HP laptop because it says I can’t use it to log into a domain, only to Windows. Funny but I didn’t have that problem with Windows 8. HP has no answer for it. The other thing is that the Cisco VPN connection program no longer works. I had to shift to AnyConnect which involves hitting continue two or three times to finish the connection. If It weren’t for having to reinstall all of Office 2013 as well as 14 other programs plus Dropbox and Skype, I’d switch in a minute. I doubt that 8.2 will be any improvement. This was a downgrade, in my opinion. ClassicShell gave me a Start button anyway and resizing Metro icons is meh.

Evelyn

My hp laptop came with windows 8 and within a month I got the upgrade offer from windows now HP wants me to do a recovery disk set and I can’t get the recovery made, it won’t work. I can’t make a set. Help!

Fash J

Your tales of woe make me think that it is phenomenal that there were no health warnings issued with 8.1… I mistakenly believed that having made such a huge improvement with the move from win7 to win8 that even MS would have learnt that their users might actually want to use MS products without having to be traumatised or insuring themselves against MS incompetence. So here is my experience…

Having upgraded from xp to 8, I managed to run my whole system without any issues and was pleased with the performance gains. I then was sent the upgrade for a sh***er experience note from MS and mistakenly took them up on their free offer to cost me lots of money. Here’s are a few of the more memorable issues:

27″ Viewsonic Monitor (less than 2years old) that now only runs in 1024 mode. Apparently, to run the NVidia card on 8.1 requires them to completely re-write their software suite, and this is for a monitor that has never required drivers before.
ÂŁ1000 printer and supplies that are all of a sudden “not compatible” even though they worked perfectly with win8. Why on earth would a printer’s compatibility depend on the operating system. Didn’t MSDumbo invent the print spooler system that wasw suppose to make printer functionality less dependent on the OS?
Graphics tablets that are not allowed to draw anymore as not recognised by 8.sh*t as they were manufactured outside Wisconsin and that makes them a menace to humanity.
And the icing on the cake: Microsoft wireless mouse and keyboard that no longer have a functioning wheel or programmable buttons You’d think the numbnuts at MS would at least ensure they didn’t disable their own branded hardware…no such joy.
Oh I know I’ll just roll back to windows 8. After 28yrs I think it is time I give MS the finger as it has done to me time and time again and shift OS.

Radu

Wish I’d read this before I foolishly “upgraded” to 8.1. I have lost significant functionality – some of my needed programs don’t work .
I will need buy another computer that that does not run 8.1.

Tina S

Why do you have to buy another computer to run Windows 8? Wouldn’t it be more economical to re-install Windows 8 on your current computer?

bill

I have had network issues with mixing my Windows 8 computer (acting as a server) with my main upgraded Windows 8.1 computer and another Windows 8 computer. I could not upgrade my Windows 8.1 computer that was acting as a server, even after updating all of my drivers. It did, as you mentioned, default back to 8. I am going back to Windows 8 on the one computer that did get upgraded and see if my networking issues are resolved. Windows 8 was fine once you found out where they hid everything you need and I dont like the way they force me into Skydrive.

Brian

Dear Microsoft–is a simple heads or disclaimer too much to ask? ??
Happily using “Windows 8.1 Preview” since last summer. Then, last week windows began prompting me everyday to install the 8.1 update–the prompt failed to mention that most of my applications would be wiped, and I’d have to spend half the day downloading files, re-installing software, searching for product keys, and re configuring office email. I’ve long defended Microsoft from the Apple/IOS zombies but I’m starting to lose my patience.

Ib K Jensen

As a strictly for home user I am sorry I did not read your review about 8.1 until after I had upgraded and found I did not like it. I really think Microsoft should had warned me I would be unable to revert back to 8.0 once the upgrade were installed, I cant help feeling like I have been tricked into this and am very disappointed. I sincerely hope I will be able to overcome this.

Tina S

I can understand your disappointment. You can still downgrade, but only if you’re willing and able to re-install Windows 8. Don’t forget to make backups first!

Windows8.1SUcks

The windows 8.1 updates have ruined my computer, I hate windows 8.1, first you dont even have the messaging app anymore and everything is so hard. I am a hardcore gamer and am learning programing. When ever i try to play any online games, my pc says its out of memory even though I have a customized pc 8gb ddr ram, Geforce GTX 780, intel core i7…1 terabyte of HDD. my pc has everything maximized and I am still customizing it more. Even after having all of these features windows 8.1 makes me log out or makes my pc crash all the time. I simply hate windows! piece of shiet!

Warren

If I knew then what I know now I would never have done the upgrade. My computer worked great on Windows 8, once I got use to the interface it was fine. After the update I have had nothing but problems. File explorer keeps crashing, Window Media Player Crashes every few minutes, it constantly kicks me from my network, even though it says I am connected and have internet access none of my browsers will connect, have to do a complete shutdown and restart just to get things back up again. And speaking of restarts, since the upgrade my computer will not do an auto restart. It will shutdown and sometimes after about five or six minutes it will restart, other times I have to cycle the power button to get it to go. I wanted to do a restore back to the original settings only to find out that it is impossible if you don’t have the media to do it. I always relied on roll back thus never created one. I would love to restore my computer to its original OS or Windows 7, which I believe was the best version of Windows so far, but how do I do that, I cant afford the cost of the OS’s.

Julia

why isn’t windows 8.1 supporting Bluetooth?

Tina S

It should be! Have you tried to update your drivers?

Khalid Alzubaidi

I love microsoft and windows so I do upgrade as soon as I get the upgrade. So I bought windows 8 of $39.99 edition. I made an ISO file of windows 8 in case I have to reinstall. Upgrading to Windows 8.1 was done automatically. The point here is that I could not make an ISO file of Windows 8.1 to depend on it in case I need to reinstall it. I hope you tell me how to do it.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter,
Yours Faithfully:

MrAdam

After upgrade to 8.1, my wifi always disconnected.. and i cant rollback to window 8 :(

David Kay

Following my own experience of having “upgraded” to 8.1 over a week ago, the only advice I can give to anyone considering it is; “don’t”

My computer has been rendered about 20% effective compared to before, and with no downgrade option I am seriously annoyed. By 20% effective I mean my computer is now about as capable as a PC costing 20% as much as I paid.

1. As with likefunbut not, my wireless performance is all over the place, often failing in the middle if simple web browsing, then stuttering back to life. Not a problem I’d experienced the day before the “upgrade” and a serious downgrade in utility.

2. Apparently Windows 8.1’s reaction to my 4GB graphics card is to pretend it doesn’t exist. This is a big one. Software that ran fine a week ago now either won’t start, crashes to desktop soon after starting, or starts in detail that makes a 386 system point and laugh. Yeah, that’s exactly why I paid for a 4GB card – to not be able to use it. I mean seriously if someone could share with me the setting for “actually use the graphics hardware I have rather than the intel card I didn’t previously know was there” that would be awesome. I am still stunned this was not in a warning before I upgraded.

3. Can’t see anything new. It was a meaty upgrade but the only change I noticed is to my graphics settings (see above) and those weren’t for the better.

4. Honestly I want restitution for the serious damage done to my system without warning by this so-called upgrade. I was getting to like Windows 8 and thought 8.1 would be the same with some extra features. Oh how wrong I was. It’s worse than a virus, because at least a virus can be removed.

Julie NC

So very unhappy with Windows 8.1 Pro! Ordered five brand new PCs with it and they arrived with Win 7.0 installed and product keys for 8.1 Pro arrived days later. It took *hours* to install 8.0 then move up to 8.1 for each computer. Only to find out our primary software vendor does not support 8.1 Pro, only 8.0 Pro. Downgrading to 8.0 Pro has been impossible.. I have deleted partitions, re-installed 8.0 after obtaining ONE emergency restore disk from Dell. Now they want us to purchase 8.0 Pro at $99 per license even though we already paid $99 per license for 8.1 Pro which we cannot use! So frustrating!!!!

Schynam

Since the upgrade to 8.1, I can’t get VPN connection to work anymore. With 8.1, only IE 11 can be used on the computer and IE 11 is not yet compatible with Juniper Networks VPN Client. This is such a big deal.

On my Windows 7 laptop, I was able to rollback IE11 to IE 10 and that works fine for the VPN. This is not possible on the Windows 8 laptop and is such a big deal.

Although Juniper promised a fix, only God knows when that fix will be available.

Leslie Mills

I’m surprised at how so many people have experienced problems with upgrading to Windows 8.1. I was one of the people who hated Windows 8 for many things especially the Start Screen but since I got a Windows 8 laptop, I’ve got used to and actually love the new Start Screen and its powerful PC-wide search capabilities. I also love the new lockscreen features even though I don’t have a touchscreen laptop. So, when Windows 8.1 was released I installed it to enjoy the improved lockscreen and Start Screen customization and other awesome features. Since I upgraded, I have had no problems at all. All browsers work properly, the upgrade assistant worked perfectly, connectivity issues are nonexistent and speed and stability fixes abound.

I’ve noticed that most of the people with problems with Windows 8.x are using dated PCs that normally came with Windows XP, Vista or early adopters of Windows 7 PCs. I think the problem is manufacturers ending support for these machines a bit early. So what I advice is that if you have a recent PC with Windows 7 or Windows 8 preinstalled then upgrading to Windows 8.1 shouldn’t cause problems especially if the manufacturer has made W8.1 drivers available for your machine. If the manufacturer has not made W8.1 drivers and software available for your machine then I don’t advice upgrading.

However if you absolutely need to upgrade and the manufacturer has not made the W8.1 drivers available you can usually find the latest drivers available from the sites of the manufacturers of the specific hardware of your PC. Remember however, that these drivers and software are normally generic and lack any customizations that your PC manufacturer will have made for your specific model of PC. This means that even though the drivers may be working fine such things as keyboard shortcuts may not function as expected.

Bottom line: if you have a fairly recent PC that came with Windows 7 (latest service pack) or Windows 8 preinstalled and your PC manufacturer has made Windows 8.1 drivers and software available for your PC model then you shouldn’t have problems upgrading to Windows 8.1. However if your PC is dated and there are no Windows 8.1 drivers and software available from your manufacturer then it’s probably best to stick to your current version of Windows.

All the best Everyone.

Joanne

I’m so pissed off about Windows 8.1. Suddenly, all of my touchpad gestures and my AsusVivobook BUTTON ON THE LAPTOP F***ING KEYBOARD DON’T WORK! I didn’t think that anything would go so wrong that I needed to create a Windows 8 system image. It appears I can roll it back, but I’ll be backing things up for a while first. Also, this problem with the touchpad has been around since Windows 8.1 came out, and no one seems to have come up with a real solution for it. So disappointed. Will be rolling it back as soon as I get the opportunity to do so. I want my touchpad to actually do all the cool things it did before and my VivoBook button to work again. Have tried reinstalling the utility without success. *sigh*

Bill

Just a warning to all you PC gamers out there, if you’re thinking of upgrading to Windows 8.1 on your beloved gaming computer, don’t do it. It also changes your Graphics Drivers around, making it worse for your computer. You will experience a drop in FPS if you upgrade.

Joshua

so many bugs!it is rubbish

Derek

Big problem for me is that sleep is so easily damaged/broken in Windows 8.1 . In fact, I couldn’t get my laptop to even shut down 100% of the time. It would sometimes just freeze in black screen and the fans would spin like nuts.

Bo

Thanks for the valuable info! Win8 is horrible and win8.1 even worse. MS must be deliberately trying to destroy its fan-base.

David

Only reason I decided to downgrade to windows 8 was because most of my games aren’t compatible with 8.1 e.g rust or GTA IV

David

Only reason I decided to downgrade to windows 8 was because most of my games aren’t compatible with 8.1 e.g rust or GTA IV

Gary Oldfield

Doesn’t seem to agree with my computer.No Hotmail.

Graeme

I kept getting informed by my pc that you can upgrade to windows 8.1 for free. I ignored this for some time. Then one weekend it came up and like a sucker I fell for it. What a mistake. This upgrade should come with a health warning. I was not advised that I would not be able to use a restore point. I feel conned . The benefits are for numpties and app addicts. It’s a one way ticket and no good being advised like this too late. This article should have come up as compulsory readingbefore download.

Tina S

I feel your pain Graeme!

I wish we had such a collaboration with Microsoft. Although if we did, this article would not have been necessary because we would have told them it was insane not to add a downgrade option or at least a warning.

Max

Dont get windows 8.1 if you have an old router… it wont connect to my wifi no matter what I do and it is extreamly annoying as i cant use my PC that I paid 700$ for…