We’re finally replacing the ancient Windows XP machine at home, and for various reasons went with a Dell Inspiron running Windows 8. In part I wanted to familiarize myself with the new operating system. It’s…a significant change, though Katie’s found it easier to adjust by thinking of it like a phone/tablet interface (which makes sense, because really, that’s what it’s designed for).
I wanted to upgrade it to Windows 8.1 before we really started transferring files* or installing applications in earnest, and was dismayed to find that…
- You can only upgrade through the Windows Store. (There’s no stand-alone installer you can download.)
- There was no sign of it in the store, or indication of where in the store I should look, or whether it was being hidden due to some incompatibility.
After running Windows Update again (no help), looking around for other settings and updates such as drivers, trying the compatibility tester, and digging around online for a while, I finally found a solution** that worked for me:
- Open Control Panel, then go to Programs/View Installed Updates and uninstall update KB 2871389, the update that makes the Windows 8.1 update appear in the store. Reboot.
- Download KB 2871389 from Microsoft’s website instead and run the installer. Reboot.
- Open the Windows Store, go to Settings/App updates, and check for new updates. It won’t show up here, but…
- After you close the app updates screen, the far left of the store should have a giant, full-height/width entry for the Windows 8.1 update.
If it’s available, you can’t miss it. If it’s not, you can’t find it. It’s incredibly frustrating.
*And it turns out I should have done this in the other order, because the 8.1 version of Windows Easy Transfer drops support for XP and Vista, as well as transferring over the network. Just in time for the final get-off-of-XP push. REALLY, Microsoft? Here’s hoping it doesn’t have some stupid thing that blocks plain old file transfers…
** Update: The tech support forum at commweb-ps3.us.dell.com/support-forums/desktop/f/3514/t/19538336.aspx appears to be gone now. I figured that would happen eventually, which is part of why I write up troubleshooting posts like this in the first place.