Windows 8.1 Update is Microsoft’s first major overhaul of Windows 8.1. It brings a raft of new tweaks, mostly interface changes, designed to make the operating system easier to use on desktops and laptops.
The big news here though is Microsoft’s announcement that ‘failure to install this update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates’, so meaning that your PC could be left exposed after 13 May.
Oddly though, despite being absolutely essential, the update won’t necessarily install automatically if you have auto-updating switched off, therefore potentially putting your PC at risk.
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Windows 8.1 Update – how do I get it?
Users who fail to update Windows 8.1 beforehand will not receive any security updates after 13 May 2014. If they attempt to install an update, they will receive a message informing them that the update is ‘not applicable’.
If you see this message then you really need to install Windows 8.1 Update. To do so, you can follow these instructions on Microsoft’s official Windows 8.1 website.
If you do have auto-updating enabled and want to check that your PC has successfully installed Windows 8.1 Update, you can tell by hitting the Windows key to head to your Windows 8 Start screen. If you can see a magnifying glass search icon in the top right of the screen (to the left of your profile picture) then you have the update and are protected.
Existing Windows 7 and Vista users will be unaffected by this recent announcement. Though we would also remind anyone still running Windows XP that they should start looking at an alternative operating system, now that the deadline has passed for Microsft’s Windows XP support.
Windows 8.1 Update – what’s new?
8.1 Update is the first version of Windows 8 that automatically adapts to the type of hardware its running on, be that laptop, desktop or tablet. Microsoft has created a handy chart that outlines the differences in default behaviour and settings across all kinds of devices.
We won’t explain all the changes that are included as it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. But its headline feature is the inclusion of a taskbar that’s now accessible from anywhere by hovering your mouse cursor across the bottom of the screen. The main thing to bear in mind though is it’s worth seeking out the update to help keep your Windows 8 PC secure online.
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