Windows 8.1 update released Thursday, October 17, 2013 and for those who already have Window 8 installed on their PCs the upgrade is free, however, if you do not own Windows 8 then the update is $119. Windows 8.1 update brings several welcome changes, such as the ability to boot directly to the desktop, while we also see the return of the Start button. For instructions on how to download and install the new Window 8 update or upgrade fro Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 check out our simple directions below. Before you begin to install the Window 8.1 update however, there is one thing you should do for the optimal update experience — make sure to back up your personal data.

How To Back-Up Personal Data On Windows

It's just a good rule of thumb to always make sure you have a back up of person data prior to completing any update, regardless of the device or platform. Though updating to or installing Windows 8.1 is fairly simple and straightforward, still, sometimes things can go awry leading to the loss of your saved documents, photos, music and other things most of us would be frustrated to lose unexpectedly. For instructions on how to back up your personal data before upgrading to Windows 8.1, see, "How to automatically back up your personal files in Windows 8."

 How To Download, Install and Update or Upgrade To Windows 8.1

The work of updating from Window 8 to Windows 8.1 or downloading and installing a Windows 8.1 upgrade are pretty straightforward actually, but Windows has made it even easier by offering a simple audio tutorial. To get started, simply visit

You should see instructions that allow you to either purchase or update your Windows operating system (OS)

Simply click on the button and the tutorial begins.

For those who don't care about a Tutorial, you can also download and install the Window 8.1 update straight from the Windows store app on your home screen. Once you enter the Windows store, on the left you will see a large purple button that directs you to update to 8.1. Simple click the button and Windows takes care of the rest. When the download is complete, Windows will automatically begin installing the new Windows 8.1 update. Once the install is complete, your computer will restart itself, and viola! You're done!

How To Set Windows 8.1 to Go To Desktop Instead Of Start

As we noted earlier, Windows 8.1 brings with it the ability to now boot directly to the desktop — reminiscent of the design of the old Windows operating system, though the apps screen is still available. If you like the idea of booting up directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1, when your computer restarts, click on the Desktop tile. Next, right-click anywhere on the Windows 8.1 taskbar (at the bottom) and select "Properties." Once you are in properties, click on the "Navigation" tab. Next, check the box labeled "Go to the desktop instead of Start when I sign in," (this is found under the Start screen options). Now you are set! Window 8.1 will boot up to the desktop each time it restarts. Pretty good right? In addition, don't forget, we now got back our familiar "Start" button on the task bar. I have to tell you, that's one feature I missed more than anything else in the Window 8 update.


WATCH: First look at Windows 8.1

What do you think of the new Windows 8.1 update? Share with us your favorite parts of the Windows OS refresh.