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Windows 8.1 Pre-Update Checklist

Summary: Learn what you need to know about getting ready to upgrade your computer to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

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Table of Contents:

  1. See If Your System Supports Windows 8.1
  2. Verify Software and Device Support
  3. Verify Printer Support
  4. Back Up Critical Files
  5. Create Recovery Discs
  6. Update Critical Drivers
  7. Update Critical Applications
  8. Enable Windows Update
  9. Update to Windows 8.1
  10. Install Updated Drivers After the Windows 8.1 Update
  11. Related Videos

This article discusses critical steps that you should take before and after Windows 8.1 update. Information about backing up data, updating drivers before update, and verifying that the system supports an update to Windows 8.1.


Step 1: See If Your System Supports Windows 8.1


The following pages list Dell computers that have been tested by Dell for support of Windows 8 upgrade and Windows 8.1 update. If the computer does support upgrade, any issues that may be present after the upgrade has completed are shown.

View the System Support and Issues page


Step 2: Verify Software and Device Support


Dell has also tested the software that it ships with computers for support of Windows 8.x. This document shows the Windows 8 supported version and download link for products that do support Windows 8. It also lists unsupported software that you may need to uninstall before upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7.

View the Windows 8 Software Support and Issues page

For other software and devices, such as printers, scanners, smartphones and other devices, be sure to check Microsoft's Windows Compatibility Center for support information.

Windows 8 Compatibility Center


Step 3: Verify Printer Support

Finally, you want to be sure that your printer works with Windows 8. Dell has tested many of its printers for support of Windows 8. Check the page below to determine if your printer is supported, and if you need to upgrade your printer software or drivers. Dell printer drivers for Windows 8 also work with Windows 8.1.

View the Windows 8 Printer Support page


Step 4: Back Up Critical Files

Before performing an upgrade of any operating system, you should back up your files. Dell Backup and Recovery makes this process easy. Learn more about how to create a backup of your files in Dell Knowledge Base Article "Restoring your operating system on a Dell computer in Windows 8"


Step 5: Create Recovery Discs for Windows 8

Should you wish to return to Windows 8, you need recovery media. Use Dell Backup and Recovery to create your factory media.

  1. Type "Dell Backup" at the Start Screen, then select Dell Backup and Recovery.
  2. Select the Reinstall Disk tile.
  3. Select a device to create a factory image backup, then click Continue.
  4. Click Start, then click Yes to erase the current contents of the drive or DVD.
    Dell Backup and Recovery creates your media.

You need either two (2) DVDs or one (1) 8 GB or larger USB key to create the recovery backup.


Step 6: Update Critical Drivers

Dell strongly recommends that you update the following drivers and firmware before starting an update to Windows 8:

  • System BIOS
  • Video Driver
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology
  • Wireless LAN
  • Mobile Broadband

To get started with updating your drivers, visit the Dell Drivers and Downloads website. Be sure to have your system's Service Tag available to get the drivers that are right for your computer.


Step 7: Update Critical Applications

There are two Dell factory-installed applications that you must update before updating to Windows 8.1. These applications may become unusable if they are not updated before the update process.

Get more information about updating Dell Backup and Recovery from the Dell Backup and Recovery website.

Your McAfee security product also requires an update. This update was deployed by McAfee to all internet-connected computers starting October 1, 2013. Computers that do not connect regularly to the Internet should be sure to connect and receive this update before update to Windows 8.1.


Step 8: Enable Windows Update

To check for updates in Windows Update:

  1. Open Windows Update in Control Panel by swiping in from the right edge of the screen and selecting Search (or, if you are using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then selecting Search).
  2. Enter Windows Update in the search box, or by selecting Settings, and then selecting Install updates.
  3. In the left pane, select Check for updates, then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.
  4. If updates are found, select Install updates.


Step 9: Update to Windows 8.1

To update to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store:

  1. From the Start Screen, open the Windows Store and select the "Update to Windows 8.1" tile, or if you see a notification to "Update to Windows 8.1" you can select the "Go to the Store" button.
  2. From the Windows 8.1 product page, select Download. The download and installation of Windows 8.1 may take 1-2 hours or longer based on Internet connection speed and system configuration, but you can continue using your PC while downloading. If you shut down or hibernate the computer, the download may restart.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  4. When prompted to reboot your PC, select the "Restart now" button or wait for Windows to automatically restart.
  5. After Windows restarts, follow any onscreen instructions then sign-in to Windows 8.1.

Clean Install Instructions:

For commercial customers whose corporate environment only supports clean installation of the 8.1 update, refer to our instructions for update and clean installation of Windows 8.

View Clean Install Instructions from a DVD or USB Key


Step 10: Install Updated Drivers After the Windows 8.1 Update

Once you have finished updating your computer to Windows 8.1, be sure to return to the Dell Drivers and Downloads website to refresh your critical drivers and to get all the latest Windows 8.1 drivers for other components.

Related Videos

Windows 8.1 Update Process (English Only)

Update to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store (English Only)

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Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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