Expert technology tips

Article ID: 2928290 - Last Review: April 1, 2014 - Revision: 2.6

By Mike Halsey

Did you know that Windows XP is more likely to be the target of data thieves once Microsoft support for this product ends on April 8, 2014?

Follow these five easy steps to upgrade your system to Windows 8.1.
  1. Use the automatic Windows upgrade assistant ( to find out if your device(s) meet the Windows 8.1 minimum hardware requirements ( .

    If your device does not meet minimum hardware requirements, you may need to buy a device ( that does.
  2. Locate the install discs, licenses, or download sites for all of your software BEFORE you install the newer version of Windows. Once you install your new version of Windows, you will have to reinstall your software.
  3. If you need to purchase new Windows 8.1 software, you can buy it on the Microsoft Store site ( .
  4. Backup your files and data to the cloud. Use a service such as OneDrive Pro to provide a smooth transition between your old and new devices. If you have multiple devices, OneDrive Pro enables you to synchronize them easily. Or use an external USB hard drive or network disk.
  5. Purchase and download Windows 8.1 (http:/ from the Microsoft Store. For more than five copies, purchase a volume license through a certified Microsoft partner ( .

About Mike Halsey

Halsey lives in Yorkshire (UK) in an eco-home with his rescue border collie, Jed. He is a small business owner, author of several 'how to' books specializing in Windows, and is a Microsoft MVP awardee for the past four years. Check out to see his work.

Applies to
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise
  • Windows 8.1 Enterprise N
  • Windows 8.1 N
  • Windows 8.1 Preview
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Pro N
Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
Find a Microsoft Store For In-Person Small Business Support