I've waited a while for the dust to settle before upgrading my Windows 8 box up to 8.1. If only for the reason that the downloading of the 3.6 GB blob of data should be a bit smoother now, after the initial rush.

Backup first

Before upgrading, taking an image of my main C: drive would probably be a good idea. I first made sure Windows 8 is up to date (both on the main OS side and the App Store side on the two faced operating system). I then looked through my installed applications to weed out any I don't need. Then to the backup.

I use a piece of software called DriveImage XML. It's a nice bit of software that is free for personal use and can take a full image of your C: drive while the machine is running (uses some shadow copy magic). The other handy feature is that it creates two files. One is the actual data and the other is an XML file describing that data. This means you could use other software to extract the data, rather than relying on a proprietary format of a particular backup solution. Nice.

You have various options, including two strengths of compression, whether to just copy files on a drive or take a bit-for-bit copy of the drive. It's a very handy bit of software to have in your toolkit. As for the built-in Windows backup solution, I never did get it to work (always gave an error). So that's what motivated me to find something else to do system backups.


The update is 3.6 GB in size, but didn't take long to download, now the rush has past. Not sure why people do updates straight away. Surely they know what's going to happen? Interestingly, you can get Windows 8.1 on floppy disk drives still. Amazing.

Windows 8.1 on floopy disks. Oh, this is probably a joke? Right?
Windows 8.1 on floopy disks. Oh, this is probably a joke? Right?


Let Windows do it's thing of restarting several times. Then accept the licence terms without reading it (it would take as long again as the update did if you did). You might want to change the default settings now, if you had custom ones on 8. After the install is complete (and you've rebooted manually), go check for updates again. As the release to media was back in August, Microsoft has been busy updating and fixing things in the meantime.

I'll share a few thoughts on what I think of Windows 8.1 in a later post.