Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, "Confident Computing", for more solutions you can use to make your life easier. Click here.

Can I ignore Windows 8.1 and stick with Windows 8?

//

I have an Asus all in one purchased in August 2013 with Windows 8. I had a few issues after updating it to Windows 8.1 which I was not able to solve even with the help the Asus technicians, who I might say are pretty much useless, so I reinstalled Windows 8 and all is fine now. My question is this:  Can I stay with Windows 8 and ignore the update message for 8.1?

Yes, you can stay with Windows 8 but I’d rather you didn’t. And I think in the long run, you’d rather upgrade too.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

Support windows are probably shrinking

Unfortunately, without knowing the problems that you had upgrading, it’s hard to say exactly what is and is not possible. So I’m going to make a gross assumption that fundamentally your machine actually is capable of updating to Windows 8.1, but that something unknown is preventing it.

However, I think you’re going to want 8.1 or 8.2 or whatever comes later… someday. Much like a service pack, I’m not expecting Microsoft to continue to support plain old Windows 8 for very long. At some point, they’re going to say enough is enough and insist that people have 8.1 or some future version.

WindowsIn the past, sticking with a slightly older version of Windows for a while was not such a big deal. But I’m concerned that they’re not going to support for as long as they used to for a couple of reasons. One is that they’re making more frequent updates. 8.2 is apparently already on the horizon and they’ve made comments that imply they want to move to a yearly update schedule. At some point, there will just be too many different versions out there and too many different combinations to try and support. The oldest will fall off the table and at some point, that will be Windows 8.

I think they learned a really hard lesson with Windows XP, that being nice and supporting something longer than they really had to can actually backfire. I’m not expecting them to be that generous in the future. And in comparison, Mac and Linux operating systems are not supported for nearly as long a time as Windows XP was. And I wouldn’t expect lengthy support times for 8, particularly since 8.1 and 8.2 are coming so quickly on its heels.

So, if you stick with just plain old 8, at some point you’re going to stop getting critical security updates and other updates and other updates that you probably want. Not to mention that you’ll probably run into applications that will someday require Windows 8.1 or 8.2 or better. Not today, not next year, but someday. I expect it.

My recommendation

Here’s what I would do with what you have in front of you today. I would back up everything. I would do a complete image backup of the machine that you have that’s working today. Worse case scenario: you go back to this and I’d have you to stick with Windows 8. You really wouldn’t have a choice.

However, I really want to further explore the ability to update to 8.1. So, I would have you then install Windows 8 from scratch. Before doing anything else, immediately update it to Windows 8.1. Upgrading immediately removes the potential for some other software that you might have had on the machine interfering with the 8.1 upgrade.

If that still fails, there are only two things in front of you: your Asus machine and Windows. I hate to say it but you’re going to have to take the specifics of how it fails and go back to the manufacturer for help; because honestly I believe an upgrade that simple should work on a machine that was purchased just late last year.

12 comments on “Can I ignore Windows 8.1 and stick with Windows 8?”

  1. What do you do if you’ve tried numerous times to install Windows 8.1, but can’t? My laptop is a Sony Vaio, and I’ve carefully followed their detailed instructions for downloading 8.1, but invariably I get a notice that the update couldn’t be installed and an error code (80004005). I’ve been round and round with both Sony and Microsoft and none of the “fixes” any of them suggests has worked. I don’t know what to do anymore. Help!

  2. I know that I had to do a Bios updates – because the makers of my laptop sent out a message warning that there were problems updating to windows 8.1. Make sure everything else (Bios and drivers) are up to date before you try the update the operating system.

  3. I’ve had the same problem not being able to update to 8.1, and the same problem with neither my computer manufacturer nor Microsoft being able to help me figure it out. I’ll try doing a Bios update. This is the first time I’ve ever had this much trouble doing an update like this.

  4. I don’t know if this condition still exists but when I upgraded to 8.1 from 8, until I had all the updates Microsoft offered in place on W8 the W8.1 version would not even show as a download,never mind the instal.
    So perhaps that can solve some issues?

    Fred

    • I had something similar, after purchasing a W8 PC just four weeks back.

      I used it at the W8 level for about a week, to get adjusted to the changes; and adding the Classic s/w to give me a more familiar environment.

      I then downloaded about 4 times in the second week, apparent W8.1 upgrades – but never seemed to arrive at a clear-cut W8.1 destination.

      It was in to the third week, that a fifth or sixth download eventually announced clearly and unambiguously that it had achieved WINDOWS 8.1.

      Each download seemed different; and by the results only a partial progression if any.

      There were no declarations of failure or only partial progress, so at each intermediate stage, I was under the impression that all was well.

  5. I am also having trouble with updating my HP Envy 17 laptop from 8.0 to 8.1. On my third attempt at the upgrade, my MS level 2 engineer succeeded in going from 8.0 to 8.1. One day later I used Windows Update to install 460 MBs of updates to the Windows 8.1. That update, within 8.1, caused my laptop to turn into a brick. I have gone back to using 8.0 and my laptop is running well.
    I have worked in personal computer sales and service since 1983 and thus am not a novice. Leo, do you have any ideas?

  6. I am running windows 8 on a dell GX280, 64bit. I know it is an old machine, but it works perfectly, when I tried up dating to 8.1, a message told me my machine was incapable of running 8.1, there is obviously a problem with the processor, the original processor was a P42.8GbHT 32bit, I upgraded to a 3.4Gb 64bit
    Windows 8.1
    If you want to run Windows 8.1 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
    • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
    • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

  7. Hi All,
    Leo has also suggested clean install of 8.1 right after 8 successively, without introducing a time-gap in between to avoid potential interference of other software installed after 8. What is your take on it?

  8. Hi Leo,

    I purchased a Gateway computer last week and I am just beginning to find my way
    around Windows 8 and now people, including you, are saying that I better upgrade
    to windows 8.1. Is upgrading going to change what I put on my computer. For
    instance, I removed Microsoft Word from my computer and installed two word
    processors that I like and are free. I just want to get going on my computer. I don’t
    feel like spending another week learning how to do basic things.

    • Windows 8.1 has added a few features including (almost) a Start Button. Otherwise, the interface is basically the same as 8. Not too much to have to learn.

  9. Hey Leo, You know, most people don’t care about upgrading to 8.1 or whatever,,IF! it didn’t screw up the works that were running so smoothly in 8. I went ahead, cause my son said, ” should be fine “, yeah right. Right after i voluntarily loaded,8.1, my simple pass went to crap, making normal use of one cool feature not work. Read two dozen forums saying same thing,,whats so good about that,,Leo. My Bluetooth stopped reading my phone, read more forums,,same thing.. Where,s the good deal there, Leo. They pushed 8 users to 8.1 but didn’t say how to fix all the side affects. Ever listen to side affects of medication and realize the risk is worse than the “cure”? That seems what switching to 8.1 is,,Leo.

  10. My understanding is that some CPUs can’t handle Windows 8.1 or newer due to a CPU feature that 8.1 uses that a small number of processors lack. This is only a problem with some mid-2000s-or-older machines, so this is very unlikely to be your problem, but if you are dealing with an old computer, it just might be a hardware problem preventing you from upgrading.

    I’d provide a link to a list, but none seems to exist. I’ve literally only seen it once or twice, talking about nearly-decade-old CPUs. Maybe someone more knowledgeable about this could add more?

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.