Windows 8 became available to the general public nearly two years ago in October 2012.
A year later, In October 2013, a significant update, Windows 8.1 was released and distributed to Windows 8 users via the Windows Store.
That means any computer purchased before October 2013 has Windows 8 on it as a starting point.
Now if your Windows 8 system was completely caught up with all the Windows Updates that had been released before October 2013 then updating to Windows 8.1 was easy and usually as simple as starting the update in the Windows Store.
If your system did not originally come with Windows 8.1 and you have to Refresh your system then it will be refreshed with Windows 8.1. This is the non-destructive process that leaves your files intact.
However, if you use the Remove everything and reinstall Windows option, commonly referred to as resetting your installation, then it will be reset back to Windows 8 and not your updated Windows 8.1.
That means once the reset is complete and you have gone through the initial setup of the system your OS is going to once again be running a clean install of Windows 8 and not Windows 8.1.
Obviously at this point you would want to go ahead and update to Windows 8.1 before continuing to install all your other software and tweaking the system to your liking.
Well if you head to Windows Update at this point you are going to find over 100 updates waiting to be installed to that Windows 8 system.
On the other hand if you go ahead and install the Windows 8.1 update you will only find six updates (3 Important/3 Recommended) that are needed to bring your system completely up to date.
So obviously updating to Windows 8.1 out of the box is the best way to go however, there is one update that is required to prep your Windows 8 system for the update to Windows 8.1 and it is buried in the over 100 updates for Windows 8.
If you do not have this update installed any attempt at installing the Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store will not proceed because of “pending updates”.
That single update update, KB2871389, can be downloaded by itself directly from Microsoft’s Download Center and then installed to your Windows 8 system. The install takes less than 3 minutes and after a reboot you can head straight to the Windows Store and begin the Windows 8.1 installation and upgrade.
There are separate downloads for x86, x64 and RT:
The update for Windows RT 8 devices must be downloaded through Windows Update since it is not possible to install it separately. Rather than downloading over 100 updates on Windows RT just select KB2871389 to be installed then your system will be ready to update to Windows 8.1 through the Windows Store.
This should help save you quite a bit of time during the update process.