Patch Watch special: Windows 8.1 Update coming

Susan Bradley

This week, Microsoft is hosting thousands of software developers at its Build 2014 conference in San Francisco.

Much of the keynote discussion focused on Windows Phone 8.1, universal Windows apps, and Cortana — Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. But of more immediate interest is the official announcement of Windows 8.1 Update.

During the keynote speech, streamed live at, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore discussed — rather quickly — the rationale behind Windows 8.1 Update, to be released April 8 via Windows Update.

Any Windows 8.1 user relying on mouse-and-keyboard computing will want the update, as Woody Leonhard states in this week’s Top Story, “What you should know about Windows 8.1 Update.” To prepare for that event, I recommend taking the following steps.

  • If you’ve not done so already, disable automatic updates in Windows Update. We’ll want to install Win8.1 Update only when we know there are no major issues.
  • Ensure that you have a full backup of your system. Don’t simply rely on Windows 8’s File History backup system (more info). Create a complete system-image backup. (See the Feb. 27 LangaList Plus item, “Windows 8.1’s new, built-in image-backup tool.”)
  • Don’t attempt to download and install Win8.1 Update manually. The entire process will reportedly need six updates that need to be installed in a specific order. Serving stack update KB 2919442 is already out. According to MS support article 2919355, KB 2919355 is required in order to receive future updates. Those still to come include KBs 2932046, 2937592, 2938439, and 2949621.

    It’s expected that the Windows Update process will combine those five updates into one.

  • When you do install Win8.1 Update, I suggest you first uninstall or disable your antivirus software — then reinstall/reactivate it once Update’s installation is complete.

What to do: Look for a more in-depth discussion of Microsoft’s full Windows 8.1 Update release plans in the April 8 Patch Watch.

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Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.