When Microsoft released Windows 8.1 Update, it threw some of us a curve ball. To continue receiving security patches, Win8.1 users must install Win8.1 Update by May 13. Here’s how to add this unusual patch.
Plus: updates for Internet Explorer, MS Security Essentials for XP, and those leftover nonsecurity fixes from April’s Patch Tuesday.
Install Win8.1 Update the (relatively) easy way
Whether I wanted to or not, I’ve become something of an expert on installing Windows 8.1 Update, aka KB 2919355. For the past two weeks, I’ve tracked reports of issues with this tweak to Windows 8, and I’ve installed it on both virtual test machines and physical production systems. Based on that research and first-hand experience, here’s what you should keep in mind before installing Win8.1 Update. (For more on this newest Windows, see Woody Leonhard’s Top Story in this issue.)
Perhaps the first question: Is the system on which you’re trying to install Win8.1 Update beaten up? I don’t mean physically beaten up — though there are times we’d all like to take a bat to our PCs. I mean: How many versions of Windows has the same machine run, over time?
Based on the comments in Microsoft Community forums, many of the Win8.1 users who are running into problems with Win8.1 Update are upgrading older systems. Some of these machines have seen Vista, then Windows 7, then Windows 8, then Win8.1 — and now Windows 8.1 Update. I call these PCs “crusty.” Many have not seen a clean Windows install since they were pulled new from a box.
A system with years of upgrades and updates could carry hidden corruption, making the move to Win8.1 Update more difficult. An upgrade that doesn’t go well is always frustrating; one that has an imposed deadline — May 13 — even more so.
So before you move up from Win8.1, prepare yourself for the possibility that the process might require more than installing a big patch — it could require reinstalling Windows.