Installing Windows 8.1 Update 1 demystified

This article assumes you have heard about the new features of Windows 8.1 in Update 1 and decided to give it a try. So, you’d install a stock Windows 8.1 from a DVD and then proceed to Windows Update to install Update 1.

But you don’t find it there.

Microsoft has released the first service pack for Windows 8.1 but has decided not to call it “service pack”. It is officially known as “Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355)” but is commonly known as “Update 1”. Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded 8.1 have also received a similar update. As with the old service packs, this update includes all updates that have appeared before it, plus some new features of its own.

However, it does not immediately appear on Windows Update. This article shows how to make it appear.

Short answer

To make “Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355)” appear on your Windows Update screen, download and install its prerequisite, “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2919442)” from the following links, whichever is more suitable for you:

  1. KB2919355 for Windows 8.1, x86 editions
  2. KB2919355 for Windows 8.1, x64 editions
  3. KB2919355 for Windows Server 2012 R2

Then, issue a “check for updates” command to refresh your update list.

According to Microsoft, this is not an option if you are running Windows RT. Please read the long answer.

Long answer

Update 1 does not appear on Windows Update because of a bug in the updater that must be resolved first. The patch for this bug is called “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2919442)” but curiously, this update also does not appear on Windows Update list until you install “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2904440)”. Irritating, isn’t it?

These steps help you install all three through Windows Update. However, I am not sure if they work exactly the same way on Windows RT, because unfortunately, I never had one.

  1. Connect to the Internet
  2. Open Control Panel (right-click on the Start button and select Control Panel)
  3. Click on “System and Security”, then on “Windows Update”
  4. On the left panel, click on “Check for updates”
  5. Wait for the process to complete. Windows would report that you have a number of important and optional updates. In my case, on a stock installation of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Evaluation, there were 34 important updates and 9 optional updates.

Screenshot: Stage 1 - Updates for Windows 8.1 RTM

  1. Click on “34 important updates are available” link (or whatever equivalent that showed up on your computer) to invoke the list of updates
  2. Remove the check mark from all updates. (There is a check box in the column bar that exactly does that.)
  3. Find “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2904440)” and put a check mark in front of it
  4. Click “Install” button and wait for the process to complete. The download size is between 4.3–10 MB. Normally, it does not require a restart.

Now, you must install  “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2919442)”. The process is quite the same:

Screenshot: Stage 2 - 2904440 is installed

  1. Once the update is completed, click on “Check for updates” again
  2. Wait for the process to complete.
  3. Invoke the list of updates again as you did in step 6.
  4. Remove the check mark from all updates as you did in step 7
  5. Find “Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2919442)” and put a check mark in front of it
  6. Click “Install” button and wait for the process to complete
  7. Once the update is completed, click on “Check for updates” yet again, for the last time

This time when the process is completed, you will end up with a very different report: On my test computer, Windows only reported 8 important updates and 1 optional update. “Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355)” is indeed among them and it is big: 427 MB. (x64 systems will have twice this size.)

Screenshot: Stage 3 - 2919442 is installed

“Update for Windows 8.1 (KB2919442)” is installed. “Windows 8.1 Update” appears.

  1. Click “Install updates” button to install all updates or invoke the update list to install them selectively

 Installing it on multiple systems

Update 1 is available from Microsoft Download Center too, for people who want to download it once and install it on multiple systems. But first, please read the “short answer” section above to download the prerequisite and install it on all Windows 8.1 computers that are about to receive Update 1.

Here is the Update 1 links:

  1. Update 1 for Windows 8.1, x86 editions
  2. Update 1 for Windows 8.1, x64 editions
  3. Update 1 for Windows Server 2012 R2

Enjoy! … or don’t! Windows 8.1 is not a great OS anyway.


Posted on 17 April 2014, in Windows Administration and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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