Windows 8.1 Information

General Information

Windows 8.1 is an upgrade for Windows 8, a version of Microsoft Windows operating systems for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet PCs, and media center PCs.

Windows 8.1 was released for general retail availability on October 18, 2013, about a year following its predecessor, Windows 8. The upgrade is available free of charge for retail copies of Windows 8 via the Windows Store.

Note: For customers who purchased and installed Windows 8.0 license under the UH Microsoft Licensing Program, the Windows 8.1 upgrade is free. However, UH volume licensing customers must borrow the loan DVD or purchase the upgrade media from the ITS Site License Office.

Windows 8.1 has a new touch-friendly shell and user interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language, featuring a new Start screen with a grid of dynamically updating tiles that represent applications. The new app platform emphasizes touchscreen input and the new Windows Store to obtain and/or purchase apps to run on the operating system. The traditional Windows applications run in the Desktop tile. (adapted from Wikipedia)

Windows 8.1 will run on the same hardware requirements as Windows 8.

Minimum System Requirements

  • A PC with a 1 GHz or faster processor with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
  • 2 GB RAM (32-bit) (4 GB recommended)
  • 4 GB RAM (64-bit) (8 GB recommended)
  • At least 20 GB free hard disk space
  • 1366 x 768 screen resolution
  • Microsoft DirectX9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
    • 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
    • WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
    • Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
    • 32 bits per pixel
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access the Windows Store and to download, run, and snap apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • Microsoft account required for some features
  • Internet access capability
  • See the full system requirements at

Additional Requirements to Use Certain Features

  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access the Windows Store, you need an active Internet connection and screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
  • Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B
  • Some programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • Microsoft account required for some features
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows Media Center license sold separately
  • DVD/CD authoring requires a DVD/CD burner optical drive
  • BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module 1.2 or a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2GB RAM (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • A TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center (Windows 8 Pro Pack, Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)

To check if your PC meets these requirements, you can run the Upgrade Assistant.

Reference: Windows 8.1 System Requirements

ITS Supported Version

  • Windows 8.1 Pro

Departments may purchase the upgrade license of this software through the ITS Site License Office. Users can purchase this software for personal use from a computer software retailer that sells Microsoft products.


  • Windows 8.1 Application Compatibility [HTML]
  • New Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows 8 [HTML]

Service Patches/Updates

In Windows 8.1, press the Windows key + C key to open the Charms bar, click Search. Type windows update in the search box. Click Windows Update.

Windows 8.1 users must update to Windows 8.1 Update, available through Windows Update, to receive future security and non-security updates after June 10, 2014.

Company Website

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Article ID: 1585
Created: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 4:58pm
Modified: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 5:06pm