Keeping Windows 8 up to date can protect you from security vulnerabilities. Auto updates are enabled by default, but you can do a manual update too. Windows 8 not only comes with a new Start interface but also a new built-in updater. Under default settings, the updater is scheduled to check for updates once per day.
Get the free update
But, if you don’t use your computer very often, it is easy to miss, and it might fall behind on updates, including important security patches. Under these circumstances, the best course of action is to check for updates manually, and here’s how to do it.
Important Update: Windows 8.1 is reaching its end of life. According to Microsoft:. Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023.
With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported. Hover the mouse over the bottom right corner of the screen to bring up the Charms menu.
Notes and messages
You can also swipe from the right side of the screen to the left to open this on a touch-enabled device. In the Charms menu, open up Settings.
A larger menu will appear where the Charms bar just was. In this Settings menu, select the “Change PC settings” option. Go to the bottom of the PC settings tabs and select “Windows Update.” Then press the “Check for updates now” button.
Windows 8 will connect to Microsoft’s online update center and see any updates available that you don’t have yet. If it finds any, they’ll be listed where the “Check for updates now” button just was.
Press “Install” to get started with them. The updates will download and then install automatically.
Once Windows 8 has finished installing the updates, all it takes is a quick restart for them to take effect.
Of course, during the restart, Windows 8 may take a few extra moments to configure the new updates that were just added to the system.
Although usually, this is done pretty quickly. Your PC will restart, and you can log in and start regular operations. Learn all about the security and non-security updates that are published for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 through Windows Update.
These updates address issues and improve the overall reliability of the operating system.
Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 rollups (monthly rollups and security-only updates) are applicable by default to the following Windows 8.1 Industry-based embedded product:. Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise. Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro.
If a rollup is not applicable to an embedded product, we will explicitly state that it is not applicable.
On the left side of this page, there is a reference to all of the updates that have been released for this version of Windows. We recommend installing all updates for Windows that are available for your device.
Installing the most recent update means you get all of the previous updates, as well, including important security fixes.
For the most up-to-date information about Known Issues for Windows and Windows Server, please go to the Windows release health dashboard.
IMPORTANT Starting in July 2020, all Windows Updates will disable the RemoteFX vGPU feature because of a security vulnerability.
For more information about the vulnerability, seeCVE-2020-1036 and KB4570006. After you install this update, attempts to start virtual machines (VM) that have RemoteFX vGPU enabled will fail, and messages such as the following will appear:.
If you re-enable RemoteFX vGPU, a message similar to the following will appear:. “The virtual machine cannot be started because all the RemoteFX-capable GPUs are disabled in Hyper-V Manager.”. “The virtual machine cannot be started because the server has insufficient GPU resources.”.
"We no longer support the RemoteFX 3D video adapter.
If you are still using this adapter, you may become vulnerable to security risk. Learn more (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=2131976)”.
However, since Windows 8 has been out of support since January 2016, we encourage you to update to Windows 8.1 for free.
The system requirements for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 are nearly the same as the requirements for Windows 8—if your PC is already running Windows 8 (or Windows RT), in most cases, you can get the free update to Windows 8.1 (or Windows RT 8.1).
Before you begin, here are some things to keep in mind.
Your files, desktop apps, user accounts, and settings come with you. Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 come with some new built-in apps and will update or replace some of your existing built-in apps. Your existing Windows Store apps don't come with you, but once the update is complete, you can reinstall all of these apps at once—or just the ones you want. We'll check your desktop apps and devices for you.
As part of the update, we check your current desktop apps and connected devices. We'll let you know what you'll need to do to get them ready for the update or to get them working again after the update.
In most cases, you won't need to do anything—most desktop apps, devices (like printers), and network connections will work normally after the update. Consider using a Microsoft account to sign in to your PC. If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 8 or Windows RT, you’ll use that same account to sign in to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1.
During this time, make sure to save your work and close any apps you have open before leaving your PC unattended in case your PC needs to restart automatically while you’re away.
After it restarts, you won't be able to use your PC for a little while (from about 20 minutes to an hour) while the updates are being applied. After that phase is complete, we'll walk you through choosing a few basic settings and then Windows will finish applying any final updates that are needed.