Still running Windows 8.1 Preview? It's time to upgrade -- here's how

Yesterday, Wednesday 15 January, was the last day you could officially continue to run the preview versions of Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1. From today, if you haven’t upgraded to the full version of the new OS, you’ll see a message telling you to "Reinstall Windows Now". Click the "Get Windows" button to start the upgrade.

You can ignore this warning and continue using the preview, but with a rather major inconvenience -- your PC will restart every two hours. If you’ve only installed Windows 8.1 Preview to test it out, and aren’t using it as your main OS, you may not view this as a massive problem.

Should you decide to upgrade to the full release, you’ll want to install all outstanding available updates for the OS first. Clicking the "Get Windows" button in the message is the easiest way to upgrade, but there are other options.

If you installed the Windows 8.1/Windows RT Preview through the Windows Store, you can upgrade to the final release through the store too. Just click here to open the page you need and start the process. You will need to reinstall all of your apps and desktop programs afterwards.

If you installed a volume license version of Windows 8.1 Preview, Microsoft recommends you install a fresh version of Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Enterprise. The company says: "If you have to upgrade an existing machine, you can do so using volume license media. This can be done by manually running SETUP.EXE from the media, or can be automated by running setup.exe /auto:data". You will still need to reinstall all your software afterwards.

Finally, if you want a copy of the Windows 8.1 ISO for installing fresh on any PCs, you can follow the instructions for getting one, here. You will need a Windows 8 product key to get the ISO, and a Windows 8.1 key to install the OS (as you’ll be performing a fresh install, rather than an upgrade). You can of course also purchase Windows 8.1 as a download or DVD direct from Microsoft.

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