Tag Archives: upgrade

Upgrading to Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8. This update brings more features that are familiar with users of Windows XP or Windows 7, to make the transition as easy as possible. Here is a guide to upgrading.

The system requirements for Windows 8.1 are nearly the same as the requirements for Windows 8 – if your PC is already running Windows 8, in most cases, you can get the free update to Windows 8.1.But 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 comes with some new built-in apps, and it 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. For more info, see the Reinstalling your Windows Store apps section of this page.
  • Consider using a Microsoft account to sign in to your PC. If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 8, you’ll use that same account to sign in to Windows 8.1. If you don’t, we recommend that you start using a Microsoft account in Windows 8.1. Simply put, it’s the glue that holds together so many useful features of the new Windows: the ability to download apps from the Store, automatic syncing of your settings and documents between your PCs, backing up your photos to the cloud so you can get to them from anywhere, and seeing all your contacts from multiple email and social networking accounts together in the People and Mail apps.If you already have an account you use with Outlook.com, Xbox LIVE, Windows Phone or Skype, then you already have a Microsoft account.
  • In the Store, click the Windows 8.1 update. If you don’t see the update on the Store home screen, see Why can’t I find the update in the Store? 
  • After the update has installed, your computer will restart several times to complete the process. (This can take anywhere between 15 minutes and several hours depending on individual machines)
  • Next, you’ll see a list of recommended settings called express settings. To accept these settings and continue, click Use express settings. You can change any of these settings later, after you finish setting up. You can change them now though by clicking Customise
  • Next, you’ll be asked to sign-in. Here you can use a local account or a Microsoft account. It is recommended to use a Microsoft account. If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows 8, your account name will be filled in for you. If you previously used a local account for this, you’ll need to sign in with your local account first, then it will ask you to set up a Microsoft account, which you can use to sign in to your PC after the update
  • If this is your first time setting up a PC with Windows 8.1, you’ll see the new SkyDrive options. If you already have another PC running Windows 8.1, and you chose to sync settings on that PC, then your SkyDrive settings will also sync from your existing PC to this one, and you might not see this screen. If you click Next on this screen, your PC will use these default SkyDrive settings
  • You will now be shown the Start screen and it will probably look familiar to you but if you’d like to explore what’s new and how to get around, see Start screen page. 
  • Congratulations, you installed Windows 8.1!

Office 365 – Moving from Beta to a paid subscription (P plan to E plan)

I had an interesting day today: it should have been a straightforward case of taking a client’s Office 365 beta account and converting it into a paid-for subscription and then configuring their devices.

The client had already verified the domain they wanted to use (this is the time consuming part of the initial configuration of Office 365 as you have to wait for the global DNS system to replicate some changes – it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of days!) so I figured it would be a quick and easy job.

But then comes the gotcha.  The beta subscription the client was on was a “P1” plan (small business), and the subscription they wanted to buy was an “E” plan (with all the Enterprise lovelyness of SharePoint).

The thing that everyone needs to be aware of is this: a “P” plan CAN NOT be upgraded to a “E” plan.  Somehow I’d actually managed to do this on a beta account a few months ago so thought it didn’t apply to Office 365 beta accounts.  But it doesn’t.

The work around?

  1. Create a new account with a new <domain>.onmicrosoft.com domain (because you can’t currently delete your existing subscription).
  2. Remove the vanity domain from all users in your beta subscription (the vanity domain is your “public” domain, e.g. hilldatasystems.co.uk/)
  3. Delete the vanity domain from the beta subscription
  4. Create the vanity domain on your new subscription and wait for it to verify (the time consuming bit!)
  5. Set up your users
  6. Configure your apps
  7. Migrate any data from your original subscription

I could have done without this today, but we got there in the end.

I would imagine most Office 365 beta accounts are the P1 plan, and so far, all of my clients are after the features of the E plans – so this is a “gotcha” of some note.

As subscriptions (beta or otherwise) can’t currently be deleted (although I’m assured by Microsoft Technical Support that this feature is in the pipleline) you have to go through the rigmoroll of setting up a new <domain>.onmicrosoft.com domain and then reverifying your public facing domain.

Microsoft Technical Support did also indicate that the ability to upgrade from a “P” plan to an “E” plan is being developed, but until then: beware!