Lynn writes: 

Hi guys,Yesterday I received notification in my in box that Microsoft wasd giving me the Windows 8.1 download free. I was directed to go to the windows store on my start panel. It was not there. I did everything they suggested,including updates,refreshing the store and making sure I had the compatible laptop with the right windows 8 all to no avail. How can I can the free version of Windows 8.1 now?

Thanks so much, a loyal customer for many years.

Lynn, thanks for being such a loyal customer. Hopefully we’ve got a pretty simple fix for your problem. The most likely reason that you can’t find the Windows 8.1 update in the Windows stores is that your Windows 8 doesn’t have the latest updates.  I know, confusing right? In Windows 8, updates for Apps were found in the app store, but regular Windows updates were received by doing Windows updates. However, the 8.1 update is only available in the store. If you don’t have all of your Windows updates, you may not be able to download 8.1

Here’s how to get those Windows 8 updates. Go to the search charm and type in Check for updates. Select the Check for updates icon.

The update and recovery screen will open.

Choose Check now.

If there are updates available, install them.  Then restart your computer and go back to the Windows store to see if Windows 8.1 is available.

Another possible reason you aren’t seeing 8.1 is that you are running a version of 8 that does not support updating from the Windows Store:

Windows 8 Enterprise – you’ll have to ask your system administrator about the update.

Windows 8 Pro installed with volume licensing. Again, speak to the system admin.

Windows 8 Pro installed using MSDN or TchNet ISO acitivated with Multiple Activation Keys. You need to download Windows 8.1  ISO from MSDN or TechNet.

Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows RT 8.1 Preview.  Microsoft has information about that process available here.

There’s also the possibility that your Store is not showing the latest content. You can remedy this by typing Run in the search charm and then selecting Run from the results.

The Run window will open. Type wsreset.exe  and click OK, then restart your your computer. 

Go to the store and see if the 8.1 update is available.

There is one other possibility and it seems super-obvious, but if you share the device with someone else, it’s possible that person might have updated to 8.1 and neglected to mention it to you. So just in case, search for This PC in the Search charm and select the This PC icon.

Right-click on the C drive and select Properties.

You can then check which version of Windows 8 you are running.

Hopefully, one of these solutions can solve the problem. When you do finally have 8.1 available in the store, you might want to check out this article on the installation process. 

~ Cynthia