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Tech-Friendly: Uninstalling the Windows 8.1 upgrade – some quick notes

November 20, 2013
By Paul Gorski
I was troubleshooting a free mail.com e-mail account problem when I came across a list of top technology searches, and “uninstall Windows 8.1″ was near the top of list. (More on that mail.com account issue in a future article.) Normally, I’d take the opportunity to take a shot at Windows, but in this case, I kind of like the Windows 8.1 upgrade. I was working with the developer release for a few months and had good luck with it.
So, I did a little searching and it seems some folks are having driver and application (program) incompatibility issues with the upgrade, which isn’t unusual for Windows or Macintosh upgrades. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to undo the Windows 8.1 upgrade.
If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 8 or 8.1, I suggest you visit the links I offer below before upgrading. If you’ve upgraded and are having problems, or are having problems applying the 8.1 upgrade, the links below may help. I’m sorry, but my schedule doesn’t allow me to help readers on an individual basis.
First, you probably won’t uninstall the 8.1 upgrade, but you should be able to fix it. Visit Microsoft’s support site at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/restore-refresh-reset-pc for information about “refreshing” your Windows 8.1 installation. Caution from Microsoft, when you refresh your system: ”Apps you installed from websites and DVDs will be removed. Apps that came with your PC and apps you installed from the Windows Store will be reinstalled. Windows puts a list of removed apps on your desktop after refreshing your PC.” Refresher beware.
Additional repair and recovery information is available from Microsoft at: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/repair-recovery-help#repair-recovery-help=windows-8&v1h=win8tab1.
There is a useful article at the Win8apps.com website, “Windows 8.1 Install Stuck and Freezes: How to Solve it” (http://wind8apps.com/windows-8-1-install-stuck-freezes/) about what to do if you are having problems applying the Windows 8.1 upgrade. One of the recommendations is to make sure your computer’s BIOS is up to date.
In my case, when testing the developer preview, I, too, had to update the BIOS for the update to install properly. This would generally apply to older PCs. The upgrade went smoothly after the BIOS update. However, if you don’t know what the BIOS is, you may want to get some experienced technical help.
Again, you may not be able to easily uninstall the Windows 8.1 upgrade, but you should be able to fix most of the problems. Enough people are using Windows 8/8.1 for Microsoft and the major software developers to work out any remaining bugs in a short period of time.
All in all, I’ve been impressed with the Windows 8.1 upgrade. I think Microsoft might be alienating business customers with the new touch-friendly interface, but general consumers will probably be happy with it. That is if the average user hasn’t already moved to an iOS or Android-based tablet.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.
From the Nov. 20-26, 2013, issue

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