Surface RT upgrade to Windows 8.1 preview: How to be extremely impressed!

Wow, Windows 8.1 on the Surface RT is AMAZING and you get Outlook in the Office mix, so who cares if the Mail client lacks features!  With Windows 365, this is freaking awesome.

This could not have been easier, the following was copied from: , which is the hard to find link for some reason.

Read Windows 8.1 Preview FAQ. The Windows 8.1 Preview: FAQhas everything you need to know about installing the Windows 8.1 Preview, including the supported languages, risks of installing Windows 8.1 Preview, and compatibility info.

  • Check disk space. Make sure you have enough free space on your Surface hard drive:     
    • Surface RT: Windows RT 8.1 Preview requires 10 GB of free disk space
    • Surface Pro: Windows 8.1 Preview requires 20 GB of free disk space
  • Use a Microsoft account. Sign in to Surface using a Microsoft account. If you’re using a local account, you’ll need to Switch a local account to a Microsoft account.
  • Create a USB recovery drive. You’ll need to use a recovery image if you want to remove the Windows 8.1 Preview. To find out how to do this, see Create a USB recovery drive.
  • Back up files and settings. Back up your personal data and sync your settings (Complete Steps 1 and 2 on the following page: How to prepare your Surface for service.)
  • Update Surface. Make sure your Surface is up to date. For more info, see Install Surface and Windows updates.

Now my own words, some extra stuff that I noticed:

  1. Security Code:
    1. You will need to have access to your phone or a  separate computer to get the security code to complete the installation on your Surface RT or Windows RT device, and if you choose email, it will the OTHER email in your Microsoft account that will be sent to, not the email you used to sign in to your Surface RT, or at least it was with my upgrade.
    2. You can check your security information by opening your "Microsoft" account and going to Account Settings, here you can make sure that your security email is the one you expect it to be and that your phone number is your current one.
  2. Download time:
    1. The download takes a bit of time and you will need to answer a few prompts if you don't the installation will stop at that point, so you will need to hang with your Surface RT or Windows RT during the installation.
    2. Varies with the download speed at your location, I didn't note the time but it didn't seem all that long for the download
    3. You can still use your Surface RT device during the download, but not during the installation, so you might want to be doing something around the house during the installation so you can answer the prompts.


Comments (4)

  1. SebDom says:


    We are a school and recently received 50 Surface RT tablets.

    Is there a way to download an offline ISO file for Windows 8.1 Preview? I don't want to manually update 50 tablets. It will take me forever and will consume a lot of bandwight.

    I don't want to hand out the tablets running Windows RT 8 and I can't wait until October 18th for the official release of Windows 8.1.

    I've search the web and even looked on TechNet and can't find any ISO file (as we can have for PCs).


  2. Surf4Fun says:

    To the best of my knowledge, for Surface RTs you will need to use the store.   I assume that you gave it a try on one of the machines, I thought it was painless to do so, but completely understand the problem you face with 50 machines.

    There is no work around as of 9/6/2013 to my limited knowledge.

  3. SebDom says:

    Thanks for your answer. I've done it on 2 Surface tablet. The process is not that bad. It's the fact that I will need to wait for the Windows 8.1 update to download everytime for each and every one of the 50 tablets. So it will be a long precess and it will take a lot of bandwight.

    Thanks anyway for your answer.

  4. Praba says:

    Hi Sam, Thanks for sharing the details. I have installed Windows RT 8.1 Preview in my Surface RT. Now after Oct 18th, How should I upgrade to the actual Windows RT 8.1  from the preview version? In doing so will I lose something like favorites in IE, Tiles arrangement and apps on it now (apart from what I kept in memory card)?

    Thanks in advance.

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