Microsoft is testing an automatic update to fix Windows 8.1 upgrades

Microsoft first offered up its free update to Windows 8.1 for the general public back in October of last year, though there are still many users who have been unable to make the leap. If you’re one of the unlucky ones pulling your hair out wondering why you can’t get the update to install, hang tight, a fix might finally be forthcoming. At long last, Microsoft has released an automatic update that’s supposed to solve the Windows 8.1 upgrade issue. Hopefully this works better than the original implementation. For whatever reason, Microsoft made the Windows 8.1 upgrade available through the Windows Store. Not everyone was able to install it, however, and this fix Microsoft is rolling out is considered a pilot program.

Microsoft is experimenting with automatic updates from Windows RT 8.0 to Windows RT 8.1, which would allow users to skip the Windows Store and still get the latest software. According to Paul Thurrott, the test is aimed at helping users who’ve had trouble with the Windows Store update process. Microsoft is currently testing automatic updates in select markets, but the company could roll them out more broadly in the future. In the meantime, Microsoft is also offering a manual download that allows RT users to get the automatic update. It’s unclear when Microsoft will offer something similar to Windows 8 users. Microsoft already uses automatic updates to migrate users from Windows 8.1 to theWindows 8.1 Update that launched in April. In fact, consumers who refuse the automatic update are no longer receiving security patches as of June 10. (Windows 8.0 users continue to receive patches.) Because Windows 8.0 users aren’t being forced to update, Windows 8.1 adoption has probably been slower than Microsoft would like. As of June, usage of Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 is about even, according to Netmarketshare and Statcounter. (The former shows Windows 8.1 in the lead, while the latter has Windows 8.0 still ahead.) Windows 7 is ahead of them both, with more than half of all desktop market share.

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