How to upgrade to Windows 8.1 RTM from Windows 8.1 Preview by keeping files [Tutorial]


Windows 8.1 Pro RTM can be downloaded officially from Microsoft and you can install the RTM bits of Windows 8.1 right now. But, the question everyone has been asking is whether it’s possible to upgrade the Preview version of Windows 8.1, which was released back in June, to final RTM version of Windows 8.1. The answer is yes, and you can upgrade your Preview version to final RTM one easily and your files would be kept.

Installing Windows 8.1 Pro RTM

So, if you are one of the people who have installed the Preview version of Windows 8.1 and are now planning to upgrade to Windows 8.1 RTM then, you are at the right place. We will be guiding you step-by-step throughout the installation process to upgrade your Windows 8.1 Preview to final RTM bits.

First things first:

It is recommended that you take backup of all your personal files and data from your PC. Although we will keep the files saved but, better safe than sorry!

Before proceeding to the steps of upgrading, let’s take a look at what will happen during upgrade process of your Preview version to RTM one.

  • Your Windows 8.1 Preview will be upgraded to Windows 8.1 RTM (Core or Pro depends on the key you use to activate)
  • All your personal files throughout your Windows PC would remain saved and will be there in RTM version
  • Your apps (both desktop and Modern-UI ones) would be removed from your PC
  • Some of your personalization settings would be saved (depends on the usage of your Microsoft account and sync settings)

Now, when you have read what will happen, there are few things which we need to take care of to proceed with upgrade process.


  • You will need the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO files which can be downloaded from internet.

Note: You must download the same version of Windows 8.1 RTM which you have of Windows 8.1 Preview e.g. if you are running 32 bit (x86) version of Windows 8.1 Preview then, you will also need 32 bit (x86) version of Windows 8.1 RTM to upgrade and same for 64 bit (x64).

  • You must have at-least 10GB of space available in the ‘C:’ drive where Windows 8.1 Preview has been installed.

Now, let’s proceed to the steps to upgrade your Preview to RTM version. Follow the instructions below to upgrade easily.


  • Assuming you have the Windows 8.1 RTM ISO files. Double click or tap on the ISO file which will mount the ISO file.
  • The files in the ISO files will appear automatically in a pop-up window. Here open ‘setup.exe’ file.
  • Your Windows 8.1 Pro installer will open and get your PC ready for installation.
  • Once your PC is ready, you would be asked to get the latest updates from internet if, you have a internet connection. Select ‘Go online to install updates now’ and press  ‘Next
  • The installer will check for updates and download them followed by installation then, you would be taken back to installer.
  • Next, you would be asked to read and accept the license terms. Check ‘I accept the license terms after reading the terms and conditions given. Press ‘Accept‘ to continue.
  • Next, you would be asked to select what to keep. Since you are upgrading from Preview version then, you won’t have the option to keep apps. Only ‘Keep personal files only’ and ‘Nothing’ would be showed as options. Select ‘Keep personal files only’ and press ‘Next’.
  • Your PC will be checked whether you are ready to install Windows or not. Once checked, you would be asked to review what will happen. Press ‘Install’.
  • Your Windows 8.1 will start installing. This process will few minutes and your PC will restart several times during that process.
  • Once the installation process has completed, your PC will restart again and this time, you will see the Windows 8.1 logo instead of the beta fish of Windows 8.1 Preview.
  • Your PC will be configured and registry would be updated followed by installation of devices and then, you would be asked to enter the product key of your Windows.

Note: You must use your valid Windows 8 key to install otherwise, using any invalid key won’t activate your Windows after installation.

  • Next, you would be taken through post-installation setup where color scheme, Wi-Fi settings, and other settings would be configured.
  • Once all configuration have been done, you would be showed the out-of-box-experience tutorial. This process will take some time and you would be showed ‘We’re setting things up for you’ followed by the tip that ‘You can get new apps from the Store’.
  • After few minutes, you would be taken to the Start Screen of your PC. Here you will see the new Start Screen background, new tile sizes and new apps.
  • That’s all! You have successfully upgrade from Windows 8.1 Pro Preview to Windows 8.1 RTM and you files are also there.

You may visit our Tips & Tweaks section for more tips, tricks and tweaks about Windows 8.1


Ahmad Wahid

Being a University student of computer, has developed keen interest in technology and like to test out the new gadgets. His interests include Social Networking as well.

  • George Myers

    Followed this, got message required a security code, sent to mailbox later. Blocked activation to purchased Windows 8 Product Key. The iso file also has a picture of former MS employee Steve Ballmer and “I’ll Be Back” on the jpg. I think I might have to wait for phone activation.

    • George Myers

      I went back and installed 8.0 from my Microsoft receipt. The followed the codes and was activated by the purchased 8.0. Went smoothly after reinstallation of 8.

  • prateek jain

    I am using my windows 8 key for installing windows 8.1. It is giving message “This key doesn’t work with this edition of windows. Try different key”. Currently i am using windows 8.1 pro preview (32 bit operating system) and currently trying to install MICROSOFT.WINDOWS.8.1.RTM.X86.ENGLISH.DVD-WZT.

    • prateek jain

      If anyone know anything please reply.. i have successfully installed will 8.1 preview with the win 8 key. why i am not able to install windows 8.1 ?