You should first check Windows 8.1 minimum requirements and compatiility if you are thinking about installing or upgrading your laptop or desktop to Windows 8.1 operating system. Your computer hardware should meet at least the Windows 8.1 minimum system requirements for installing and running Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 is an update for Windows 8 which aims to rectify some of the issues and criticisms related to the user interface and the user experience in Windows 8. Windows 8 users should upgrade to Windows 8.1 to get the benefits of its new features and improved user experience.
Hardware functionalities added in Windows 8.1:
Windows 8.1 supports 3D printing, Wi-Fi Direct, peer to peer wireless Miracast streaming, tethering, NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface Specification), NFC tags, etc.
Windows 8.1 requirements
Before upgrading your laptop or desktop to Windows 8.1, it is recommended that you make sure your computer's hardware meets the minimum system requirements of Windows 8.1. There are slight variations in the specifications and the system requirements of the 32 bits and 64 bits versions of the Windows 8.1 operating system. We have included the minimum requirements for both 32 bits and 64 bits versions.
Processor speed: at least 1GHz
The speed at which your applications run is directly related to the speed of your computer. A faster processor means your computer will be able to do calculations in lesser time which will make your apps and computer faster. Your computer's processor speed must be at least 1 GHz (1 gigahertz) to run Windows 8.1. For a high performing computer, for running CPU intensive applications and softwares like 3d rendering programs, statistical softwares, or for playing modern games it is recommended that you keep a processor with higher rating.
RAM requirements: 1 GB for 32-bit and 2GB for 64-bit
If you want to install the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, your computer must have at least 1 GB (1 gigabyte) of RAM. For the 64-bit operating system, at least 2 GB (2 gigabyte) is required. To make your computer perform faster, to comfortably run many applications, and for multitasking, you should keep RAM of higher values. If you work on memory consuming apps, play modern games, or watch high definition movies, keeping more RAM is recommended.
Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit and 20GB for 64-bit
For 32-bit version of Windows 8.1, at least 16 GB (16 gigabyte) of hard disk space is required and for 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, your computer must have at least 20 GB (20 gigabyte) of hard disk. Although the minimum hard disk requirement is low, for keeping many large files such as movies, tv series, pdf documents, softwares and applications, songs, games, etc., a hard disk with higher capacity is recommended.
Graphics card requirements:
Any Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver is required to run Windows 8.1. For optimal performance, some programs and new games might require DirectX 10 or higher.
For using certain features there are some additional requirements:
If you want to access Windows store to download and run apps on your computer, a computer with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 and an internet connection is required.
If you want to install 64-bit Windows 8.1 on a 64-bit PC, your processor must support CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW, and LAHF/SAHF.
A separate playback software is required, if you want to play DVDs and some other types of media.
New Features and Improvements in Windows 8.1
There are many improvements in Windows 8.1 over Windows 8. Windows 8.1 has enhanced Start screen, All Apps view, additional snap views, a number of backgrounds and color options, more bundled apps, support for high resolution displays, better integration with OneDrive, etc.
Windows 8.1 comes with Internet Explorer 11 and a search system powered by Bing. The Start button is restored on the taskbar. Windows 8.1 also has the ability to show desktop after login by default in place of the Start screen. Windows 8.1 takes less time to start than older versions.