Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 with the only option is to ‘keep personal files’? Here’s the solution!

With the general availability of Windows 8.1 now under one month away, here’s a post about a small issue I came across when performing an in-place upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 in a lab.  To do the upgrade, I did the following:


  • Mount the ISO, add it to a USB or burn it to a DVD and run setup.exe


  • Select whether to Download and install updates (recommended) or No, thanks and whether to help make the installation of Windows better, then click Next.


  • In my case I chose to get updates, so the installer goes and checks.


  • I checked the box I accept the license terms and clicked Accept.


  • I was then presented with a screen to Choose what to keep.  I was surprised to only see the two options to Keep personal files only or Nothing – neither would keep all the applications and settings I wanted to, which was my main argument for doing an in-place upgrade in this lab.  Hmmmm.


  • Clicking on Help me decide at least gave me the hope that it is possible to keep everything when doing an in-place upgrade, so that got me thinking.


  • Checking back to when Windows 8 was installed in this lab, I had used the specific United Kingdom (EN-GB) ISO, being a brit, and I was now trying to use the default EN-US ISO of Windows 8.1.  I then downloaded the United Kingdom version of Windows 8.1 to see if that would make a difference.  When I went through the installer and got to the same point, as if by magic there is an additional option to Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications. Bingo!  It then proceeded through the upgrade fine.


  • To summarise, if you don’t get this option and want it, get the ISO for the same language version and it should appear.

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(1 Comment)

  • Thane Sherrington

    I’m running into the same issue, but I’m not sure what version of Win8 is installed on this PC – it has give the same “Keep Personal Files Only” or “Nothing” options with both the UK and US English ISOs. Any idea how to find out what version of the ISO would have been installed?

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