With continued reports that some Windows 8.0/RT 8.0 users continue to have trouble updating to 8.1, Microsoft this week released a new automatic update that appears to be aimed at mitigating this problem. It's being tested in select markets and could be more broadly rolled out soon.
"This (Windows RT) pilot program is an example of ways we're experimenting to help ensure more of our customers benefit from a continuously improving Windows experience," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Similar to how the Windows 8.1 Update  process works today, the pilot program will automatically update consumer Windows 8 and Windows RT machines for free to Windows 8.1 Update and Windows RT 8.1 Update in select markets."
Why is this needed? You may recall that with Windows 8.1, inexplicably, Microsoft made the update available through the Windows Store. While this update worked fine for many users, some had problems getting the update to install, and if it failed, there's no sure-fire way to get it fixed.
So this update—or this "experiment"—is aimed at fixing the issue and setting up your PC or device so that you can upgrade to Windows 8.1 successfully.
Want it now? First, try Windows Update: You may see the update appear there starting today.
If not, at least one manual download is available now too. The Windows RT version of this update can be downloaded directly from the Microsoft Support web site. Let me know if anyone has a link to the Windows 8.0 (x86) version of the update. Both updates have a prerequisite as well: You must first install update 2871389. (This pre-req is available for both Windows 8.0 and Windows RT 8.0.)
I'm curious to see if this works. But I will say this: Given the experience of the Store-based Windows 8.1 update, I suspect that's the last time we'll see Microsoft do such a thing. I expect all future Windows updates to ship via Windows Update, as God intended.