Fix ‘The update is not applicable to your computer’ error upgrading to Windows 8.1 (update)

Error installing Windows 8.1 780_wide

It’s been less than a day since the release of Windows 8.1 Preview to the masses for download, and although it is quite simple to upgrade there are already errors blocking users to move from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

One particular case is the error message “The update is not applicable to your computer” that appears to users when running the update downloaded from Microsoft’s Download Preview site.

Apparently this error occurs when the a PC is running Windows 8 Enterprise or the primary language on the computer isn’t one of the 13 languages supported at this time by the preview.

Microsoft recommends to try to install the update using the Windows 8.1 Preview ISO file, but this becomes an issue for Windows RT users who cannot use the ISO file to apply the preview, and also takes away the ability for users in Windows 8 from preserving their personal files, apps, personalization, and Windows settings. Sure, you can change the primary language on the PC too, but the software giant says it’s not a good idea. However there is an option number 2; follow the steps below to fix “The update is not applicable to your computer” error message:


1. Download the Windows update to install the preview from this page.

2. Open Computer, navigate to the Local Disk (C:) (or drive where Windows 8 is installed). In this location place downloaded file (e.g., Windows8-RT-KB2849636-x64.msu) and rename it to preview.msu.

Important: Before renaming the file, go to the View tab in File Explorer and make sure File name extensions option is checked.

Also create a new folder in the Local Disk (C:) with the name 81preview.


3. Next, open the Command Prompt, but run it as administrator (admin rights). The easiest way to do this is by using the Windows 8 Key +X keyboard shortcut and clicking Command Prompt (Admin).

4. Next, type the following command and press Enter:

Expand –F:* C:\preview.msu C:\81preview\
Note: Replace C with the letter of your Windows 8 drive.

Preview CMD commands to install update 640_wide

5. Now, type the following command and hit Enter:

DISM.exe /Online /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\81preview\

Install update to prepare for Windows 8.1 Preview 640_wide

Note: From the previous command, replace the “” with “” for 32-bit versions and “” for RT versions.

6. A “Restart Windows to complete this operation?” message will appear, press Y to restart.

After Windows 8 reboots, the “Get Windows 8.1 Preview for free” notification will appear. Make sure you really want to proceed (read all the FAQs first). Also don’t forget to create a full system backup and you should be able to upgrade Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 without major problems.

Update: If you still having issues installing the preview, you may want to make sure you have one the 13 supported languages set as the base language. To do this first check which is your PC base language with the following command in the Windows Command Prompt (admin) (refer to step #3 in this guide):

dism /online /get-intl

Look at the first lines: Default system UI language : en-US and System locale : en-US. They should say en-US or one of the supported languages (Arabic, English (US), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish).

If you need to change to a different language in Windows 8, go to the Control Panel, and do a search for language. Click Add a language, search for the English (United States) and add it to your group of languages — Also make sure the new language is at the top of the list. (Need more guidance? Here is the step-by-step.)

Just remember that Microsoft is against changing languages to install Windows 8.1 Preview, even more for users on Windows RT.

If everything else fails, you’ll probably better making a full backup of your PC and use the preview ISO file to install the update.

Source Microsoft

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].