Here is what I am thinking.
I purchased my PC in the fall of 2013 so my Install Update list shows all the updates installed and the basic order they were installed in. The attached screenshot shows the updates that were installed for Nov & Dec 2013. Possibly you could match up some of your updates with those on my list and try installing a few at a time based on my install dates. I have always installed the updates within a day or two of their release. I can give you a list for every month right up to Feb 2015.
Another option you may want to consider and one that I am sure a lot of folks will recommend is to download an ISO of the current and up-to-date 8.1 and do a clean install. Your built-in windows key should work with that. I think you are looking at spending some time with this one way or another.
Thanks again for your assistance and your recommendations.
NOTE: This whole exercise is to allow me to update and install all of the Windows 8 updates, which will allow me to successfully update to Windows 8.1. All to this pre-work is to ensure that this laptop will qualify to receive the free Windows 10 upgrade.
Based on my above statement, it sounds to me like Option 2, may be the best and cleanest method. I don't mind the time-consuming work as long as I don't lose any user data, as I have three accounts on this laptop.
I do have a couple of questions for you though:
- You mentioned 'download an ISO of the current and up-to-date 8.1 and do a clean install'. Was 8.1 a typo?
- You mentioned 'clean install' will this procedure delete all user data? Or, is it the similar to performing a 'clean boot'?
- Lastly, what is an ISO and where would I download it from? What's the correlation between the ISO and the Windows key?
An ISO is basically an image file of just the windows operating system. You download the file from Microsoft and then burn to DVD or to a USB Flash Drive. It then allows you to do a Clean Install of the OS without all the extra add-ons (Bloatware) that the PC makers add to it. It does wipe your system clean so you would need to backup all files you would want to keep and you would need to reinstall all your programs. There is a reasonable amount of work involved but the end result is a super clean installation of the OS. The attached tutorial will explain everything.
Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ISO - Download or Create
No, the 8.1 was not a typo. I assume your PC came with 8 installed so the Windows License authorization key is embedded in the PC. If you were to download and install an ISO the best route would be to go ahead and install the 8.1 version because that is where you want to end up. When activating, the new installation should read the license key embedded in your PC and allow activation. Again, I believe this is explained in the tutorial.
At the bottom of the attached tutorial there are additional tutorials listed that may be relevant to the situation.
At this point with your PC, is the Restore Point feature functional? If so, I would create a Restore Point to at least protect yourself. I would also recommend you go ahead and create some kind of backup of everything you could not afford to lose.
Another thing you could consider is using the Free version of Macrium Reflect and make a current image of your PC to an external drive. With the Macrium software you can mount this image and view, copy, reload any or all of the files. Backup imaging is the ultimate backup solution.