Well my laptop is now running the Windows 8.1 Update but little thanks to Windows Update. I tried using it three times over two days without ever getting to download the update so I decided to try an alternate though not overly user friendly method.
I went to the Windows download site and download the five files (not quite a GB worth) which makeup the update. To be safe I also downloaded the prerequisite update but found that I had installed it last month. I also downloaded an iso file which contained the five patch files for X86, X64, and ARM processors. Three of the five patches required me to restart my system after installing them and then when the five were finished I ran Windows Update to check the status found there were three more patches to install but Windows update handled them and required another restart. All told it took the better part of a day to download and install all of it.
So far my system seems stable and all of the programs that I have run since the update are running normally. If I spot any problems I will report them here.
PS I also installed an update to Java today but it did not take long and was necessary as I do visit a few sites where Java is required.