How to upgrade to Windows 8

Thursday 2 May 2013

Customer service

So the time has come - you've decided to give Windows 8 a whirl and see what all the fuss is about. A new range of features and applications lie in store for those upgrading, as well as a more intuitive interface.

But how do you upgrade from your Windows 7, XP or Vista operating system to Windows 8?

Use the Upgrade Assistant

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant is designed to assist PC, laptop and mobile device users making the upgrade to the new version. It scans your system to see if it is ready for Windows 8 and then provides a compatibility report.

If your computer is able to make the move to Windows 8, the report presents a range of optional steps for making a purchase, downloading and installing the system. We recommend using the Upgrade Assistant to establish the status of your PC or laptop - if it is unable to host Windows 8 you may need a new system.

You can buy Windows 8 online, or if it is available in your region, purchase the operating system in a participating store. However, if you are using a DVD to upgrade, the system must already be running an earlier version of Windows.

Preparing for Windows 8

If you are looking to run Windows 8 on an existing PC or laptop, you need to work through a checklist of requirements. In order to make the most of the new operating system, the computer should have a 1 GHz processor or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2, 2 GB RAM and 20GB of available drive space, a 1366 × 768 screen resolution, aDirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver, internet connectivity, a Microsoft account, playback software (for DVDs) and a Windows Media Centre license. If you want to use touch features, you'll need a tablet or PC screen that supports multitouch technology.

Enjoying touch functionality

If you are currently using a touch-screen computer designed for an earlier version of Windows, it may be possible to make a fairly seamless upgrade. If your touch input hardware is compliant with the Windows Certification Program for Windows 7, upgrading to Windows 8 will offer touch responsiveness that is at least as good.

However, Windows 8 touch PCs that qualify for the Windows Certification Program provide a much better experience. This is because the new operating model requires a higher degree of responsiveness and precision than previous versions - but ultimately it is up to each individual user. If you want a full range of feature and apps, it may be worth upgrading the hardware, but if basic touch functionality will do, existing devices should work fine.

Keeping hold of existing files

Users who are upgrading from Windows 7 do not need to worry about losing their existing files, apps, and settings - they are easily transferrable when carrying out a Windows 8 upgrade. However, if the current system uses Windows XP or Windows Vista it is not possible to carry apps over - these will need to be reinstalled following the upgrade.

Reverting back to an earlier version

We're confident that the intuitive new features offered by Windows 8 improve the end-user experience and make computing even easier. However, if for any reason you do need to revert back to an earlier version of the operating system this is possible. You simply need to reload the installation media that came with your computer from the manufacturer in order to revert back to an earlier version.

To find out more about the Windows 8 operating system, click here.

Posted by Alex Boardman