How to upgrade to Windows 8

Thursday 9 May 2013

Upgrading your PC or laptop's operating system (OS) can boost performance and potentially unlock extra productivity. The new features offered with Windows 8 enable businesses and consumers to do more with their system - working faster, more efficiently and more securely.

The intuitive nature of the OS makes it ideal for tablet users, or those with a touchscreen PC. Windows 8 has a revamped Start screen with tiles that provide easy access to programs, documents, files and applications. The system introduces a range of new options, but without sacrificing the Microsoft 'feel' and familiarity.

Thousands of apps are available to users from the Windows Store, giving you the opportunity to customise your system and maximise functionality. Many of these are free as well, meaning there is no need to break the bank when upgrading to Windows 8.

Planning an upgrade

First of all, you need to find out whether your computer is able to support Windows 8, as the OS may be incompatible with some older systems. To do this, tap or click on the Get Started button on the Buy Windows page.

You then need to download Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant - which is available for free. This will tell the computer whether it is able to run Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, and then run you through the installation step-by-step.  The tool delivers a compatibility report informing you which of your current apps and devices will work with the latest version of Windows.

Upgrading to Windows 8

Users upgrading from Windows 7 can keep apps, Windows settings, and personal files, while those who previously had Vista can keep their Windows settings and personal files. If you are still using Windows XP, only personal files can be maintained, and the same goes for PCs running a Windows 8 preview.

Windows 8 can be purchased online and simply downloaded on to your system - there is no longer any need to purchase a hard-copy disk off-the-shelf. To upgrade your OS, simply enter the required payment when prompted, and then download Windows 8 by following the instructions on-screen. If you've got an offer code, this can be entered on the order confirmation page - just tap or click the Apply button to change the price.

The length of time it takes to download Windows 8 will depend on a range of factors, including the speed of your internet connection. But typically, it takes a similar length of time as downloading a film from the internet. You can pause the download at any time, or stop it and restart if necessary.

Posted by Alex Boardman