How to upgrade to Windows 8 on your computer

Tuesday 17 September 2013

If you've made the decision to upgrade your PC to Windows 8, the next thing to do is establish whether your computer is equipped to run the new operating system. Usually, this will depend on the age of your desktop or laptop - if you bought the computer only recently, the chances are it will be compatible and you won't need to invest in new hardware.

Users who want to run Windows 8 on their existing computer need to have a 1GHz processor or faster, with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2. Additionally, they need 1GB RAM for the 32-bit version of Windows 8, or 2GB for the 64-bit version, and 16GB or 20GB of hard disk space respectively. In terms of a graphics card, systems need to have a Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver in order to run Windows 8.

How to know if your computer is compatible

If you're not exactly au fait with computer terminology, and are unsure as to whether you'll be able to install Windows 8, the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant has all the answers. Running this program will inform you as to whether you are simply able to download and install Windows 8, or whether you will need to invest in a new PC or laptop.

The chances are, if you bought a computer with Windows 7 installed, you will be able to upgrade it to Windows 8. As such, it is simply a case of purchasing the new operating system online and then following the installation process. Other users will need to upgrade their hardware - but then if you're unable to run Windows 8, it may be the case that you're due a new computer anyway.

How does the Upgrade Assistant work?

Once you've downloaded the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, it performs a number of functions. Firstly, the program scans your hardware, apps, and connected devices to see if they'll work with Windows 8. So in order to gain an accurate impression, you need to ensure that all peripheral devices - such as printers and monitors - are connected and turned on before running the assistant.

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant provides users with a compatibility report. This lists the apps and devices that will work in Windows 8, and those that might not work. It also explains what users can do to get them working again after you upgrade. Users are able to save or print the compatibility report, and can access it at a later date.

Running the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant also allows you to check your computer for support of certain features, such as the Windows Store, snap, secure boot, and multitouch. Should your desktop or PC be unable to support any of these, you will receive a warning message. It won’t prevent you from installing the new operating system, but it does mean you may have reduced functionality after doing so.

Taking the next steps

If the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant finds your computer is compatible, it will provide the option to buy, download, and install the operating system there and then. The report will also provide information on the various different versions of Windows 8, and suggest which one is most suitable for your system. If you choose to buy Windows 8 at this stage, the program offers guidance through the various upgrade steps, meaning the process could not be easier.

If you're thinking about upgrading your operating system, you can find out more about Windows 8 by clicking here.

Posted by Jenny Arthur