How to upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8

The easiest-to-use and best version of Windows yet, here’s how to get the Windows 8 operating system on your computer or laptop.

Following the official launch of Windows 8 we’ve already looked at the innovative and useful new features on offer and explored the different versions that are available.

We’ve also pinpointed the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT – the operating system used on the Microsoft Surface tablet – so you don’t get them mixed up.

But if you’re interested in upgrading your existing desktop PC or laptop to Windows 8 and getting your hands on all the cool new features and apps, then here’s how you can do it and what you need to now…

Buy a copy of Windows 8

This is the most hassle-free way to get Windows 8. You buy a physical box with a DVD that you use to perform the upgrade or you can just install it from scratch.

Download a copy of Windows 8

Microsoft offers a downloadable version of the OS that guides you through the entire upgrade process, but if you want a DVD or install USB option you’ll need to create this yourself as it’s only an update option.

Upgrading to Windows 8

If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, all your data and compatible programs will be upgraded. Any other version of Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP will only see your documents being transferred. You’ll need to reinstall your programs separately.

Starting an upgrade will see Windows scanning your system and creating a report about which programs are or are not compatible with Windows 8. This scan will take about ten minutes but if you then choose to collate all of your programs and data together it can take up to an hour. For programs that are incompatible, check with their publishers for updates or new compatible versions.

If you’re happy with the scanning results it’s just a case of proceeding with the upgrade and waiting around 20 minutes. Along the way you’ll choose a new look and decide if you want to create an online Windows account or an offline one.

The first option enables Windows 8 to synchronise settings across all your compatible devices and offers enhanced security. With this done you’ll be in the new Windows 8 world.

Installing Windows 8

A more drastic option is to perform a fresh or clean installation of Windows 8. You’ll need to boot from your supplied DVD and you’ll lose everything that is currently on your system, so make sure that you have all your files backed up before you go ahead.

Although this method requires more work, once the operating system is installed it offers the most streamlined Windows 8 experience.

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