In by now, I’m sure everyone has seen commercials and pricing on lots of new computers, laptops and tablets with Windows 8 preinstalled. If you’re not in the market to buy a new computer, but want to get to Windows 8 installed on your existing computer, then you’ll need to know the requirements and options. There are two options – in-place upgrade your existing Windows 7 computer or install a fresh new copy of Windows 8. Either way, there are system requirements that you need to meet.
Following are the official minimum requirements in order to run Windows 8:
Now that we got the “minimums” out of the way, let me give you “Harold’s” recommendations on the two items that seem totally out of whack to me:
Most new computers that I’ve seen in the last three years have already been coming standard with four GB of RAM or more. If you plan on installing applications, then you definitely need more than 20 GB of free hard disk space. The amount of free space you need will depend on how many apps you choose to install. For the best performance, you can always go with the solid-state drive (SSD). These are more expensive, but may be worth the money. As an example, I purchased a 256 GB Samsung SSD drive for about $250. Also keep in mind, not all drives are made equal so be sure to check out the specs before you purchase.
Depending on the features that you use there may be some additional requirements. I am listing them below:
To check if your PC meets these requirements, you can run the Upgrade Assistant.
To actually start the installation, you will either need a DVD with Windows 8 or a bootable USB with Windows 8. Once the setup starts, you will also need to have a valid product key to continue.
Remember, a fresh install means you are wiping the hard drive and installing a fresh copy of Windows 8, and then reinstalling all your applications afterwards. If you are already running Windows 7, have all your applications installed and want to keep all the settings and all the applications, then you’ll want to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 8. Please make sure you select the correct option.
I happen to be of the “old school” mindset – I don’t do in-place upgrades if I can avoid it. One exception I have for this is my Media Center machine - if I don’t do an in-place upgrade, I will not be able to watch any of my previously recorded shows.
The final thing I will leave you with is a quick comparison of the editions of Windows 8. I am including Windows, RT, even though you can only buy that preinstalled on a new machine.