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Upgrading to Window W ws 8: W What you n need to o know w (FA AQ)

Making g sense of f the the Windows W 8 upgrade process.

by Rich Brown September r 7, 2012 6:27 7 PM PDT

(Credit: CNET) C Even if you're y excited for Micros soft's new OS, you migh ht not be plan nning to buy y a new computer r. If you hav ve an existing g Windows PC, P Microso oft has made e the upgrade e process mo ore or less sim mple, but there are still some s things you might w want to think k about befo ore making th he switch. Here H are a few w key points s to consider r. (We'll continue to upd date this post t as more informati ion comes in n over the ne ext few weeks s.) Q: From m which olde er versions of o Windows s can I upgr rade to Win ndows 8? A: Accor rding to this official Mic crosoft blog post, p if you o own a Wind dows XP, Wi indows Vist ta, or aWindow ws 7 PC, you u are eligible e for a downl loadable upg grade to Win ndows 8 Pro o. Q: How much will the t upgrade e cost?

For PCs with w the abo ove operating g systems pu urchased prio or to June 2, , 2012, you c can downloa ad the upgrade from f Micros soft for $39.9 99. For new, non-Windo ows 8 PCs purchased between June 2 and January 31, 2013 3, Microsoft will offer th he Windows 8 Pro upgra ade downloa ad for $14.99 9 (presuma ably to help prevent p a pre e-Windows 8 drop-off in n new PC pu urchases).

The Windows 8 Upg grade Assista ant walks you u through th he relatively simple upgr rade process. Microsoft) (Credit:M Q: Is the ere an option to purcha ase the upgr rade on a DV VD or other r physical m media? A: You can c buy the boxed b versio on of the Win ndows 8 Pro o upgrade for r $69.99. If y you purchas se the download dable upgrad de, Microsof ft will offer you y the optio on to purcha ase a DVD v version for an n additiona al $15. The upgrade u insta allation proc cess will also o offer you t the ability to o burn a DVD D or make a bootable b USB B key using your own media, m for no charge. Q: What t about othe er versions of o Windows s 8?

A: Micro osoft has ann nounced four r versions of f Windows 8 8. You can o only upgrade e to two of th hem as a cons sumer, Wind dows 8 and Windows W 8 Pro. P Window ws RT will on nly come wi ithtablets, an nd an Enterpris se version will be sold with w large-volume corpor rate PC purchases. Wind dows 8, Windows Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise will w be availa able in both 32-bit and 6 64-bit edition ns, with 64-b bit being mo ost common. . Microsoft has h not yet announced a pr ricing for the e vanilla Wi indows 8 upgrade. Q: What t are the dif fferences be etween Wind dows 8 and Windows 8 Pro? A: In this s blog post, Microsoft M sa ays, "For ma any consume ers, Window ws 8 will be th he right choice," while it designed d Windows 8 Pro o "to help tec ch enthusiast ts and busin ness/technica al profession nals obtain a broader b set of o Windows 8 technolog gies." Basically y what that means m is that t Windows 8 Pro comes with feature es Microsoft believes mo ost consumers won't care e about. For the most part this is pro obably true. M Most people e won't miss Pro's ke the Client t Hyper-V vi irtualization software and BitLocker r disk encryp ption tool. extras lik

Windows s Media Cen nter and its DVD D player software are e no longer s standard feat tures in Win ndows 8. (Credit: Rich R Brown/ /CNET) The one feature you might m miss in i Windows 8 is Microso oft's Window ws Media Ce enter home theater so oftware, and d its accompa anying DVD D movie play yer codecs. W Windows 8 P Pro users wo on't get it eith her to start with, w but they y can downlo oad it for fre ee via a post-upgrade dow wnload. If y you have basi ic Windows 8, you have e to downloa ad what Micr rosoft is call ling its Wind dows 8 Pro P Pack,

which will upgrade you to Windows 8 Pro, and also bring Media Center along with it. Pricing for the Pro Pack upgrade has not been announced. Q: What are the hardware requirements for Windows 8? A: Here are the basics as outlined by Microsoft in a blog post:

1GHz or faster processor 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit) 16GB available hard-disk space (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit) DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Microsoft also says, "Metro style applications have a minimum of 1,024x768 screen resolution, and 1,366x768 for the snap feature." "Snap" refers to Windows 8's feature of automatically resizing and positioning application Windows when you drag them to the side of the screen. And "Metro" is the now-abandoned nomenclature for Windows 8's distinct touch-oriented software interface design. Microsoft has suggested both "Modern UI," and "Windows 8-style UI" as alternatives, and may further refine the name before Windows 8's October 26 launch date.

Microsof ft's Windows s 8 Compatib bility Center r helps verify fy which hard dware and software will l work in the t new OS. (Credit: Rich R Brown/ /CNET) Q: What t happens to o my old file es and syste em settings w when I upgr rade? A: It depends on whi ich version of o Windows you started with. Per M Microsoft: "You will be ab ble to upgrad de from any consumer ed dition of Windows 7 to W Windows 8 P Pro and brin ng everything g along wh hich includes s your Windows settings s, personal fi iles, and app ps. If you are e upgrading f from Windows s Vista, you will be able e to bring alo ong your Win ndows settin ngs and perso onal files, an nd if you are upgrading u fro om Window ws XP you wi ill only be ab ble to bring along your p personal file es." Q: Will I have any problems p with w older ha ardware or software wh hen I upgra ade?

A: If you're upgrading from Windows XP or Windows Vista, you can expect to have to reinstall any applications you might have used prior to the upgrade. Most programs that worked in Windows 7 should work in Windows 8, though. Microsoft has a Compatibility Center Web site where you can check for specific applications and hardware devices that have been certified to work in Windows 8. When you launch the upgrade installation, you will also receive a compatibility report.