I’m sure many of you are looking forward to upgrade your computer to Windows 8, but it is not very clear how. Do you think we make a summary of the options we have and how to update our equipment according to each of them?
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Windows 8 upgrade wizard
Windows 8 is the first version of Windows capable of being installed and downloaded without the need for physical media: we download the installation wizard that takes care of everything; even the purchase of the Windows 8 key. It is this installation wizard that also allows you to create a DVD or USB on its own, in case we want to do a clean installation later (if the Reset and Refresh of Windows 8 do not work).
In Engadget Windows our colleague F. Manuel has been in charge of explaining in great detail the process of buying and downloading Windows 8 using this wizard. Do not miss it.
Prepare a USB or a DVD with Windows 8
Let’s suppose that instead of using the Windows 7 upgrade wizard, what we have is an image ISO (downloaded, for example, from MSDN or Dreamspark Premium) and we want to use it to install Windows 8. The procedure is identical to the one we know: we will have to burn that image in a DVD or record it in a USB.
I personally recommend using Windows 7 USB/ DVD download tool, which works on Windows XP or higher. It is very simple to use, just a wizard of four steps that are reduced to three: select the image ISO, select if we want to save the image in a USB or in a DVD, select the drive where we want to save it and wait for the files to be copied.
If we want to save the image in DVD we can use the tool that we like the most; In Windows 7 there is a tool installed, which allows you to quickly burn an image of DVD on a physical disk. If you don’t have Windows 7, you can use any other tool; Nero Burning Rom if you have it installed, and if not, a free utility called Ink DVD Burner, esoteric in appearance but sufficient.
Upgrading from versions prior to Windows 8
Don’t we want to lose all of our settings? We can upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows XP, Vista and 7. We just have to take into account some details.
- Architecture must match– We cannot upgrade to Windows 8 64-bit from, for example, Windows 7 32-bit.
- The language must also match. If we have Windows in Spanish, we must upgrade to an edition of Windows 8 in the same language; however we can add and remove the languages whenever we want with the system installed.
- The installation wizard will be in charge of verifying that our computer meets the minimum requirements to run Windows 8.
- We will assume that we have drivers for all our hardware for Windows 8; however, if there is no one for Windows 8, the ones for Windows 7 or Windows Vista will most likely work. And there is a lot of non-specialized hardware (graphics cards, network adapters…) with some basic operation without the need to install anything.
- We will also assume that we know what will be kept during the update process; in the review we did a few days ago we explained it in a certain level of detail.
- You need to enter a product key. If not, the installation program will not continue.
To update Windows XP, Vista or 7 to Windows 8, we must insert the media that we have previously created in the computer, being already started (we must not start the computer from it), and execute the Setup.exe program that will be on that disk (USB or DVD), and follow the steps of the wizard. It has no loss.
Clean install of Win 8
With Windows 8 installation media already available, doing a clean installation of that operating system follows a process similar to that of Windows Vista and Windows 7; the installer is really and the steps are really similar.
The steps are reduced, having already assembled the DVD or the disk USB, to start the computer using this means and follow the wizard. The only delicate step is, basically, to choose the partition where we want to install Windows 8. This partition must be formatted in NTFS and, without doing strange things, a maximum of 2TB in size.
If we want to do a clean installation of Windows 8, without having any programs or personal files in the new installation, we must format the partition where Windows 7 is installed (select and press “format” in the options that appear below the list of volumes) . We can select the partition and not format it; If we do this, all the files that were in the previous installation will appear in the Windows.old folder, on the same partition. The process will continue as it should, without any problem.
Dual boot with another version of Windows
If we want, we can install Windows 8 without uninstalling Windows 7, Vista or XP, choosing which operating system to load every time we turn on the computer. The procedure is really simple, although it requires a little preparation: we must reduce the partition with the current installation of Windows to make room for the installation from Windows 8.
To do this we open the partition manager (in Windows 7 or Vista we can search for “Create and format hard disk partitions” in the start menu, right-click on the partition we want to shrink, check “Shrink partition” and wait a bit. Sooner or later a window will appear asking us how many megabytes we want to reduce; We have to bear in mind that we must free, at least, the size of the minimum requirements, and it is convenient to leave free space (I recommend an extra 5 or 10GB).
It is important to say that if the files in the partition are fragmented, it will not be possible to reduce all the space that we have available in that partition; it is a good idea to defragment the partition before attempting to shrink it. Once we do, we must follow the same procedure to do a clean installation of Windows 8, but we mark the space “not located”. The installer will create the new partition and continue with the process, as usual, installing a boot loader that will allow us to choose between the old and the new version.
As you see, You have several options to install Windows 8 on your PC. I have mine updating right now. If you have any questions or want to say something, of course, do not hesitate and use the blog comments: that’s what they are for.