Can I Upgrade to Windows 8?
Help Desk - Hints & Tips

Windows 8 Upgrade With the forthcoming demise of both Windows XP and Windows Vista, many people are wondering whether their current operating system could be upgraded to the new Windows 8.  Fortunately there is an app for that!  We have given some information regarding minimum system requirements, advantages and disadvantages along with a link to download a program which will check your system and programs to advise you what is compatible and what isn't.



Why not keep Windows XP or Vista?

After many years service, XP is being retired on 8th April 2014 along with Windows Vista. After this date, Microsoft will not be issuing updates for XP or Vista and other software companies will gradually stop supporting them too.  What does this mean?  Basically with effect from 8th April 2014 you will find it harder to obtain anti-virus and other programs that run on XP or Vista and hardware will stop being supplied with drivers for XP or Vista so you will have difficulty buying replacement printers or components to repair your computer. 


Minimum System Requirements for Windows 8:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
  • RAM: 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Additional requirements to use certain features:

  • To use touch, you need a monitor that supports multitouch
  • To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
  • To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
  • Internet access (ISP fees might apply)
  • Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database
  • Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • Microsoft account required for some features
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows Media Center license sold separately
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • BitLocker requires either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 or a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2 GB of RAM (Windows 8 Pro only)
  • A TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center (Windows 8 Pro Pack with Windows 8 Media Center Pack only, content may vary and additional charges may apply dependant upon region)

What I need to know before upgrading

  Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant
Before upgrading to Windows 8, we recommend that you run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. It scans your PC to see if it is compatible with Windows 8 and then provides a report and optional steps for you to buy, download, and install Windows 8 Microsoft Upgrade Assistant .  Please note however that Microsoft have not tested every piece of software or hardware for compatibility and it is possible that some of your programs or components are not on their list and items that are not covered are not guaranteed to be compatible.
You should also be aware that if you are running a 32 bit operating system like Windows XP Home you will only be able to upgrade to the 32 bit version of Windows 8.  (To find out what the difference is between 32 bit and 64 bit operating systems please see this article)
In most cases you will find that the programs you have on your computer need to be reinstalled, this may include drivers for printers/scanners, etc., make sure that you have the disks and licence numbers to hand before starting the upgrade process.

What is Windows 8 like to use?

Well, it is different and it will take a bit of getting used to but you will quickly adapt.  The main difference is that on start up you arrive at a landing page which is more like that of a tablet however if you click on to the "Desktop" icon you will find it fairly familiar to your old XP and Vista desktop screens.  You may find that you need a little bit of tuition or possibly even to buy a book to guide you through the basics but the tasks that you carry out regularly will quickly become familiar and you will find that it wasn't really anything to be worried about.  Plus, if we carried out the Windows 8 installation or upgrade for you we are always happy to help either via telephone or email.

Are there any alternatives to Windows 8?

Yes, there are a number of alternative operating systems including Ubuntu and FreeDOS, the most user friendly one that we have found is Ubuntu and have put together an article detailing our experience of installing this operating system onto a netbook that was previously running Windows XP.  Click here to read that article.

What do we recommend?

Until 31st January 2013, you can purchase a Windows 8 licence for just €29.99 so we would suggest that you buy it, even if you don't carry out the upgrade now.  Next time you have a problem with your computer and you need us to carry out a major repair or when Windows XP  is phased out call us to carry out a Windows 8 installation for you.

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