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Move up to Windows 8.

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Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8 Pro.

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Everything in Windows 8 plus enhanced features that help you easily connect to company networks, access files on the go, encrypt your data, and more.

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What about compatibility?

Windows 8 is designed to work with most mice, keyboards, printers, cameras, and existing software.

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What about compatibility?

A little Q & A. expand all / collapse all

Have questions about upgrading, what's different in Windows 8, and how to get started? Here are some quick answers.

  • Which Windows 8 version is right for me?

    There are two versions to choose from: Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 comes with everything you need to connect, share, work, and play - even for power users. Windows 8 Pro adds enhanced features for people who need to easily connect to company networks, access remote files, encrypt sensitive data, and other more advanced tasks.

  • What kinds of devices come with Windows 8 already installed?

    A whole new family of desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices - many with touchscreen capabilities - come pre-loaded with Windows 8. In general they're faster and more energy-efficient than previous models and the portable and ultraportable devices are thinner and lighter, with better performance and battery life.

  • Can I upgrade my PC from an older version of Windows to Windows 8?

    Yes. Your upgrade experience will depend on what version of Windows you currently have. For example, if your PC is running Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, your files, programs and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, Windows XP or Windows Vista, you'll need to reinstall your programs. Some features (like those that support touchscreen) may require a new PC.

  • How can I tell if my devices and apps will work with Windows 8?

    Windows 8 generally works with the same peripheral devices and apps that work with Windows 7. In some cases, a device or program might require an update, or you might need to uninstall some apps, and then reinstall them after you upgrade to Windows 8.

    The best way to tell if your apps and devices will work before you upgrade is to run Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, a free program that scans your current hardware, apps, and devices for compatibility. Make sure all the devices that you need to work with your PC, like printers and monitors, are connected to your PC and turned on before you run Upgrade Assistant.

    After Upgrade Assistant scans your PC to determine what's compatible, it provides a compatibility report that lists any issues that you might need to address when you upgrade. You can save or print this report to use later.

  • What settings, apps, and files can I keep if I upgrade?

    You can upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows Developer Preview, but you might not be able to keep all of your files, apps, and settings. The following table shows what you can keep during an upgrade, depending on the version of Windows you currently have running on your PC:

    Upgrading from What you can keep
    Windows 8 Release Preview Personal files
    Windows 8 Consumer Preview Windows Developer Preview Nothing (but your files will be saved in the Windows.old folder)
    Windows 7 Apps, settings, and personal files
    Windows Vista Windows settings and personal files
    Windows XP Personal files

    Important: If you choose to boot from removable media created during the download process, you won't be able to keep your apps, Windows settings, or personal files when you upgrade.

  • What are the system requirements for upgrading to Windows 8?

    Windows 8 works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 7.

    System requirements:

    • 1 GHz processor
    • 2 GB RAM
    • 20 GB available hard disk space
    • 1366 x 768 screen resolution
    • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver

    Additional requirements to use certain features:

    • Internet access (fees may apply)
    • For touchscreen, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multi-touch
    • Microsoft account required for some features
    • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
    • Windows Media Center license sold separately
    • 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
  • Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8?

    If your PC has a 64 bit-capable processor (CPU) but is currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can install a 64-bit version of Windows 8, but you cannot do this as an online upgrade. You'll need to download the Upgrade Assistant to a DVD or a bootable USB device and install Windows 8 from there. You also won't be able to keep any files, settings, or apps when you upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version.

  • Can I upgrade from an operating system that's older than Windows XP?

    You can upgrade online or using a DVD that you purchase from participating retails stores to upgrade a PC running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Developer Preview, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview. If you want to upgrade from an earlier Windows operating system than Windows XP (for example, Windows 95 or Windows 2000), you'll need to purchase the Windows 8 System Builder from your nearest system builder or participating retailer. You won't be able to keep any files, settings, or apps when you install the new operating system.

  • If I upgrade and "keep nothing," how can I restore my files after the upgrade?

    If you're running Windows Developer Preview or Windows 8 Consumer Preview when you upgrade, or if you choose the option to "keep nothing" when you upgrade, your files won't come with you to Windows 8. However, you might still be able to copy your files over after you upgrade. If you don't reformat your hard drive during installation, your files are saved to the Windows.old folder, where you can retrieve them after the upgrade.

  • If I change my mind, can I uninstall Windows 8 and go back to a previous version of Windows?

    Not exactly. To go back to your previous version of Windows, you'll need to format your hard drive and then reinstall the previous version of Windows from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC. Typically, this is on a DVD.

    If you don't have recovery media, you might be able to create it from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer's website for more info. After you install Windows 8, you won't be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

  • Can I change my language when I upgrade?

    The easiest way to change your language is to upgrade to the same language you currently have on your PC, keep your apps, settings, and files, and then add a new language afterwards. If you switch from one language to another during the upgrade, you won't be able to keep your apps or settings.

  • What's the Windows Store?

    The Windows Store is where you can find apps for your Windows 8 device. It's got something for everyone, and it's built right into Windows 8, so it's fast and easy to use. Just tap or click the Store tile to get started.

  • Do I need a Microsoft account to use the Windows Store?

    Yes. Your Microsoft account lets you buy and install your apps on up to five devices from a single account. Signing up is easy. Tap or click Store > Settings > Your Account > Sign in > Sign up for a Microsoft account.

  • What's the difference between an app and a program?

    Apps and programs are the same thing in Windows 8: software that runs on your PC. Windows 8 apps you download from the Windows Store will run on your Windows 8 PC or tablet. All apps in the Windows Store are screened and check for viruses and are compatible with Windows 8. And many apps created for Windows 8 are designed to work together - so the more you download, the more you can do.

  • Can I use my apps on other PCs?

    You can install any of the apps you bought from the Microsoft Store on up to five PCs or tablets running Windows 8. To install your apps on other devices, just open the Microsoft Store on the device you want to add the app to, sign in, and tap or click Your apps - then choose the app and tap or click Install.