We recommend that you download and run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to check if your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8. If you are running Windows XP, you need to have Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) installed to use Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.
Still be sure to review the system requirements for Windows 8.1 before buying the Windows 8.1 DVD. We also recommend that you visit your PC manufacturer's website for info about updated drivers and hardware compatibility.
Here is a summary of the system requirements:
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Free hard drive space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
Check compatibility of programs and devices:
The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will check if your programs and devices are compatible with Windows 8, but you can check Windows 8.1 compatibility info for a specific program or device (including info from community forums) in the Windows Compatibility Center, or contact the program or device manufacturer.
Most programs created for earlier versions of Windows will work in Windows 8.1, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. There are several things you can try to fix compatibility problems. For more info, see Get your apps and devices working in Windows 8.1.
Drivers for basic device functionality are available "in-box" (meaning, as part of the Windows image). This includes drivers for storage, networking, input, and display. These drivers allow you to complete the Windows installation and connect to the Internet. You can get more drivers from Windows Update or from the device manufacturer once you're online. For more info, see Download and install drivers.
Back up your data:
Since you won't be able to keep any files, settings, or programs when you upgrade from Windows Vista or Windows XP, we recommend you back up all files and locate any program installation discs (or purchase confirmation emails) prior to updating.
You can transfer files before you upgrade by copying them to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or CD, and then moving them to the location you want on your new PC. Be sure that the drive or disc has enough space to hold everything you want to move. If don't want to use an external hard drive, USB drive, or CD, you can move your files to One Drive to have all your files in one place and have the latest version on your PCs. For more info, see Getting started with One Drive.
After you upgrade to Windows 8.1, you'll need your original program installation discs, or purchase confirmation emails if you purchased programs online, to reinstall your programs. Insert the program CD or DVD into your PC or follow the directions in the confirmation email.
If you've been using Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, or the version of Windows Mail that came with Windows Vista, your email messages and contacts can be imported into Outlook.com using the Mail Migration add-on. For more info, see Import email from a desktop app.
Before buying Windows 8.1:
You can buy Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro on a DVD from a participating retailer (DVDs of the upgrade aren't available in all countries and regions). You can see current pricing on the Compare and decide about Windows 8.1 webpage.
Determine if your PC can run a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows
After you open the Windows 8.1 packaging, you'll see two installation discs: a 64-bit version of Windows and a 32-bit version of Windows.
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a PC's processor (also called a CPU), handles info. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit version. To install a 64-bit version of Windows, you need a CPU that's capable of running a 64-bit version.
To find out if your PC running Windows Vista is 64-bit capable
To see whether a PC running Windows Vista is capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows, do the following:
- Open Performance Information and Tools by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, and then, in the list of results, click Performance Information and Tools.
- Click View and print details.
- In the System section, you can see what type of operating system you're currently running under System type, and whether or not you can run a 64-bit version of Windows under 64-bit capable. (If your computer is already running a 64-bit version of Windows, you won't see the 64-bit capable listing.)
To find out if your PC running Windows XP is 64-bit capable
To see whether a PC running Windows XP is capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows, do the following:
- Click Start.
- Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
- If "x64 Edition" is listed under System, your processor is capable of running a 64-bit version of Windows.
Article ID: N001-01 ( Alphabet based on category(Network) – Article ID(Wired) – Article No)
Last Review: 3/9/2016
Revision: Rev 0.1
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