How to upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8

Upgrade Assistant checking apps and devices

Upgrade Assistant: See if your PC can run Windows 8

Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will tell you if your PC can run Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. If you want to check out the system requirements, you can, but you don't have to. Upgrade Assistant will do all that for you—and you don't need to buy the upgrade to run it.

To run Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant:

  1. On the Buy Windows page, tap or click Get started to install Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. Depending on your Internet connection, it might take several minutes to install.

  2. When prompted by your browser, open, save, or run the Upgrade Assistant program file (Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.exe). Any choice will work, but if you choose Save, you might need to search for the file on your PC and double-tap or double-click it to run it.

  3. Then follow the on-screen steps. Upgrade Assistant scans your PC to make sure it meets the Windows 8 system requirements. It also checks to see if your apps and devices are compatible with Windows 8.

Notes

  • To buy and download the Windows 8 upgrade over the Internet, you have to first run Upgrade Assistant.

  • If you don't want to upgrade online, you can buy the Windows 8 upgrade on DVD from a participating retailer. DVDs of the Windows 8 upgrade aren't available in all countries and regions. If you decide to buy a DVD, we still recommend running Upgrade Assistant before you install so you can make sure Windows 8 will run on your PC.

Review the compatibility report

When Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant is done, you’ll know if Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro will run on your PC. You’ll also get a free compatibility report that lists which of your current apps, programs, and devices will still work, ones that might not work, and what you can do to get them working again after you upgrade. You don’t have to do anything with this info—if we need any apps uninstalled or suspended, we'll let you know that later.

If some of your apps and devices aren’t listed in the compatibility report, it might be because we don't have compatibility info for that product yet. (You can check the Windows Compatibility Center or contact the product manufacturer if you need more info.)

Decide what to keep

Once you get the compatibility report, you can decide what you want to keep on your PC. What you're able to keep depends on the version of Windows you're upgrading from:

Upgrading from …What you can keep
Upgrading from …

Windows 7

What you can keep

Apps, Windows settings, and personal files

Upgrading from …

Windows Vista

What you can keep

Windows settings and personal files

Upgrading from …

Windows XP

What you can keep

Personal files

Upgrading from …

Windows 8 Release Preview

What you can keep

Personal files

Upgrading from …

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

or

Windows Developer Preview

What you can keep
The Choose what to keep screen in Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant
  • If you're upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8, you should see these options:

  • If you want your files, settings, and apps to still be on your PC after you’ve upgraded, choose Windows settings, personal files, and apps.

  • If you only want to keep your files (Word docs, photos, movies, and other files), choose Just personal files.

  • If you want to save none of your settings, files, and apps, choose Nothing.

  • If you don't see all of these options, you might have moved your files somewhere other than the default location, or you used compatibility mode in order to run an older app on your PC. Pick one of the available options.

  • If you want to reformat your drive—also known as a clean install—you need to do it from within setup (and not try to install on a bare drive). Follow the instructions on how to perform a clean installation of Windows 8.

See more

Check the Install, upgrade, & activate section of Support for solutions.

Upgrade to Windows 8 and breathe new life into your PC.

The details on what you'll need to upgrade.

Get answers to common installation questions.