Upgrade to Windows 8
Before upgrading to Windows 8, we recommend that you run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. It scans your current PC to see if it is ready for Windows 8 and then provides a compatibility report and optional steps for you to buy, download, and install Windows 8.
Download Upgrade Assistant
To learn more about how we use your info, read the
Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant privacy statement.
If you upgrade to Windows 8 and want to go back to your previous version of Windows, you’ll need the recovery or installation media that came with your PC from the PC manufacturer. For more info, see the Support section of this page.
Before upgrading to Windows 8, we recommend that you visit your PC manufacturer's website for info about updated drivers and hardware compatibility.
Redeeming a special offer
If you have an offer code you need to make sure that you enter it to receive the promotional price. When you're on the Buy screen, it will show the full price. However, on the order confirmation page you'll have a chance to enter your promo code then the price will change to reflect the offer promotional price after you click Apply.
If your PC is currently running Windows 7, your files, apps, and settings will easily transfer toWindows 8. If your PC is running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you'll need to reinstall your apps after you upgrade.
You can run Upgrade Assistant without buying or installing Windows 8.
To check if your peripheral devices like printers or monitors will work with Windows 8, be sure they're plugged in and connected to your PC before you run Upgrade Assistant.
What does Upgrade Assistant do?
There are four main things that Upgrade Assistant does:
It scans your hardware, apps, and connected devices to see if they'll work with
Windows 8. Make sure all the peripheral 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.
Upgrade Assistant checks your PC hardware to see if it meets the Windows 8 system requirements
to install on your PC, including features of the processor such as CPU speed, PAE, NX, and SSE2, as well as RAM size and hard drive capacity. It also checks for compatibility of your currently installed apps and devices.
It provides a compatibility report. Windows 8 generally works with the same apps and devices that work with Windows 7, but in some cases, a product might need an update, or you might need to uninstall and reinstall it after you upgrade. The compatibility report lists your apps and devices that will work in Windows 8, those that might not work, and what you can do to get them working again after you upgrade. If some of your apps and devices aren’t listed, it might be because we don't have compatibility info for that product yet. For more info on specific products, check the Windows Compatibility Center, or contact the product manufacturer.
You can save or print the compatibility report to use later. Unless you choose the option to "keep nothing" during the upgrade, you'll be able to find the report on your desktop after the upgrade. For more info, see Get your apps and devices working in Windows 8.
It checks your PC for support of certain features. Specifically: the Windows Store, snap, secure boot, and multitouch. If your PC doesn't support one or more of these features you'll see a warning. You'll still be able to install Windows 8, but specific features won't be available to you.
It provides the option to buy, download, and install Windows 8. If your PC is ready to go, Upgrade Assistant provides a recommendation on which edition to buy, and walks you through the steps to upgrade.
Is my PC ready to upgrade?
The best way to tell if your hardware, apps, and connected devices are ready to upgrade is to download and run Upgrade Assistant, which scans them and tells you if there is anything you'll need to do before or after upgrading.
Windows 8 works great on most of the same hardware that runs Windows 7. To automatically check your PC, apps, and connected devices to see if they'll work with Windows 8, download and run Upgrade Assistant.
Here is a summary of the system requirements:
1 GHz processor or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
2 GB RAM / 20 GB available drive space
1366 × 768 screen resolution
DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
To use touch, you need a PC that supports multitouch
Internet access (fees might apply)
Microsoft account required for some features
Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
Windows Media Center license sold separately
See the full system requirements
Not necessarily. When you run Upgrade Assistant, it scans your apps and connected devices, and provides a compatibility report about the products that we know will or won't work in Windows 8. If you have a product that worked in Windows 7, then most likely, it will work in Windows 8, too. But there might be apps or devices on your PC that we have no info for.
The compatibility info we provide is based on these sources:
Independent software and hardware vendors test and officially certify some apps and devices forWindows 8.
Microsoft tests the most popular apps and devices on the market, and provides compatibility info based on this testing.
If we didn't test a product on Windows 8, we might base its compatibility status on whether it worked on Windows 7.
We also base some compatibility info on reports from the manufacturer. This info hasn't been tested or confirmed by Microsoft.
Check for more compatibility info for a specific app or device (including info from community forums) in the
Windows Compatibility Center, or contact the app or device manufacturer.
If you have touch input hardware that isn't specifically designed for Windows 8, but is compliant with the Windows Certification Program for Windows 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 and will experience touch responsiveness at least as good as it was on Windows 7. Because Windows 8 touch requires a higher degree of responsiveness and precision, Windows 8 touch PCs that qualify for the Windows Certification Program provide a much better experience typing on the touch keyboard and using certain features than on Windows 7 PCs. For example, certain Windows 8 features and apps won't work on touchscreens that support fewer than five simultaneous touch points.
Yes, but you can't do this using Upgrade Assistant. 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 or Windows 8 Pro, but you'll need to buy it as a DVD and perform a custom installation.
If available in your country or region, you can buy Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro from a participating retail store. You can also buy it online from the Microsoft Store in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan,
Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and
Please note that the Windows 8 Pro Pack is used to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro, and isn't for cross-architecture installs and doesn't include any media. If you want to change architectures, buy Windows 8 Pro.
You won't be able to keep any files, settings, or apps when you upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version.
Buying an upgrade version of Windows 8
When you run Upgrade Assistant, if it finds that your PC is ready to upgrade, it provides a recommendation for which edition to buy, with the option to buy, download, and install Windows 8 from there.
Or if you prefer (and if it is available in your region), you can buy the upgrade as a DVD from a participating retail store. Note that if you're upgrading from a DVD, you must have Windows running on your PC when you begin the upgrade. If you'd like to reformat your hard drive, you can do so as long as you start your PC from media and then format your hard drive from within the setup experience for installing Windows, and not prior to it.
For more info about how to buy an upgrade in your region, visit the Buy Windows 8
Buying a full version of Windows 8
If you want to build your own PC and install Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro, or want an additional operating system running in either a local virtual machine or separate partition (including a Mac), you can buy the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro System Builder products (OEM versions). If available in your country or region, you can buy Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro System Builder products at participating stores, but you'll need to ask a sales rep for more info. This version doesn't include customer support.
Transferring settings, apps, and files
This table shows what you can keep when you upgrade using Upgrade Assistant, depending on the version of Windows you currently have running on your PC:
Upgrading from …
What you can keep
Apps, Windows settings, and personal files
Windows settings and personal files
Windows 8 Release Preview
Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Windows Developer Preview
Nothing, but you can
retrieve your files later from the Windows.old folder.
If you choose to start your PC from removable media that you created when you downloaded the Windows 8 upgrade files, you won’t be able to keep your apps, Windows settings, or personal files when you upgrade.
If you're running a version of Windows that doesn't allow you to keep your files when you upgrade, or if you choose the option to "keep nothing" when you upgrade, your files won't automatically move with you to Windows 8. However, you can still restore files 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. For more info, see How to retrieve files from the Windows.old folder.
Media Center and playing DVDs after you upgrade
No. If you want to install Windows Media Center, you need to buy the Windows 8 Media Center Pack after you upgrade to Windows 8. For more info, see the Add features webpage.
If you already have third-party DVD playback software, Upgrade Assistant helps determine if this software is compatible with Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows 7, you'll have the option to keep this software during the upgrade to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you'll need to reinstall it.
If you don't have a third-party app that plays DVDs, or if you currently rely on Windows Media Player for DVD playback, you'll need to download and install a third-party app or install Windows Media Center to play DVDs.
For more info, see the Add features webpage.
Changing your language
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. For more info on adding and switching to a new language, see
Languages in Windows 8 and Windows RT.
Yes. Your upgrade comes with 90 days of no-charge support from Microsoft, whether you buy the upgrade as a DVD from a store, or as a download from the web. The 90-day period begins after you install and activate Windows 8. Note: Telecom or other access fees might apply.
Not exactly. The version of Windows that you had on your PC before you upgraded won’t be there anymore. To get it back, you'll need to 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 before you upgrade 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. Be sure that you have this recovery disk before you upgrade, because after you install Windows 8, you won't be able to use the recovery partition to create a recovery disk. For more info on starting your PC from recovery media, see Boot from the media you created to install on another partition.