How to upgrade to Windows 8

Windows 8

Man looking at a tablet at a café

Install Windows 8

After the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro upgrade has downloaded to your PC, you have a few choices for how and when you want to install it.

  • Install now or install later

    For most people, we recommend choosing Install now for the smoothest upgrade, but Install later from your desktop is fine too. If you choose to install later, a shortcut will be created on your desktop so you can install the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro upgrade when it's convenient for you.

  • Install by creating media

    The other option, Install by creating media, is an advanced installation option that requires a USB flash drive or a blank DVD. This option isn't available for PCs running Windows XP SP3. We only recommend this installation option for people who need to install in a virtual environment, install as a dual-boot configuration, or need to install Windows 8 on a separate PC.

    If you decide to install using media, you need to install Windows 8 on a PC that's already running Windows, and follow the instructions on how to perform a clean installation of Windows 8. If you don't follow these instructions, you won't be able to activate your PC later.

Whether you install now or wait until later, Windows Setup will get your PC ready and check for any final things you need to do before actually installing. Take care of each of the items on the list, in order. As you complete each item, the list will automatically refresh.

Once you’re done, you’ll be ready to install the upgrade. You’ll see a recap of what you’ve decided to do. If you need to change anything, click Back, but if you’re ready, click Install.

Your PC will restart several times while Windows 8 is installing. If your PC is currently running Windows 7, your files, apps, and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you'll need to reinstall your apps after you upgrade.

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.