To Upgrade to Windows 8 you can make use of a special offer being run by Microsoft, where you can upgrade from Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 to Windows 8 for $39.99 (by download only method) or you can order a DVD by paying $69.99.
To get started with Windows Upgrade visit www.microsoft.com/windows and click on the buy link. Clicking the Download Pro for $39.99 button will download a Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant on your machine. Install the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and Launch the Application.
Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant does the following:
- It scans your machine for compatibility issues, so it is recommended that you keep your devices like printers, speakers etc. connected to your PC. It checks if your machine’s hardware such as CPU power, memory, RAM etc. is compatible to Windows 8.
- It scans your machine for application compatibility and lets you know if all your installed applications will work fine or not in the Windows 8 environment. Most of the popular applications is checked for compatibility. In case your custom application is listed as non-compatible – don’t go through with the upgrade.
- It provides an option to buy, download and install Windows 8 on your machine.
Once you confirm your acceptance to the compatibility test you are taken to a screen from where you can buy Windows 8 Pro Upgrade, You are asked to enter your personal information, billing address and enter your credit card details. On successful payment you are provided a key and your download of Windows 8 starts. The download is about 2 GB and download times vary between 10 minutes to 10 hours, depending on your download speed.
A copy of the invoice with your product key is also mailed to you at the e-mail address provided by you, at the time of purchase. Once the download is completed – you can choose to install Windows 8 from the Upgrade Assistant then and there.
You can choose Install now if you have downloaded Windows Pro Upgrade on the machine that you want to upgrade.
If you want to upgrade another machine you can choose an option to upgrade through a USB Stick / USB flash drive or by burning an ISO disk. If you choose the USB flash drive, be sure to back up the USB flash drive data elsewhere, as Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant will delete the data on the disk to create an Upgrade Disk.
Once your USB flash drive / ISO is ready, use it to upgrade your machine. Once you insert your USB flash drive running a previous version of Windows, navigate to setup on the drive and launch it. You will be provided the following options:
You will be asked for your Key, enter the key you got in your e-mail and click Next.
Agree to the license terms, check on I accept and click on Accept.
Now you are very close to upgrading your PC to Windows 8. On the next screen you are presented with three options:
1. Keep Windows settings, personal files and applications,
2. Keep personal files only,
By choosing Option 1, you will be able to retain all your existing applications such as Skype, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook etc and their configuration. You will also retain all your data, documents, movies, photos, videos etc.
By choosing Option 2, you will retain only your personal files, like pictures, documents etc. In case you want to choose this option, make sure to backup your entire machine at least once on an external hard drive, lest you lose some important data files. Also by choosing this option all your existing applications would be lost, make sure you have the keys to those applications before you choose this option.
By choosing Option 3, you will retain nothing, no documents, no movies, no pictures, and no applications whatsoever. It is highly recommended that you backup your entire data and extract product keys before you choose this option.
To keep your existing applications and files hit Keep Windows settings and click on Next and sit back. In 15 minutes or so you will have a brand new operating system Windows 8 on your machine ready to go.
The good thing about this upgrade is that all my hot keys and drivers were working out of the box and I was online without any configuration changes and updates.