Windows 8 was officially released yesterday and now it’s time to decide if you want to upgrade or not. If you’ve decided to upgrade your Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 machine to Windows 8, you may want to make sure your system can support Windows 8 before you purchase the upgrade.
To check if your PC is compatible with Windows 8 you can download and run Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. Upgrade Assistant will go ahead and scan your hardware, programs and even any connected devices to make sure they will work with Windows 8.
Windows 8 requires certain CPU features like PAE, NX, SSE2, etc, so it’s recommended to use this tool if your computer is a bit old.
The tool will also give you a compatibility report for your programs and let you know if you need to uninstall a program or update it before upgrading. Once you download, install and run it, the program will automatically start scanning your computer for apps and devices.
It will then tell you which apps are compatible and which you need to review.
There are some new features in Windows 8 like secure boot, snapshot and fast startup. The upgrade assistant will notify you if any of these items are not supported by your system:
If you didn’t know, Windows 8 doesn’t include built-in software for playing DVDs. If you want that feature, you’ll have to buy the Pro plan and get Windows Media Center. Note that if you already have Windows 8 Pro, you can get the Windows Media Center Pack for free until January 31, 2013, so get it quick!
Also, Microsoft Security Essentials is being replaced by Windows Defender in Windows 8. It’s basically the same thing, but for whatever reason they include Windows Defender built into Windows 8. So, if you have installed Security Essentials on Windows 7, you will have to remove it before upgrading.
You also get a list of compatible software and hardware that will work with Windows 8:
When you click Next, you will be asked what you want to keep. This will determine which version of Windows 8 will work best for you.
Note that depending on the version of Windows you have, you can only upgrade to certain versions of Windows 8. For example, if you have Windows 7 Ultimate, you can only upgrade to Windows 8 Pro.
If you have Windows 7 Pro, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise. If you have Windows 7 Enterprise, you can only upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise. Check out the Wikipedia article for more details.
In my case, since I have Windows 7 Ultimate, whichever option I choose gives me the same result: Windows 8 Pro for $39.99.
That’s all for the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. It’s mostly useful for figuring out what hardware and software won’t work on Windows 8. It’s also useful if you have an older PC and you don’t. Are you sure your CPU is supported by Windows 8?
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