1. Computing
Tim Fisher

Introducing Windows 8

By October 26, 2012

Follow me on:

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro BoxshotAs of early this morning, Windows 8 is available for purchase and immediate download from the Microsoft Store. You can also order a boxed version of Windows 8 from most online retailers or walk in to most electronic stores and pick up a copy.

The very best deal is to buy Windows 8 Pro Upgrade directly from Microsoft for just $39.99 (offer ends January 31, 2013).

I recommend a clean install of Windows 8 Pro, which is possible even with this "upgrade" version. I've outlined the entire process in a tutorial here:

How To Clean Install Windows 8 Pro From an Upgrade Download

Note: To be clear, this is an upgrade license, meaning you have to be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 on the computer that you plan on installing Windows 8 on to qualify. This does not mean that you have to complete an actual "upgrade" installation - you can still do a clean install, which I always recommend. The whole process is detailed in the walk-though I linked to above.

Why do a clean install?

A clean install is a fresh installation of Windows on a formatted drive. This means that previous issues in Windows with the registry, junk programs, viruses, etc., are all erased and you get a copy of Windows 8 that works as designed. Yes, it's true that you first need to backup any data you want to keep and you'll also have to reinstall any software programs you'd like to continue using, but the trade-off is worth it.

Here are some other tutorials you might find useful after installing Windows 8:

Having trouble installing Windows 8? Have some initial thoughts on Microsoft's newest, and arguably boldest, operating system? Let me know in the comments!

Update: See my Installing Windows 8 FAQ for answers to some of the questions I've been receiving.

Windows 8 Pro Boxshot Image © Microsoft

Connect With Tim: Twitter | Facebook | Google+
October 26, 2012 at 11:32 am
(1) michiganbiker says:

i have a self built pc and i am running 2002 windows xp pro and the year of the pc is 2000 so will the new windows 8 work on it ty

October 26, 2012 at 11:44 am
(2) Tim Fisher says:

@michiganbiker: It’s possible. I’d suggest installing the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant program from Microsoft. It’s free and it’ll scan you hardware and software and let you know.

October 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm
(3) Godfather says:


I heard this Windows 8 is a touch screen OS. Do I need to chnage my OS for this ???

October 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm
(4) Tim Fisher says:

@Godfather: Windows 8 would be a change in OS (from whatever you have now). Do you mean would you need to change your hardware? No – you wouldn’t. Windows 8 will install on almost any computer that ran Windows 7 just fine and works fine with a keyboard and mouse. It its somewhat easier to use if your computer has a touch interface. Most desktop screens do not, some newer laptops and netbooks do, all tablets do.

October 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm
(5) Glen says:

Tim – If I buy a new laptop for my daughter (who is blonde) and she just can’t seem to understand how everything works (she has been using XP), can I do a clean install of W7 on the machine and have it just as it would have been six months ago?? anything to look out for???

October 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm
(6) Tim Fisher says:

@Glen: Yes, you can clean install Windows 7 over Windows [anything] or any other OS, this includes Windows 8 of course.

October 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm
(7) LordJohn¿¿¿ says:

what about. 64 bit upgrade!!! !!!

October 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm
(8) C L Edward says:

Are the crooks at MS going to decertify your copy of Windows 8 everytime you have to reinstalled a crashed/unworkable previous copy? I know the “party line” is that it does not happen, but contrary to the market hype, it does.

October 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(9) Tim Fisher says:

@C L Edward: The sorts of problems you’re describing haven’t happened since the Windows XP days, in most situations, that is. No, I’ve already reinstalled Windows 8 on a test machine 6 times, each time using the same product key and reactivating, all without a problem.

October 27, 2012 at 7:00 am
(10) Joyce Turner says:

I just installed Windows 8 and I must say I am very surprised at all the neat features. I have an HP Pavilion g7 and the install was seamless…I am loving it right now!

October 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm
(11) Tim Fisher says:

@Joyce Turner: Good to hear! I’m enjoying it too, both on a Samsung Series 7 tablet (with touch, of course) and an older HP laptop (no touch).

October 27, 2012 at 9:50 am
(12) Brian Lavelle says:

Tim, your papers and guides are probably the very best available to an intermediate, non-professional. Thank you.
Windows, which is based on MS-DOS has grown in GB size over the years as Microsoft have added layer on layer, such that it resembled a legacy system.

There is much hype over Win 8 as the new operating system but is that true or is it Win 7 with different graphic interface. Is its prime function to have an offering in the Tablet market. And now there is just a bigger version for Desktops/laptops.

Does Win 8 represent a complete rewright of the Windows system, making it more efficient or does it require more to get optimal use.
What is the comparative system size with similar options that were included in previous versions of Windows. Is this just a different user interface added to a trimmed function version of Windows

October 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm
(13) Tim Fisher says:

@Brian Lavelle: Thank you! I appreciate the kudos… it’s a lot of work to get them right but it’s worth it.

Windows hasn’t just been built on top of MS-DOS. Windows 3.1, and Windows 95/98 – yes. But Windows XP and beyond are true operating systems in-and-of themselves. But you’re right in that in Windows 8 is more just a fancy new interface on top of Windows 7. That’s not entirely accurate, as there are a number of back-end improvements. You get what I’m saying.

I’d say Windows 8 does a better job in the sense of mobile use (the interface, of course, but also power management and ease of use) but other than that, probably not a lot of changes like you’re asking about.

As far as size, as in footprint on the computer, I’d say Windows 8 is very similar to Windows 7. Not a lot of difference that I’ve seen.

October 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm
(14) jules says:

can win 8 be installed on a separate partition so that my Vista will not be wiped out?

October 28, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(15) Tim Fisher says:

@jules: Sure, you can dual-boot Vista and 8. See this: http://lifehacker.com/5840387/how-to-dual+boot-windows-7-and-windows-8-side-by-side

October 28, 2012 at 5:29 am
(16) Brian says:

Your walk through on installing Windows 8 is excellent. Is it possible to get a concise Print version for download/print as i would like to have the guide beside me as i go through the steps.
Are there any special things to watch out for if using a SSD drive. I use an sad only for programs. Is it possible to copy non Microsoft programs to another drive and then move them back to SSD?

October 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm
(17) Tim Fisher says:

@Brian: Thanks! And to your question… No, as much as I wish there was. I could re-write the whole tutorial without pictures but that sounds like a mess. It’s a limitation of our publishing tools here on About.com, that’s all. I’m not trying to make it harder on purpose. If you want, you can bring it up on your mobile phone. Unless you have your phone set otherwise, you’ll see the mobile version of the tutorial automatically.

There shouldn’t be any special considerations with SSD. I mean, there may be some tweaking that might provide a bit more this or that, but Windows 8 is much more ready for SSD than, say, Windows 7 was.

Copying programs isn’t really possible in Windows, at least not most programs. You’ll need to reinstall them post-Windows-8-install.

October 31, 2012 at 9:50 am
(18) Canadiangrown says:


Previously I was running vista. After upgrade it asked me to create an account with a hotmail account, in which I did. The issue I have now is modifying my old files in the windows.old folder as the new user account doesn’t seen to have privileges. I was set up as the administrator before but I can’t get the rights over the old files, as the old admin account is still active but I can’t access it. I started backing up my files to an external hard drive and am prepping for a complete reinstall and not just the refresh option. Should I continue with the reinstall hoping for the admin rights?

Also, I’ve keep getting asked permission to run installed programs. For example, league of legends is installed but if I try to run the program it asks me to do so. I’ve tried running it under the desktop or a metro app, same result.

Any advice would be appreciated

October 31, 2012 at 11:21 am
(19) Tim Fisher says:

@Canadiangrown: I haven’t personally duplicated the general situation you’re in, but normally when this happens, a good solution is to create a “dummy” account with the same username and password as your old account. In Windows 8, that means making a “local only” account – don’t create yet another Microsoft Account. Make that dummy account (again, using the same username/password as your old Vista computer that now has files in the windows.old folder) an administrator account.

Give that a try and then let me know. It might not work, but there may be some other things to try. I’ll save the brain-racking until you tell me I need to. :)

November 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm
(20) JP Mann says:

I have a Core 2 Quad 8200 PC with Windows XP on the C regular hard disk drive. I am buying a 120GB SSD for which I would like to put this Win 8 on.

Following your method here will it let me put this Win 8 onto this new SSD drive directly? I don’t care if I blow away the Win XP on C: but I don’t want Win 8 on that C: drive.

If so is there any variation to your installation process I need to consider?

November 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm
(21) Tim Fisher says:

@JP Mann: My understanding (I have not personally tried to do what you want to do) is that the upgrade license only works if you replace the old operating system (in your case, Windows XP) as part of the install, either in-place upgrade or clean install.

What would work would be to install Windows XP on that SSD drive and then do a clean install via my directions.

If I were you, assuming I (you) have a Windows XP install disc and product key still available, I’d try what you’re suggesting. If it doesn’t work, you can always install XP on the SSD and then install Windows 8 after that.

December 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm
(22) nikhil_kumar says:

Actually i forgot my win 7 password but i always login in win 7 through my finger print verification. I wanted to install win 8 clean(by removing old win 7). After clean installation of win 8, does it ask to log in through old win 7. If it does i cannot logon to win 8 and i will lose my win 7. I will be in loss from both side

December 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm
(23) Tim Fisher says:

@nikhil_kumar: I’m confused about what you’re asking. When you clean install Windows 8 (or any operating system), you remove all pieces of the old one during the process, so yes you’ll lose Windows 7. You’ll need to backup whatever you want to keep prior to the clean install.

As far as the finger printer reader, so long as Windows 8 (or your computer manufacturer) includes drivers for the reader (very, very likely) then there should be no issue there. You’ll be setting up a new user account as part of the Windows 8 install process.

December 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm
(24) nikhil_kumar says:

Actually i forgot my win 7 password. I log in my pc using finger print verification. Now i want to clean install win 8. After clean installation of win 8, for the first time does it ask for the old win 7 passwd to log on or we can set new passwd for win 8. please help

December 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm
(25) Tim Fisher says:

@nikhil_kumar: A clean install involves removing all parts of the old installation, including any user information. So – no, it will NOT ask for your old Windows 7 password. You MUST set up a new password for Windows 8 (or use an existing or new Microsoft account).

December 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm
(26) nikhil_kumar says:


But i am attaching a torrent of help.jpg
In this nothing means clean installation of win 8. I backed up all my data of pc in Hard Drive. But help section as undelined ask to note down previous passwd and i forgot my win 7 passwd.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.