Things to Know Before you Download Windows 8

Microsoft today unveiled the  Release preview  version of Windows 8 which mostly indicates that the new Windows operating system is feature-complete. Windows 8 Release Preview is available as a free download and it is very likely that your existing system specs are good enough to run Windows 8.

What are the hardware requirements for Windows 8?

A: Here are the basics as outlined by Microsoft in a blog post:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available hard-disk space (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Microsoft also says, “Metro style applications have a minimum of 1,024×768 screen resolution, and 1,366×768 for the snap feature.” “Snap” refers to Windows 8’s feature of automatically resizing and positioning application Windows when you drag them to the side of the screen. And “Metro” is the now-abandoned nomenclature for Windows 8’s distinct touch-oriented software interface design.

Microsoft has suggested both “Modern UI,” and “Windows 8-style UI” as alternatives, and may further refine the name before Windows 8’s October 26 launch date.

What Version Do You Need?

As you may have noticed on the Windows 8 download page, the installation of Windows 8 can be done in two ways.

  1. You can either take the easiest route and download the Windows 8 Setup program – that’s also the default option.
  2. Alternatively, you can download ISO Images of Windows 8.

If you are planning to install Windows 8 on your existing computer, either on a different partition (dual-boot) or just want to upgrade from an older version of Windows to Windows 8, the default Setup program is a good choice.

Please note that that your installed software programs will only be preserved if you are upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8. If your planning to install Windows 8 on top of Windows XP or Vista, only the files will be preserved but not the various software programs that you may have on the disk.

The Windows 8 ISO image may be more handy in other situations like:

  1. Your computer has an x64 processor but is currently running the 32-bit version of Windows. If you want to install the 64-bit version of Windows 8, download the 64-bit ISO.
  2. You want to install Windows 8 on your Mac (iMac or Macbook) using Boot Camp software.
  3. You want to install Windows 8 on multiple computers. In that case, you can download the ISO once, create a bootable USB and boot the other systems using this newly created Windows 8 disk.
  4. You plan to run Windows 8 as a Virtual Machine inside your existing copy of Windows.
  5. You are running Windows XP.

The universal product key for Windows 8 is TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF.

Note: If you are upgrading from Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the new Windows 8 Release Preview, none of your installed programs, files and account settings will be preserved though everything would be moved to the windows.old folder.


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