Windows 8 to install from Web and run on Windows XP hardware

When the Developer Preview of Windows 8 was released a while back I installed it on a number of machines. One of my tests was to perform an upgrade on a modest machine with Windows 7 Home Basic. The upgrade process was simple with easy to understand instructions.

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Now a blog post by the Windows 8 team confirms that the installation, and particularly the upgrade procedure, has been drastically revised and improved over prior versions (Building Windows 8 – Improving the setup experience – Steven Sinofsky and Christa St. Pierre).

This article contains two pleasant surprises:

  1. The hardware demands of Windows 8 have been scaled back such that many Windows XP computers will be able to run Windows 8.
  2. Purchasing an upgrade online will allow the installation to be done in a simple download-and-install operation.

This is certainly good news for many users who are still using Windows XP. The not-so-good news is that, as with Windows 7, the upgrade does not allow migrating your applications. Here is a quote from the article:

“Here’s the list of what you can migrate based on your currently installed version of Windows:

You can transfer these… When upgrading from…
Windows 7
Windows Vista Windows XP
Windows settings
User accounts and files X X X

Clean install is supported across all versions.”

At least your data will be retained, but you probably will need newer versions of your applications for Windows 8.

Information Week also has an article on this: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes.

The simplified download and install procedure is described in the Windows 8 team blog. It will be one integrated operation, right from the web. My install time of the Developer Preview edition was surprisingly quick – minutes rather than hours. Installing Windows 8 from the web will, of course, depend on your connection speed. For many of us with modest “high-speed” access, the download time will dominate. But even a 2 Mb/s connection should get the job done in just over two hours.


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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