Is Your Current PC Powerful Enough for Windows 8?


It’s hard not to be at least a little excited about upgrading to a shiny new operating system, but the catch is that a new OS sometimes means your aging computer isn’t up to the task. So is your current PC powerful enough to handle Windows 8? Most likely!

Over at Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog, the Windows 8 team has posted the following system recommendations for Windows 8:

Whether you have a logo PC or you’ve built your own PC, the recommendations for the Consumer Preview include:

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

This setup gets you going with Windows 8 such that it is functionally equivalent to Windows 7, and as we have talked about previously, you should see measureable improvements in performance in a number of dimensions with a system at this level.

As you can see, the system requirements are actually pretty low, and a low-powered system might actually run better running Windows 8 than Windows 7. In fact, it was specifically designed to run better on low-powered devices—like netbooks and tablets.

  • In order to take advantage of touch input in the new operating system, you will need a screen that supports multi-touch. This is only a requirement if you intent to use touch.
  • In order to run Microsoft’s new Metro style Apps, your screen will need a resolution greater than 1024 X 768.

Your current computer is more likely than not perfectly capable of running Windows 8, and if it’s not, you’re probably ready for a hardware upgrade anyway.

Download & Install Windows 8 Developer Preview

The following set of download links will take you directly to the downloads referenced below.

Note: The downloads are the official ISO images offered by Microsoft on their Windows 8 Developer Preview page.

WARNING: Make sure to create a Windows Vista/7 restore disc prior to installing Windows 8 otherwise your data will be lost if you wish to revert to a previous version of Windows.

  • Windows 8 Developer Preview with Developer Tools (64-bit) – Download 4.8GB
  • Windows 8 Developer Preview (64-bit) – Download 3.6GB
  • Windows 8 Developer Preview (32-bit) – Download 2.8GB

The developer tools version of Windows 8 is only available as a 64-bit install. The developer tools included in this version are as follows:

  • Windows SDK (Software Development Kit) for Metro style apps
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8 Developer Preview
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
  • 28 Metro style apps including the BUILD Conference app

Please remember that you cannot uninstall the Windows 8 Developer Preview, so if you install it and feel that its too buggy or you don’t like it you will need to have created a restore disc prior to installing Windows 8 in order to revert to Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Note: A clean install is supported on all builds of Windows 8, but you can upgrade from Windows 7 if you are installing the 32-bit or 64-bit versions without the developer tools.

If you are upgrading from Windows 7 you will receive the full set of migration options when setup is launched in Windows (a great way to preview how Windows 8 will handle data portability between versions). These set of options will ensure that data stored in Windows 7 is retained during the upgrade process.

To dual-boot, you must first boot from the downloaded media and choose an alternative partition.

Make sure to check out the official Windows 8 download page for more information about installation and future updates.

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