How to perform an upgrade installation of Windows 8

How to perform an upgrade installation of Windows 8

Choose this method if you’re running Windows 7 and want to keep your programs, files and settings

If you’re currently running Windows 7, you can install Windows 8 over the top of your existing operating system and still preserve your programs, settings and personal files. You can perform an upgrade installation whether you purchase Windows 8 as a download, or buy a copy of it on DVD .

Before upgrading, we advise you take the following steps: first, create a backup of your files and settings using Windows Easy Transfer (use the external hard drive or USB option). Make sure you’re logged into Windows as an Administrator and – if you’re using a laptop – that your computer is plugged into the mains. We also recommend connecting your computer to the network via an Ethernet cable, if possible. Lastly, check for application and driver updates (driver updates can be found through Windows Update).

1. Use Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant

If you purchase your upgrade through Microsoft you’ll use the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. This will start by performing a compatibility check of your computer, as well as its programs and devices – click See compatibility details if any items are flagged for review. Click Close followed by Next, then leave Windows settings, personal files, and apps selected, click Next to purchase Windows 8, and follow the instructions.

When the download is complete, choose the Install by creating media option to create a backup copy of your Windows 8 installation files on a USB stick or DVD . Once created, return to the Install Windows 8 screen, choose Install now and click Next to continue. Jump to step three.

2. Install from DVD

If you have purchased Windows 8 on DVD , start your computer. When Windows 7 loads, insert the Windows 8 DVD . From the autoplay menu, choose Run setup.exe. If this doesn’t appear, click Start > Computer, then double-click your DVD drive to view its contents. Double-click the setup or setup.exe file to get started.

3. Start installation process

Click Yes when prompted and wait for the Windows 8 Setup screen to appear. If asked, choose Go online to install updates now (recommended) and click Next. Wait while any updates are applied. If you're installing from DVD , enter the product key given to you when you purchased Windows 8 and click Next again. Read the licence agreement, tick I accept the license terms and click Accept.

4. Perform recommended steps

If prompted, leave Keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps selected and click Next again. Now sit back and wait while the installer verifies your computer is ready for the upgrade. It might show a list of tasks it needs you to perform – if so, uninstall any software listed, then restart if prompted.

The screen will then display a summary of what you’ve chosen – click Change selection to make any necessary changes, or click Install to start the upgrade process.

5. The upgrade process

Windows will now start to upgrade your computer to Windows 8. A progress meter will keep you informed, but be aware that your PC may restart several times during the upgrade process. It takes a while so you've got plenty of time to make a cup of tea (or two) while you wait.

After the first restart, you should see the Windows 8 logo appear, along with a number of messages such as 'Preparing' and 'Getting devices ready'. Windows may restart a number of times during this phase of the upgrade process.

6. Personalise your PC

After a message informing you that settings are being moved, you’ll be taken to the post-setup wizard. Start by choosing a colour scheme for the Windows Start screen using the slider; just click on a colour until you find one you like. Now look for an ENG symbol to the right of the Next button. Click it and select English (United Kingdom), if necessary, to change it to UK English. Click Next to continue.

7. Use Express settings

Check that the 'Express settings' chosen match your requirements; in most cases they offer the best blend of protection, security, privacy and convenience, so click Use express settings. Click Customize to work your way through a wizard selecting each setting manually from a list of choices; just click your chosen setting to move on to the next one.

8. Set up account

Signing in with a Microsoft account allows you to download apps from the Windows Store, as well as sync your user settings across multiple PCs and devices when you sign in to them. If you already have a Microsoft or Windows Live account, use that email address. Alternatively, enter your own email address to sign up for an account, then click Next. To continue using your current user account, click Skip.

9. Final steps

Follow the prompts to enter your Microsoft account password or set up a new Microsoft account if applicable, then click Next. Provide additional security information if it's required – or leave the existing info as it is – and click Next again.

Your user account will be created and you’ll see some messages explaining how to use the new features in Windows 8 as your computer sets up your user account and installs any apps. Eventually, you’ll find yourself at the new Start screen, ready to start using Windows 8 on your PC.