Windows 8 is finally here. If you’ve been reading our recent articles, you know that it’s promised to change many things about how we use our computers. If you’re one of those who have decided to make the switch, there are a few things you should know before installing it on your computer.
First, make sure that your computer is actually compatible with Windows 8. This shouldn’t be a problem for most computers made within the last six years or so. The minimum requirements are:
- 1GHz processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB of Hard Drive space
- Graphics card with DirectX 9 and WDDM driver
You can look these up by right-clicking on “my computer” and clicking “properties.
If you want to support the touch features, you’ll obviously need a tablet or monitor that supports it. Some laptops will support a few of the touch gestures on their track pads.
Second, you’ll want to make sure that your programs and external devices are compatible with Windows 8. Most that work with Windows 7 will work with Windows 8, but if you’re not sure, check Microsoft’s Compatibility Center to figure out if everything will work.
Now that you’re absolutely sure Windows 8 won’t have any major issues with your computer, do some cleaning to prepare it. Uninstall programs you don’t use anymore. Download CCleaner for free in order to do some maintenance. You can completely uninstall programs, and clean up your registry from here.
Once you’ve done this, update all your software. Open Software Update from your control panel to download all the features for Windows that may not have been updated recently. Once you’ve done this, go to the programs left on your computer after the cleanup and use the “Check for Updates” feature (usually under the “help” menu) to make sure that you’re running the latest version. This will ensure that the most current version compatible with Windows 8 will run smoothly when you upgrade.
Now, unless you absolutely don’t care about the data on your computer, you’ll want to back your computer up. You can plug in an external hard drive and use Windows’ built-in backup utility. When it connects, it will ask you what to do with the drive and you can tell Windows to use it as a backup drive. Once you’ve backed up, make sure that the files are correct by testing a few of them to make sure they open. If you use an online backup solution, make sure to force an update so that the latest versions of all your files are on there.
Finally, make sure you have all the drivers for your devices, like your video card or printers. These should have come with your PC. If you don’t have them, locate them online BEFORE you install Windows 8. If you don’t, you could be stuck without functioning internet access and no way to get the drivers later. And for any programs that require keys to install, track those down too.