With the availability of the Release Preview of Windows 8, if you have been standardizing on the Consumer Preview, you might be wondering how do you move to the Release Preview.
Microsoft has indicated there will be no in place upgrade path from prior pre-release versions of Windows 8 such as the Develop Preview or Consumer Preview:
For those of you who have already been running the Windows 8 Developer Preview, you can install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the migrate option (just keep personal files), but not the upgrade option (keep personal files, apps, and settings). Or if you prefer, you can of course do a clean installation (keep nothing). The Consumer Preview release does permit upgrading from Windows 7, and will run the integrated upgrade advisor to check on any things you might need to look into. Please keep in mind that there is no rollback after an upgrade installation. We also strongly recommend that you perform a system backup prior to an upgrade, migrate, or clean install of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Also note that the final release of Windows 8 will not support upgrading from any prior Windows 8 “Preview” release, though the migrate option will still be supported. In any upgrade scenario, you can run the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove the previous installation in order to free up disk space. The download will also support boot from USB for a completely clean installation as well.
I personally have been running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview exclusively on my work computer for the past three months. Over that period, I have accumulated quite a number of files and downloads over that period of time.
There are a couple ways you can safely do the migration if you have important files on your Consume Preview install. The first one is to simply do a custom install, in Windows 8, this option in Windows 8 is called Just Personal Files.
- Personal files. Anything saved in the User folder is considered a personal file, like the Documents and Desktop folders.
This will be dependent on if you have enough disk space to do the migration. The great thing about this option, all of your personal files are preserved, along with your account settings, even shortcuts that you might have stored on the desktop are restored to there original location.
Windows Easy Transfer
Because I have a limited amount of disk space to accommodate the transfer, I will have to use Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8 to migrate to the Release Preview. For this purpose, to safely do the migration, I will need to have an external storage device such as a thumbdrive or hard disk to do the transfer.
To launch Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 8, open the run command:
Then type the following:
This will launch the Windows Easy Transfer wizard.
You have a few options to choose from, the best one would be an external hard disk which is excellent for storing large amounts of information. If you don’t have an external hard disk, you can save your backup to a network share if one is available.
Select this is my old PC.
Wait while your personal files are scanned.
Check off the accounts you would like to have backed up.
You can create a password if you want to protect your Windows Easy Transfer backup. If don’t want to, no problem skipping this step. Click Save.
Open the external hard disk and save the file there, you can give a unique file name if you wish.
Wait while your items are backed up and saved. This can take some time depending on the amount of information you have stored on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Wait while the backup completes. When it is finally finish, you can proceed to install Windows 8 and do the restoration. In part 2 we take a look at doing that.