Monthly Archives: August 2012

Trusting your Windows 8 PC

One of the great benefits of running Windows 8 on multiple PC’s you own, you can easily sync common settings across computers such as passwords for apps, websites, networks in addition to other benefits such as themes, backgrounds and color schemes. To do this, you need to trust your Windows PC.

Start by launching Change PC Settngs (Windows + I)

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Under PC settings, click Users tab

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On the right hand side of the screen click Trust this PC

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Sign into your Microsoft account which can be either a Windows Live ID, Hotmail, MSN or Outlook.com

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Click Next to Confirm your computer as a trusted PC or you can visit a existing trusted PC and do the confirmation there from http://accounts.live.com/p.

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The PC’s you sign in with your Microsoft Account from now on will be a lot more seamless.

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How to uninstall a Modern app in Windows 8

Windows 8 includes significant changes to the user experience. There are new ways of doing things, especially if you are working on a Tablet. In this article, we take a look at uninstalling applications. This is a routine chore we do from time to time, the experience has evolved over the years. Early versions of Windows used the Add/Remove applet in Control Panel. Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Windows 8 for desktop app utilizes the Programs and Features apple for uninstalling classic desktop apps.

Windows 8 in particular has moved around certain functionality, if you want to uninstall a desktop application, here is how you do it.

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Right click the left hand corner of your Windows 8 screen, then click Programs and Features.

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Select the application you want to uninstall and click Uninstall on the command bar.

Uninstalling a Modern App

The Start Screen handles applications a bit differently.

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To uninstall an app, simply right click it and click Uninstall.

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Confirm the action and that’s it! Couldn’t be any easier. If you are on a Tablet, hold down on the app until the App bar appears.

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20 Plus Tips to Get Started with Windows 8

If you access to one of Microsoft’s subscription services for Software Developers and IT Professionals, then you can download Windows 8 today. Here are some links to get you started with Windows 8:

Install, Upgrade and Activate

General Task

Personalization & Customization

Change and Configure Hardware

Miscellaneous

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How to reinstall your Modern apps from the Windows Store

If you do a reinstall of Windows 8 or purchase a new computer, you can log into your Windows Store account and retrieve all the apps you have downloaded. Windows 8 allows you use your apps on up to 5 devices. Lets take a quick look at how you do it.

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Launch the Store icon on the Start Screen

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Right click a blank spot in the Windows Store and click on Your Apps

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Here you will see a list of apps you have installed so far. You can also view and choose apps that you might have installed on your other Windows 8 PC’s:

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You have the option of choosing just the app you want to install or you can select all and click Install:

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Once you have selected your app, wait while it installs.

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You can then launch it from the Start Screen.

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Installing Windows Essentials 2012

Microsoft recently introduced a preview of its next generation of free media tools called Windows Essentials 2012. You might notice the Windows Live branding has been replaced. In this article, we take a quick look at installing and configuring the new version.

To download Windows Essentials 2012, just go to the following link:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-home

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Click the Download now link, once you download it, click Run or double click the setup file.

Setup 1

Once setup begins, you will see the setup screen.

Setup 2

Windows Essentials includes a suite of free programs for communication, photo management, video edition, email, blogging, cloud storage and email syncronization. If you want, you can choose on the programs you want to install by clicking ‘Choose the programs you want to install’

Setup 2b

The Windows Essentials 2012 custom install screen. Once you have made your choice, click Install and the installation should begin.

Setup 3

Windows Essentials 2012 installing.

Setup 4

Once installation is complete, click close.

Configuring Windows Essentials 2012

Setup 5

Once setup is complete, click the Accept button for the End User License Agreement.

Setup 6

Then sign in to start using Windows Essentials 2012.

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You can access Windows Essentials from the Windows 8 Start Screen.

Previously:

How to Install Windows Live Essentials 2011 – the New Install Experience

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How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8

In this final series looking at upgrading to Windows 8, we transition from the most recent version of Windows, Windows 7. Launched in October 2009, Windows 7 is Microsoft’s most successful release of the operating system to date. With an estimated 630 million licenses sold, Windows 7 probably represents the pinnacle of success when it comes to client operating systems.

Is it worth upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7?

This is ultimately a personal decision, Windows 7 is a modern operating system that supports all the advances available today in hardware and software. It also prepares for a future that is centred around mobility and touch. Windows 7 also supports many of the significant changes that have occurred on the Internet in the past 10 years. What more could you really want in a desktop OS?

Windows 8 does introduce some specific advances where Windows 7 does fall short and I will list some of them here:

  • Fast Boot – Windows 8 boots significantly faster than Windows 7, in fact on an SSD, I can have Windows 8 up and running in 5 to 7 seconds.
  • Fully Touch Ready – This has been a miss on on prior versions of Windows going back to Windows XP Tablet PC edition. Windows 8 features a smart, fluid and fast interface that is significantly engineered for Touch called the Start Screen. There is just no disadvantage when using it with Touch. You can swipe, pan, zoom and do all the key actions expected on a Touch device. Microsoft has also created an environment that will encourage third party developers to create touch ready applications just for Windows 8. These applications will not run on Windows 7.
  • Fully compatible with existing hardware and software. If it works with Vista or Windows 7, it is guaranteed to work with Windows 8.
  • Tighter Internet integration – Windows 8 features a holistic integration with services that deliver information right to your screen without much need for you to find and discover it.
  • The ability to sync information across multiple devices makes Windows 8 a truly Internet ready operating system.

These are just some of the key areas where Windows 8 advances over Windows 7. They may or may not entice you, but if you are going to upgrade, here are some steps to help you make a smooth transition to Windows 8.

One of the major differences between upgrading from Windows 7 compared to Windows Vista and XP is, Windows 8 allows you to preserve your installed applications when upgrading from Windows 7. This avoids the need to do things like reinstall hardware drivers and applications. Upgrading also preserves your Windows Settings too.

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In this scenario, I have a typical Windows 7 setup with some applications installed and some personal files stored in the Documents Library. In this scenario, we are going to upgrade to Windows 7 while looking at how it preserves your existing investments.

Notes:

  • Gather all important application discs and hardware driver discs you might need to be reinstalled.
  • Check the manufacturer and software developers website for updates available and to find out about the status of compatibility with Windows 8. It is possible that if the software is compatible with Windows Vista it will likely work with Windows 8 since they share the same driver model.
  • If you are using software such as iTunes or Adobe programs, remember to deauthorize and deactivate them before running setup.

When making significant changes to your computer such as an upgrade, it is always recommended you backup your system prior to installing a new version of Windows. Thankfully, all editions of Windows 7 includes system imaging, which means you can backup your entire Windows 7 installation and restore it if it fails. Learn more about how to backup your Window 7 installation here

In addition to System Imaging, you can backup just your personal files using Backup and Restore, to do that, check out the following article:

http://notebooks.com/2010/12/27/how-to-backup-to-an-external-hard-drive/
http://notebooks.com/2011/02/25/how-to-restore-a-backup-from-an-external-hard-drive-in-windows-7/

If you want to backup themes, wallpapers and other minor features, Windows Easy Transfer is another option, you can learn more about it here

What you can do before attempting the upgrade?

You can do some pre-requisite tasks to ensure a smooth migration from Windows 7 to Windows 8. If you are using a name branded computer such as a Dell or HP, go to the manufacturers website for the model computer you are using and download the latest available drivers for that computer. Store them on a disc or USB thumb drive. Important drivers you should try to obtain include Network and Video Drivers. Its possible that they might just have Windows Vista or Windows 7 drivers, those will work with Windows 8.

Other things you can do:

  1. Uninstall any security software before attempting to upgrade.
  2. Disable any encryption software you might have installed.
  3. Disable/uninstall disk utility software such as DVD/CD burning utilities or third party defragment programs such as Perfect Disk.
  4. Make sure your computer is updated (devices and applications).
  5. Disconnect any external devices before installing.
  6. Check your hard disk for any errors:
    – Click Start
    – Type: CMD
    – Right click CMD then click Run as administrator
    At the Command Prompt, type: chkdsk /r /f
    Exit the command prompt.
    When you restart your system, your computer will be scanned for errors and attempts will be made to correct them.
  7. Another thing you can do is disable Start items:
  • Click Start
  • Type: MSCONFIG.
  • Hit Enter on your keyboard
  • On the General tab, click Selective Startup.
  • Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.
  • Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and then click Disable All.
  • Click OK.
  • When you are prompted, click Restart.
  • After the computer starts, check whether the problem is resolved.

Run the System File Checker utility.

SFC/Scannow checks your Windows installation for errors and corrects them. This will help with ensuring that a smooth upgrade occurs.

Click Start
Type: CMD, from the results, right click CMD
Click ‘Run as Administrator’
At the Command Prompt, type: sfc/scannow

This will check for any integrity violations

Restart your system

32 or 64 bit

My recommendations depend on what you have installed. If you currently have 32 bit Windows 7 installed, use 32 bit Windows 8. If you have 64 bit Windows 7, use 64 bit Windows 8. This is to ensure a smooth migration, especially where driver compatibility is concerned. Another factor is RAM. If you have max 3 GBs of RAM, then 32 bit should be sufficient for your needs. If you happen to have 4 to 8 GBs or more RAM, then 64 bit would be suitable.

Windows 64 bit comes in handy when you need to address at least 4 GBs or more of RAM. Windows 32 bit can utilize up to 3.2 GBs of RAM. Because the memory address space is much larger for 64 bit Windows, that means, you need twice as much memory than 32 bit Windows to accomplish some of the same task, but you are able to do so much more, you can have more applications open, do things like run an Antivirus scan in the background without it affecting your system performance. Windows 64 bit is more secure too, malicious code cannot easily infiltrate it, drivers are more reliable since they must be signed before they can work with 64 bit Windows.

As for compatibility, you will need 64 bit device drivers for any hardware devices you might have. Also, there is no 16 bit subsystem in Windows 64 bit, which means, your applications must be 32 bit only, not 16 bit installer or uninstallers.

Starting setup

To start the installation, first boot to the Windows 7 desktop. If you are installing Windows 8 from a physical DVD these instructions will apply to you. Insert the Windows 8 disc. When the AutoPlay window appears, click ‘Run setup.exe’. Click Continue when prompted by User Account control.

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Setup will then begin.

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Wait while setup prepares to install Windows 8.

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If prompted to get updates, I recommend you do so. If you are not connected to the Internet, select ‘No, thanks’.

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Enter your product key. If you purchased Windows 8 from the Microsoft Store and you are using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, the key will be embedded. If you download a .ISO file or purchased Windows 8 on DVD, check your email when you registered to purchase the upgrade or check your Windows 8 product packaging for the product key. After Entering the product key, click Next to continue with setup.

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Read and Accept the End User License Agreement.

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In addition to being able to keep your Windows Settings and Personal files, you can keep your personal files too when upgrading from Windows 7. If you choose Nothing, Windows 8 will place your files in a folder called Windows.old. After making your decision, click Next.

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Wait while Windows 8 does some last checks.

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Depending on your configuration, Windows 8 setup might ask you to uninstall a program or driver then restart your system before it can proceed with the upgrade. Don’t worry though, Windows 8 will resume setup automatically. In my case, Windows 8 setup needed a restart before it could continue.

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After restarting, Windows 8 setup, asked if I would like ‘Continue from where I left off’. I clicked Next and setup resumed.

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At the summary screen, review the changes that will be made to your computer. If you are not sure, click Back and make any appropriate changes. As noted, you will not be able to use your computer during this period. The time it takes to complete the upgrade will be dependent on your system specifications such as processor speed, memory and your data set. Click the Install button to begin.

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Windows 8 setup will go into full screen mode and restart several times.

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After your computer restarts, Windows 8 will continue setup. Windows setup will go through several screens indicating Tasks it needs to complete:

  • Windows setup will say its ‘Preparing’
  • Getting your devices ready.
  • Getting system ready

Then restart and setup will continue.

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Windows 8 will now indicate it is ‘Moving your settings’

Out of Box Experience.

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You will now arrive at the Out of Box Experience where you will setup and personalize your Windows experience.

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The first option presented is the Color Picker, here you can choose a color that represents you. You have up to 25 to choose from. If you can’t decide now, you can always do it later. Click Next

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The settings screen screen allows you to customize whether you want to have Windows send information about Windows to Microsoft to ensure it runs smoothly. Click Use Express settings if you accept these actions. If you rather not, you can click Customize and make your choices.

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Confirm password which you had used to log into your Windows 7 account. Click Next

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You have the option of setting up a Microsoft Account which allows you to sync your Windows Settings across multiple Windows 8 devices. You can sync some passwords, themes and application settings. If you don’t want to do that right now, click Skip. You can always switch to a Microsoft Account later. Windows 8 will instead use your existing account as a Local account.

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  • Wait while Windows 8 finalizes your settings.

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Wait while Windows 8 does some final configuration.

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You have successfully migrated from Windows Vista to Windows 8. To check if your files are there, launch the Windows Desktop App.

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Launch File Explorer on the Windows Taskbar and open documents and you should see all your files previously in Windows 7.

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To launch your applications, go to the Start Screen by pointing your mouse pointer to the left hand corner of the Windows 8 screen and click it.

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Scroll to the right and launch your application.

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How to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 8

We continue to look at upgrading from previous versions of Windows to Windows 8. Windows Vista came to market in January of 2007 after 5 years of development. It was Microsoft’s most ambitious release at the time. Windows Vista had its share of execution failures, originally intended as a Second Edition of Windows XP planned for 2004, the upgrade code named Longhorn most of its development life promised to revolutionize computing. Those plans however were held back by its becoming a moving target and added heft throughout development. Windows Vista focused on so many things that in some respects, it lost focused.

I personally ran Windows Vista from the first build released in August 2005 right up to the RTM released in January 2007. Part of Vista’s problem was perception. Vista ran beautifully on capable hardware that was configured with enough RAM and acceptable processor speed. When build 5308 was released in February 2006, it was obvious 512 MBs of RAM would not be sufficient to run it, so I took advantage of the depreciating RAM prices and installed a 2 GB kit. I never looked back.

Windows Vista’s other problem was compatibility out of the box. A lot of this was as a result of how the hardware and software industry embraced Vista. The factor that also led to that was Vista’s increasing moving target schedule. A lot of IHV’s and ISV’s didn’t start preparing updates to their products until Microsoft actually sent Windows Vista to manufacturing. This pretty much left Vista with limited support at launch. Eventually products were ready for the operating system at least a couple months after its release. Driver and software support greatly improved within the first 6 months. The initial experience by many though left a lasting impression that exist to this day.

Other factors were Vista’s configuration on new machines. I noted that I had to  upgrade my installed RAM to sufficiently run the OS. Many OEM’s out the gate were selling systems with 512 MBs of RAM which was just not appropriate to run the operating system.

So, we covered a bit of history surrounding Vista. Now lets look at upgrading from it. Vista still exist on quite a few systems, but its dwindling fast, from a peak of 20% in 2009 to 6% in 2012.

System Requirements

Before you can upgrade to Windows 8, you need to meet the minimum system requirements. If you meet the following, you should be in good shape.

Whether you have a logo PC or you’ve built your own PC, the recommendations for the Windows 8 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

One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024×768 screen resolution, and 1366×768 for the snap feature. If you attempt to launch a Metro style app with less than this resolution (e.g. 800×600, 1024×600) you will receive an error message.

Can you really upgrade?

In truth, Windows 8 does not support a direct upgrade from Windows Vista. This means you will have do a custom install, which means, any applications or drivers you currently have installed will have to be reinstalled. You might likely need updated drivers for some hardware. Windows 8’s built in upgrade compatibility wizard should help you determine what is compatible and needs to be removed before proceeding with the upgrade. Migrating from Vista to Windows 8 will preserve your personal files and settings though.

Notes:

  • Gather all important application discs and hardware driver discs you might need to be reinstalled.
  • Check the manufacturer and software developers website for updates available and to find out about the status of compatibility with Windows 8. It is possible that if the software is compatible with Windows Vista it will likely work with Windows 8 since they share the same driver model.
  • If you are using software such as iTunes or Adobe programs, remember to deauthorize and deactivate them before running setup.

Backup your Data:

When making significant changes to your computer such as an upgrade, it is always recommended you backup your system prior to installing a new version of Windows. Windows Vista depending on the edition you are running includes some form of backup. If you are running editions such as Windows Vista Business, Enterprise or Ultimate editions, you can use the built in Complete PC Backup of your Vista installation. This can be very handy in case your Windows 8 installation fails. For instructions about how to use Complete PC Backup, see the following article here. Of course, you will need an external hard disk for this task.

If you are running editions such as Windows Vista Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium, the only backup option available the standard backup and restore which archives your Account folders with some settings. If you need an option similar to Complete PC Backup, you will need a third party too.

Check out the following article by Microsoft MVP JW Stuart about how to backup a Windows installation here using Acronis True Image here

Another solution you can use for backing up Windows Vista is Easeus To Do Backup, JW Stuart also has an article about it here

Other steps you can use to ensure your data is safe before upgrading is creating a Windows Easy Transfer backup. Learn more here This option is quite limited and should only be used if do not plan on returning to Windows Vista since Easy Transfer backups can only be restored in Windows 8 or Windows 7.

What you can do before attempting the upgrade?

You can do some pre-requisite tasks to ensure a smooth migration from Windows Vista to Windows 8. If you are using a name branded computer such as a Dell or HP, go to the manufacturers website for the model computer you are using and download the latest available drivers for that computer. Store them on a disc or USB thumb drive. Important drivers you should try to obtain include Network and Video Drivers. Its possible that they might just have Windows Vista or Windows 7 drivers, those will work with Windows 8.

Other things you can do:

  1. Uninstall any security software before attempting to upgrade.
  2. Disable any encryption software you might have installed such as BitLocker Drive Encryption, Folder Encryption.
  3. Disable/uninstall disk utility software such as DVD/CD burning utilities or third party defragment programs such as Perfect Disk.
  4. Make sure your computer is updated (devices and applications).
  5. Disconnect any external devices before installing.
  6. Check your hard disk for any errors:
    – Click Start
    – Type: CMD
    – Right click CMD then click Run as administrator
    At the Command Prompt, type: chkdsk /r /f
    Exit the command prompt.
    When you restart your system, your computer will be scanned for errors and attempts will be made to correct them.
  7. Another thing you can do is disable Start items:
  • Click Start
  • Type: MSCONFIG.
  • Hit Enter on your keyboard
  • On the General tab, click Selective Startup.
  • Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.
  • Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and then click Disable All.
  • Click OK.
  • When you are prompted, click Restart.
  • After the computer starts, check whether the problem is resolved.

32 or 64 bit

My recommendations depend on what you have installed. If you currently have 32 bit Windows Vista installed, use 32 bit Windows 8. If you have 64 bit Vista, use 64 bit Windows 8. This is to ensure a smooth migration, especially where driver compatibility is concerned. Another factor is RAM. If you have max 3 to 4 GBs of RAM, then 32 bit should be sufficient for your needs. If you happen to have 4 to 8 GBs or more RAM, then 64 bit would be suitable.

Windows 64 bit comes in handy when you need to address at least 4 GBs or more of RAM. Windows 32 bit can utilize up to 3.2 GBs of RAM. Because the memory address space is much larger for 64 bit Windows, that means, you need twice as much memory than 32 bit Windows to accomplish some of the same task, but you are able to do so much more, you can have more applications open, do things like run an Antivirus scan in the background without it affecting your system performance. Windows 64 bit is more secure too, malicious code cannot easily infiltrate it, drivers are more reliable since they must be signed before they can work with 64 bit Windows.

As for compatibility, you will need 64 bit device drivers for any hardware devices you might have. Also, there is no 16 bit subsystem in Windows 64 bit, which means, your applications must be 32 bit only, not 16 bit installer or uninstallers.

Starting setup

To start the installation, first boot to the Windows Vista desktop. If you are installing Windows 8 from a physical DVD these instructions will apply to you. Insert the Windows 8 disc. When the AutoPlay window appears, click ‘Run setup.exe’. Click Continue when prompted by User Account control.

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Setup will then begin.

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Wait while setup prepares to install Windows 8.

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If prompted to get updates, I recommend you do so. If you are not connected to the Internet, select ‘No, thanks’.

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Enter your product key. If you purchased Windows 8 from the Microsoft Store and you are using the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, the key will be embedded. If you download a .ISO file or purchased Windows 8 on DVD, check your email when you registered to purchase the upgrade or check your Windows 8 product packaging for the product key. After Entering the product key, click Next to continue with setup.

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Read and Accept the End User License Agreement.

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Now this is an important part of setup. If you have any personal files on your computer, those will be preserved when you select ‘Keep personal files only’ along with your Windows Settings. You have the option of only preserving personal files only. As noted earlier, you will need to reinstall programs and drivers for your hardware devices. If you choose Nothing, Windows 8 will place your files in a folder called Windows.old. After making your decision, click Next.

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Wait while Windows 8 does some last checks.

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Depending on your configuration, Windows 8 setup might ask you to uninstall a program or driver then restart your system before it can proceed with the upgrade. Don’t worry though, Windows 8 will resume setup automatically. In my case, Windows 8 setup needed a restart before it could continue.

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After restarting, Windows 8 setup, asked if I would like ‘Continue from where I left off’. I clicked Next and setup resumed.

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At the summary screen, review the changes that will be made to your computer. If you are not sure, click Back and make any appropriate changes. As noted, you will not be able to use your computer during this period. The time it takes complete the upgrade will be dependent on your system specifications such as processor speed, memory and your data set. Click the Install button to begin.

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Windows 8 setup will go into full screen mode and restart several times.

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After your computer restarts, Windows 8 will continue setup. Windows setup will go through several screens indicating Tasks it needs to complete:

  • Windows setup will say its ‘Preparing’
  • Getting your devices ready.
  • Getting system ready

Then restart and setup will continue.

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Windows 8 will now indicate it is ‘Moving your settings’

Out of Box Experience.

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You will now arrive at the Out of Box Experience where you will setup and personalize your Windows experience.

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The first option presented is the Color Picker, here you can choose a color that represents you. You have up to 25 to choose from. If you can’t decide now, you can always do it later. Click Next

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The settings screen screen allows you to customize whether you want to have Microsoft send information about Windows to Microsoft to ensure it runs smoothly. Click Use Express settings. If you rather not, you can click Customize.

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Confirm password which you had used to log into your Windows Vista account. Click Next

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You have the option of setting up a Microsoft Account which allows you sync your Windows Settings across multiple Windows 8 devices. You can sync some passwords, themes and application settings. If you don’t want to do that right now, click Skip. You can always switch to a Microsoft Account later. Windows 8 will instead use your existing account as a Local account.

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  • Wait while Windows 8 finalizes your settings.

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Wait while Windows 8 does some final configuration.

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You have successfully migrated from Windows Vista to Windows 8. To check if your files are there, launch the Windows Desktop App.

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Launch File Explorer on the Windows Taskbar and open documents and you should see all your files previously in Windows Vista.

You can proceed to reinstall your applications and install your drivers.

For more information about how to install applications Windows 8, see the following article:

How to install apps in Windows 8 | Teching It Easy: with Windows

 

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