What do I need to run Windows 8?

Windows 8 is out and there’s been a bunch of news and reviews. As with most all technical products there are a ton of different opinions on whether it’s any good or not. Windows 8 does bring some big changes and will appeal to offices looking to upgrade. However, if you are planning to upgrade from an older OS, it’s a good idea to ensure your computers can handle it.

Here’s three things you should focus on to ensure your system is Windows 8 ready.

Processor
The minimum processor speed for Windows 8 is 1GHz. What this means is that almost every system from the past decade should be able to run it. Many modern smartphones actually meet the minimum requirement, so most computers should be able to run it easily as well. Of course, if you have a processor that’s around 1 GHz, you will notice that the OS isn’t as zippy compared to systems with the latest and greatest, but it should be able to handle everyday tasks.

Memory
Windows 8 comes in two versions, 64 and 32 bit. The main difference between these two numbers depends on the RAM a system has. The minimum amount of RAM required to run Windows 8 is 1GB. Most laptops and computers purchased today have 4GB or more, while computers bought four years ago have around 2GB. As a general rule of thumb, systems with 4GB or more of RAM match with the 64 bit version, while systems with less than 4GB of RAM will operate better on the 32 bit version.

If you’re looking to upgrade from a previous version of Windows, the current version installed will dictate the version of Windows 8 you can install. If you have a 32 bit version of Windows 7 on your systems, you have to go with the 32 bit version of Windows 8.

The other main form of memory to focus on is hard drive space. Windows 8 requires the same amount of free hard drive space as Windows 7 – 16GB for the 32 bit version and 20GB for the 64 bit. As there is a new interface, there is a high chance that you will need even more space to fit all the downloaded apps and other updates.

As with most computer related components, the more RAM and hard drive space there is, the faster the system and the OS will run. For optimal performance, it’s best to install Windows 8 on a new drive.

Monitor
If you want to upgrade to Windows 8, you need to ensure that your monitors can support a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768. If you want to run two apps or programs side-by-side on the same screen, your monitors need to be a minimum of 1366 x 768. Most recent flat screen monitors can support this resolution, and HDMI monitors – 1080p or higher – will be fine.

To make things easy, Microsoft has an upgrade tool – Upgrade Assistant – that you can download and run. What it does is test your system to see if it can support Windows 8 and then provides you with a report of devices and programs that do and don’t meet the requirements. If a program needs an update to be compatible, it will also provide you with the links to download these updates. While this is useful, if you work with a managed service provider, or any IT company, it’s a good idea to consult with them first to see if they can help with the upgrade, or whether their systems can support it.

To learn more about how you can use Windows 8 in your company, please contact us.

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