Windows 8 is a significant departure from previous versions of Microsoft’s operating system, offering new mobile integration, cloud storage, and security enhancements. And Metro, the “face” of Windows 8, looks and functions nothing like its predecessors – indeed, nothing like any other OS.
You probably have questions – lots of questions. You’ll find many of them answered here…
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Which version of Windows 8 is best suited to my needs?
It depends on the features you’re looking for. Windows 8 offers the signature Start screen with live tiles, as well as the desktop you’re already familiar with from earlier versions of Windows. It’s designed for mouse and keyboard control, but has special enhancements best suited for touchscreen, touchpad, or tablet use. You get built-in apps like Mail, Calendar, Messaging, Photos, and SkyDrive, with the ability to download many others from the Windows Store. Your pictures, files, and settings are preserved and easily synced across multiple devices through the cloud. The all-new Internet Explorer 10 browser offers greater security and better performance. And it keeps your system secure and up to date with Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, and Windows Update.
Windows 8 Pro includes all of the above features, but adds enhanced data protection with BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, which work in concert to keep your information secure. It also enables you to host a Remote Desktop Connection on your own PC, so you can connect to it from a different PC. And it connects to your corporate or school network with Domain Join.
What does it cost to upgrade?
The Windows 8 upgrade is $119.99. The Windows 8 Pro upgrade is $199.99. Most of the PCs currently on sale at Connecting Point – and most outlets – come with Windows 8 pre-installed, although we still carry a dwindling number of Windows 7 systems.
Can I install Windows 8 on my existing PC?
It depends. To install the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro upgrade, your PC must be running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview.
If your PC is running Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows 8 Release Preview, your files, apps, and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. If your PC is running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you’ll need to reinstall your apps. Some features (touch, for example) might require a new PC. You’ll also want to make sure your applications will be compatible with Windows 8 (the best way is to visit the software publisher’s website). In some cases, you may have to upgrade to a newer version of a program. In other cases, your program may simply not work under Windows 8.
If you want to run Windows 8 on your current PC, here are the requirements:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (more info)
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) – and for smoothest operation, more RAM is better.
- Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
Additional requirements to use certain features:
- To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multitouch (more info)
- To access the Windows Store and to download and run apps, you need an active Internet connection and a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768
- To snap apps, you need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768
- Internet access (ISP fees might apply)
- Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database
- Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
- Microsoft account required for some features
- Watching DVDs requires separate playback software (more info)
- Windows Media Center license sold separately (more info)
- BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
- BitLocker requires either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 or a USB flash drive (Windows 8 Pro only)
- Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2 GB of RAM (Windows 8 Pro only)
- A TV tuner is required to play and record live TV in Windows Media Center (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)
- Free Internet TV content varies by geography, some content might require additional fees (Windows 8 Pro Pack and Windows 8 Media Center Pack only)
To check if your PC meets these requirements, you can run the Upgrade Assistant.
Whenever I read about Windows 8, I keep seeing terms like “Charms,” “Tiles,” and “Metro.” What’s that all about?
Windows 8 introduced significant – some would say radical – changes to Microsoft’s longstanding Windows platform. Many of these changes aim to improve the user experience on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. Windows 8 introduces a new touch-friendly shell and user interface, which is based on Microsoft’s Metro design language (originally developed for Windows Phone). It features a completely new Start screen, with a grid of dynamically updating tiles that represent applications. The Start screen replaces the “Start menu” familiar to users of earlier versions of Windows. There’s also a new app platform with an emphasis on touchscreen input, and a new Windows Store (similar to Apple’s App Store) where you download applications to run on Windows 8. A vertical toolbar known as the charms bar (accessed by swiping from the right edge of a touchscreen, or using a mouse or other pointing device to select hotspots in the right corners of the screen) provides access to system and app-related functions, such as search, sharing, device management, settings, and a Start button.
And that’s just the beginning. The learning curve for Windows 8, though steep, offers many rewards for those willing to give it a chance.
Where can I turn for help?
If you’re wanting to learn (or even master) Windows 8, we’ve devoted an entire section of our website to that end. We encourage you to go through the many useful tips, links, and tutorials there. We think you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable with Windows 8 in no time.
If you’re still stuck, and you purchased your Windows 8 system from Connecting Point, you can always contact us for tech support. You can also visit the Windows 8 support section of Microsoft’s website, or call Microsoft’s support line at 1-800-642-7676.
Is there a way I can make Windows 8 look and feel more like earlier versions of Windows?
Yes. A developer by the name of Ivo Beltchev has created a collection of “usability enhancements” for Windows 8, which together give you the ability to make Windows 8 look and feel very much like either Windows XP or Windows 7. Beltchev calls it Classic Shell, and the download is free. (If you end up using and liking Classic Shell, we encourage you to make a donation to help support Beltchev and his efforts.)
I keep hearing about Windows RT. What’s that?
Windows RT is available only as a preinstalled operating system on select tablets and PCs. Thin and light, Windows RT PCs are designed to draw power thriftily for maximum battery life. They start up in an flash, and remain wirelessly connected to email, social networks, and apps. Windows RT includes Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT, so you can be productive while on the go. Windows RT only runs its built-in apps or apps that you download from the Windows Store.
Visit our Learning and Mastering Windows 8 page here.