Windows 8 Hardware Requirements - dummies

Windows 8 Hardware Requirements

By Andy Rathbone

If you want to upgrade to Windows 8, your computer probably won’t complain; the hardware requirements remain about the same. Windows 8 should run without problem on any PC currently running Windows 7 or Windows Vista. In fact, Windows 8 may run faster on your old PC than Windows Vista did, especially on laptops.

If your PC runs Windows XP, it may still run Windows 8, but probably not at its best.

If you have a technogeek in your family, have him or her translate the following table, which shows the Windows 8 hardware requirements.

The Windows 8 Hardware Requirements
Architecture x86 (32-bit) x86 (64-bit)
Processor 1 GHz
Memory (RAM) 1GB 2GB
Graphics Card DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
HDD free space 16GB 20GB

In common language, the table simply says that nearly any computer sold in the past five years can be upgraded to Windows 8 with little problem.

Windows 8 runs nearly any program that runs on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It even runs some Windows XP programs, as well. Some older programs, however, won’t work, including most security-based programs, such as antivirus, firewall, and security suites. You’ll need to contact the program’s manufacturer for an upgraded version.

Shopping for a new PC to run Windows 8? To see how well a particular showroom PC can handle Windows 8, point your mouse at any screen’s bottom-left corner and click the right mouse button. When the menu appears, choose System. The Windows Experience Index appears. It has already tested the PC and given it a grade ranging from 1 (terrible) to 9.9 (extraordinary).

Don’t know what version of Windows runs on your current PC? Go to the Start menu, right-click Computer, and choose Properties. The screen that appears lists your Windows version.

(If your Start menu fills the screen with a bunch of colorful tiles, you’re already running Windows 8. If so, right-click in the bottom-left corner, choose System from the pop-up menu, and the System window’s Windows Edition section says which version of Windows 8 is running.)

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.