Windows 8 is the current release of the Windows operating system, produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablets, and home theater PCs. Development of Windows 8 started before the release of its predecessor in 2009. Its existence was first announced at CES 2011, and followed by the release of three pre-release versions from September 2011 to May 2012. The operating system was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and was released for general availability on October 26, 2012.
Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system’s platform, primarily focused towards improving its user experience on mobile devices such as tablets to rival other mobile operating systems (such as Android andiOS), taking advantage of new and emerging technologies (such as USB 3.0, UEFI firmware, near field communications, cloud computing, and low-power Intel and ARM chips), new security features (such as malware filtering, built-inantivirus software, and support for secure boot, a controversial UEFI feature which requires operating systems to be digitally signed to prevent malware from infecting the boot process), along with other changes and performance improvements.
Windows 8 also introduces a new shell and user interface based on Microsoft’s “Metro” design language, featuring a new Start screen with a grid of dynamically updating tiles to represent applications, a new app platform with an emphasis on touchscreen input, the new Windows Store to obtain and purchase applications for the system, and the ability to synchronize programs and settings between multiple devices.
Requirements of Windows 8
If you want to run Windows 8 on your PC, here’s what it takes:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2 (See Below)
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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)
What is PAE, NX, and SSE2 and why does my PC need to support them to run Windows 8?
Physical Address Extension (PAE), NX processor bit (NX), and Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2) refer to features of the processor. PAE enables 32-bit processors to access more than 4 GB of physical memory on capable versions of Windows and is a prerequisite for NX. NX allows the processor to help guard the PC from attacks by malicious software. SSE2 (a standard on processors for a long time) is an instruction set that is increasingly used by third-party apps and drivers. For Windows 8, for your malware defense features to work reliably we require that your processor support NX. To enhance the reliability of third-party apps and drivers running in Windows 8, SSE2 is also required. If your PC doesn’t support PAE, NX, and SSE2 you won’t be able to install Windows 8. Upgrade Assistant will provide you with an error message if your processor doesn’t support PAE and SSE2. You’ll also see a notice if the processor might not support NX or if NX is turned off in the PC BIOS. Windows 8 Setup will attempt to turn on NX during installation and, if it isn’t able to, will return your PC to the current operating system.
Get Windows 8 Pro for $17.99* when you buy a Windows 7 PC
The offer is for customers (e.g. home users, students, and enthusiasts) who purchase a qualified PC. A qualified PC is a new PC purchased during the promotional period with a valid Windows 7 OEM Certificate of Authenticity and product key for, and preinstalled with:
- Windows 7 Home Basic;
- Windows 7 Home Premium;
- Windows 7 Professional; or
- Windows 7 Ultimate.
The promotional price is limited to one upgrade offer per qualified PC purchased, and a maximum limit of five upgrade offers per customer.
You must purchase a qualifying Windows 7 PC between 2 June 2012 and 31 January 2013 to be eligible for this offer. The last day to register and order your Windows 8 upgrade is 28 February 2013.