Windows 8 Installation Guide | The numbers
A complete installation guide for trying out the latest version of Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows OS.
3 versions of Windows 8 are currently available to try. In order of release with the product key, they are:
Windows 8 Developer Preview
Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Windows 8 Release Preview
To install Windows 8, you usually have the following options:
- A new install
- Dual booting with Windows 7 or any other operating system
- An upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 (not recommended)
- Try Windows 8 on a virtual machine
Before you begin, make sure your PC meets the minimum requirements set by Microsoft. These are not set in stone and you can install Windows 8 on PCs that do not meet these requirements, but your experience may not be fluid in a system.
Required for system
The minimum system requirements are as follows:
Windows 8 x86 (32-bit version)
- 1GHz processor
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB storage space
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
Windows 8 x86_64 (64-bit version)
- 1GHz processor
- 2GB RAM
- 20GB storage space
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
- Make sure you back up all your important data before you start There is very little chance of something going wrong but if it happens, you have to be prepared.
- Whichever installation method you choose, you need to have a minimum storage space (16GB or 20GB mentioned above) for your Windows 8 installation.
- Keep all your drivers close at hand, especially if you have Windows 8 installed on a laptop or PC that requires a proprietary driver. At the very least, keep a copy of your LAN and / or Wi-Fi driver, depending on how you access the Internet.
- Windows 8 is available from here as a web installer or an ISO.
- The Consumer Preview is bundled with our June Issue DVD and the Release Preview is bundled with the July Issue.
Creating a Windows 8 USB / DVD Installer
- Download Windows 8 ISO.
- Download the Windows 7 USB / DVD tool from here.
- Install the Windows 7 USB / DVD tool using the default options.
- Run the program.
- Press “Browse”, navigate to your Windows 8 (or Windows 7) iso file and select it.
- Insert a USB drive (at least 4GB) or a blank DVD
- Press “Next”.
- Select “USB Device” or “DVD” depending on which installation method you want.
- If you select “USB Device”, make sure you choose the right one because the drive will be fully formatted. You will get two prompts confirming that you want to delete the drive data.
- Click “Start Copying”
- Your drive will be formatted and the contents of Windows 8 ISO will be transferred to it.
Installation instructions (default)
- When booting from Windows 8 installation media, first choose the language, format, etc. you want to use. Default OK for normal users.
- Click on “Install Now”
- Enter the product key in the pop up box. Product keys mentioned above, make sure you select the correct version for Windows and press “Next”.
- Accept the license agreement and press “Next”
- For the installation type, select “Custom: Install Windows Only (Advanced)”.
- Choose the drive or partition on which you want to install Windows 8, remember that the drive or partition you selected will be completely formatted and all data in it will be lost and if you do not want it, exit the installation now (click red ” x ‘button) and clear a partition / drive for your installation.
- You can create a new partition by selecting the drive you want to partition and press “New”. Specify a size and press “Apply”. Make sure the partition size is at least what Microsoft recommends (16GB or 20GB) above system requirements.
- Click “Next”. The installation process will begin. Wait for it to finish, depending on your PC, it should take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
- The PC will restart automatically after the above steps, if you can’t wait then at this point you can press “Restart Now”.
- Your PC (or VM) will reboot and Windows will start preparing your devices. This will only take a few minutes.
- Now you start personalizing your Windows 8 installation. Choose a theme color and enter a name for your PC (in this case Digit-PC) and click “Next”.
- You are now in the settings screen, you can click “Use Express Settings” or “Customize” if you do not want to mess with the settings. When you click Customize, you will be presented with the following options.
- Then you need to sign in to your PC. Enter an email ID if you want or create a new account or use a local account. To create a local account, click “Sign in without a Microsoft account.”
- Enter your email ID to sign in directly and click “Next”. Windows 8 will sync all your email and calendar details, etc. with your Windows installation. A local account will only store settings locally and you will not be able to access your emails and calendars through the Metro app unless you configure them later.
- To create a local account, just enter your username and password in “Sign in to your PC screen” and click “Finish”.
- Windows will finalize your settings and then boot you into the Windows 8 start screen. That’s it! Your Windows 8 installation is ready.
The above installation method is common to almost all installation methods you want to use.
To install a new one
- Make sure your PC meets the minimum requirements.
- Create a USB or DVD bootable installer using the methods described above.
- Set up your first boot device on your system’s USB or DVD drive (Motherboard varies from motherboard to motherboard. See your motherboard manufacturer’s site for instructions).
- Proceed with step 1 of the installation instructions
To dual boot Windows 8 with other OS
- Follow the instructions to install a new one.
Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 (not recommended)
- This installation method is not recommended because Windows 8 is currently a trial and this trial will end in a few months. Do not use this installation method unless you know what you are doing because it is almost impossible to get back to your previous version of Windows without reinstalling it.
- If you still want to upgrade, you can mount the ISO file in Daemon Tools or a similar virtual disk utility, you can run the setup.exe file from any Windows 8 installer you have (USB or DVD). You can also use the web installer but be prepared for the 3GB download involved, the web-installer itself is small, but it will download the full ISO from the internet anyway.
- When you run the setup file, follow the on-screen instructions and proceed using the installation instructions outlined above.
Using a Virtual Machine (Virtual Box)
- You can download VirtualBox from http://dgit.in/M5N4iQ or pick it up from our July DVD.
- Install the software.
- Run the program and click on the blue “New” button.
- The “Create a new virtual machine” wizard will run and click “Next”.
- Enter a name for VM (in this case Windows 8) and select “Microsoft Windows” and “Windows 8” as the operating system and version, respectively, and click “Next”.
- Allocate at least 1GB RAM using slider. Click “Next”.
- Create a new virtual hard disk by clicking on the radio button and pressing “Next” (if you don’t already have one).
- Select the type of virtual hard disk you want and click “Next”. The default option should suffice for most users.
- If you are not very careful about performance, select “Dynamically Assign”.
- Give Virtual HD a name and allocate some memory for it, make sure you have allocated the minimum required space in the requirements and click “Next”.
- Check the details in the summary and click “Create”.
- Next, select the new virtual machine you created from the main screen of VirtualBox and press Start.
- Follow the “First Run” wizard instructions and press “Next”.
- Mount the Windows 8 ISO file or insert the bootable USB or DVD drive you created.
- Select the correct drive from the “Host Drive” window that pops up and press “Next” and “Start”
- If you follow all the instructions correctly and there are no other unexpected problems, then the virtual machine will boot and you should be ready to start the Windows 8 trial.
- Follow the installation instructions mentioned earlier and you better go.