Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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Understanding the Install Process
Understanding the Install Process
You have two primary options for installing any edition of Windows 8 on a PC
that already has a version of Windows installed:
Upgrading your install
Using a clean install
The upgrade install has come a long way since the XP days. These days it
essentially performs a clean install, but then applies your configuration and
personalized settings from the old operating system. Applications transfer
over only if you upgrade from Windows 7. All earlier versions require you to
reinstall your applications.
The clean install is the purest method of installing Windows 8. Users are
advised to back up their important data to an external hard drive and then
delete the contents of the operating system drive. This allows the installer to
install Windows 8 without any legacy settings, applications, or files getting
pulled along for the ride.
Each install method has many pros and cons, and I cover those in the next
two sections.
Using the Upgrade Install Process
Upgrade installs are easier to implement than clean installs are, but many
negative aspects to them will haunt you in the long run. The process works as
follows: You launch the installer on a machine that has a previous version of
Windows installed. The installer lets you know which of your apps are
compatible. You will then have the option to stop the upgrade and remain on your
current version of Windows or continue the upgrade and a while later you have
Windows 8 PC. Most of the same settings and applications that were on the
previous version of Windows will have transferred over lawlessly.
That is how the process works in a perfect world. In reality, it rarely goes
that well. I have seen a significant number of technical issues on Windows 8
attributed to users who upgraded from a previous version of Windows. What
is most impressive is that most issues went away when users did a clean install.
Microsoft has some smart people working on the upgrade process, and
they have been working on this for decades. But the process rarely works well
because the idea is flawed. Why would you ever want to carry over all of your
Windows settings, applications, and junk that has accumulated on your old
PC to a brand new PC? This is like buying a new car and then bolting on parts
from your old car.
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