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Microsoft Posts Detailed System Requirements for Windows 8

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 62 comments

Do you have what it takes to run Windows 8? Yeah, you probably do.

For those itching to get that taste of Windows 8, the Consumer Preview is now here for download.

Before anyone jumps right in, it's a good idea to check out not only the system requirements, but the system recommendations. Microsoft detailed these in today's B8 blog post.

Essentially, those who are running a PC with a Windows 7 logo sticker on it will be cleared for takeoff for Windows 8. Of course, since the Windows 7 requirements were no more demanding than those for Windows Vista, anyone with even a semi-modern PC from the last handful of years should be able to run Windows 8 – at least the Consumer Preview.

Microsoft recommends:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
     

There are several more "fine print" requirements and recommendations peppered throughout Microsoft's post (italicized portions straight from Microsoft):

For Metro Apps

One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024x768 screen resolution, and 1366x768 for the snap feature. If you attempt to launch a Metro style app with less than this resolution (e.g. 800x600, 1024x600) you will receive an error message. 

Virtualized Environments

Our recommendation for the Consumer Preview is to run it natively on hardware if you intend to run Windows 8 on hardware when the product is final. Some of you will run virtualized environments for enterprise workloads or specialized purposes, but we strongly recommend that you experience Windows 8 on hardware, as it was designed to run for the majority of consumer experiences.

For Touchscreen Users

Although there are a number of existing Windows 7 touch devices and many are fully supported, we do recognize the touch experience of Windows 8 places a greater demand on a high quality experience than could have been foreseen when manufacturers were developing hardware for Windows 7. Our data is showing that a vast majority of Windows 7 touchscreens will perform well for Windows 8. This means that touch drivers continue to load, and you’ll be able to perform basic touch interactions with a reasonable degree of success. The following systems are a few that we have been using widely in our internal testing and self-hosting, although of course, this is not a specific endorsement of these PCs:

  • HP Elitebook 2760p convertible (Note: This PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
  • ASUS EP121 tablet (Note: his PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
  • Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
  • Lenovo x220t convertible
  • 3M M2256PW 22” display (Note: The raised bezel can make it harder to swipe along the edges)
  • Samsung Series 7 slate (Note: This PC has two models, one was provided to attendees at //build/ and the other is a commercial release; the latter has slightly different peripherals and firmware.)
     

Specific Hardware Requirements

(Note: be careful whenever you adjust your BIOS settings.)

  • Secured Boot requires a new UEFI BIOS, which is not available broadly on PCs yet, but is starting to be made available. If your machine does have UEFI, you can enable it via BIOS settings.
  • BitLocker does not require but performs more seamlessly if your PC has a Trusted Platform Module(TPM). Machines that have this sometimes require it to be enabled via BIOS settings. BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive that meets performance criteria evaluated at installation time.
  • Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and an additional 2 GB of RAM. You can also enable SLAT via a BIOS setting.
  • Some games and other software require graphics capabilities compatible with DirectX 10 or higher (including some games available in the Consumer Preview and in the Windows Store. We will continue to improve the verification of your system prior to downloading or running software with these requirements). Some games and programs might require a graphics card for optimal performance.
  • If you clean install instead of upgrade (see below), you should check your PC manufacturer's website to make sure you install any specific drivers that they provide there. Many laptops will get better battery life with a power-optimized driver that is specific for that PC (often known as ACPI, Power, or Chipset driver).
     

Upgrading and Clean Installing

For those of you who have already been running the Windows 8 Developer Preview, you can install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview using the migrate option (just keep personal files), but not the upgrade option (keep personal files, apps, and settings). Or if you prefer, you can of course do a clean installation (keep nothing). The Consumer Preview release does permit upgrading from Windows 7, and will run the integrated upgrade advisor to check on any things you might need to look into. Please keep in mind that there is no rollback after an upgrade installation. We also strongly recommend that you perform a system backup prior to an upgrade, migrate, or clean install of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Also note that the final release of Windows 8 will not support upgrading from any prior Windows 8 "Preview" release, though the migrate option will still be supported. In any upgrade scenario, you can run the Disk Cleanup Wizard to remove the previous installation in order to free up disk space. The download will also support boot from USB for a completely clean installation as well.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    rohitbaran , February 29, 2012 4:58 PM
    I will stick to my Windows 7 and pass on this. They are releasing "new" versions of Windows a bit too frequently (considering that they are all Windows v6.xx since Vista).
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , February 29, 2012 4:11 PM
    So people are actually excited about this?
  • 0 Hide
    Lord Captivus , February 29, 2012 4:21 PM
    IMO, its very hard to create a OS that has many uses (pc, mobile...). I think thats the reason this windows is not going to be better thatn Windows 7.
    The shown screenshot is a clear example, theres NO WAY i want that in my desktop pc.
    Simplier doenst mean better or quicker, neither does good looking or fun or whatever.
  • Display all 62 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    alvine , February 29, 2012 4:23 PM
    20gb for a 64bit OS...Really?
  • -9 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 29, 2012 4:31 PM
    The 1GHz minimum makes sense if you are only planning to use Notepad. The higher memory requirement for 64-bit seems odd; seems to imply significantly greater overhead as compared to 32-bit.
  • 0 Hide
    cronik93 , February 29, 2012 4:39 PM
    jhansonxiThe 1GHz minimum makes sense if you are only planning to use Notepad. The higher memory requirement for 64-bit seems odd; seems to imply significantly greater overhead as compared to 32-bit.


    64-bit uses more RAM. I don't know why though...forgot.
  • 3 Hide
    Yargnit , February 29, 2012 4:49 PM
    jhansonxiThe 1GHz minimum makes sense if you are only planning to use Notepad. The higher memory requirement for 64-bit seems odd; seems to imply significantly greater overhead as compared to 32-bit.


    Win7 64-bit used a noticeable ammount or RAM more than 32-bit as well. I have an old laptop with 1.5GB RAM that has had both Win7 32 & 64-bit versions at different times, and the 64-bit booted the OS, and programs/games slower than 32-bit. Especially loading new zones in MMO's, there was significantly more HDD swapping required on the 64-bit install.
  • 2 Hide
    Microgoliath , February 29, 2012 4:54 PM
    That pic of the desktop ain't bad. You could do that in windows 7 with rainmeter and some of the things people done to there desktop (including this pics icons) are amazing, if M$ allows us to customize it I can't see it being a bad at all.
  • 13 Hide
    rohitbaran , February 29, 2012 4:58 PM
    I will stick to my Windows 7 and pass on this. They are releasing "new" versions of Windows a bit too frequently (considering that they are all Windows v6.xx since Vista).
  • -1 Hide
    mrmike_49 , February 29, 2012 5:09 PM
    tried to find a Microsoft forum covering Win8 - no go? uh?? no forum yet?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 29, 2012 5:20 PM
    one started today
  • 7 Hide
    gpj , February 29, 2012 5:22 PM
    alvine20gb for a 64bit OS...Really?


    That doesn't mean it uses all 20gb once the install is finished... but recent windows installations typically copy the entire contents of the installation media to the hard drive as the "pre-install" step. Factor in the typical installation requirements for software that big and Windows creating a paging file pretty much right away (and normally the equivalent of your installed ram - i.e. mine is 8gb) and yeah, 20gb sounds about right.
  • -1 Hide
    Cryio , February 29, 2012 5:37 PM
    rohitbaranI will stick to my Windows 7 and pass on this. They are releasing "new" versions of Windows a bit too frequently (considering that they are all Windows v6.xx since Vista).


    You know that they all are v6.x to maintain compatibility for the software, right? If they would change the string again, to 7.x, it would be the same mess that happened when they changed from Windows 95/98 [4/4.1] to 2000/XP [5/5.1] and again from XP [5.1] to Vista [6.x]
  • 8 Hide
    phamhlam , February 29, 2012 5:37 PM
    Windows 8 64-bit takes up around 13GB of space.

    The desktop works just like Win7 and is still great. The new metro interface makes it easier to do simple things. It is more of an app hub.
  • 1 Hide
    Northwestern , February 29, 2012 6:09 PM
    rohitbaranI will stick to my Windows 7 and pass on this. They are releasing "new" versions of Windows a bit too frequently (considering that they are all Windows v6.xx since Vista).

    I had consitered to upgrade from Win7 before I previewed 8, now I think I'll also pass on this. I can milk XP, Vista and 7 for as much support Microsoft will give them.
  • 2 Hide
    womble , February 29, 2012 6:18 PM
    As long as you can disable the Metro i/f fully and have a normal desktop. I played with the beta for a little while up till about a month ago and the Metro thing is dreadful in a non touch screen scenario. Bang on a few applications and I struggle to see how much of an improvement it is, just end up with screens full of squares making it more difficult to find what you want. I think they could do with some decent feedback on this one.
  • 0 Hide
    ramon1 , February 29, 2012 6:49 PM
    Lord CaptivusIMO, its very hard to create a OS that has many uses (pc, mobile...). I think thats the reason this windows is not going to be better thatn Windows 7. The shown screenshot is a clear example, theres NO WAY i want that in my desktop pc. Simplier doenst mean better or quicker, neither does good looking or fun or whatever.


    It should be the next "experimental" version for M$, DOS->(e)Win95, Win98->(e)WinME, WinXp->(e)Vista, Win7->(?)Win8.

    I expect them to push it with an enforced next version of DX or something, but when it comes to gaming, only if consoles come with superior DX hardware there will a need to upgrade, if not, and prolly will not, it's pretty stay on win 7 for a couple of years more.
  • -1 Hide
    Dead Pixel , February 29, 2012 6:54 PM
    win 8 is win7 but touch screen
  • -1 Hide
    sunflier , February 29, 2012 6:57 PM
    Quote:
    Microsoft Posts Detailed System Requirements for Windows XP

    Quote:
    Microsoft recommends:

    * 1 GHz or faster processor
    * 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
    * 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    * DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , February 29, 2012 7:23 PM
    alvine20gb for a 64bit OS...Really?

    ... are you still on XP or something?
  • -5 Hide
    esrever , February 29, 2012 7:41 PM
    I would like the see microsoft raise these requirements and add more things instead of making it run on the lowest possible machines. They might be able to raise the performance and better utilize the UI if there were more requirements.
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