Ready to make the switch from XP to Windows 8? I’m here to walk you through the process step-by-step.

Before trying to upgrade your XP computer to Windows 8, be certain you run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant. Notice, if you are using XP, you must run the Windows 8 Assistant, not the 8.1.  (If you are thinking about upgrading XP to 7, click here for the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.) Also, please note the Windows 8 System Requirements to see if your computer meets these basics. You can find out the Processor and RAM details on your XP machine by going to the Start menu, right click on My Computer, and click Properties.

Once the Windows 8 Assistant has downloaded, it will automatically scan for compatibility of programs, devices, and hardware with Windows 8. Make sure you have all printers and other devices you use plugged in before running the assistant. When the scan is completed, it will pop up a screen with details of the scan and list programs that are compatible or ones that may require attention.Click on See Compatibility Details to see a list of any items that may need reviewed.

Pay close attention to any issues in the list at the top, as some of these could indicate that your computer can’t handle Windows 8. Pay special attention if it lists anything like a graphics card or processor that is not compatible.

If nothing seems to be a major issue, then you can proceed with the upgrade. I am going to be upgrading an XP computer to Windows 8, but the steps would be similar with an upgrade to Windows 7. The images will be different.

When you place the installation DVD (or click on the installation file) into your computer, it will take some time to load up. It may also ask you to check for and install updates, which I recommend.

After the updates have installed, the installation will begin and will ask for your product key. If you purchased your OS as a download, you were likely emailed the number. If you purchased it in a retail package, it will be included in the packaging, maybe on a little card like mine.

You will also need to accept the license agreement.


Then you will choose what to save. Your options could vary on this screen. If you have already backed up your computer, you can choose nothing, or you can choose to keep the personal files or other choices it gives you.

After going through those steps, Windows will begin to install. This could take some time, and your computer will restart multiple times. In my case, it took about half an hour or so, with 3 restarts. If during the restarts you see the computer ask to boot from the CD or DVD, you can just let it go.

Once the installation has completed, you will have the option to personalize the look of your menus. You can choose any of the designs, and remember you can always change it later.

Then you will need to set your settings. I’d suggest using the Express settings, but you can also choose to customize as well.

You will now be asked for your account information. If you have imported your saved information, you may be able to skip. Otherwise, you will need to create a Microsoft account or log in using your previous Microsoft account. Once your account information is set, you will be taken to the start screen.

I would suggest then restarting and updating until you no longer see the update option when you are shutting down. I had to restart and update a few times. You must do all these updates before you are able to download the Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store.