Installing Windows 8 on a Mac. With previous Windows versions, Microsoft offered a fairly static set of capabilities by which one could install the OS onto a new or existing computer
With previous Windows versions, Microsoft offered a fairly static set of capabilities by which one could install the OS onto a new or existing computer. These capabilities were based on the same underlying functionality but were designed to serve three basic audiences: end users, businesses, and PC makers, and not necessarily in that order. As such, the process was pretty technical for the typical user, which wasn’t much of a problem because very few users actually installed Windows this way anyway. Most acquired Windows with a new PC purchase or, perhaps, through a work‑based PC.
With Windows 7, however, those usage patterns changed somewhat. For the first time, a significant percentage of Windows users upgraded existing PCs running a previous version of Windows to Windows 7, and to do so they typically purchased a retailed, boxed copy of the new OS, in Upgrade form, and then performed the upgrade manually.
The reason for this sudden change is obvious: With Windows 7, for the first time, a new version of Windows actually had system requirements that matched, not exceeded, those of the previous version. So while many users did of course buy new, Windows 7‑based PCs–several hundreds of millions of them, in fact–many also chose to continue using their existing computers as well.
With Windows 8, Microsoft expects a mix of both traditional PC sales and retail upgrades, again because Windows 8 does not exceed the system requirements of its own predecessor. And many users will simply purchase a Windows 8‑based device, such as a tablet, and then upgrade their existing PC as well so that they can take advantage of this Windows version’s excellent PC‑to‑PC sync and integration capabilities. So, since many users would still be installing Windows 8 on their own going forward, Microsoft has evolved the Windows Setup process yet again. And this time, finally, we think they got it right.
As is the case throughout this book, we’ll be focusing largely on new features and functionality, in this case with regards to Setup and installing Windows 8 on your own PCs. But don’t worry, power users: If you have specific setup needs, we cover those as well.
What about Windows RT? This ARM‑based version of Windows 8 comes only with new hardware and cannot be purchased in software‑only form, either in retail packaging or electronically, as with Windows 8. So the only Windows Setup experience you’ll have will involve the so‑called out‑of‑box experience, or OOBE, that’s discussed later in the chapter. But since that bit is so obvious, Windows RT users can feel free to skip much of the information in this chapter.
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