Getting Started


A couple of notes about this process:

• Product key: Microsoft will provide you with a 25‑digit product key that you must have handy during the Windows Setup process. We recommend printing this out if possible or having a second PC or device available nearby so that you can read this key from that second device and input it on the PC to which you are installing Windows 8.

• Upgrade or Full: With previous Windows versions, Microsoft offered Upgrade and Full versions of each product edition. This time around there are only Upgrade versions, which can be used for both clean and upgrade installs.

• 32‑bit or 64‑bit: Like Windows 7, Windows 8 is available in both 32‑bit (x86) and 64‑bit (x64) variants. Generally speaking, you will want the 64‑bit version for a clean install or migration. But if you plan to perform an in‑place upgrade, you will need to use the same version, 32‑ or 64‑bit, as your current Windows version. You can find this information in the System control panel.

• Product version: Windows 8 is available in multiple product versions, or SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). For a clean install, ensure that you’re buying the Windows 8 product version you want. For an upgrade or migration, ensure that you’re buying a product version that meets or exceeds the product version of your current version of Windows.

• Drivers: If you are performing a migration or in‑place upgrade, it’s highly likely that Windows 8 will not recognize every hardware device and peripheral attached to your PC. So you will need to be ready with the drivers you may potentially need. At the least, make sure you have a Windows 7‑ or 8‑class driver for your PC’s network adapter so you can get online. Then, you can navigate to your PC vendor’s support website to download any remaining missing drivers. We discuss this process in more detail later in the chapter.


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