Software // Operating Systems
News
11/22/2011
04:53 PM
50%
50%

Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes

Many older PCs have enough horsepower for the upcoming OS, says the software maker, which also pledges to simplify setup and installation this time around.

Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
Slideshow: Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Although they're running an OS that was built a decade ago, many PCs that are currently using Windows XP will have sufficient horsepower to handle Windows 8 when it's released, according to a Microsoft official.

"Looking at Windows 7 customers, there are currently more than 450 million PCs that will be able to run Windows 8. But we expect that many systems running Windows Vista and Windows XP will also be eligible," said Christa St. Pierre, a member of the Windows Setup and Deployment team, in a blog post.

Older computers will be able to run Windows 8 because Microsoft has intentionally kept system requirements for the OS to a minimum, according to St. Pierre. "With Windows 7 ... we made a commitment to work on many more existing PCs by keeping system requirements low and maintaining compatibility. We've continued that commitment with Windows 8."

[ Learn more about Win 8. Read Windows 8 PCs May Resemble Big Smartphones. ]

St. Pierre did not provide specific system requirements for Windows 8, but it's likely they'll be similar to Windows 7. The latter requires a minimum configuration of a 1-GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of disk space, and a DirectX 9-compatible graphics unit.

It was not clear from St. Pierre's post whether Microsoft will offer upgrade pricing for XP and Vista users. A company spokesperson said she was unable to provide further details.

St. Pierre also provided new information about the Windows 8 setup and installation process, which promises to be the slickest yet for Microsoft operating systems. Most significantly, Microsoft has created an end-to-end online upgrade system that users can employ to set up and install Windows 8. Among other things, it will eliminate the time consuming and frustrating process of typing in lengthy authorization keys.

"With our Web setup experience, we actually 'pre-key' the setup image that is downloaded to a unique user, which means that you don't have to type in the 25-digit product key when you install," said St. Pierre.

For Windows 8, Microsoft has also combined Upgrade Advisor, Setup, and Windows Easy Transfer into a single application. "We've folded them together into one fast and fluid experience," said St. Pierre. The app will also tell users which version of Windows 8 is most suitable for their system.

Microsoft has yet to release a ship date for Windows 8, though many observers expect it to be released in mid to late 2012. The head of Nokia France recently told a newspaper that his company would have a Windows 8 tablet by next summer.

When it does arrive, Windows 8 will be forked into two architectures--one for traditional X86 desktops and laptops, and one for tablets that use chips based on ARM's system-on-a-chip design. To facilitate tablet use, Windows 8 borrows Windows Phone's Metro interface, which features touch-friendly icons called Live Tiles.

Sensitive customer and business data is scattered in hidden corners of your infrastructure. Find and protect it before it winds up in the wrong hands. Also in the new issue of Dark Reading: The practical side of data defense. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
YMOM100
50%
50%
YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/24/2012 | 11:55:58 PM
re: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes
They also claimed that many PCs were Vista ready...when they were clearly not!
YMOM100
50%
50%
YMOM100,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/30/2011 | 1:22:58 AM
re: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes
No plans here. With exclusively desktop deployments that can care less about touch the Metro UI is a big obstacle. And after switching it off there is nothing left that makes introducing W8 reasonable, especially not in regards to cost.
For mobile devices there may be some interesting aspects to it, for desktops W8 is a failure straight out of the box.
chrisrut
50%
50%
chrisrut,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 7:27:00 PM
re: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes
I've got 100+ users' and am likely to upgrade quickly. I've already got W8 and W8 Server in test both on hardware and VMs, and am astonished by how few problems i've encountered even in pre-beta form. Suspect biggest holdups for MS may be in areas of documentation, development tools, training materials and certification exams, rather than the actual ARM implementation - depends on how code was written in the first place.
Luke G.
50%
50%
Luke G.,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/29/2011 | 7:25:36 PM
re: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes
The issue for me is that many of our XP workstations are not being upgraded because they 1) need to maintain compatibility with legacy programs, and 2) are older hardware that would not easily run 7 without hardware upgrades.

So, this news *is* great in that it offers a way to not have to orphan all of our older equipment on XP. But...it still leaves the looming issue of compatibility. And, the hardware I'm using isn't even remotely capable of running XP Mode or the like, so that's not an option either.

Suffice it to say that I'll be doing my fair share of testing on the various stages of the Windows 8 release candidate. :)
Bprince
50%
50%
Bprince,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/24/2011 | 8:46:30 PM
re: Windows 8 On XP Machines? Microsoft Says Yes
Readers: how many of you have plans to upgrade to Windows 8 when it's available? Will you do so immediately, or will you wait?
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest August 03, 2015
The networking industry agrees that software-defined networking is the way of the future. So where are all the deployments? We take a look at where SDN is being deployed and what's getting in the way of deployments.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of July 26, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.