Skip to content

How to install Windows 8

Rate this post

How to install Windows 8: After thinking about it for a few days, you finally decided and finally chose to install a copy of Windows 8 on your trusted PC . Before “dabbling” in the thing, however, you would like some information on how to complete the operation without combining “messes”.

Well, just ask! Here you are served an easy easy guide on how to install Windows 8 where you will find all the information you need to complete the operation in question on your computer. Believe me, it takes more time to explain it than to do it. In the following lines, therefore, we will first find out what are the minimum requirements required to be able to use this version of the Microsoft operating system and the operations to be performed before installing it. Then we will see how to carry out the “classic” installation procedure, both using the installation diskette and a USB stick with the ISO image of Windows. 

For completeness of information, then, I will explain how to downgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 10 and how to install the OS on a virtual machine, on Mac and on a PC already equipped with Ubuntu. I assure you that everything is much simpler than you imagine. Happy reading and good work!

Minimum requirements


First of all, as I said at the beginning of the guide, I want to show you what are the minimum requirements required to install Windows 8 on your PC: you can find them below.

  • Processor : 1 GHz or higher with support for PAE, NX and SSE2.
  • RAM: 1 GB (32 bit) or 2 GB (64 bit).
  • Disk space: 16 GB (32 bit) or 20 GB (64 bit).
  • Graphics card:  Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.

For further details, you can refer to the specific information page .

Preliminary operations

Before getting to the heart of the guide, then going to find out what are the steps you need to take to install Windows 8 on your PC, there are some preliminary operations you need to take.

I mean, to be precise, to find (or create) the ISO image of the operating system and to make a backup of the data on the computer disk on which you will install the new system.

Download Windows 8

Windows downloads

In order to install Windows 8 on your computer you need, necessarily, the ISO image of the system. If you have the OS installation diskette or a stick with the system image , you do not have to worry about anything, as everything you need is already present on the support.

Otherwise, you can download the ISO image of Windows 8 (or better to say Windows 8.1 ) from the Microsoft website, acting in a simple, legal and free way. It is not necessary to have the product key to authorize the download (but to activate the system, of course) and it is not mandatory that the same operating system or another Microsoft OS is installed on the computer to proceed with the download.

Taking into account what has just been said, to download connected to this web page , select the edition of the operating system you wish to obtain (eg Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 N ) from the Select edition drop-down menu and click on the Confirm button . Then indicate the language of the product using the drop-down menu Choose a language that is shown to you later (eg Italian ) and click again on the Confirm button .

Subsequently, the web page will be reloaded and you can finally proceed with the download of the operating system by clicking on the 32-bit Download button (to obtain the 32-bit version ) or on the 64-bit Download button (to download the 64-bit version ). Keep in mind that the Windows 8.1 ISO file weighs around 4 GB, so the download may not be exactly lightning-fast, especially if your Internet connection isn’t particularly fast.

The ISO image that you will get at the end of the download can be burned on a DVD , as I explained in my guide on how to burn ISO files , or copied on a USB stick , as I have indicated in my guide on how to burn ISO on USB , to install the operating system on the computer.

Data backup

Photo of an external hard drive

As anticipated, another operation to be performed in advance, before installing Windows 8, is to make a backup of the data on the computer hard disk on which to install the operating system (so that you can access it again later , even in case of any problems).

To do this, just use an external hard disk and transfer all your personal files inside, following the instructions on what to do that I have provided you in my tutorials on how to transfer files to external hard disk and how to backup your data . If you do not yet have a hard disk and you are not sure which product to orient yourself, I recommend reading my purchase guide on external hard disks .

If you do not have an external hard disk (and you do not want to buy one) but you have multiple secondary partitions on the disk, you can possibly consider the idea of ​​moving your files to these, which, it is good to specify, will not be involved during the procedure of installing Windows 8 on the main unit.

How to install Windows 8

Windows 8 installation

Having completed the preliminary steps above, we can finally get to the heart of the matter and go to find out, how to install Windows 8 .

First, you need to insert the diskette or USB stick with the operating system installation files into the PC and restart the computer. At this point, wait for the word “ Press a key to start from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM ” to appear on the screen and press any key on the PC keyboard to start the Windows 8 setup.

If you are unable to boot the DVD or USB stick to install the operating system, you probably need to set the BIOS to see the DVD or USB drive as the reference drive for booting. If you don’t know how to do it, read my guide on how to set up the BIOS  to immediately clarify your ideas about it.

Once the installation procedure for Windows 8 has started, select the language of the operating system ( Italian ) in the appropriate drop-down menus and click first on the Next button located at the bottom right and then on the Install button  . Then type the product key of your copy of Windows in the appropriate text field and click again on the Next button  . Then accept the conditions of use of the operating system, putting the check mark next to the item I accept the license terms , and click once more on the Next button  .

Now you have to choose whether to install Windows 8 by updating the copy of the operating system already present on the computer (only with Windows 7  and later are kept all the data, programs and settings, while for Vista and previous versions there are big limitations in this sense ) or whether to install the system by formatting the PC hard disk.

In the first case, click on the Update item and follow the wizard that will take care of transforming the existing operating system into Windows 8, without data loss. If, on the other hand, you prefer to format the PC hard disk (or install Windows 8 on a separate partition), click on the Custom item , select the drive on which to install the system, choose the options Drive options (advanced)> Format to format the selected partition and click the Next button to start copying the Windows files to your PC. After a few minutes, the PC will restart itself.

When the PC starts again, wait for the devices to be configured and follow the initial configuration procedure of Windows 8, in which you will have to choose the name of the PC, the color to be used as the background of the Start Screen and other settings related to updates, file sharing etc. If you want to use the default settings, click on the Use quick settings button and go immediately to the next step.

The next step is to enter your Microsoft email address (Live / Hotmail / Outlook) to use the cloud features of the operating system. If you are not interested in synchronizing data and apps between multiple PCs through the cloud services of the Redmond giant, you can decide to use a standard local user account (such as that of Windows 7 and earlier), by first clicking on the item  Log in without a Microsoft account and then on that  local account .

Finally, type in the username and password you want to use for your user account on the PC (if you choose the Live / Hotmail / Outlook account, they will be the same as the access data of the email address) and click on the Finish button to enjoy your Windows 8. The system will be accessible after a short presentation of its features.

How to install Windows 8 on Windows 10

Windows 10

If less than 30 days have passed since you upgraded from Windows 8 to Windows 10 , you can perform the downgrade procedure without losing the data on your computer (although I still suggest you to make a backup, as I explained in the step at the beginning of the guide , to avoid any unexpected event). The only things removed will be the apps and drivers installed after the update.

To perform the operation in question, click on the Windows 10 Start button (the one with the Windows flag ), select the Settings icon (the one with the gear ), click on the word Update and security that you find in the window it is open on the desktop and select the Restore item , in the sidebar on the left. Then press the To start button found under the heading Back to Windows 8.1 , to start the downgrade procedure.

If you are asked for the reason why you want to downgrade, indicate it by choosing from the options on the screen. Then click the Next button three times in a row and confirm your intentions by pressing the Return to Windows 8.1 button .

Once this is done, the recovery process will start. Afterwards, the PC will restart by performing the necessary steps to reinstall Windows 8. Before accessing the desktop, you may be asked to enter the product key and login credentials of the user account.

If, however, more than 30 days have passed since you updated Windows 8 to Windows 10, to return to the previous version of the operating system you can perform a clean installation of the operating system, as I explained in the previous chapter , or restore from a backup . For more information, refer to my tutorial on how to return to Windows 8 .

How to install Windows 8 on VirtualBox

How to install Windows 8 on VirtualBox

Don’t you feel like overwriting your current operating system but wouldn’t you want to give up Windows 8 anyway? Then install the operating system on a virtual machine (therefore a sort of PC in the PC, which does not affect the real system) using virtualization software.

Personally I suggest you VirtualBox , a program for Windows, macOS and Linux that is free, open source and very simple to use, which allows, in fact, to create and use virtual machines in a very simple way.

To use it, firstly download the program on your computer by connecting to its Internet site  and clicking on the Windows hosts link under the VirtualBox xxx platform packages heading , at the top of the page.

Once the download is complete, open the obtained .exe file and, in the window that is shown on the desktop, click on the Next button three times in a row and then on the Yes and Install buttons . Then press the Yes button again , select the item Always trust the software from Oracle Corporation and click on the Install and Finish buttons to complete the procedure. Note that, during setup, the Internet connection will drop for a few moments, because the program must install network drivers on the system necessary to make the Internet work on virtual machines.

At this point, you can proceed with the creation of the virtual machine on which to install Windows 8. To do this, click on the New button in the upper right part of the VirtualBox window and type in the Name field the name you want to assign to the virtual machine you are about to create (eg Windows 8) and the location where you want to save it using the folder field of the machine.

Then select the Microsoft Windows item from the Type and Windows 8 (32-bit) or Windows 8.1 (32-bit) drop-down menu from the Version pull-down menu and click the Next button . Therefore, indicate the amount of RAM to be assigned to the virtual machine by moving the cursor on the appropriate scroll bar (being careful not to subtract precious resources from the operating system).

Then click on the Next and Create buttons  , press again on the Next button twice in a row and set the size of the virtual hard disk you want to create to virtualize Windows 8, always taking into account what are the actual hardware properties of your PC. However, keep in mind the fact that the hard disks created by VirtualBox are dynamically expanding , which means that they take up space on the computer disk only when it is actually filled with data. To complete the procedure, click on the Create button .

Now you have to proceed with the actual installation of Windows on the virtual machine. So, start the newly created virtual machine by double-clicking on its name (in the list on the left of the VirtualBox window), click on the drop-down menu in the new window that opens, insert the diskette into the CD / DVD drive Windows 8 installation and select the latter from the appropriate drop-down menu. If, on the other hand, you have the Windows 8 ISO image saved on your PC, select the latter by first clicking on the folder icon . Then click on the Start button .

Once this is done, there is nothing else to do except follow the usual wizard for installing the operating system, which is what I explained to you in the previous step . When the installation is complete, you can start your Windows 8 virutalized simply by opening VirtualBox and double-clicking on the name of the virtual machine. For more details about how VirtualBox works, you can refer to my tutorial specifically dedicated to how to use VirtualBox .

How to install Windows 8 on Mac

How to select everything on Mac

Do you own a Mac and would like to install Windows 8 on your Apple brand computer? First of all, I inform you that it is feasible. Secondly, I suggest you perform the operation in question by relying on a convenient function directly integrated in macOS and called  Boot Camp . In case you have never heard of it, it is a tool that allows you to create a dual-boot system, thus installing Windows on a special partition on the disk and allowing macOS and Windows to “coexist” on the same computer without problems.

Alternatively, you can resort, even in the case of macOS, to the use of a software for virtualization, such as the aforementioned VirtualBox (which is also available for macOS, being a cross-platform solution) or, if you prefer to rely on something specific for Mac, I suggest you use Parallels , another program belonging to the category in question but commercial (it has a base price of 79.99 euros).

For further information, I refer you to reading my guides on how to install Windows on Mac and my tutorial on how to virtualize Windows on Mac .

How to install Windows 8 on Ubuntu


Do you have Ubuntu installed on your PC but would you still like to try Windows 8? Then you can always refer to the use of the aforementioned  VirtualBox , thus going to virtualize the operating system, or you can create a dual boot system  in which to choose, each time the PC is turned on, which operating system to run.

In this second case, you have to partition the disk in order to create a partition for Windows. Next, you need to boot from the installation disc (or USB stick) of the Microsoft operating system and you need to install a new copy of the latter on the previously created partition.

For more details on this, I refer you to reading my guide specifically focused on how to install Windows on Linux .