If you are planing to upgrade your existing operating system to Windows 8 you probably want to know whether your PC's hardware and software is compatible with Windows 8 before you buy the operating system from Microsoft. Windows 8 download setups and retail copies ship with an upgrade assistant that can check the host system for compatibility with the new version of Windows, but that does not do you any good if you want to find out if it is compatible before you make the purchase.
That's where the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant standalone comes into play. It is a program that you can run on your current PC to find out if it is compatible with Windows 8. The assistant checks the computer's hardware when it is running and it is therefor recommended to connect all external hardware to the PC during the scan to make sure it is recognized by the Upgrade Assistant software.
To use the program simply download it using the link above and run it after the download completes. The scan should take less than a minute to complete on most systems and you should see a report afterwards that details the compatibility details. Here you find information about compatible and problematic apps and devices.
A click on See compatibility details list the items that you need to review prior to the upgrade as well as the compatible software in a new window on the screen.
You will probably get a similar incompatibility listing like the one I got when I ran the Upgrade Assistant on my Windows 7 Professional PC. Windows 8 does not ship with options to play DVDs by default, but you can get a free Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key until January 31, 2013 to remedy the situation.
Microsoft has removed gadgets from the operating system but there are hacks to get the sidebar gadgets back.
Secure Boot is only available if the motherboard uses UEFI, which is not the case for the PC I ran the assistant on.
Microsoft Security Essentials finally is part of Windows Defender on Windows 8.
You may see different issues here and sometimes, it may not be as easy to tell why something is not compatible with Windows 8. I suggest to click on the more info link first to find out what Microsoft has to say about the issue.
Note that you can use the upgrade assistant to purchase Windows 8 right away. If you do not want to do that at this point in time, simply close the assistant after the scan.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.