New to Windows

Learn the basics and beyond.

Get to know Windows.

There are new ways to get around Windows. Many PCs now have touch capabilities, but you can also use the mouse and keyboard you're used to. We’ll teach you the basics to help you get started.

Learn how to get around your PC

Windows 8 comes with new ways of getting around. Many PCs now have touch capabilities, but you can also use the mouse and keyboard that you're familiar with. Getting to know some basic actions can go a long way toward helping you get around your PC quickly and efficiently.

Explore with charms.

Use the charms menu to do the things you do most often, like search, share links and photos, connect devices, and change settings.

  • Share Share files and info with friends without leaving the app you’re in.
  • Start Go back to the Start screen anytime.
  • Devices See and use the devices connected to your PC, like a printer or TV.
  • Settings Find information, help and settings for your PC and the app you’re in.

A little Q & A.

Have questions about upgrading, what’s new, and how to get started? Here are some quick answers.

  • Which Windows 8 version is right for me?

    There are two versions to choose from: Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 comes with everything you need to connect, share, work, and play. Windows 8 Pro adds enhanced features for people who need to easily connect to company networks, access remote files, encrypt sensitive data, and other more advanced tasks.

  • Can I upgrade my PC from an older version of Windows to Windows 8?

    Yes. Your upgrade experience will depend on what version of Windows you currently have. For example, if your PC is running Windows 7 Home Basic or Home Premium, your files, programs and settings will easily transfer to Windows 8. If your PC is running Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, Windows XP or Windows Vista, you'll need to reinstall your programs. Some features (like those that support touchscreen) may require a new PC.

  • How can I tell if my devices and apps will work with Windows 8?

    Windows 8 generally works with the same peripheral devices and apps that work with Windows 7. In some cases, a device or program might require an update, or you might need to uninstall some apps, and then reinstall them after you upgrade to Windows 8.

    The best way to tell if your apps and devices will work before you upgrade is to run Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, a free program that scans your current hardware, apps, and devices for compatibility. Make sure all the devices that you need to work with your PC, like printers and monitors, are connected to your PC and turned on before you run Upgrade Assistant.

    After Upgrade Assistant scans your PC to determine what's compatible, it provides a compatibility report that lists any issues that you might need to address when you upgrade. You can save or print this report to use later.

  • What settings, apps, and files can I keep if I upgrade?

    You can upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, or Windows Developer Preview, but you might not be able to keep all of your files, apps, and settings. The following table shows what you can keep during an upgrade, depending on the version of Windows you currently have running on your PC:

    • Upgrading from
    • Windows 7
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows XP
    • Windows 8 Release Preview
    • Windows 8 Consumer Preview
    • Windows Developer Preview
    • What you can keep
    • Apps, settings, and personal files
    • Windows settings and personal files
    • Personal files
    • Personal files
    • Nothing (but your files will be saved in the Windows.old folder)
    • Nothing (but your files will be saved in the Windows.old folder)
  • Can I upgrade from a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version of Windows 8?

    If your PC has a 64 bit-capable processor (CPU) but is currently running a 32-bit version of Windows, you can install a 64-bit version of Windows 8, but you cannot do this as an online upgrade. You'll need to download the Upgrade Assistant to a DVD or a bootable USB device and install Windows 8 from there. You also won't be able to keep any files, settings, or apps when you upgrade from a 32-bit to a 64-bit version.

  • Can I upgrade from an operating system that's older than Windows XP?

    You can upgrade online or using a DVD that you purchase from participating retails stores to upgrade a PC running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7,. If you want to upgrade from an earlier Windows operating system than Windows XP (for example, Windows 95 or Windows 2000), you'll need to purchase the Windows 8 System Builder from your nearest system builder or participating retailer. You won't be able to keep any files, settings, or apps when you install the new operating system.

  • If I change my mind, can I uninstall Windows 8 and go back to a previous version of Windows?

    Not exactly. To go back to your previous version of Windows, you'll need to format your hard drive and then reinstall the previous version of Windows from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC. Typically, this is on a DVD.

    If you don't have recovery media, you might be able to create it from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer's website for more info. After you install Windows 8, you won't be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

  • Can I change my language when I upgrade?

    The easiest way to change your language is to upgrade to the same language you currently have on your PC, keep your apps, settings, and files, and then add a new language afterwards. If you switch from one language to another during the upgrade, you won't be able to keep your apps or settings.

  • What's the Windows Store?

    The Windows Store is where you can find apps for your Windows 8 device. It's got something for everyone, and it's built right into Windows 8, so it's fast and easy to use. Just tap or click the Store tile to get started. A Microsoft account is needed.

  • Can I use my apps on other PCs?

    You can install any of the apps you bought from the Microsoft Store on up to five PCs or tablets running Windows 8. To install your apps on other devices, just open the Microsoft Store on the device you want to add the app to, sign in, and tap or click Your apps - then choose the app and tap or click Install.