How to upgrade to Windows 8 and protect your investment
October 24th, 2012
The steps you need to take to protect your current Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 investment.
There are plenty of Internet articles by now on how to upgrade to Windows 8, so I’m not going to repeat what is already known. What I’m going to provide you with is the information you need to know and the steps you need to take so that if something should go wrong when upgrading you are not left with a useless pile of junk that will not boot and tears begin running down your eyes or steam is blowing out your ears as you realize all your applications, data files, photo and more may be lost and gone forever.
I’ll provide you with some links for your reading about the general update process for your version of Windows, take the time to read them so you already know what to expect before you start the upgrade.
I’ll also provide you with the single most important pre-installation step you need to take to protect yourself and your computer.
How much is Windows 8 worth:
Microsoft is selling the upgrade version at a steeply discounted price when compared to Windows 7.Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 as a download from the MS Store. Boxed versions of Pro which includes the installation DVD for $69.00 from Amazon and other retail stores until January 31st of 2013, after that the price goes up to about $200.00 for the boxed version.
How much is your Computer worth:
Its not so much the hardware, which was costly enough when you purchased your computer but more importantly the cost of each of the software applications you have installed, your family or other photos, videos, music, documents, Email, financial records and the many hours you spent to create, document, edit by far exceeds the cost of Windows. One little hiccup during the upgrade process and it all could be lost.
Upgrading from:What you can keep: Windows 7 ............................... Software programs; Windows settings; personal files Windows Vista .......................... Windows settings; personal files Windows XP ............................. Personal files
If you need to reinstall your applications after the upgrade (assuming it’s compatible with Windows 8), round up you installation media and product keys before you start the upgrade. Use a product key finder if you have lost one or more of your product keys.
Make an Image Backup:
Probably the single most important step to protect your investment is an image backup, it gives you another chance by restoring XP, Vista or Windows 7 and all your applications to just the way they were prior to attempting the upgrade.
Image Backup software products:
Each of the following products supports Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. Both of the products listed below allow you to create a bootable recovery CD/DVD which is the very first thing you should do after installing the software and then testing the bootable CD to see if you can locate the image backup you created and stored on your external USB drive, no need to recovery Windows at this point, just see if the bootable CD functions properly.
30 day free trial allows you to create images of a hard drive, SSD and create recovery media. SSD users should be aware that the trial does not allow cloning. Purchase price $49.99
1) Connect your external USB drive. Don’t have one, cost is about $100 for a 1TB unit, try to select a unit that has an external power supply and very favorable reviews by previous customers.
2) Create a full System Image backup (the entire hard drive which includes the Windows and all other partitions). If you do need to restore Windows most of the time restoring just the System partition (Vista and Windows 7) and the Windows partition is all you need to do.
3) Test your recovery media to validate that when booting from the recovery DVD you can see the USB drive and the image backup you created. No need to start the actual recovery process.
Your total cost about $100 to $150 (assuming you need to purchase a USB drive), less if you already have a USB drive and or the software.
Word of caution, don’t use Windows 7’s Backup and Restore as there are too many reliability issues.
Backup your documents and data files:
As an extra step of insurance I would also make a traditional copy and paste backup of your data files (including Email) to the USB drive. Don’t rely on Windows Easy Transfer as your sole means of migrating your files.
Don’t do the upgrade online, create an installation DVD:
Using a DVD to upgrade eliminates the chance of an Internet service dropout resulting in data corruption. It also effectively removes your Anti-Virus software or other programs running in the background from causing any problems.
How to get the .ISO download to create your own Windows 8 installation DVD:
"After your download finishes, you can choose to proceed with the upgrade (“Install now”) or install later either from your desktop or by creating your own media.” Choose the option to create your own media.
“If you choose to create your own media, you will be able to create your own bootable USB or .ISO file which can be burned onto a DVD for upgrade and backup purposes.” Choose the .ISO option.
Create the bootable DVD from the .ISO file you downloaded: After downloading the .iso file use ImgBurn to create a bootable DVD.
ImgBurn - In addition to supporting the creation of Cds/DVDs from .ISO files, it supports a wide range of other image file formats, and it's free. (BIN, CUE, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, MDS, NRG, PDI and ISO) http://www.imgburn.com/