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Windows 8’s installation process is renowned for being as easy as possible. It’s the fastest Windows installation process to date and the entire operating system is installed in just minutes with very little input from the user.
Installing Windows 8 using a DVD drive is so simple that anybody can do it, so we won’t even bother explaining it here. However, installing Windows 8 over a USB stick is another matter. If your computer doesn’t have a DVD drive or if you just want to challenge yourself, here’s how to install Windows 8 from a USB key.
Why install via USB?
If you’re thinking about installing Windows 8 via USB, then here are a few reasons and advantages of doing so:
-You don’t have an optical drive hooked up to your computer (say, if you’re using a netbook)
-You want to have an easily accessible copy of Windows 8 available on your disk or USB stick in case of recovery
– You always seem to lose Windows installation disks around your home
-You want to download and install Windows 8 today without leaving your home
The installation process
What you need:
-A credit card that can handle a $39.99 charge
-A USB stick with about 4.7GB of space
Step 1) Buy Windows 8
First, you need to purchase your copy of Windows 8. To do that, click on this link and visit the official Microsoft Store. Windows 8 Pro is available for $39.99 as a software copy and $69.99 as a physical copy, provided that you are currently using XP, Vista, or Windows 7.
Step 2) Download the download manager
Microsoft has made downloading Windows 8 as easy as possible. Simply download the USB/DVD Download Tool. Don’t be fooled by that page – although it says Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, it can be used to download Windows 8.
Step 3) Insert your USB stick
We hope this step is self-explanatory
Step 4) Run the USB/DVD Download Tool app
This app makes downloading the Windows 8 .iso as easy as possible. Simply run the app, install it, and choose which .iso file you want to copy to your USB stick. Then, the app will ask whether you want to create a backup on a USB stick or DVD – choose USB.
Step 5) Begin copying
On the next window, the download tool will allow you to begin the process by hitting the ‘Begin copying’ button. Simply wait for the process to complete and allow Windows to wipe your USB stick if it needs more space.
Step 6) Install Windows 8
So far, you’ve managed to place the Windows 8 .iso file on a USB stick, but you haven’t installed it yet. Next, make sure the USB stick is in your computer and then restart it and prepare to access the BIOS menu.
BIOS is the first thing you see when you boot your computer. In order to access the BIOS menu, you generally press the DEL (delete) key, although this can change from BIOS to BIOS. The BIOS screen will tell you which key to press, so watch your screen as it boots up and get those fingers ready.
Once in the BIOS, look for the Boot Menu and place the USB stick at the top of the boot order. By default, BIOS generally likes to boot the CD/DVD drive before booting the hard drive, in which case your previous Windows installation will be found before your .iso on the USB stick is found.
Once you’ve correctly configured the boot process, you’ll be greeted with the Windows 8 installation menu. Windows 8’s installation is very simple, and the only real decision users have to make is whether they want to upgrade their system or perform a clean install.
Upgrade: With an upgrade, most of your Windows 7 settings will be retained during the installation of Windows 8, including all files and programs. Windows Vista and XP users do not get to keep their software during an upgrade, but they do keep their files. You can also tell Windows 8 to only keep personal files (the files in your user folder) while deleting everything else. The ‘Upgrade’ feature is even smart enough to upgrade drivers, which means your programs should work right off the bat.
Clean install: Meanwhile, a clean install allows you to get a fresh start on a brand new operating system. This is the best way to proceed, especially if you’ve already backed up all the personal files you want to keep. A clean install gives you access to a faster PC with no bloatware or junk software.
Step 7) Problems? Read this guide
Microsoft generally designs good software. However, every once in a while, the Download Tool app encounters some problems. It might not be able to recognize the .iso file, for example, which is obviously a frustrating issue. If you’ve encountered any problems with the Windows 8 installation process via USB, check out this fantastic writeup by MaximumPC that tells you how to install Windows 8 manually using a few simple command prompts. Trust us: it’s not as hard as you might think.