If you are running an older version of Windows such as Windows XP, you can use a Windows 7 disk and upgrade Windows 7 onto your computer.

If you are currently running Windows 7, you can also upgrade Windows 7 to run Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Upgrade Windows 7

Unfortunately you cannot directly upgrade from Windows XP (or prior) to Windows 8 (The latest Microsoft operating system). But there are indirect methods available to accomplish the same result.

Upgrade Windows 7 from Windows XP

If you are currently running Windows XP on your computer then you really need to upgrade this operating system. A quick route is to upgrade Windows 7 over the top of Windows XP.

Before you think any more about upgrading the computer to Windows 7, its well worth running Microsoft’s upgrade preparation tool which will tell you if the computer is capable of running Windows 7.

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Once you have established that the computer is capable of running Windows you can purchase Windows 7 here.

It is then a case of inserting the WIndows 7 CD into your computer and then electing to start the boot menu when the computer turns on – This is often accomplished by pressing F12 during the first stage of the computer boot. But the specific key for your computer will normally be displayed when you first turn on the computer.

Once you get the boot menu, select CD/DVD and then follow the on screen prompts.

When you are asked for the type of installation you required, it is important to select “Custom”. Windows 7 will then search for existing operating system installations and prompt you with upgrade options.

If you follow the upgrade procedure correctly you will end up with Windows 7 on your computer with all of your data intact.

Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 8

If you are already running Windows 7 and you want to upgrade Windows 7 to WIndows 8 then the procedure is even easier.

Microsoft also have an upgrade assistant for Windows 7 to Windows 8, available here. This tool will check your computer against the minimum requirements as well as checking for any incompatible software.

Once you are happy that the upgrade is possible, you can once again purchase a copy of Windows 8 from ebuyer, or other software distributor.

Once again boot your PC from the Windows 8 disk and you will be prompted to upgrade windows. Make sure that Windows advises you that it will keep your applications and data. If you are not advised of this during the setup, then the upgrade may not be possible on your PC.

Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8

Unfortunately there is no direct way to upgrade WIndows XP to Windows 8. Instead you must back up all of your data and then perform a clean install of Windows 8.

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Again make sure that your PC is compatible with Windows 8 before you start.

If you have very precious data on your computer then its probably best to create a complete image of your current hard drive using a software such as Acronis Tue Image which you can then copy to an external drive, or purchase a new hard drive, remove the old one and install Windows 8 on the new drive. The new drive method means that your old drive (and data) is in tact and anything that you missed during your backup can be easily recovered.