The upgrade will only be possible from computers running Windows 8 or 7
Windows 8.1 is now up for preorder, so you can reserve your own copy of the operating system only, while shipments will only begin on October 18.But before buying Windows 8.1, there are couple of things you need to know first, including details concerning the upgrading process to this new platform.
Just like Microsoft mentions on the Windows 8.1 page of the official store, “Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista,” which means that a clean install is needed if you’re willing to switch to 8.1 from these two old operating systems.
On the other hand, if you’re already running Windows 7 right now, upgrading to 8.1 is piece of cake, as all files are automatically transferred to your new copy of Windows.
In case you’re a Windows XP or Vista user, Microsoft recommends to first purchase Windows 8 and only then get the free update to 8.1 from the Store.
“If you’re running Windows 8, visit the Windows Store for a free update to Windows 8.1 starting on October 17. If you're running Windows 7, your files will easily transfer. If you're running Windows Vista or earlier, qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 8.1 by purchasing Windows 8 now,” the company explained.
As far as hardware requirements are concerned, Windows 8.1 requires a 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor and 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) of RAM. The 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 needs a CPU that supports CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF..
The 32-bit version takes up to 16 GB of storage space on your hard drive, while the 64-bit release eats as much as 20 GB.
A touchscreen display is also needed in case you want to make the most of the Modern UI, and so is a Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver for a smooth experience.