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Windows 8 Professional Upgrade
Installation FAQ

Installation of the Windows 8 Professional Upgrade is not necessarily straightforward and there’s a lot of misinformation about how to get over the hurdles that Microsoft put in the way. Here are answers to some of the key questions you may face.

  1. I’m running a 32-bit version of Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7. Can I run the Windows 8 install program and wind up with a 64-bit version of Windows 8?

    No, it’s not possible to change the bitness of the operating system via this kind of an in-place upgrade.

  2. I’m running a 32-bit version of Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7. How, then, can I install a 64-bit version of Windows 8?

    You need to create a 64-bit Windows 8 .ISO file, burn it to a DVD and then start up from the DVD.

  3. I’m running a 32-bit version of Vista / Windows 7. How do I create a 64-bit Windows 8 .ISO file?

    The bitness of a Windows 8 .ISO file mirrors that of the operating system in which the Windows 8 setup program is run. To create a 64-bit Windows 8 .ISO file, run the Windows 8 setup program in a 64-bit version of Vista or Windows 7.

  4. I tried running the Windows 8 install program under Windows XP, but I didn’t see how to save the .ISO file. Why?

    Under Windows XP, a Windows 8 installation does not propose media creation — an .ISO image cannot be saved. Run the installation from either Vista or Windows 7.

  5. I have a 32-bit version of Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 and I purchased a product key for Windows 8. Will the product key work with the 64-bit version of Windows 8?

    A Windows 8 product key can be used indiscriminately with either the 32-bit or the 64-bit version of Windows 8.

  6. I’m running Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 in a particular language. Can I install Windows 8 in a different language?

    The Windows 8 language installed by default mirrors that of the operating system in which its setup program is run. The .ISO image created in an English version of Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 will install an English version of Windows 8.

    However, Microsoft now provides language packs for download and it’s simple to change the Windows 8 system language via Language in Control Panel. A new language must first be added (downloaded) and installed. Then, it’s made active via Control Panel | Language | (choose the desired installed language) | Options | Make this the primary language. The chosen language is used after a simple logoff/logon.

  7. I’m using Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. Can I run the Windows 8 setup inside one of my virtual machines?

    No, under Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, the installation will complain about insufficient RAM and available hard disk space, both of which are contrived. The setup program can be run from a Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 virtual machine under VMware or Oracle VirtualBox.

  8. I performed a clean install of Windows 8 Pro Upgrade into an empty partition. How can it be activated?

    A clean install requires a special activation procedure, variously described here, here and here. I wrote a .VBS script that automates the procedure. Complete the clean install and then run this script:


    … where “Act-Up” is short for Activation of a clean Upgrade install.

    • The script requires entry of a valid Windows 8 product key, the same key already used when initiating the (clean) install.
    • The script also allows activation of clean installs of upgrade versions of Vista and Windows 7.
    • The script runs correctly in a Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 virtual machine under VMware or Oracle VirtualBox.
    • The script is protected by copyright. You do not have permission to modify the script code. If the script doesn’t work correctly or you have a suggestion for improvement, please contact me.
  9. I have another question about installing Windows 8. How can I add to this FAQ?

    Send me your question. I’ll try to answer it.

Last updated: 20 November 2012

Copyright 2018 by Andrew Aronoff