Installing Windows 8 on an Old Computer

Try Giving Your Older Computer New Life with Windows 8

If you have an older Windows XP-based computer lying around that seems too slow to do anything, you could try Windows 8 on it to see if it gets you a performance boost. Find it hard to believe that a brand-new operating system could help a doddering old PC?  We recommend trying it out on a computer that is not your primary computer at first, just to work it out as a test run.

Windows 7 was a popular product for Microsoft – especially when compared to the widely-scorned Windows Vista that it replaced. Windows 7 was more stable and more efficient with a computer’s resources. With Windows 8, Microsoft has aimed for even greater efficiency.

As your chosen Denver IT Support company, we’re here to save you time with Windows 8.


You might also enjoy our entire series of articles on Microsoft Windows 8

It’s been built to place lower demands on a computer’s RAM and hard disk space and to go easy on both the processor and the graphics card. Everything about Windows 8 – right from the installation process to the file and task managers – demonstrate an eye for efficiency.

Going by initial tests and reports, Microsoft has been successful in its aims. Computers with Windows 8 boot up and shut down more quickly than when they are on older versions of Windows. They offer faster performance as well.

The efficiencies of Windows 8 easily make a noticeable difference to the performance of powerful new computers. On an old computer, the efficiency of Windows makes all the difference in the world.

Windows 8 is the ideal choice for older laptops, especially. Greater efficiency in a program or operating system translates to lower power demands. If you have an old Celeron netbook or another slow device, you’ll find that these tiny batteries run far longer with an efficient operating system like Windows 8.

How do you get started installing Windows 8 on an old computer?

The only issue you are likely to face running a new OS on an old computer is finding the right drivers. Windows 8 comes with a large complement of drivers for every description of computer hardware. If you have a laptop or branded desktop, you should look at the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers.

If your computer is built out of components, you will need to go to the website of the manufacturer of the motherboard, the graphics card (and anything else that you may have) to look for specific driver releases. If Windows 8 doesn’t have inbuilt drivers and your computer is too old to have specific Windows 7 or 8 drivers made available, you always have the option of installing an old driver in compatibility mode.

Once you have Windows 8 up and running on your senior computer

As impressive as the improvements out of the box are likely to be installing Windows on an older computer, you can do better. All you need is to look at replacing a few inefficient Microsoft software components with more efficient third-party software. You could also change a few settings on Windows for more efficiency. You need to try the following steps.

  1. Computers these days come with capacious hard drives. These large drives don’t get defragmented as often as the smaller drives that we all used to struggle with not long ago. If your computer has a simple 80 GB hard drive, you need to relearn those disk defragmenting skills. The problem, though, is that the built-in Disk Defragmenter on the latest Windows is just as inefficient as ever. Try downloading a third-party defragmenter like Defraggler. It does a far more thorough job hunting down every fragment of a file in putting them all together.
  2. The Disk Cleanup utility on Windows 8 is also as ineffective as ever. You should try the free CCleaner third-party utility for better results. Not only does it clear your hard disk of junk files, it cleans up your startup items as well.
  3. If your computer is really elderly, you’ll need to try every way available to you, to speed things along. Since Windows 8 is primarily designed for new computers, it comes filled with many graphical effects that tend to be burdensome on an older model (even if Windows 8 does eye candy in moderation compared to Windows 7). You need to call up the Performance Options window on your Windows 8 to disable all the unnecessary visual effects. Once you do this, you’ll find that your computer runs far more nimbly. It’s easy to do this. Look on the Internet for the easiest way to find the Performance Options panel. Once you have it, look under the Visual Effects tab. You’ll see four options at the top. You need to click on Adjust for Best Performance and then click Okay. Right away, Windows puts your computer’s resources to work only on important things and not on style.
  4. Windows starts up with a large list of features and runs them behind the scenes. These tend to weigh an older computer down. Doing something as simple as disabling unused Live Tiles should give you a performance boost. To disable each unused one, simply right-click on it and look for the option that allows you to shut it off.
  5. UAC is the Windows service that asks you for permission each time an important change to Windows is made. This may not be the best idea on a new computer. On aging hardware, though, turning this off can be a worthwhile move – especially if it’s a personal computer for casual use. You’ll just need to be watchful for any unauthorized software installation requests on your computer. Simply place your mouse on the right corner of your screen – upper or lower – to bring the Charms bar out. Click on Search and then Settings. Type the letters UAC in the search box. Right away, you get your user account control settings box. Slide the slider down all the way and you will disable every notification – for instant gratification.

You’re likely to coax an old computer to work 25% faster with these moves. Not only will you have faster boot up and shut down, you will find that your entire user experience is a lot more responsive.

If you want help in upgrading your business office to Windows 8, contact the expert Denver IT Support team at North Star, Inc. We’re here to help. Call us at 303-552-0018.

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