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Microsoft details system recommendations for Windows 8 Consumer Preview

With the recent release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Beta), many users are wondering what type of computer setup they need to have in order to install this Beta build of Windows 8. Microsoft has revealed the system recommendations and offers a few tips.

Microsoft has stated that the system requirements for Windows 8 is the same as Windows 7. “This setup gets you going with Windows 8 such that it is functionally equivalent to Windows 7, and as we have talked about previously, you should see measureable improvements in performance in a number of dimensions with a system at this level,” Microsoft stated in an official blog post.

These are the basic requirements to run Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Microsoft also warns that Metro style apps have a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768, and 1366×768 for the snap feature. Anything less will receive an error message.

Microsoft also recommends that users run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on hardware that is intended to run Windows 8 once it goes final, rather than running it in a virtual machine. “Some of you will run virtualized environments for enterprise workloads or specialized purposes, but we strongly recommend that you experience Windows 8 on hardware, as it was designed to run for the majority of consumer experiences,” Microsoft adds.

The company also offered several other tips in order to have Windows 8 Consumer Preview working fully:

  • Secured Boot requires a new UEFI BIOS, which is not available broadly on PCs yet, but is starting to be made available. If your machine does have UEFI, you can enable it via BIOS settings.
  • BitLocker does not require but performs more seamlessly if your PC has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Machines that have this sometimes require it to be enabled via BIOS settings. BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive that meets performance criteria evaluated at installation time.
  • Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and an additional 2 GB of RAM. You can also enable SLAT via a BIOS setting.
  • Some games and other software require graphics capabilities compatible with DirectX 10 or higher (including some games available in the Consumer Preview and in the Windows Store. We will continue to improve the verification of your system prior to downloading or running software with these requirements). Some games and programs might require a graphics card for optimal performance.
  • If you clean install instead of upgrade, you should check your PC manufacturer’s website to make sure you install any specific drivers that they provide there. Many laptops will get better battery life with a power-optimized driver that is specific for that PC (often known as ACPI, Power, or Chipset driver).
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