More info on Windows 8 Consumer Preview requirements

Microsoft has now made the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version available for download to the public. But can your PC handle it? In a new post on the Windows 8 developer blog site, Windows team member Grant George talks about the system requirements needed for your PC to run the Consumer Preview build.

George repeats what Microsoft has said in the past: any PC that can run the current commercial version of Windows 7 can also run Windows 8. Here are the specifics:

  • 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

George also says that users of such PCs "should see measureable improvements in performance in a number of dimensions with a system at this level."

One interesting requrement is that all Metro apps have to run with at least a 1024x768 screen resolution or in 1366x768 resolution if it uses the snap feature. If you attempt to run a Metro app at less than 1024x768, you will get an error message. George states:

We chose to allow Windows 8 to install even when a system doesn’t meet this requirement because, even without Metro style applications, your Windows 7 workloads on these PCs will improve and you can benefit from all the other features of Windows 8, including enhancements to the desktop. We have made sure that Start and Settings all scale well on 800x600 resolution screens.

George also recommends running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on actual hardware rather than on a virtual machine.

There are only a few current PCs that will have support for Windows 8's touch screen interface. George has listed some of the PCs that Microsoft has tested with Windows 8 in their labs. They include:

  • HP Elitebook 2760p convertible (Note: This PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
  • ASUS EP121 tablet (Note: his PC is 1280x800 and so does not support snap.)
  • Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
  • Lenovo x220t convertible
  • 3M M2256PW 22” display (Note: The raised bezel can make it harder to swipe along the edges)
  • Samsung Series 7 slate (Note: This PC has two models, one was provided to attendees at //build/ and the other is a commercial release; the latter has slightly different peripherals and firmware.)

George also goes over some Windows 8 requirements for specific systems. For example, the Secured Boot system requires a UEFI BIOS which not many current PCs support at the moment. Some games that will be available in the Windows Store for download will also require DirectX 10 or higher.

If you already have the Windows 8 Developer Preview, you can migrate to the new Consumer Preview but users cannot use the upgrade option. That will also be true when the final commercial version of Windows 8 is released.

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