Windows 8 Upgrade Checklist : Before and After

I recently upgraded my Windows 7 to Windows 8, and it was an awesome experience because it happened without any error. The main reason which I feel for this is probably I did it with lot of preparation and taking care of many things. In this post, I am sharing my Windows 8 Upgrade Checklist i.e. what you should be doing before and after an upgrade, which will  help you in many ways.

Before Upgrading :

Backup Important Files : Even though I have expressed that never keep important files on your desktop, most of us knowingly or unknowingly have lots of files on desktop.  So make sure to copy whatever you have on your desktop, copied to a different drive or even a USB as a backup.

List down Apps you use :  Make a list of apps and software you use on Windows 7 PC and if you have keys for them, list them along with it. This will make sure you know what you would want to install after the upgrade is complete.

Uninstall Useless Apps : Any upgrade will ask you for some space to be available in the same drive where you have Windows installed. Windows 8 will need at least 20GB of space, and I am sure many of us will not have that space.

So go to un-install section of Windows, Sort by Size and uninstall whatever is not required. Once done, scroll down to the bottom where you have a lot of other software with no size mention. See if you really need them, else uninstall.

Windows 8 Uninstall Program

Keep making a list of anything you feel might be required. It will help you remember all of them.

Find even more space

In case uninstalling apps does not help you much with cleaning up your computer for space, use programs like WINDIRSTATS, which will give you graphical view of folder along with their size. This will help you delete folders not required or find space occupied by programs which is not listed in uninstall section of Windows.

Drive Space Check Windows 8 Upgrade

Follow the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant Advice : Now run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which will check if your PC is ready for upgrade and which of the apps are not compatible. The advisor will give you two options :

  • Update : In case the software publisher has updated their app to be compatible with Windows 8, and Microsoft knows about it, you will be notified and given a link to update it.
  • Reinstall : Some of the apps have no issues with Windows 8 but may need reinstallation because Windows 8 has changed the way it works. Add it to the list.
  • Uninstall : If apps are not at all compatible, it will ask you to uninstall it.  It is possible that even some of the drivers will be listed here. In my case, it was  my network driver which was later updated by Windows 8 installation.

Windows 8 Upgrade Advisor Recomendation

You can also check for your app on the official compatibility page here.

Uninstall Microsoft Security Essentials or any other Antivirus:

If you are using Microsoft Security Essentials, you will be glad to know that Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, which provides, the same experience and protection level. So as a last step, uninstall it and continue with the upgrade.

In case you have any other antivirus, I am sure either you will be promoted to disable it or uninstall it or upgrade it till the process is complete.

When Upgrading :

You will have the option to Clean Install, Backup only Personal Files or Backup Personal Files and Apps. Make sure you choose wisely. In case you have apps which is compatible, choose the last option.

Choose what to keep Windows 8 Upgrade

Before upgrading, Windows 8 setup is downloaded and saved on your PC. You will have the option to create a bootable media in form of saving it as ISO on your computer or bootable USB. Make use of this option so if you ever switch PC, that will help.

Windows Upgrade Create Media Option

In case, for any reason, you need to quit upgrade process, you will be glad to know that Windows 8 has a shortcut on your desktop, which will help, you launch the upgrade process again.

How to restart Windows 8 Upgrade

After Upgrading :

Cross Check for Files : Make sure to cross check personal files with back up you have made. If everything is ok, feel free to delete the backup. However, I will suggest you to keep it for while in case you need it.

Cross Check on Apps : Check with the list you made to know if all your apps are working.

Reclaim Hard Drive Space : Windows 8 upgrade process backups your entire C drive data into a traditional, windows.old folder. This is for a backup but occupies a lot of space. Good thing is it will automatically get deleted after a couple of weeks, but you can use Disk Clean-up > System Files to remove any files.

Cleaning up Old Windows Installation After Windows 8 Upgrade


Update Apps / Install Apps :  Apps which appear to be not working, and were uninstalled before upgrade should be installed now. Again cross check from your list.

Connecting User Account with Microsoft Account : Starting with Windows 8, you have the option to link your local account on your PC with Online Microsoft Account (the windows live account). In case you are confused, its the Live Account, Hotmail Account or the Xbox account you might be already using it.

The advantage of connecting are many but majorly it will help you sync your profile information across PC, Sync Browser Data, App Data and files which are linked to One Note etc.  Read more here

Connect with Windows Store & Find related Apps : Another new thing in Windows 8 is the Windows 8 Store which allows you to install apps from one place and keep it updated as new updates are rolled out. This way not only you are aware what you need to redownload when you switch to new PC but also never miss an update.

If you are totally new to Windows 8, Make sure to read our posts on Windows 8 Apps and Windows 8 Tutorials.

About Ashish Mohta

A Professional Tech blogger, Editor and Writer who talks about solving day to day problems of people who use computer. His expertise are in Windows 7, Microsoft Office, Software, Mobile Apps and Video Posts.


  1. After upgrading to Win8, if I ever need to format my PC in future, will I be able to install win8 afresh with the 2GB download file that I download for the upgrade or will I need to install Win 7 and then re-run upgrade?

    • Yes, You will need to reinstall Windows 7 and then upgrade. In case you ever feel that Windows 8 needs a reset, try refresh or inbuilt reset option in Windows 8 which is much better solution. Let me know if you have any more doubt.

      • I am using a Dell Laptop which came pre-configured with Windows 7. I am planning to upgrade it with Windows 8. Will it be a good idea to upgrade or purchase a stand alone version?

        • I am using it on my dell laptop too but it really depends on your liking. I will suggest you to take a backup or rather image of your Windows 7 Installation first and then upgrade and see if you like it. If not you can revert back to Windows 7 anytime.,

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