Windows 8 Upgrade: XP, Vista Users to Lose Settings

Dennis Faas's picture

According to a new report, users of Microsoft's three-year-old Windows 7 operating system (OS) are the only ones who will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 without losing files or custom settings.

For users of an older Windows OS, such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, this news may make the upcoming debut of Windows 8 somewhat less attractive.

In a report released late last week, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley showed off a Windows 8 upgrade guide which she says is based on information gleaned from sources within Microsoft.

Full Upgrades Easy for Windows 7 Users

Foley has learned that users of the home-based versions of Windows 7, which includes Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, and Windows 7 Home Premium, will be able to keep their current Windows settings, personal files, and apps when they upgrade.

Those users will have a choice of upgrading to either the basic version of Windows 8 or the more expansive and elaborate Windows 8 Pro. (Source:

The same basic deal will apply to users of Windows 7's various business editions, which includes Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate.

Only users of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise, however, will be able to perform a full upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise (made available to those holding special licenses and Software Assurance contracts) without losing their current Windows settings, personal files, or apps.

Settings Lost for Many Windows XP, Vista Users

The more troublesome and time-consuming upgrades will be in store for Windows OS users who are jumping all the way from the decade-old Windows XP, or from 2007's Windows Vista, to any version of Windows 8.

According to Foley, Windows Vista users (who have not installed Service Pack 1) can make the upgrade to Windows 8. But in completing the transition, they will lose everything except their personal data.

If a Vista user installs Service Pack 1 (a collection of all OS updates) before making the upgrade, however, they will be able to keep their system settings intact for the new Windows 8 OS.

As for Windows XP users, they'll need to upgrade to Service Pack 3 before even attempting to make the upgrade to Windows 8. Even then, only their personal data will come through. There's apparently no way to transfer system settings and applications from XP to Windows 8.

Windows 8 is expected to begin shipping to retailers sometime this fall. (Source:

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