Youll also be sacrificing room on your hard drive to run two operating systems that are completely independent from one another. It almost goes without saying, but installing an app like Steam on Windows 7 doesnt mean that youll be able to run it through Windows 8they're two separate worlds. Youd have to install Steam on Windows 8 as well, duplicating your efforts on a single drive.
All that said, dual-booting is a tried-and-true process for making the most out of two different operating systems if you absolutely cant live without each. We recommend the process wholeheartedly unless space is of the utmost concern on your system. And if thats the case, maybe its time for a second hard drive.
Fully installing Windows 8
Here we go. The biggie. Youre ready to take the full plunge and wave goodbye to your legacy operating system forever. Windows 8 has arrived, and it is the conqueror on your desktop. Let no other operating system stand in its path.
Installing Windows 8 is extraordinarily easy and extraordinarily quick. First, though, pay heed to the gentle but firm notice that you get only one shot at this if youre doing a clean install. Make sure that youve backed up all important files from your existing operating system before you wipe it and start anew.
You'll also need to decide whether youre going to upgrade from your existing operating system or go with a completely clean installation. In short, an upgrade installation will do its best to preserve your files and settings from one operating system to the next. Just how much of your existing OS experience is preserved depends on what youre running: When upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8 will attempt to preserve all your personal files as well as your applications. But if you're upgrading from Vista or XP, Windows 8 will preserve only the files, and you'll have to reinstall your apps afterwards.
The other option is to perform a clean installation, which completely wipes your existing OS and all the files on your hard drive partition, then follows up with a fresh, brand-new installation of Windows 8. Scorched earth.
So which do you pick? The jury is out. More experienced computer users who really enjoy the clean slate of a wipe-and-installor who are otherwise terrified that they arent going to get peak performance from whatever drivers Windows 8 keeps around from Windows 7should opt for the clean installation. A clean install is also a great way to give your PC a "do-over" to clean out the clutter that accumulates over the years. Indeed, on the second go-around of app installations, you might be less likely to install programs you dont actually use much.