Windows 8 Editions and System Requirements

Before you start

Objectives: Learn the minimum system requirements for Windows 8 and which Windows 8 editions are available.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: Windows, edition, bit, features, requirements, applications

System Requirements

To run Windows 8, our processor has to be at least 1 GHz. For 32-bit Windows 8 we need 1 GB of RAM, and for 64-bit installation we need 2 GB. When it comes to free space on our hard drive, we need 16 GB for 32-bit installation and 20 GB for 64-bit installation. The graphics card has to support DirectX 9 and WDDM driver (some games or programs might require DirectX 10 or higher).

There are some Windows 8 features which require additional requirements. For example, to use touch features, we need a monitor that supports multitouch, or we can use Windows 8 on a Tablet. Windows 8 comes with a built-in store, but to use it we need a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768, and an Internet connection of course. To snap apps to the side of our screen we need a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768. To use BitLocker, we have to have either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 or a USB flash drive. To check if our PC meets all requirements we can always run the Upgrade Assistant tool.


Windows 8 comes in several editions. The first edition is simply calledWindows 8. There is a 32-bit and 64-bit version. It is intended for home PCs and for Tablets (it works with touchscreen). It includes many built-in applications like Mail, Calendar, Photos, SkyDrive, Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, etc. For more applications we can always visit the Windows Store. As we will see, some applications like Windows Explorer, Task Manager, are improved. Windows 8 also brings better multi-monitor support.

The second edition is the Windows 8 Pro edition. It is intended for business users and for those who want to have the advanced features of Windows 8. The Pro editions includes all the features in Windows 8, and it also includes features like encryption (BitLocker), virtualization (Client Hyper-V), advanced PC management, Remote Desktop, Active Directory domain join, etc.

Another edition is the Windows RT. This edition comes preinstalled on certain PCs and Tablets. This edition can only work with ARM processors, and it is not able to run traditional 32-bit or 64-bit software. Instead, this edition can run touch and mobile oriented apps which are available from the Windows Store.

We also have a Windows 8 Enterprise edition whih is intended for enterprise users with Software Assurance (SA) agreements. This edition includes all Windows 8 Pro features, and it also includes more advanced features like Windows-To-Go, DirectAcces, BranchCache, AppLocker, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).