How do I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8?

Original title : Help upgrading from XP to Win8


I have been told four times now by different Microsoft Support agents (2 online, 2 by phone) that an upgrade path exists between Windows XP and Windows 8 using the downloadable software upgrade. I am beginning to suspect I was misinformed.


I have a new hard drive, a product key/license for Windows 8 (with no installation media, ONLY the downloadable upgrade), and product key/license/installation media for both Win XP and XP x64.

I have installed XP x64 on the hdd. BOTH the WIndows 8 Upgrade, and the Upgrade Assistant fail to run, returning the error "Platform not supported."


Support has told me I need to run Windows Update to make sure I have the latest Service Packs (etc). I do. Then they told me I need Service Pack 3--but XP x64 does not have a Service Pack 3. I have asked if this means I need to reinstall XP (32), upgrade to SP 3, and then upgrade to Win8 (but this seems even less likely if I cannot upgrade from x64).


But Support refuses to answer any direct question, instead telling me some nebulous path exists and I must simply upgrade to the latest Service Packs and then run their vaunted Upgrade Assistant.


Finally, I also have the Win8 Consumer Preview software on a USB drive (which originally bridged the upgrade from XP to Win 8). Would installing this instead be a viable alternative, even though the Preview has now ended?


Here is what you do:


Step 1: Reinstall Windows XP SP3 on the new hard disk:

Reinstall Windows XP:

Install,reinstall, or uninstall Windows - Help & How-to ...


Step: 2 Download and create a bootable copy of Windows 8 64 bit.


When performing the upgrade process the upgrade assistant determines your existing architecture, downloads the same architecture and installs.

To change from 32bit Windows to 64bit Windows a clean install will be performed (will have to reinstall applications etc…)

You can go to a computer running a 64 bit version (Vista or Windows 7) and do the download there and create a bootable copy.


create your own:



Step 3: Install Windows 8 64 bit over Windows XP SP3:

Boot from the Windows 8 media you create

Boot from the media you created to install on another partition


Click Install Now
Accept License Agreement
When the option is displayed to select an installation type, click (Custom Advanced)

select the disk partition where you would like to install Windows 8 Click Next.

You will receive the following warning:

The partition you selected might contain files from a previous Windows Installation. If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named Windows.old. You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will be able to use your previous version of Windows.

(At all cost, do NOT click anything named Format or Delete or Partition. So even doing a custom install, your personal files are still preserved. Click OK

Setup will now start the installation. During the installation, your machine will be restarted several times.

When the installation is complete, you can complete the Out of Box experience such as selecting your laptop, create a username, password, your time zone. You can then proceed to download the latest updates for Windows and reinstall your applications and drivers.

You can then recover your personal files from the Windows.old folder and reinstall all your applications and drivers.

Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT

27 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.


Question Info

Last updated July 6, 2020 Views 28,069 Applies to: