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You may not have to throw out your old PC to use Windows 8. That’s the latest news from Microsoft in its Building Windows 8 blog. In an entry dated November 21, company spokesman Steven Sinofsky stated the software giant is developing a streamlined setup process that will make it easy to install Windows 8 on older PCs.

This means it should be possible to install 8 on older machines configured for Vista and XP as well as Windows 7. Microsoft may also provide Windows 8 support to some of those older machines. Part of the reason the company may be doing this is that it plans to phase out support for the extremely popular Windows XP in the next few years. Yet millions of people are still using XP and it remains the operating system of choice for many businesses.

Microsoft may also be responding to the demands of business customers (its’ core market) who do not want to go through an expensive upgrade to Windows 8. There is also the possibility that Microsoft hopes to get people hooked on Windows 8 by making it available on older machines.

Cloud computing definitely plays a role here as well, many people have a number of different computers. Microsoft wants us to be able to do our work on all of these. How many people with a modern laptop also have an old desktop PC at home? If Microsoft can get everybody using Windows 8 on both of those they can make more money from it.

Older PC users will be able to download and install Windows 8 online according to Sinofsky. The first step in this process is to download and install Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Then to use it to install Windows 7 on your machine, this program now has the ability to run a Windows 8 compatibility scan. This will tell you if you can run Windows 8 on your PC or not.

When that is done you can download the developer preview of Windows 8 or wait for the real deal to come out next year. For those of us who are unsure about Windows 8 downloading it onto one of your older computers would be a great way to see if it is worth the while. The latest version of Windows 8 even has the latest version of Explorer, Explorer 10 according to media reports.

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