Is Windows 8 for Your Computer?
The short answer is if your computer is not more than two years old, most likely it will install with limited issues. If the computer is older, you should not install it on your computer to avoid a myriad of aggravating problems that can last hours or days. If your computer is four years old, Windows 7 is a better choice, if you need to upgrade. Before you upgrade, check with the manufacturer's website for information first. If the website indicates no or it has not been tested to run on the computer, don't. Also, don't rely on the Windows 8 to diagnose if your computer is compatible for it or not, it may misdiagnose or not provide a message about your computer's compatibility and the OS. There have been attempts to upgrade from XP but the bottom line is- don't try. Too many changes and hardware issues abound on the older machine. If you try, do a clean install but the hardware and bios will cause you problems. If you like puzzles, try it. If your older computer has a Core 2 Quad cpu, is OS 64-bit, your chances will increase but maybe simply going to Win 7 is a better choice.
If you decide to install Win 8 on your older computer expect to spend hours (2+) to do it, expect more time to tweak and getting updates, expect freezing screens, functions to not work, lose functionality of many software apps you have and reinstalling them. Just expect this to occur because Microsoft really prefers you get Win 8 on a new machine or one not more than one year old. It really is an OS for the present and future, not past. Expect your computer to have 10+ gigabytes less free storage on the HD.
The requirements for Win 8 are: 1-2 gigabytes of memory, 16-20 gigabytes of HD space, Direct X 9 with WDDM driver.