Remember when upgrading from Windows 98 to Windows 2000 or XP was a daunting task, requiring you to run through a gigantic online list of what applications–and of course, more importantly, games–would and would not work with the new OS?
Windows 8 appears to make this process much simpler than in years past, if you’re coming from Windows 7, at least. I haven’t verified this on any XP or Vista machines, entirely because I no longer run either OS on any machine I use, but the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant made it a cinch for me to check what software or drivers might cause me issues. You can get a copy of it here.
The first thing it does is run a check on your machine. It took me about 10 minutes on both my laptop and desktop. It then displays a window showing you what’s compatible and what items you might be concerned about. When you click on the latter, it’s sure to remind you that even if you don’t take any action now, Windows 8 will help you with those items if you decide to forge ahead and install it. Handily, after this step it also guides you to which version you should upgrade to depending on what you want to keep (and presumably, what OS you’re coming from, which it should detect on its own).
But more important options come about here before that next step. Each item on the list tells you whether you might need to install an update or it’s not compatible, and some of them provide direct links to either the manufacturer webpage or the actual file that you need. Very handy. In fact, I updated a driver for my sound card for the first time in a year because the upgrade assistant alerted me to it.
UPDATE: We have video showing you how Windows 8 totally won’t detonate your Steam install and games into a pile of digital feces.