if i want to do a clean install of windows 8, it seems i have to start with an xp installation. Why do i have to use a 2001 operating system disc, to install a 2012 operating system? Surely windows 95 and 98 discs are obsolete, and so surely should xp discs by now?
This is the upgrade version of windows 8, as a result XP, Vista or Win 7 must be installed first, therefore Andrew is correct. This is because it cannot perform a clean install, it just updates the components of the previously installed OS.
Windows 7 allowed you to install itself as a trial and then you could use that Windows 7 installation as "upgrade" for upgrading Windows 7 so if you bought the Windows 7 Upgrade, simply install it without activating as "full version", reboot, reinstall as upgrade. Hopefully that will work for Windows 8 as well.
You do not need the windows XP disc to use the upgrade version of windows 8, in your case choose to upgrade and follow the on-screen prompts.
If you do not have an installation but have a virgin disc (new build or new hard drive ) you CAN still use this disc as I have, but you cant do a one-off install on a virgin drive with the upgrade disc as it will not auto activate. You can however install a second time and select the same location, it will tell you that it will place the previous installation into a folder marked old, carry on and install, then once booted just delete the folder in C:\Old windows.
My understanding is that, because this is Windows Pro UPGRADE, you need to have evidence that you have previously purchased a legal copy of a previous version of Windows. You don't have to have that previous version installed on your PC, or even the have the disc itself, but you DO need to have the licence key for that previous version to prove that you are upgrading from a legit copy. The install of Windows 8 upgrade may ask you to verify it. Having said that, I installed Win8 Pro upgrade over my previously installed Release Preview, and it just sailed through.
Actually I've just purchased a Windows 8 pro (ISO) download for £14.99, burned it to a disk and it just installed.. booting straight into the install environment as a "custom install" over my Windows 7 and NOT as an upgrade either!
To use the disc as an upgrade ( wishing to keep all previous programs installed and documents etc) you need to have a working version of windows as you run from the installer side of the disc.
To do a clean install or replace an existing version of windows you need only to boot from the disc and have a directory that had a version of windows to point it to, it will save all the old content to a folder on the C: drive called *windows old* you may delete this once you have retrieved any of the contents you need to keep, or like me if you was using the install twice as a work around to use the upgrade key just delete it as none of it was needed anyway.
The upgrade disc does NOT do a key check on the previous windows installation, think about it, you may not have had a working internet connection at the time of install lol. It does Not check to see if the previous install actually worked either. it just needs to see a valid directory.
If you try to do an install on a virgin drive (It WILL let you) you will find that it will not auto activate when it starts so you will need to the the install twice trick to creat a previous directory to install to thus making the upgrade key valid.
for the record, i download windows 8 and used it to upgrade a fresh xp installation. I have since wiped the drive, in order to go "back" to windows 7. I fear I have lost my £25 that windows 8 cost me, but to be quite honest, i dont miss windows 8, and i wouldnt want to use it again!
As long as you have the windows Key in your email addy you will not have lost it , you are only paying for the key at the end of the day, windows 8 has taken ,me a while to get used to and can be frustrating at times but i am going to be sticking with it, i still use windows 7 on my laptop but i know for sure that i will never be going back to XP lol