1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Checking Windows 8 Compatibility

The New OS and Your Current Software, Apps, Devices, and More


Windows 8 Compatible logo

Here's how you can check for Windows 8 compatibility with your current software, apps, devices, and more.

Windows 8 is the much anticipated new version of Microsoft’s operating system—and for many, that anticipation is coupled with some trepidation. Anytime a new operating system comes into the picture, the question boils down to: “Will it do what I need it to do?” A very important question before switching!

As the stage on which your desktop and mobile applications function, your operating system is pretty pivotal.

How to Check Windows 8’s Compatibility with Software

Microsoft is continually releasing so many products at once, that it pays to check on compatibility before adopting a new operating system version, software, or device. Even if all these things were made by Microsoft, sometimes the timing may cause you to hit a snag.

After all, what if you assume you will be able to utilize a full version of software that is only in preview? That could really trip up your productivity.

Windows Compatibility Center

Rather than spending arduous amounts of time studying the rules of what is and is not compatible with Windows 8, Microsoft has a wonderful tool you can use.

The Windows Compatibility Center offers user review scores with comments, but it also gives you a definite statement of yay or nay.

Example 1: Checking Windows 8 Compatibility for Your Version of Microsoft Office

For example, when I entered ‘Microsoft Office’ in the search box at the top of the scrren, I saw a lot of versions that are voted to be at least somewhat compatible.

Notice, though, how one at the top, Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, has the Windows Compatible Logo symbol showing it is officially approved by Microsoft.

On the other hand, I saw a big red X next to older versions like Office 2003 Professional and Office 2010 Starter, so I know that I may need to put off switching to Windows 8 if I am not willing to upgrade to a newer version of Office.

Example 2: Checking Windows 8 Compatibility for Alternative Office Suites

I tried checking on some of the major office suite alternatives. What I found is, while many are compatible with Windows 8, be sure to check which version you have been using on your current setup. Better to know now if Windows 8 supports the version you like.

Example 3: Checking Windows 8 Compatibility for a Device

Unfortunately, this Windows Compatibility Center does not really list device compatibility for tablets, smartphones, PC’s, and laptops. The devices you can look up include peripherals like keyboards, printers, cameras, or networking gear.

Or scanners. I looked up my HP ScanJet 2200C Scanner and found out it will not be compatible with Windows 8. Good to know!

Example 4: Checking Windows 8 Compatibility for an App

As you go about checking Windows 8 compatibility for your favorite apps, keep in mind that web-based apps do not depend on the operating system. For example, if I searched the Windows Compatibility Center for a LinkedIn app, I get nothing. However, I have a LinkedIn app that works on my Windows smartphone, and it’s because it is web-based, not because I have Windows 8.

In summary, using the Windows Compatibility Center really is the more sane way to check whether a given product, app, or device is compatible with Windows 8.

As you contemplate your options, please do let me know if you run into any questions.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.