Print 31 comment(s) - last by Iaiken.. on Nov 25 at 1:16 PM

You'll now only need the central installer to migrate files and utilities, plus its faster to boot

Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) next generation operating system, Windows 8 has some big shoes to fill, as the successor to the fastest-selling operating system in Microsoft's history.  It is currently in Developer Preview (publicly available) and is set to launch late next year.

Microsoft has already showed off improved features, like a less painful Windows Update process, faster bootsdecreased OS resource consumption, and improved file transfers.   Its latest demo showcases how it hopes to streamline the setup/upgrade process in Windows 8.

In Windows 8, Microsoft has folded Windows Upgrade Advisor and Easy Transfer into the central installer.  The finished installer spits out a neat compatibility report as the first step in an upgrade process.  The report tells you which apps and devices will work with Windows 8 -- and which ones won't.

Windows 8
Windows 8 takes Windows 7's installation utilities and merges them into a single streamlined multifunctional installer. [Image Source: Microsoft]

Assuming the user okays the upgrade, the installation process then begins.  Much like Apple, Inc. (AAPL), Microsoft has moved its distribution primarily online.  While it will still offer boxed DVDs, for Windows 8 is primarily pushing a downloadable purchase.  That download has your product key already activated, so it's all set to install without interruption.  The download arrives via a robust built-in download manager.  The download manager automatically detects the upgrader's language and the applicable upgrade version (32-bit or 64-bit).  

The download has also been chopped down.  A Windows 7 x86 ISO takes up 2.32 GB of space.  By removing redundant files and folders, Windows 8 chops this down greatly.  For example, for the x86 installer it is now reduced to 2.10 GB.  Using specialized compression it then further crunches this down -- in the x86 case to 1.51 GB.  The result is a smaller file that downloads quicker and takes up less hard drive space.

Once downloaded, you now have the chance to install on a secondary partition, with the Setup program helping burn an ISO or make a bootable Flash copy of the Windows installer to carry out the rest of the process.  Regardless of your choice, you get to choose what kinds of files you carry over from your previous version of Windows.  

Microsoft writes that the types of files that can be transfered over vary based on your OS version:

You can transfer these…   When upgrading from…  
  Windows 7 Windows Vista Windows XP
Applications x    
Windows settings x x  
User accounts and files x x x

The last step is for Setup to take your choice and finish the installation.  In the case of error, e.g. lack of free hard drive space, Microsoft gives you the ability to go off and fix the issue and then return to the Setup.

The installation itself is faster, particularly for systems with lots of files and applications.  Microsoft has optimized its installation process by using hard links, rather than physical file moves and a single folder for transfering your applications and files.  Whole folders can now be moved, further speeding up the process.  The result is a virtual flat line of install time versus the amount "stuff" on your machine:

Windows 8 install times

Microsoft claims you will be able to install Windows 8 in as little as 11 clicks, an 82 percent reduction from Windows 7.  

But Microsoft has also beefed up the array of options for IT professionals and power users.  Most notably, it now offers the ability to create an unattend installation file that contains key injection and your answers for the setup process (including multi-boot partition installation, etc.).  This is somewhat akin to the Linux "kickstart" file.

Windows 8 looks like it finally has progressed to a more logical setup -- a single multi-purpose utility, compressed downloads, unattended install options, hard linking old files and folders, and more.

If you want to try out Windows 8 Developer Preview, we suggest using multi-boot as performance is pretty sluggish in most virtual machines (not to mention it isn't compatible with others, like Microsoft's own Virtual PC).  A good guide is posted here on Lifehack.

Source: Microsoft

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By kleinma on 11/22/2011 8:02:06 PM , Rating: 5
Honestly what is the point of that first pic in the article when you can't see the screens, can't read the captions, and can't click on it to view it full size?

RE: pics?
By nocturne_81 on 11/23/2011 7:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
Amen... I wish DT would ditch the antiquated software or at least add a lightbox plugin to their content editor.

RE: pics?
By B3an on 11/23/2011 10:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's on the MS blog post. Theres no need to see the screens, they're for Win 7 anyway.

What MS are simply showing is that Win 7 had 4 different web and client experiences and required the average user to go through 60 screens to complete the install process. That pic shows all the possible screen combinations. Win 8 now does all this in one end-to-end experience and has as few as 11 clicks to install the OS.

Pretty big thing but Jason completely misses this out!

Anyway the Win 8 blog is interesting and i encourage anyone remotely interested in Win 8 to read it, instead of articles dedicated to posts on it. It's clears up a lot of FUD too.

Fresh Start Preferred
By EricMartello on 11/23/2011 1:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
I think there are a good amount of people that would like the convenience proposition this type of upgrade provides, but I've always found that upgrading something as fundamental as an OS is better done from a fresh slate even if it takes more time & effort up front.

My prediction for the "real world" scenario here is going to be that Windows 8 may sell more initially due to it being marketed as an easy upgrade from Windows 7...but the reality is that the people who do choose to upgrade are probably going to find themselves with driver issues, compatibility problems, lost settings, WTF problems plus the bloat from their previous W7 install being carried over.

A few months later the internet is going to blow up with idiots complaining about W8 being worse than W7 and crying how they tried to upgrade but "lost all their apps and porn cuz they had to reformat their C disk".

RE: Fresh Start Preferred
By AntiM on 11/23/2011 8:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely, Computer Geek 101... never do an upgrade installation. When installing a new OS, a fresh install is the only way to avoid having issues, if past history is a guide.

RE: Fresh Start Preferred
By B3an on 11/23/2011 10:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think that will happen, because Win 8 now always checks exactly what will and will not work before install and notifies the user. Where as with Win 7 it was optional and up to to user to check.

If you have Win 7 then Win 8 should also keep all your software when upgrading (as well as system settings and files). If theres any software that wont work it will tell you which and how to solve the problem. The install process has been massively simplified and the text far better explains things too so even the computer illiterate can understand.

Just one thing...
By captainBOB on 11/22/2011 10:21:21 PM , Rating: 2
Does it create a recovery partition a la Lion Recovery?

Would be very useful, and of course optional to enable for enterprise purposes.

RE: Just one thing...
By inighthawki on 11/22/2011 11:44:32 PM , Rating: 2
Whether or not it does it via a recovery partition, I'm not sure, but there is a feature built into the OS to reset the state of the OS to how it was when you first installed it.

By bjacobson on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: what?
By Old Man Dotes on 11/22/2011 6:44:14 PM , Rating: 3
RE: what?
By Obujuwami on 11/22/2011 7:23:43 PM , Rating: 3
Windows settings are the way you custom configured things like your start menu, libraries, tool bars, and several other features in windows.

You can also transfer program features such as the dictionary in Office (Word/Outlook people love this) and other programs (Acrobat, Photoshop, etc) which makes the user's life significantly easier. This way they don't have to stress about resetting everything to exactly the way they had it.

You can do most of this stuff with the User State Migration Tool or Easy Transfer Wizard (for you home people) but it does have some drawbacks, especially if you migrate from XP.

RE: what?
By Samus on 11/22/11, Rating: -1
RE: what?
By MrBlastman on 11/23/2011 11:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
Nah, you are. :P

I dual-boot between XP and 7 and have always manually ported over registry keys (where applicable) and applications (or used linking) to get things to work. On a dual-boot system, it streamlines things and reduces redundancy (i.e. waste of space, especially on a 3 drive, 11 partition total system).

It's not hard to tweak and port stuff in MS OS's as long as you know what you are doing. I actually prefer it this way than allowing some automated porting tool the chance to accidentally muck something up.

Not gonna do it!
By Malhavoc on 11/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not gonna do it!
By Digimonkey on 11/23/2011 8:38:13 AM , Rating: 3
It's not like you have to, Windows 7 will be supported until at least 2015. What you basically said is damn Microsoft offering consumer choices.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By nafhan on 11/23/2011 8:54:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, and unless you're running something with a touchscreen, there's really not much of a reason to upgrade an existing computer from Win7 to Win8, anyway.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By B3an on 11/23/2011 10:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah exactly... Theres only:

Better security,
Better performance (the early dev preview runs as good as XP on my 8 year old laptop),
Less RAM usage,
Faster boot times,
Hyper V virtualization,
Better software compatibility than any other Windows version,
Xbox Live,
Better file management menu's,
Improved boot process with a real graphical UI,
Longer battery life / lower power usage,
Way easier installation,
ARM CPU support,
Improved multi monitor support,
And my favourite... the best Task Manager ever.
Not to mention all the new software and other unannounced features.

It's only the biggest update to Windows in forever. No reason to upgrade at all right.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Dr of crap on 11/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not gonna do it!
By Iaiken on 11/23/2011 9:58:26 AM , Rating: 3
Good for you!

Some of us build our own systems so we re-use the same copy of the OS over and over for each new box. My XP installer graced six PCs in sequence and my Windows 7 will soon be on it's second. This also let me skip Vista.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By bah12 on 11/23/2011 1:38:15 PM , Rating: 1
Good for you!

Some of us actually respect a companies licencing policies, and don't bend the law to fit our style. Now if you have a full retail copy of Win7, then my apologies. If however you are like most DIY guys you probably have an OEM disk which is not legally OK for you to use on your own PC, let alone the next 6.

Sorry to be so snarky, but to be 100% legally compliant usually costs more than buying the machine from an boutique OEM. The retail cost of Windows is almost always enough to cover the cost of a boutique build.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Iaiken on 11/25/2011 1:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Now if you have a full retail copy of Win7, then my apologies.

I do... Apology accepted Captain Needa.

The premium on two boutique PCs will almost always cost you more than you will save by building your own and re-using. Simply unlicense the old machine online before installing it on and licensing the new one.

It's not rocket science...

RE: Not gonna do it!
By jRaskell on 11/23/2011 10:40:20 AM , Rating: 2
Is the upgrade worth the purchase cost? Not for me.

Just because something isn't worth the cost for you doesn't mean it isn't worth the cost for others.

And as Iaiken said, not everyone purchases pre-built systems. In fact, I've NEVER purchased a pre-built system, and never will.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Dr of crap on 11/23/2011 12:44:58 PM , Rating: 2
And your point is?

Do you upgrade your OS when you build a new PC?
And why? Does the current OS not do what you want it to?

I'm saying what are the benefits. I am using XP and have no issues, and will most likely be using XP for the next few years. What is the benefit to UPGRADING to Win 7 or Win 8? I can still surf the net, email, watch DVDs and listen to music on XP. That's all I need for it to do. And Yes I do have IE8.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By cjohnson2136 on 11/23/2011 1:42:38 PM , Rating: 1
That's you. I use Visual Studio 2010 so I can't use XP. Not everyone has the option to just simply use XP.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Dr of crap on 11/23/2011 3:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying you have to use XP.
I asking for what reason do you upgrade your OS?

If for example I have a PC.
It's 8 years old and it runs fine and does whatever I ask of it.
WHY would I go buy a new version of Windows?

When the PC craps out or I think it's time to buy a new PC it might have a different OS or maybe the same, that would not be my reason to buy a PC. It's just another way for Microsoft to make more money by those that think they NEED to upgrade to the latest OS.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By B3an on 11/23/2011 10:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
If for example I have a PC. It's 8 years old and it runs fine and does whatever I ask of it. WHY would I go buy a new version of Windows?

Because it's infinitely more secure? That alone should be enough. For instance, XP compared to Win 7 for security is a joke let alone Win 8.
Win 8 will also use less power which means longer batter life. Even just basic things are much improved like connecting to a wifi network - MUCH easier. Or opening up software by being able to pin software or even web pages to the task menu now. Then you have support for new hardware and a OS that actually makes use of things like SSD speed and supports TRIM.

I upgrade because pretty much the WHOLE experience is improved and it makes my life easier.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By MrBlastman on 11/23/2011 12:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
I've been building my own PC since 1990. The current iteration I use is basically the same PC evolved over the last 15 years. Yeah, 15 years, I said it. Okay, it doesn't have any of the same hardware in it from 15 years ago but... I've constantly ported/transferred/rotated hard drives over the years so for all intents and purposes, it is the same thing just upgraded a little bit at a time (including the case).

Oh, and I've never upgraded an OS on it... ever. I have my drives on a 6 year rotation schedule. When one gets six years old, I rotate it out with a newer/bigger one. Usually when I do this it is close to or around the time of upgrading the motherboard--and at that time I do a fresh install of whatever OS I want and then port over registry keys/users etc. keeping all the data the same. Having to reinstall stuff is bogus and you can avoid it if you know the right things to do.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By TakinYourPoints on 11/24/2011 6:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
Depends on the upgrade. Upgrading from XP to Vista (after driver/OS issues shook out) was completely worth it, ditto the move to Windows 7. XP was a complete disaster from a security and usability standpoint. The incentive to upgrade from Win7 is questionable given that the OS is as good as it is, but I can be persuaded if the core improvements are there (improved search, streamlined submenus, etc etc).

Either way I get copies from my friend at MS via employee discount, I haven't paid anything close to retail/OEM for a copy since XP. It's more a time issue with the install, so yeah, we'll see.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Lerianis on 11/25/2011 2:56:13 AM , Rating: 2
Believe me, IT'S WORTH IT! At idle, they have gotten the memory usage from 30% on my 4GB system down to 19%.

Add into this the almost instant on of most applications on the Dev. Preview, and Microsoft (if they don't screw things up by changing a lot of stuff) has a winner on their hands.

RE: Not gonna do it!
By jRaskell on 11/23/2011 10:34:39 AM , Rating: 1
I remember when they at least waited a few years before announcing their cash grabs.

That is a curious statement.
Win 7 was released in 2009.
Win 8 is slated for release next year.
2012 - 2009 = 3 years.
So... what's your definition of a few years?

RE: Not gonna do it!
By Lerianis on 11/25/2011 2:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, 3 years is a few years. Secondly, this is NOT a cash grab in the slightest. Windows 8 brings so many improvements and other things to the OS, that it is a whole new operating system.

Really, what's wrong with spending $100 dollars every 3 years on a new OS? Nothing, in my opinion.

Heck, if you don't want to pay, you can always 're-arm' numerous times, getting up to a year free, then wipe your hard drive and install fresh while saving your critical files on a external drive, and getting another year free.

What is with the HATE against Microsoft putting out a new OS every 3 years? I just don't understand it taking the above into account.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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