Improving the setup experience

Installing Windows is a complex operation that provides an incredibly unique capability—the ability to run a new version of Windows on a vast array of hardware configurations and combinations that were designed with no knowledge of a future Windows, even a version with substantial re-architecture of the Kernel. While most people do not experience the full code path of setup/upgrade (because they buy new PCs and choose to get a new version of Windows that way), even orchestrating the new PC “out of box experience” (OOBE) is a complex technical challenge. Our aim in improving setup is to reduce the time from start to finish so that customers can get to Windows and use the full power of Windows to further customize and ultimately enjoy their new Windows experience. This post was written by Christa St. Pierre on our Setup and Deployment team.
(Note, we’re taking a break for the US Holiday)

Setup is something that gets a lot of attention from us in any Windows release. It needs to just work reliably across a huge number of variations of hardware and software. This is true whether you are upgrading your own laptop, or you’re an IT pro who is migrating 10,000 desktops in an enterprise using broad deployment tools. For Windows 7 our main focus was on improving successful install rates, and we did a lot of work to improve reliability and deal with many tough (but relatively rare) cases that had caused problems in setting up earlier versions of Windows. This work gave Windows 7 a more reliable setup experience than in any previous Windows release, as measured by lab testing, customer support incidents, and setup telemetry.

For Windows 8, our goal was to continue to improve reliability while also improving the installation experience and raw performance. Not only did we want it to be rock solid, but also faster and easier to use.

A big challenge

Although millions of people choose to upgrade their existing PCs, most people choose to get a new version of Windows preinstalled on a new PC. In the past that often had to do with increasing system requirements in new Windows releases, and the need to purchase new PCs with more power to run the new version. With Windows 7 however, we made a commitment to work on many more existing PCs by keeping system requirements low and maintaining compatibility. We’ve continued that commitment with Windows 8, so many of you with existing PCs can simply upgrade. Looking just at Windows 7 customers, there are currently more than 450 million PCs that will be able to run Windows 8, but we expect that many systems running Windows Vista and even Windows XP will also be eligible.

Support for these PCs running different Windows versions is a big challenge in terms of testing all possible upgrade paths, languages, service packs, architectures, and editions. When you think about it, it is a rather remarkable achievement that hardware designed for one OS can be supported on an OS that did not exist when the hardware was created, especially considering that connecting hardware to software is a fundamental role played by the OS.

There are always complexities involving hardware support. Sometimes PCs are equipped with peripherals that require updated drivers for Windows 8, and in other cases, for any number of reasons, a PC maker decides that a particular model or configuration is not supported on a new version of Windows. There are also complexities in getting software to work seamlessly upon upgrade, particularly utilities that hook into the lowest levels of Windows such as anti-virus, disk format and defrag, or virtualization. While we have a massive test and ecosystem effort, ultimately the final say on support on a new version of Windows for a PC, peripheral, or software package is determined by the maker of that product. Our commitment to keeping things running and bringing forward software is industry leading and continues with Windows 8. At one recent team meeting, a member of our team showed Windows 8 running Excel version 3.0, which is the 16-bit version of Excel from 1990!

Perceived as “difficult”

During planning for Windows 8, we wanted to hear from customers who chose not to upgrade to Windows 7 even though their PCs would run it. In 2010 we commissioned a study of how people make PC purchase decisions, and talked to customers in three global markets to find out more. While the list of reasons as to why a customer chose not to upgrade varied by market, we have received notable feedback that upgrading the PC was perceived as difficult. So even though many customers wanted to upgrade, the current setup experience might be something that just wasn’t easy enough to make them feel confident in doing so.

Different customer needs

Hearing that some customers think it is too difficult really highlights the fact that we have many different customer needs we need to fulfill with setup. Most customers who buy a Windows upgrade from a retailer just want it to be fast and easy, but a few also want to be able to do some more complex things, such as setting up in a multi-boot configuration. And of course, we also have the IT Pro customers, who need to take full control over configurations, install from network as well as media, and add customizations to the setup image. The advanced user’s needs are a lot like those of the IT Pro, both because they require more fine-tuned control and because it’s hard for us to predict exactly which controls they may want to manipulate. For this reason, we have not created a “super advanced setup” mode, but we encourage people who want to create unattended setup configurations for home or work to use our standalone deployment tools. In Windows 7, we provided a Windows Automated Installation Kit, and in Windows 8 we have enhanced that with additional tools in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, which is available for download to MSDN subscribers.

For this post, I’ll talk mostly about the interactive GUI setup experiences, since that’s where we have the most changes. We sought to maintain very high backwards compatibility with existing unattended installation configurations that IT Pros or advanced users have spent time on for Windows 7, so you can expect those to work consistently for Windows 8 as well, without having to start over. So rest assured that your custom deployments continue to be fully supported as before.

Streamlining the end-to-end experience

Leaving aside automated installations and just looking at the typical GUI scenarios, we still wanted to serve two distinct customer groups in the setup user experience:

  • People who want an easy way to upgrade to the new release with an absolute bare minimum of hassle
  • People who want to do a clean install, and want more control of setup options, disk layout, and partition configuration

The way we approached these needs was based on the realization that the first group typically runs setup in the UI of their current Windows OS (i.e. they launch it like an app), while the second group typically runs setup from boot media. So, rather than trying to rationalize two fairly different experiences and customer requirements, we chose to maintain two setup user experiences: a streamlined setup that you reach by running an .exe from the DVD or via web delivery, and an advanced setup that runs when you boot off of a DVD or USB key. The streamlined setup is a new experience, optimized for ease-of-use, upgrades, and web delivery via download. Advanced setup is the home of all things familiar to the advanced user, including full support for unattended installation, partition selection, and formatting. Under the covers they share all of the same setup engine components. So both experiences benefitted from our ability to focus on a common codebase for performance and reliability enhancements.

Shifting towards web delivery methods

Before going into the detail on the user experience changes, there’s one big change that is important to call out. In the past, if you wanted to buy an upgrade for Windows, it involved purchasing a boxed product from a retail outlet, taking it home, (sometimes being infuriated while trying to open the box,) and inserting a DVD. However, buying boxed software is quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule, with more and more software being purchased online as broadband penetration increases and large-size media downloads become more common. While we will continue to offer boxed DVDs, we are also making it easier than ever to purchase and install online. This includes starting the setup experience online as well, and having one continuous integrated experience from beginning to end. There is also one big advantage that is a favorite of mine. With our web setup experience, we actually “pre-key” the setup image that is downloaded to a unique user, which means that you don’t have to type in the 25-digit product key when you install!

Streamlining - Reducing repetition and integrating experiences

More than 20 million customers downloaded and ran the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor during the first six months of availability. Many customers also ran Windows Easy Transfer during this same time period. A reasonable (and often recommended) installation experience for Windows 7 followed a flow like this:

  1. Download and install Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
  2. Run Windows Upgrade Advisor
  3. Run Windows Easy Transfer to save files and settings
  4. Run Windows 7 setup and clean install
  5. Run Windows Easy Transfer to restore files and settings

This end-to-end experience included 4 different web and client experiences and required the average customer to walk through 60 screens to complete. The primary reason for the high screen count was the repetition of information. We can visualize it something like this:

 Image shows 5 stacked sets of screens, with a total of 60 screens all together
A common Windows 7 installation experience: Upgrade Advisor, Windows Easy Transfer, and Setup

In Windows 8, rather than having Upgrade Advisor, Setup, and Windows Easy Transfer as separate apps or features, we’ve folded them together into one fast and fluid experience in which we first determine if your PC, apps, and devices will work in the new OS, note which things you want to keep (apps, files and/or settings), and then install the new OS.

We’ve also added the capability for setup to resume automatically after certain actions (such as resolving a blocking compatibility problem), which in the past would have required restarting setup again from the beginning.

Here’s what to expect when you launch the new setup experience from the web :

Determining compatibility
The first thing we do is scan the PC to determine compatibility, resulting in a summary report such as this one:

Here's what we found - You can get more info about each app and device in the compatibility report. 19 of your programs and devices will work. 4 items need your attention. See the compatibility report. Button: Next

Windows 8 setup compatibility summary

It provides information on the apps and devices that will work in Windows 8, those that won’t work, and any other system information that is useful to know when determining whether or not to purchase and install Windows 8. A detailed compatibility report is also available if you want to print or save the information, or desire more detail about what to expect once you get to Windows 8, including which apps or devices will require updates.

The compatibility data behind the report covers hundreds of thousands of applications and devices, including retail software, OEM preinstalled software, and peripherals. If an application or device ran on Windows 7, our goals is that it should run on Windows 8 too, but in some cases it may require an update or other support from the OEM or vendor. Some applications also have custom installation logic – installing certain components or settings depending on the OS you’re upgrading from (this is particularly true of system utilities and software that is tightly connected to hardware and peripherals). You may need to uninstall and reinstall these types of apps. (This is also a reason to be careful of 3rd party “app mover” applications, which claim to move apps from one OS to another, as the end result can be unpredictable or broken.) As a reminder, the best drivers for any system are the ones available directly from the PC manufacturer for embedded hardware and from the device manufacturer for peripherals.

These need your attention / VirtualCloneDrive / Link: How to make it work. /  These will work automatically: Adobe Reader, Microsoft Lync, + 4 more programs in a scrollable list.  Buttons: Print / Save / Close

Detailed compatibility report

Downloading Windows 8
Next, an integrated download manager provides time estimates, data validation, the ability to pause, resume, and re-download only parts of the file if something goes wrong. Additionally, because we have already scanned the PC to determine compatibility we know which version of Windows 8 to download – eliminating the need to ask questions such as which language or OS architecture to choose.

Downloading Windows Developer Preview / Feel free to use your PC while we're doing this. ... 75% complete... / Estimated time: 00:37 / Buttons: Back / Pause

Downloading the Windows image from the web

Continuing with installation or creating bootable media
Once the download is complete, you are presented a choice to continue the installation, or install on another partition. The latter option takes you to advanced setup, and allows you to save an ISO or create a bootable USB drive before completing other advanced setup options. (This is the option you’ll need to choose if you want to dual boot, for example.)

What media do you want to use? If you want to install Windows Developer Preview on another partition, you need to create and then run the media to install it. Radio buttons: USB flash drive. It needs to be at least 3 GB. / ISO file to burn a DVD. You'll need to burn the ISO file to a DVD later. / Buttons: Back / Next

Creating bootable media from web-based setup

Choosing what to keep
Next is the upgrade choice. You can choose to keep all, some, or none of your personal data depending on the OS you’re upgrading from, and your personal preferences.

What would you like to keep? Help make sure that the things you want to keep are moved to Windows Developer Preview. Radio buttons: Windows settings, personal files, and apps. / Just personal files. / Nothing. Buttons: Back / Next

Windows 8 setup options for upgrade and migration

The “Windows settings, personal files, and apps” option is akin to the existing “upgrade” option in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, where an in-place upgrade is performed over the current OS, retaining the apps that were previously installed as well as settings and user files on disk.

The “Just personal files” option is a new functionality, which allows you to get a clean install, but still keep your data without a separate tool such as Windows Easy Transfer.

The upgrade options that you might see in the screen above depend on which version of Windows you are upgrading from. Here’s the list of what you can migrate based on your currently installed version of Windows:

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

Clean install is supported across all versions.

Resolving blocking issues
Often you may need to make changes to your PC before you can continue with the installation. Common requirements include things like uninstalling an application, freeing up disk space, or suspending BitLocker. When encountering this scenario in Windows 7 setup, you would simply see a warning message and then you’d have to exit, take care of the clean-up that was listed, and resume setup again from the beginning. In Windows 8, most items listed in the actionable compatibility report (shown below) include a button to help you directly resolve the blocking issue. For example, if an app needs to be uninstalled, clicking a button in this report automatically launches the uninstaller for that particular app. Once the app is uninstalled the report automatically refreshes, and setup continues without having to start again.

What you need to do / Windows can't be installed on an encrypted drive. Please suspend BitLocker to continue...  /Buttons: Suspend BitLocker / Restart PC / Back / Refresh list

Resolving blocking issues directly from the setup experience

This also works in the case where a reboot is needed. For example, if the blocking app requires a reboot after it is uninstalled, setup will resume from where it left off before the reboot.

The result

The scenario we presented at the beginning that included four different wizards and up to 60 screens in a Windows 7 upgrade can now be accomplished in one end-to-end experience and as few as 11 clicks, an improvement of 82% fewer clicks in Windows 8. The exact number of steps you need to take to complete the installation varies based on your existing OS, migration choices, install method, and number of blocking issues you need to resolve to get the PC ready for installation, but the experience is greatly simplified for everyone. We accomplished all of this with no loss of functionality or customization—we simply streamlined the existing experience.

 Picture of 11 screens in a stack. Top screen reads "Here's what we found..." with "Next" button.
The typical Windows 8 installation experience, with integrated advisor, migration, and setup

Improving upgrade performance

If you had a large number of files on your system, you may have seen that installation times in Windows 7 didn’t scale very well. In fact, as you can see in the diagram below, the more user files there are on a PC being upgraded (regardless of the size of the files) the longer the upgrade takes to complete.

 Graph shows Total elapsed tim (mins) on Y axis, with different upgrades on X axis: Clean install: 32 mins; Medium upgrade (213k files, 77 apps): 131 mins; Heavy upgrade (430k files, 90 apps): 188 mins; Super upgrade (1.44 million files, 120 apps): 513 mins.

Windows 7 time to upgrade in relation to the number of files on a PC

Note: Time in this graph represents time to complete the upgrade once the installation is
initiated, and does not include time to download or read files from media.

The reason for this is that in Windows 7, the upgrade process preserved the customer’s applications in the Program Files folder and their files in the Users folder by moving each file to a transport location (so that the original folders can be deleted to make way for the newer installation), and then moving them back again to complete the installation. With music and photo collections, it’s not unusual to have hundreds of thousands of files, so even relatively fast move operations can really add up.

To address this in Windows 8, we have made several modifications to the upgrade engine to reduce the impact on upgrade times.

Moving whole folders
In the past, each file that was preserved across upgrade was moved individually. In Windows 8, instead of moving things file-by-file, we move entire folders, drastically reducing the number of file operations required. This goes a long way towards shrinking the variation in upgrade times due to the amount of data the customer has on the machine.

At a high level, the logic for whether or not we need to move a given folder is:

  • Every file in the folder (and its sub folders) is preserved (there are no exclude rules removing some of the files, for example).
  • The entire folder is placed on the target OS unchanged.
  • The target destination doesn’t already exist (i.e. we don’t have to merge an existing folder on the destination OS with one from the source OS). There are a few exceptions to this rule however – for example, every folder has a desktop.ini file, but we have logic that allows the source folder to overwrite this file, as in many cases the file is only a cache and can be regenerated.

Simplifying the transport
In Windows 7 the transport (this is the place where we store the files and settings being preserved between the old and new operating systems) was comprised of two folders: “Windows.~q” and “Windows.~tr”. In Windows 8 we have simplified this to just one folder. We have repurposed the “Windows.old” naming convention for consistency with clean install (which creates a “Windows.old” folder containing the previous OS in order to be able to roll back should the installation fail). Merging the transport folders into the single Windows.old folder speeds up the upgrade process, as it removes the need to move files between the ~tr and ~q folders.

Switching to hard links
In upgrades to Windows 7, files were moved between the old OS, the transport, and Windows 7 by using file move operations. In upgrades to Windows 8, we use hard link operations instead. This means we can link to the actual data on disk in the transport location without having to physically move the file, which has a significant performance gain. And if something goes wrong with setup and we have to roll back, we just need to delete the hard links, and the files are completely unaffected on disk.

Removing the down-level gather phase
In Windows 7, the files and settings to be preserved across the upgrade were calculated while the previous OS was still running. The registry values and data collected by our upgrade logic were also gathered while running on the old OS. The content of the files was then gathered offline during the Windows Pre-Installation Environment (Windows PE) phase in order to avoid file-in-use issues.

Most of this work has been removed in Windows 8. The gather rules no longer run during upgrade; instead, we just move the following folders into Windows.old when the PC is offline:

  • Windows
  • Program files
  • Program files (x86)
  • Users
  • Program data

This means that during the “apply” phase of upgrade (once we are running in Windows 8), everything we need to preserve can be extracted from the Windows.old folder (as we touch no other folders during the upgrade), eliminating the need for a gather phase. Speaking of the Windows.old folder, we have also added a new feature that automatically deletes that folder 4 weeks after a successful install, so you don’t have to worry about removing it. Of course, you can still use the Disk Cleanup tool to remove it immediately if you prefer.

The result

In our labs we compared Windows 7 upgrade times to upgrading to a recent Windows 8 build, and found that the variation in upgrade times based on number of files has been virtually eliminated, as shown in the diagram below.

 Graph shows total elapsed time (mins) on Y axis, various upgrades on x axis, with a line for upgrade to Windows 7, and a line for Windows 8. Clean install Windows 8: 21 mins; Windows 7: 32 mins; Medium upgrade to Windows 8 (213k files, 77 apps): 42 mins; Windows 7: 131 mins; Heavy upgrade to Windows 8 (430k files, 90 apps): 46 mins; Windows 7: 188 mins; Super upgrade to Windows 8 (1.44 million files, 120 apps): 52 mins; to Windows 7: 513 mins.
Windows 7 vs. Windows 8 time to upgrade
Note: Time in this graph represents time to complete the upgrade once the installation is initiated
and does not include time to download or read files from media.

Additional optimizations for web delivery

As I mentioned above, Windows 8 setup has been designed for online delivery, in addition to the local delivery from a DVD or USB drive. While downloading Windows has been possible in the past, it was primarily a physical media experience made available for download. In Windows 7 upgrades, for example, two copies were created of the download content on the customer’s drive—the compressed download and the extracted contents—requiring ~5 GB. This could be very problematic on space-constrained systems. Additionally, both the compressed and extracted download contents remained on disk, even after a successful installation.

For Windows 8, in addition to the setup experience improvements for web delivery, we also optimized other aspects. Our goal was to minimize the time it takes for the download to complete, verify the integrity of the bits that are downloaded, minimize disk space requirements, and ensure a resilient download experience for the customer. The two main areas of improvement for Windows 8 are constructing optimized download packages, and making sure that downloading is flexible and resilient.

Constructing optimized download packages
The Windows 7 media layout for x86 consists of 874 files and 200 folders, with a number of redundant files both in the media and compressed within install.wim and boot.wim. To efficiently store and transfer the contents of installation media, we typically use ISO files. For example, an ISO created from the x86 client media is 2.32GB. In order to optimize for download in Windows 8, we take the required subset of files for the specific version of Windows being downloaded. After eliminating duplicates and compressing resources, the single-file size is 2.10GB (as compared to 2.32GB), a savings of 9.5%. After this optimized package is created we compress it using an improved compression algorithm specifically for Windows 8 setup, which provides an additional 28% savings. In this example (using the Windows 7 x86 ISO) the size of the download would be reduced from 2.32GB to 1.51GB.

Downloading is flexible and resilient
The download manager included in Windows 8 setup downloads the optimized package containing the new OS and reconstructs the layout required to run through the install process, without leaving duplicate files on the system. The download manager leverages the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) as the default transport protocol to transfer files from the Internet to the local machine and provides the ability to pause, resume, and restart. It verifies the bits that are downloaded in 10MB increments. If verification fails for a particular increment, the download manager has the ability to re-request only that specific block of data without having to restart the entire download.

The result

In Windows 8, customers do not have to install a separate download manager, mount the ISO to begin the installation, check the hash of the file for verification post-download, manually clean up unneeded files, or restart a download from the beginning should connectivity be interrupted. Setup takes care of all of these steps automatically, providing a fast, resilient, and easy setup experience. And again, this is true whether you just want to run a quick upgrade on an existing installation, or to create boot media for an advanced setup experience – either with GUI or unattended.

Advanced setup for IT Pros

I said at the beginning that this post wouldn’t go into a lot of detail about our automated installation using the Assessment and Deployment Kit (formerly the WAIK) but I know that many readers of this blog may be interested in learning more about it. So, here are a couple of handy configurations that will make it easy for you to customize a bootable USB drive (that you can create as part of our download experience) and automate your installation. For full details about all of the configurations that are possible, check out the Windows 8 ADK (for MSDN subscribers only). If you aren’t an MSDN subscriber check out the Best Practices for Authoring Answer Files article on TechNet. These best practices still apply for Windows 8 and all of the tools and documents referenced in the article are available in the Windows 7 WAIK or the Windows 8 ADK.

Here’s a video demonstrating an advanced setup from a USB flash drive. Note that this experience is not yet available in the Developer Preview build, but will be there in the final release.

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

Key injection

You may have noticed in the screenshots and video above that none show the familiar “type your product key” experience. In the web setup scenario you won’t see those screens because of key injection from the server, but if you boot from media and choose to do an advanced setup, you’ll have to type it in. With “unattend” settings though, you can do your own key injection, so that you can skip this step. This is handy if you’re reinstalling after changing some system components or replacing a drive.

The specific setting that you will need to configure to do this is the ProductKey setting.

Here’s a sample:


Automating install

You can also automate other parts of the experience so that you don’t have to manually click through the screens. Here are a couple of other settings that are useful when automating your install:

You can choose the UI language used for Windows:


There are additional settings for every UI choice, so you can script it to the point that the install is essentially hands-off from start to finish.

Dual boot configuration

Unattend is also useful when you want to automatically configure the system for booting multiple operating systems. You could do this all manually in the Advanced Setup GUI and BCD configuration, but why do that when you can script it? The unattend framework is very flexible and you can instruct Setup to format, create, or modify partitions on the PC’s disk(s).

Using the DiskID setting you can create and modify partitions. You can then specify the PartitionID setting to install to a specific partition—one that is different from an existing OS partition.

Here’s a sample to install to a specific partition:

<Path> Z:\sources\install.wim </Path>

Where to save your unattend answer file

Once you have your answer file configured to your liking you can copy it to the root of your USB media. (Remember, if you use setup from the web, you can still create a bootable USB drive or save to an ISO.) You can also include the file at the root of the DVD media where you burned the ISO, if you chose that route instead. Even cooler, the unattend file doesn’t even have to be on the installation media. In fact you can place the unattend file at the root of a USB flash drive, plug in the flash drive before starting setup, and setup will automatically find it and use it.

An improved setup experience

With Windows 8 setup we have greatly improved both speed and ease of use, while still retaining all of the advanced setup functionality that many customers will demand. We have integrated what was once many separate steps for people to perform when preparing and starting their setup into a streamlined user experience, with a fast and reliable setup engine under the hood. Customers who choose to install Windows from an online source will have a greatly improved experience over what we’ve delivered in the past, with smaller and faster downloads, as well as increased resiliency and control. We hope that you will find these improvements to be a great way to start your experience using Windows 8.

--Christa St. Pierre

Comments (134)
  1. domenicoav says:


  2. Only just started reading the article but I gotta say that that Excel factoid is so insane, I mean an operating system running 21 year old software is just mind blowing.

  3. Abdulla says:

    Great one! I have always wondered when I can get rid of these first time installation setups – Win 7 installation is okay. But I want a  more speedy one. Like the one I expect to see in Windows 8.

  4. Abdulla says:

    I think it almost took 15mins to prepare the USB!

  5. Bob says:

    One thing that I hope you guys change in the future is that to really customize windows installation, you have to create a slipstreamed iso. I wish I could go to an advanced setup screen and select all the fine grained features I really want installed without having to manually creating a slipstreamed installation disk myself.

  6. Winston says:

    Great job. But please can the window borders in Windows be reduced, they look too wide

  7. amaller says:

    Excellent job guys, Windows 8 wil be the best OS ever !! thanks you Microsoft

  8. When the ISO downloads from the web will the ISO have all the patches slip-streamed in to it? Or will I still have to patch a system on first boot? Having to patch on first boot after installing new software is a huge and unwelcome pain. Apple requires it; Linux distros require it; but that doesn't mean Windows has to require it.

  9. Nazmus Shakib Khandaker says:

    Awesome post! On September 14, I ran the Windows Developer Preview setup directly from Windows 7, rather than booting from Windows Setup. And, as such, I got to enjoy this new experience.

    I absolutely loved it. 🙂

  10. Love the cleaned up process where customers can just focus on setting up to Win8 without being directed all over! Great job to the team!

  11. Steve says:

    c_barth# +1 patching ISO before install would enhance the experience so much

  12. So just two questions.

    Everything is thought off, but I have to manually burn the dvd? Or does this 'installer' allow me to burn the disc simply by clicking next?

    Also, since it's a webinstaller, and it kinda looks like it's already installed, why not allow the setup program to mount the dvd so there is no need to burn / save to usb to install Windows?


  13. Good improvements, that makes a lot easier! I have 2 questions.

    1)When i have the Win8 ISO is there still the ei.cfg file inside?

    Because without it you are able to install all versions from that ISO.

    Now in Win7 i must delete that file before i install different versions of Win7 from my USB drive.

    So make 1 ISO for all SKU's please, like in Vista, would be much easier to handle.

    2) Is possible to get the newest updated ISO file of Win8, if for e.g. SP1 will be released and i have bought Win8 RTM?

  14. Arthur says:

    Just a quick unrelated note:

    Please make windows 8 customizable, any of us don't like to be forced into a predefined style.

    For example, most of the the bing daily images are cool, but every now and then there is a stupid pink flower or some sea animal that I dont like.

    I dont want to be forced to have an image I dont like as the background  of the search app in my windows phone.

    Please make sure windows 8 is customizable, and PLEASE add an option to have my own photo from skydrive as the bing wallpaper.

  15. i for get one thing the Web-Setup will always download the latest version?

  16. Tourniquet says:

    Great job !!!

    Yeah im soo for a pre-patched download file, i don't want to download all updates separately !!

  17. Oh, and how is slipstreaming service packs going to work with Windows 8?

    In Win7 this isn't officially possible as far as I know. So people have to:

    1. Install Windows 7

    2. Install tens if not hundred of updates (not knowing about the service packs)

    3. Reboot

    4. wait for WU to finish

    5. Install another pack of updates

    6. Reboot, and another wait.

    7. Install again some pre-updates… reboot and another wait…

    8. Install Windows 7 SP1…

    9.. Repeat steps 2-8 for the next Service pack if released.

    I really hope you can make THAT experience better from the start in Windows 8. So Install Windows 8 (maybe even download and install the service pack during setup) and finished.

    Thanks again, Peter!

  18. JohannesB says:

    Absolutely fantastic! Windows 8 is looking better and better.

  19. Good job on improving the update experience. The best new feature: not having to type in the product key.

    I know it's a few days early, but I'd like to wish the Windows Team and everyone else at Microsoft a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time off!


  20. JohannesB says:

    Just to make this clear. You buy Windows 8 on the web, THEN you start the setup and find out if it is compatible with your PC/Applications? Correct? That seems a bit unfortunate.

  21. Meow says:

    The screenshots are hideous. Also, who does use the upgrade feature? Totally pointless. Just improve clean installs. Glad you reduced the installation time 10 mins though.

  22. grumpy says:

    Wait, what? I need to be a MSDN subscriber just to get access to the tools for customizing my Windows installation? What have you been smoking?

    Having to build my own slipstreamed ISO is fine, *if you didn't make it more and more difficult with every release*. Back in the XP days, I had to download a small, simple tool, or edit a couple of files.

    With Vista and Win7, I had to download some kind of multi-gigabyte framework for doing a million things other than what I needed.

    With Win8, I have to get a MSDN subscription on top of this?

    It's great that you're trying to streamline the installer for the common cases, but what do you gain by making it so painful for the power user?

  23. Alireza Noori says:

    Really nice.

    On a side note, please put good looking screenshots on the blog. You should use tools like WinSnap to do this. I mean come on! The screenshots with not-good edges?!

    It would be really cool if in Windows 8 we had a screen clipping tool like WinSnap with its capablities. I don't like using PrintScreen + Paint and the transparency does some aweful things to windows!!

  24. @JohannesB

    You will be able to run web setup prior to purchase to determine app and device compatibility.

  25. LD says:

    While this is pretty great, I'd like to know what MS is doing to keep windows from NEEDING to be reinstalled every year or so?  Windows 7 has been much better in this department, but after loosing my application drive I simply couldn't get one or two apps to work when reinstalling them (yes I tried uninstalling, searching the web etc., I finally found another freeware app that does the same thing).

  26. Stefan says:

    About servicepacks. If You don't have SP1 and SP2 is released it should be enough to install SP2.

    Also, a SP should contain all necassary files to be able to install a SP so i don't have to download, install, restart, download install restart and so on, before i can install a SP, as in Vista.

    As mentioned there must be an easy way to slipstream a SP into a setup dvd/usb.

  27. Stefan says:

    SP's should be downloadable in full size or in small sizes via WU if on a mobile internet. The best is not to have any SP's at all. Only a lot of updates, with the possibility a few times a year to download rollup packages with the updates.

  28. @grumpy – the Windows 8 Assessment and Deployment Kit preview is only available to MSDN subscribers, but the final release will be available broadly.  The Windows 7 WAIK is available publicly now, and can be used for scripting unattend.xml files for Windows 7 or Windows 8 images.

  29. Nitz Walsh says:

    Another request to re-introduce the slipstream function for Win8.  It's truly a nightmare to reinstall Vista or Win7 from a pre-service pack version after its been out for a few years.  This goes for Office as well, while installing the updates for network deployment is certainly simpler than with 2003 and earlier, it comes at a huge time penalty as the patches are simply automated in the install process, they're not truly slipstreamed into the install. The more Office patches you have, the longer it takes to install – this wasn't the case with previous versions.  My average network install for Office 2010 takes far longer to go throug the final updating stage than it does to install the complete suite before the patching begins, with a proper slipstreamed install the difference to install a fully patched version over a virgin install is basically nonexistent.

    As for people complaining about the screenshot quality – in what way, exactly? The problem is that the "new" Aero desktop is just well…damned ugly – a different screenshot program isn't going to change that. It's taken a huge step backwards with consistency and polish IMO – two things I would expect any GUI designer to place paramount importance on, especially witnessing how so many people gravitate towards Apple products which emphasize this to a T.  Every coworker I've shown the Win8 dev preview to remarks just how unattractive it is.  Now sure, it's a dev preview – but take a look a MS websites redesign lately, I doubt it's going to significantly change to release.  That, and the fact these blogs are serving as advertising (to some extent) of MS's future Windows release makes me doubt that they would post screenshots of a UI that will not significantly resemble the final product.

    Hell, look at the response to the griping of Metro's design – "We've listened to your feedback and have now given you the ability to change the background color!" :Picard face palm :

  30. GeorgoSK says:

    I would definitely agree with the requests to provide fully updated installation images. Just this evening, I've finished helping my cousin revive a crashed laptop with a clean Windows 7 installation. The setup is fine, but the hundreds of updates that follow are just insane. Once you purchase a Windows license, you should be able to download an up-to-date installation image that'd get you up and running without needing to spend several days on updates and reboots.

    The other thing here – and I know this is not strictly a Microsoft thing – is the initial state most new laptops come in. The quick and easy first OEM Windows installation is often followed by a flurry of different slow annoying setup wizards that install the ironically-named 'value added software'. Once the computer is ready, it's performance is already being reduced by tens of useless running processes that include a ton of trial software, updaters, assistants and registration wizards that immediately take out the speed and swiftness out of the OS. Now wonder Windows has gained a reputation of a slow and cumbersome system over the years, when the first thing most OEM customers see is this kind of mess, instead of the sleek OS itself. Just like Microsoft has set strict rules on Windows Phone ODMs, perhaps the time has come for tougher certification conditions when it comes on OEM software on the PCs as well.

  31. Nitz Walsh says:

    The problem with MS strong-arming OEM's into what they can put on the desktop is that they simply can no longer do that as part of the DOJ settlement.

    As well, the business model that OEM'S subscribe to with Windows means that in order to sell you those 500$ pc's, they need every help in terms of compensation that they can get.  The margins are just too damn tight, so aside from MS massively expanding their own stores I am not sure what true progress can be made in this area.  

    Not that I'm weeping for OEM's mind you, they've consistently proved they don't have a clue – or care – about the end user experience and simply plod ahead with the same crap year after year.  No wonder Intel had to step in for the ultra book project and show how it's done (albeit some, like ASUS, still manage to completely bork the user experience by shipping a horrible trackpad on a $1000 laptop.  Idiotic.)

  32. I echo the calls for downloading "updated" install files.  I have a Windows 7 product key, I should be able to use that key to download Windows 7 SP1 just like people who buy it new can.  In addition, the ability to start a online install should not be tied to buying from the Microsoft store.  Office has a web site where you can download install files using your product key (even if you bought a boxed copy).  I would like the same functionality with Windows (and mainly because of the service packs).

    I got my copy of Windows 7 using the MSDNAA account through my school (and will likely get Windows 8 this way too).  I would love to be able to use the new download features (like download verification).  Could you please update the MSDNAA process for downloading (use the new process instead of just an ISO) or at least create a site like ( to download Windows using only the product key.  It would be better to run this web installer once instead of downloading the full ISO multiple times until the hashes are correct.

  33. Sam says:

    Can I use this approach to install Windows 8 (using USB drive) on a new partition on a tablet (Samsung Series 7 running Windows 7)?

  34. Like others, I agree that it would be pretty great to have access to a fully downloadable current version of Windows 8 at each step of the game, especially if key injection is automatic.  Of course, Microsoft would need to decide how often to put out updated versions (Service Packs aren't frequent enough).

    I haven't looked at everything yet, but I hope that 'install on another partition' isn't the caption that leads to the advanced setup option to store to USB/burn the ISO ; it'd be much easier to just put 'Continue Installation' on the same screen as Advaned store to usb/burn other media options. If you think about it, if I'm wanting to do a clean install using those downloaded installation files, 'install on another partition' isn't the best way to desribe that because I really want to do a clean install to the current partition, NOT another partition? Ha.

    I really like the streamlined process, and definitely think it could probably be slimmed down a bit more, no?

  35. Madhu says:

    If I download OS from directly from Microsoft , if I lost ISO , will I be able to download again ?.

  36. Downloading and installing windows 8 from web is awesome.

    And When Setup finds incompatible drivers and softwares, it   should provide solutions (if possible)

    for eg, If outdated graphic driver is detected, it should provide option to update the driver.

  37. fatr says:

    i want an option to customize my windows 8 , which components to install or not, it would be good if we could have a menu such as turn windows  features on/off and choose what things we don't  want in out installation , and i hope there's a better way to sliptream new service pack without using something like vlite or 7 rt lite etc

  38. BlindUser says:

    Hi. I want to vent my frustration for the fact that Windows 8, even after two and half decades of Windows development, will not provide a talking installer for blind users. I live alone in a busy city and asking from somebody else to install your OS is a hussle. People usually charge you for this job. I don't want to have to pay to get my Windows 8 upgrate, just because I am blind. I am a developer for God's sake and I can do everything on my own. Other OSes have provided this functionality since the mid of the 90s perhaps. With Windows still if you are blind you cannot install them without help. How hard is it to build a talking installer? If Linux could do it since 15 years ago and do it relying only on volunteers, how come Microsoft with its vast resources still have trouble doing this. It is an insult to the blind community that even after so many years of us being your loyal customers, we are treated like this. No built-in screen reader, no talking installer no nothing. Apple provides a talking installer with OS X and a built-in screen reader. On Windows I have to buy the screen reader for $1000+. Is this fair? And Windows Phone still have no screen reader in it. The iPhone come with an excellent screen reader. See the contrast? You have no excuses any more. It is 2011.

  39. gawicks says:

    You guys really need to make a tutorial for Win8 .People will struggle a lot with Metro otherwise

  40. Sam says:

    First availabe hack for Windows 8 was a removal of METRO screen.

    You need to fix this before it becomes another Vista (for non touch desktops)

  41. Quppa says:

    It would be nice if the imitation Aero 'windows' seen during installation were updated for this release, as they weren't changed in Windows 7, where they still mimic the Windows Vista style (compare the size of the close button and note the aqua right and bottom border highlight, etc.). This is of course a very minor issue, but it shows a lack of polish.

  42. SamYeager says:

    "the Windows 8 Assessment and Deployment Kit preview is only available to MSDN subscribers, but the final release will be available broadly"

    Why on earth is it not available to Technet subscribers as well? The phrasing seems to imply that there will not be a generally available beta version available and that non MSDN subscr ibers will have to wait until RTW before they have access. 🙁

  43. Stephane says:

    "Iso file to burn to a DVD" ?

    Wait… you want to simplify the setup process and you didn't include a way to directly burn a safety dvd ?

  44. xpclient says:

    Good decision to make upgrade setup from another version of Windows=streamlined and boot-from-media-type=advanced. And merging Windows Easy Transfer and Upgrade Advisor with setup is also an excellent idea. And the very best improvements are in upgrade setup like using hard links and eliminating gathering info phase, and in reducing download size. Great job Microsoft!! I am eager to see for myself how much the upgrade install time has improved from Windows 7.

    I was invited few days back to install Windows 8 using the new setup experience as part of the Windows Developer Preview Install Fair and although I could install Windows 8 successfully on one of my computers, the experience on the others was truly pathetic. The online installer using BITS is okay, but it wasn't using the highest BITS priority (Foreground), it was downloading with some lass ass low priority which slowed down the download enormously (even though no other app was using my bandwidth at that time). Then the download broke and couldn't resume successfully, it often "resumed" but started from scratch (0%) after completing 60-70%. I could only download the whole ISO on one of my computers.

    Another area where "it really hurts today" is servicing. I see many improvements to Setup but no improvements to the servicing experience. Setup and servicing go hand-in-hand. What is being done to reduce a customer's time to install service packs and updates after installing Windows? As I ranted in earlier blog posts, the speed of servicing is slow, it increases the disk footprint and overall experience of installing hundreds of updates and ridiculously slow service packs is a nightmare. It wastes an entire day of the typical Windows user. Please improve upon this!!! Allow Windows customers with a genuine *retail* (not OEM) product key to officially download ***updated service pack-integrated media*** after a service pack is released.

    With the Windows Vista and Office 2007 releases, setup has taken a major setup backwards with the inability to truly slipstream service packs. The scenario is unchanged for Windows 7 and Office 2010. For Windows, we now have to either obtain integrated media which is impossible to get legally if you are not an MSDN or TechNet subscriber. Or you have to install the service pack to an offline image, generalize it and re-capture it to have a slipstreamed media.

    I can install Windows XP today slipstreamed with SP3 and all updates also integrated. Sure, the setup is slower than Windows 7 because it doesn't use image-based installation, it uses simple file copy but it still completes reasonably fast and the installation is straightaway usable and fully updated after that because service packs and updates can be slipstreamed directly and easily using a single /integrate switch for each update or SP. Compare that to the laborious process for Windows 7, where service packs cannot be slipstreamed and even if I obtain integrated media, the process of slipstreaming updates is really non-intuitive and involves too many steps (extract the WIM, use DISM to get its index, mount it, get and add packages, unmount).

    Some other improvements that are required:

    –  For Windows 7 at least, Setup is unnecessarily a 64-bit EXE for the 64-bit ISO. As a result, we are unable to initiate 64-bit advanced setup from a 32-bit Windows version. I am forced to boot from install media. Will you please allow starting setup for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 8 from any 32-bit version of older Windows OS? Setup.exe doesn't itself have to a 64-bit binary.

    –  In-place repair reinstall feature was lost with Windows Vista.

    –  Why do we have to "build" WinPE after downloading the WAIK? Why can't it be pre-built and included in the Windows AIK/Windows ADK?

    – Keys tools like ImageX and DISM don't have a GUI and we have to depend on third party GUIs for these as many users are not comfortable or just don't wish or have the time to remember the command line syntax.

    The "Advanced" setup is not advanced enough. Setup gives no option to the user on how the Drive Letter Assignment is being handled or whether or not to create a separate boot partition, where to place the boot loader and BCD, *what type of partition it is creating, extended or primary*. It also doesn't handle those cases well where there is previously a BCD data and boot manager on another drive and often creates a Boot folder on another volume. Then there are other limitations like you can't install directly *to* a USB hard disk. Various third party tools to install Windows and actually replace Setup have emerged: WinNTSetup (…/149612-winntsetup-v21) or NT6.x Fast Installer ( So, advanced setup needs to be more configurable so these tools aren't needed.

  45. Windows7 says:

    I probably won't be using Windows 8 as I use Windows on my PC not my phone and don't want all the Metro rubbish.

    However, I must agree with xpclient on slipstreaming. It's unfathomable madness why it was ever withdrawn from Vista and 7. It takes hours for me to rebuild my Windows 7 PC from scratch; by the time I do the basic Windows 7 install then SP1 then any later updates, it takes all day. Whereas the time difference of installing Windows XP and Windows XP SP3 slipstreamed is negligible and can't be any more than 10%.

  46. Dan says:

    Just so Microsoft know there's a lot of people who want it, here's another vote for fully up-to-date downloads of the Windows installation media.

    Same goes for the ability to slipstream service packs into install media. I'm an IT consultant and I'm always having to re-install Windows for people. Note that many of these people have also lost their CD/DVD media, so I tend to carry my own on USB (thank god OEMs stick the product key on the actual machines – though no thanks to the ones who stick them underneath the batteries on laptops!)

    I need to have a USB stick with every SKU of Windows 8 on it and for it to be totally up-to-date. It's annoying to complete an install and then run through so many updates and service packs. Slipstreaming used to make adding a service pack easy. Bring it back! Similarly, it would be nice if Microsoft put out 2 or 3 update rollups a year, so us professionals could download a consolidated pack of all the patches ans then slipstream that into our installation media, too.

    Windows 7 was a joy when it first came out and there were about 12 patches and a single reboot to go through when completing a fresh install. It's getting more tiresome now. Windows XP (which yes, i am still re-installing for people!) is a bloody nightmare, even with an SP3-slipstreamed installer. There's just so many updates to go through.

    Make our lives easier, MS. Give us update rollups than can be slipstreamed into the installation media. I'd also echo the guy above who mentioned how the updates system in Office is not helpful, due to the fact that it doesn't create an up-to-date installer and simply runs through the patches in an automated fashion. It takes too long!

    We IT professionals want rapid reinstallation capabilities – including the entire patching process – as time is money for us.

  47. From the Internet says:

    So Windows 8 will also be downloadable (purchasable) from the Internet, from Microsoft Store, I think.

  48. From the Internet says:

    The "Unattend" file should be easy to create, just to insert the Product Key number.

    I couldn't be able to create it from scratch even if I'm an expert user, I'm not a programmer or developer of Microsoft files or XML files…

    There should be a "sample" XML preconfigured where you just have to insert your Product Key in it and save it.

  49. win 8 says:

    download window 8 by internet.

    that's great dream for me.

    my internet speeds is 1Gbs !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    perhaps too 42kbs 🙂 🙂 🙂

    start in this time and finish in next year.

  50. Awesome article!  Very well written.  Thanks, Christa!

  51. Removing the need to mess about with product keys is a huge step forward and it's great to see Windows 8 is being designed for the era of digital distribution. I currently buy all my games through Steam because I despite the typical Windows installers used by applications, which have you sitting through the same unnecessary information time and time again. It also allows me to get the 400+ games I own up and running immediately, as I store my Steam partition on a separate drive.

    I know that Metro apps are being designed for portability between systems by being tied to Live accounts but is anything being done to address conventional applications? I would love to see a Microsoft service that allows you to list of all the software that you want installed and to have Windows automatically download and install the latest versions of the software unattended. Developers could supply all the automated settings for inclusion. For instance, if I always install NOD32, Steam and Office then it would be great if these could be tied into your Windows account and automatically downloaded and managed. I find it irritating – and unnecessary in this day and age – to have to maintain a folder for installers (which fast become obsolete) or to have to go to 20 different websites and sit through countless installers that each require restarts.

    Currently I use Win7 and the system image function to avoid this, though I had a few issues with it recently since moving over to a UEFI system. If I made the image on my UEFI system then I should be able to restore it on the same system.

  52. X items need your attention says:

    Would it be wiser to show problems right away and not hiding them behind link? Users would just ignore report and would complain afterwards.

  53. Ozgun says:

    This is not user-friendly, when you consider end-users.

  54. Amal Bhagavath says:

    It'll cure the existing problem(very few)…..

  55. Windows Installers are funny, LOL

    When we install Windows 9X, the setup looks like 3X

    When we install Windows XP, the setup looks like 9X

    When we install Windows Vista, the setup looks like XP (Aero Basic)

    When we install Windows 7, the setup looks like Vista (Fake aero)

    My steps when install windows. I never update, I like a new and fresh setup

    -Backup C´s information (Bookmarks, emoticons,etc)

    -Change Users folders (not move real data, only register)

    -Start Setup

    –Delete C partition (if HDD >500 GB)

    –Make a new C with only 130GB and a second partition for Documents

    –Make a Swap Partion (if i have a 1 disk)

    –Install Windows

    -Configuration After Setup

    –Change users folder to new partition

    –Change SWAP file to it own partition

    –Restart Windows

    –Clean temporal files and register

    –Defrag on safemode

    –Install updates

    –Clean temporal files and register

    –Install programs & drivers

    –Customize computer for user

    -Shutdown computer 😀

    the next time when I need too a clean installa, I dont make more partitions and the backup process is more fast

  56. @Magnus87: What's the point of creating a swap partition?  That just reserves disk space that can't be used by the user.  If you were in a highly memory constrained situation, and you have a second drive spindle that you could use for your paging file, I could see the value in creating a partition dedicated to the paging file, but I can't imagine a scenario where dedicating a partition to the paging file on a single spindle system would make things perform better.

    In general, I've found that it's better to let Windows manage the paging file – while I could imagine scenarios where micro-managing the paging file would improve things, I don't see how it would be a good idea in general.

    Oh, and if you're running in an environment where you're constantly paging, it's not a bad idea to buy more RAM – it's cheap enough and IMHO it's easier to configure your machine so it doesn't swap than to tweak the system to make swapping faster.

  57. @BlindUser: We understand the criticism and the inconvenience that this creates for you. For Windows 8 we have made sure that the web setup experience is fully accessible and works with both inbox and 3rd party screen readers. Advanced Setup however was not made more accessible during this release, and will function similarly to Windows 7 Setup.  

  58. WinPhoFTW says:

    @Magnus87 Don't forget Windows 8 installer features a full blown Aero, and not Metro.

  59. Frank Elian says:

    This is a joke right? Reducing the number of steps and time it takes to install will do little to combat a perception of difficulty. Read your dialog boxes…they are awful in the eyes of a non-tech-minded individual. And about those dialog boxes. They look like the same boxes that every non-techy perceives as asking the same difficult questions they don't know the answers to in your previous operating systems. Easy would be INSERT MEDIA > CLICK UPGRADE > RESULT: Fully working, fully compatible (hardware/software), all documents and applications exactly where you left them. Number of steps and time are the least of your worries when many people don't (and don't want to) know what you are asking them.

    For starters, get rid of the dialog boxes.  They look like the exact same type of dialog boxes in every other Windows upgrade. It doesn't matter if the user knows there are fewer of them. They connect those boxes in their mind with answering difficult questions. So you've already failed. Figure out a new way to prompt user input.  You drastically changed the start menu to Metro…why not just as drastic of a change for installation? If the upgrade to Windows 7 LOOKS hard, why make the upgrade to Windows 8 look the same?

    Anyway, you have made it easier. Easier for the people who would already consider upgrading with the older processes.

  60. Noah says:

    Lovely, can't say the 11 clicks is exciting to me, I only install windows once every 6-12 months for a format/new windows.

    It would also be nice if you could allow people to change their desktops easier, "incorporate" software for example, a scroll list of a selected folder, or drop down box so click the arrow on the desktop and hey presto the folder contents, perhaps an album and play a selected item in 2 clicks. Rather than square icons which take a fair bit of a desktop up and has been around ever since windows started 🙂

  61. Evert Mouw says:

    Does it still overwrite the MBR? I was *not* amused when I could no longer dual-boot between Linux and Windows because the MBR was overwritten without any notice.

  62. @xpclient You can slipstream updates into a Windows 7 or a Windows 8 image today. Take the install.wim file and mount it using DISM. Then use DISM to apply the update (MSU file or CAB file from the Windows Update Catalog) to the mounted image. Finally, unmount the image using /commit-wim to save the updated image and replace the original install.wim with your modified one.

    You can also use DISM to enable or disable Windows features in the image, pre-install drivers, and more.

    Here is a video tutorial:…/dd320284

  63. Nitz Walsh says:

    While that's a brutal process for most end users, I wasn't even aware that was possible – so thanks for the link (I should have know this, albeit I have been out of enterprise support for the past couple of years).

    Fully up to date Win7 on USB, installed in 15 minutes, here I come.  Cower in fear, crapware-laden OEM PC's. 🙂

  64. Owl says:

    Only geeks bother to upgrade their operating systems. The real problem is the ugly process of switching machines. With a Mac (and no, I don't own one), it's easy: run a couple of programs, wait a bit, and your new machine looks just like the old one. With Windows (and yes, I own several machines with it), it's transfer your data, figure out how to reinstall your old programs (got the disk? got the code number from the 3-year-old download?), then visit all the program sites to find and download the updates. This can easily take a full day and require your constant attendance. My guess: This costs tens of millions of unit sales as people decide the old machine's still good enough. But it's not even being addressed. Fail!

  65. Robbo Robbo says:

    @owl – totally agree! The amount of times I've had to help my non-techie friends when they get a new computer does bear thinking about – installing all their favourite programs again, and then discovering that some won't even run on the new OS. Totally frustrating!

  66. Xsyr says:

    Microsoft, please add native support for MKV in Windows media player of Windows 8. Also, please make Windows Live Movie Maker built into Windows 8.

  67. Andrew says:

    The issue of installing windows is not on install…

    its on after its installed, must download a bunc of programs to make it works good

    lot of drivers,

    adobe reader, flash plugin, 7z, virtual cd rom, bunch of updates, ie 9, windows live stuff, klite codec, visual studio express, skype, yahoo, the list can goes on,

    then count how many restart i should take…

    how many hours i miss…

  68. BlindUser says:

    OK. You are not going to provide a build-in screen reader or magnifier at least, for the setup. I can't say I am happy about that. But why don't you create a guide describing and listing all the setup screens. There can't be many screens even for the so called advanced setup, can't they? And since you can use the PC speaker, perhaps you can create a version of setup that would beep a certain number of times when different screens appear. If this low-tech apporach is stil not possible, at least create a guide and describe all the screens carefully and give keyboard instructions on how to complete the setup. Like: "Insert DVD, reboot, wait until DVD stops spinning, press enter, press tab and enter, etc". I could do this in a day, not in 15 years. Why couldn't you?

  69. Jared Reid says:

    Please Add XPDM support Back to windows 8 Before release!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. xpclient says:

    @Ben H [MSFT], I never said you couldn't slipstream updates in Windows 7!! I am using that method to slipstream Vista/Windows 7 updates and IE9 today. My comment stressed how the process of slipstreaming updates (extract the WIM from the ISO, use DISM to get its index, mount it, get and add packages, unmount) is totally non-intuitive, and involves too many steps compared to just a simple /integrate switch for XP updates. DISM doesn't even have an easy-to-use GUI.

    Microsoft needs to rewrite and redesign its servicing mechanism once again from scratch so updates install as fast and quick as XP, one where components don't take up valuable HDD space in WinSxS until a service pack comes out, and where MSU updates can be slipstreamed EASILY without users having to refer to instructions every time. Plus the ability to slipstream service packs. The current updating mechanism is slow, time-consuming and is a massive step back in performance from XP. Servicing, not Setup is the pain point for IT admins and end users. Microsoft should be making improvements to servicing too. Was performance no longer of any concern when Microsoft redesigned the servicing stack in Vista? Doesn't anyone at Microsoft think if you re-engineer an OS feature, it should do everything the old one did like for example, slipstreaming service packs?

    Most of the functionality and ease of use of Update.exe, XP's old hotfix installer, have been entirely lost when Microsoft replaced it with Package Manager in Windows 8/7/Vista. Update.exe installed updates extremely fast, had a simple /integrate switch to slipstream updates, had a /passive switch to install updates automated but with progress bar, and users could delete older components that it stored in C:Windows$NtUninstallKBxxxxxx$ folders. With the new servicing stack, integration of updates now requires too many steps, there's no /passive switch, there's no /nobackup switch and no option like dism /online /cleanup-image /hotfixessuperseded to clean up older components. Plus speed of installing updates is ridiculously slow. I understand that Microsoft had to rewrite it for more robust, reliable servicing so that updates could be rolled back and allow offline servicing of OS images but the performance loss and disk space bloat is unacceptable. Users expect fast and bloat-free servicing of the OS and Microsoft is unable to deliver on that promise after 3 releases when Windows XP servicing already did that.

  71. didntupgrade says:

    An 'upgrade' experience. Top-of-the-range laptop with Vista bought some months before Window 7 came out. Attempted to upgrade to Window 7 (DVD) a year later. It REQUIRED update to the latest Vista service pack before it could upgrade to Windows 7. A glitch (probably caused by malware) didn't allow Windows Update to work. Therefore had to clean reinstall Vista and update it to the latest service pack. This took several hours. In the end, with the glich gone, did not bother with the upgrade as I didn't have the time.

    Copying user files to external storage or dedicated disk partition, followed by a clean install is the practical solution. If you can't do this because you have too many apps to reinstall, then don't bother with Windows version upgrades for the lifetime of the PC.

  72. Stefan says:

    Windows 7 is a big laugh as Windows 8

    I have been running Windows 7 for a while now, as a test. Ofcourse it has created a lot of trouble. As expected.

    Windows 7 is more stupid than my neighbours doorknob…guess the same goes for Windows 8 !?

    The thing that has been working poor since Windows XP is the so called System Restore. It most often doesn't work. It is too often You get to know that something didn't end succesful or that there are no restore points (even if You have done at least one Yourself every day to be sure there is at least one).

    Another thing that works poor is this thing with Windows update and then choose shutdown. My experience is that Windows 7 don't install the updates and just shut down. When You start Windows 7 later You got the infamous BSOD. Latest known good doesn't work. System restore fails. Repair startup fails.

    Maybe it is time to take a very good and close look how to improve this until Windows 9. I don't write Windows 8 because of that it will be a huge failure….

  73. windowFAN says:

    hey guyz,

    i just wanna wish u all .. best of my regards for windows 8.

    hope its as self-explanatory as my windows 7.

    thanx & Good luk~  🙂

  74. Mehboob says:

    Better and better year efter year. Finally Windows 8.

  75. Does the USB setup needs at least 3GB for all CPU architectures x86/x64/ARM?

  76. Alvaro says:

    I agree with xpclient …  SP's  & updates should be slipstream's to a win8 download .. Transparently. Without complicated procedures or using additional tools…  Not addressing this would be contradicting this post and the 1 tool, no complications streamlined install.

  77. Will we be able to shrink existing partitions in Windows 8 setup? It's always annoyed me that I couldn't do that in previous versions. If you want to set up a dual-boot system it's much nicer to be able to shrink your existing ones during setup of the new OS to make room; I always have to dig out a Linux live CD.

  78. Jangid says:

    Really good and Informative article.

    Does anyone try to install Windows 8 in Hindi language?

  79. @Larry Osterman

    Swap file is a giant block that transform the this into a Sandwich

    Userdata (bread)

    SwapFile (ham)

    Userdata (bread)

    I prefer to create a partition only for Swap (4,8,16GB) if is on a secondary disk better

  80. What would be cool a personal software depository on the cloud in addition to MS application store. So on install / re-install you could select what other applications to install on the same time.

    Plus a nice polished accessories for both casual users and power users. And Windows Live package that comparable to Mac ILife package.

  81. Nitz Walsh says:

    "Will we be able to shrink existing partitions in Windows 8 setup?"

    This, PLEASE.

    Would love to hear about any NTFS improvements in an upcoming blog.

  82. About the whole "4 items need your attention"

    why does the user have to click that drop down box? you KNOW that they will click it, and it's important info, so it should automatically be displayed, instead of being hidden behind a drop down menu. opinions?

  83. About the file move during upgrade problem.

    why do you copy the files to the same HDD?

    why don't you leave the files alone physically, and move the links in the MFT? you could still delete the folders, files would be fine, and it'd be 100,000 times faster.

  84. "One thing that I hope you guys change in the future is that to really customize windows installation, you have to create a slipstreamed iso. I wish I could go to an advanced setup screen and select all the fine grained features I really want installed without having to manually creating a slipstreamed installation disk myself."

    ^^^ THIS

    I wish we could alos remove bloat with AIK too. why do I need Hyper-V drivers again? oh yeah, i don't MS just loves to waste space 😉

  85. All I want to see on the setup screen is the option to set the desktop as the default start enviroment rather than the Metro Start Screen.

  86. Bradavon says:

    The Win7 requirements are identical to Vista. I don't get why Microsoft constantly say Win8's requirements are the same as Win7's without mentioning the same is true of Vista.

  87. Bradavon says:

    I totally agree with the people above. Windows used to let you choose what apps you wish to install. Please bring it back.

  88. I wish theat once the os was done installing the machine could be analysed  and one download of all updates could hapen all at once.

    reformatting a vista machine now i end up with several hundred updates that need to be reinstalled.  

    sure would be nice if some system could dynamically "roll up" all updates into one exe file!!

  89. xpclient says:

    @Andrew McDonald, the reason you may be unable to shrink the volume is that there are unmovable files at the end of the volume like the hibernation file, pagefile, MFT or shadow copies. Before starting Windows Setup, you should disable shadow copies, disable hibernation and temporarily even the page file if it's on the same volume, then defragment your drive and Windows will let you shrink the maximum amount. After setup is complete, you can re-enable hibernation, pagefile and shadow copies/System Restore. Though I agree if Microsoft took more efforts to automate this during Setup, it would help many users who don't understand why they are unable to shrink the volume even if there's plenty of available free space.

  90. Jason Hammond says:

    It seems all good, but please please please!!!

    Will I be able to set up my SSD as my root and my hdd as my user files?

  91. Oh dear says:

    16-bit software working on 8?

    Please, please, please abandon x86, and only support x86-64, AMD64.

    What a waste of time!

  92. Jude says:

    Am in love with how the win8 will operate

  93. Ville Tiensuu says:

    Oh, nice!

    This is great improvement from the previous versions 🙂

  94. AndyCadley says:

    @BumbleBritches57: I suspect that's because far more people complained about having to provide the OS CD every time they wanted to add a feature or install a new device, when it was something people rarely kept handy. It lead to most OEMs and users just keeping an uncompressed version of the i386 folder on their machine anyway.

  95. Karl says:

    Wheeeen will MS be able to allow multi-setups? It's ridiculous to allow just O N E setup at a time.

  96. xyz198155 says:

    people who are using windows 7 just stick on to it, as it seems like the last and only great OS from Microsoft.Their downfall starts with windows 8.

  97. RichardC says:

    If you want to know why "most people choose to get a new version of Windows preinstalled on a new PC" you only have to look at my experience installing Windows 8 DP.  I downloaded Microsoft's Windows 7 USB tool for making bootable USB sticks out of ISO images.  When I ran the tool I got a message saying I had to download .NET 2.

    After downloading and installing .NET 2 a 69.2MB service pack shows up on Windows Update, which is utterly ridiculous when .NET 2 was only 22.4MB.  I installed the services pack and performed the required restart, then I tried to run the application again.  This time I get a message saying I need the Microsoft Image Mastering API v2.  

    In order to get the Microsoft Image Mastering API v2 I had to download a validation tool which produces a code which I had to type into the website.  So in summary this simple 2.6MB tool needed me to download:

    .NET 2 2 at 22.4MB

    .NET 2 Service Pack at 69.2MB

    A Windows Validation

    Microsoft Image Mastering API v2

    After getting the pre-requisites I run the tool again, but instead of starting up I find I have to install it.  Why can't it be run from the directory it's in?  I don't want it permanently on my PC and in my Programs menu; I just want to use it once!

    After installation it took about 20minutes to run, following which I saw "Files copied successfully".  However, when I tried to boot from the USB stick it wouldn't boot.  After messing around for a while without success I tried running the USB Tool again.  When it finished I read the full message and what it actually said was "Files copied successfully.  However, we were unable to run bootsect to make the USB device bootable".  Don't tell me "successfully" when it has completely failed to fulfil its purpose!  At least say "Failed to create bootable image" or something!

    I searched for the message and found many other people were having the same problem using the tool with Windows 7.  The issue seemed to be related to the 64bit version of Windows but rather than look into it further I chose to give up on Microsoft and use this alternative which I saw in a discussion thread:

    It's better than Microsoft's utility in every way:

    1) It runs without the need to validate your Windows licence or install extra crap like .NET, service packs or the Microsoft Image Mastering API v2.

    2) It doesn't require installing and you just run the executable.

    3) It doesn't tell me it's worked when it hasn't.

    4) It actually works and allowed me to successfully install Windows 8 DP from a USB drive.

    Microsoft have only Windows to support and you fail to do that.  Meanwhile this tool supports a vast array of operating systems and it works flawlessly.  It's truly pathetic that a company the size of Microsoft can't produce a simple tool that actually works.  And you wonder why people are scared to upgrade their copy of Windows?!

    Even if it had worked I would have said I had a dreadful user experience because I had to download and install five pieces of software for this basic task.  However, the fact that the tool never even worked reinforces my image of Microsoft as a company that produces extremely low quality products and cares more about shoving its latest agenda down user's throats (be it .NET, Silverlight, Metro or whatever) than delivering a quality user experience.

  98. DevPlus says:

    Make Windows 8 Professional Under 100 $ and THANKS

  99. Times are changing says:

    The Windows 95 start sound was made on a Mac! Ahahah!,66800.html

  100. sevenacids says:

    "most people choose to get a new version of Windows preinstalled on a new PC"

    Well, do they actually have a choice here? Don't see so many non-Windows PCs from OEMs… it's them who made many versions of Windows more successful than they would have been otherwise.

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  102. @AndyCadley

    Ok, but if Windows AIK was required, only hackers and uber nerds liike me would be able to access it.

    basically I'm asking Microsoft to expand the selection of removable packages.

  103. Stefan says:


    Will there be any update in Vista, Windows 7 and later Windows versions that support programs using jre-1_5_0_04-windows-i586-p ? One of my most important music programs, that is discontinued by Arturia, needs that version of java runtime to work. In both Vista and Windows 7 that program fails to work even if jre-1_5_0_04-windows-i586-p is installed. The program do also have severe graphical failure in any newer version than XP. It is completely unusable in Vista, Windows 7 and probably in 8 to (i will not install 8 again). I am not interested in run XP-mode in Windows 7, then i can run XP as a standalone OS with less requirements of resources.

  104. @JohannesB

    You don't have to rely on Windows to tell you if your PC is compatible or not.

    Before you buy intending to install on your current machine, it's just a few basic questions:

    -Does my system meet the recommended specifications?

    -Do I have any software installed that runs in the background in a way that it interferes with the install process?

    -Do the devices I use and the components for my computer have drivers available that work in Windows 8?

    As for system requirements and drivers, the answer for 90% of computers built for Windows 7 would be YES, there are drivers available for Windows 8 and my system does meet the requirements. And it's not very hard at all to find out for sure. The system compatibility check in Windows 8 setup is there to alert you of any conflicts, most of which can be quickly resolved, as well as a way of preventing inexperienced users from installing Windows 8 in cases such as when it will not work with their machine, specifically in cases of hardware requirements.

  105. Thank you, Microsoft. As someone who primarily uses laptops and occasionally desktops for computing, I had my doubts you would be able to get the interface to work on the desktop and laptop in a way which would be efficient.

    After having installed Windows 8 Developer Preview on an older computer of mine, I must say I am impressed. The OS is sleek, it looks great, and it works much better than I expected. I also noticed it is quite the gaming OS, offering a slight improvement in performance of DirectX applications over Windows 7. For such an early release, it is also quite stable, in fact more stable than I've seen other software from just a month or two to even days before release.

    As someone who is constantly monitoring CPU and memory usage, I must say the new task manager is also quite a catch. It gives more information, and makes it easier to find and understand the information it gives.

    Also, I must praise you on the new Start screen and Metro UI. I thought it'd be a poorly implemented copy and paste of Windows Phone, but you guys did it quite well, and it has proven to work quite well for me.

    Also, one thing I noticed about Windows 8 Dev Preview is the installation and boot time was quite fast. At least half the time it took to install Windows 7 was how long it took to install Windows 8. And, now I see you're taking even more steps to improve the speed.

    Microsoft, keep up the great work, and disregard what haters around here say. I think Windows 8 will be the best yet, and I look forward to its release.

  106. @Magnus87

    Correction: The Windows XP installer (frst phase, which you deal with the basic text-only interface) is like the first text interface phase of Windows 3.x. The 9x first phase is like MS-DOS, and the second, full GUI phase is like Win3.x full GUI phase or inside Win3.1 after install.

    The Windows XP full-GUI phase of setup…. well, is something entirely like its own.

  107. Also, Microsoft:

    Since Windows 8 could be quite the major Windows release; unifying the desktop, laptop, and tablet, and changing a few minor things in the OS as well as making giant changes and improvements in others, why not make it another one which plays a song after installation, just like XP did?

  108. Aaron Newton says:

    Setup process was okay. Could we possibly ditch the vertical scrolling and add accordion style menus instead (with colour coded "complete/incomplete" labels)? Maybe hit up the jQuery UI for inspiration…/accordion

    Hypothetical question – could you make the installation 1 page using accordion menus? That would be cool.

    This would allow MS to pack way more into the interface as some people have been suggesting.

  109. TryllZ says:

    All Im concerned is when is M$ going to introduce super-multi-touch capabilities…

    such as, stretching the mousepad to maximise windows n using it anti-to minimize them, like doing it in images online…or as such…

  110. Nick says:

    Its great but i hope many apps will be compatible with windows 8 .

    Good job 😀

  111. JohannesB says:


    I think you are missing the point. It's not very difficult for you and me to check if it's compatible or not. However for 90%+ of all the hundreds of millions of Windows-users, it IS difficult. So Windows 8 will be a huge help here.

  112. Alvaro says:

    Same thing for updates .. while using this procedure:…/dd320284

    isn't rocket science …. "However for 90%+ of all the hundreds of millions of Windows-users, it IS difficult. So Windows 8 will be a huge help here."

    Hence the importance of making an transparent, slip streamed and  up to date install image during web setup it's so critical

  113. Irfanfare says:

    Great, you guys make things easier with each new version of Windows. Windows is worth much more than what we pay for it.

  114. Morten says:

    Don't use the word "ISO" in the burn to DVD dialog.  most people have no idea what that is. How about "Burn install to a DVD" ?

  115. Stefan says:

    I should have supported Windows 8 if You had listened to us who have been VIP-customers for a long time with Microsoft products. Still i don't see any changes at all with f.ex that Metro BS… Tell me, if i buy an expensive OS and choose to use the "old desktop" instead of a startscreen (nobody seem to understand) why should i have less possibility to use that OS (read something that the OS should support desktop less than that Metro BS). According to what i read You think that we who want the old GUI are less worth than they who use the startscreen (that nobody seem to understand) ? What do You think that will mean in the long term. Yeah right, people won't pay for the OS, they will download cracked versions instead. Soon we will have new botnets around the world….all thanks to Your stubborness….

    I still believe that Windows 8 will become a big failure with the desktop users, especially musicproducers, gamers, enterprises and powerusers. Too bad really. Windows 8 have some good features, but please, let the users choose GUI at install.

    I have used Windows 3.11, NT4, 95, 95OSR2 IBM, 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP and Vista. Windows 7 and 8 i think deliver too little to be satisfied with… Now i see a reason to stop use Windows….too sad. Maybe time for a Mac instead.

  116. All people know me says:

    for windows 8, please don't add trojan, using full ssl port 443 for updating.. before many bug for windows security center have many bug and firewall can't block per 0,001 second.

  117. All people know me! who i'm?? says:

    windows 8 !! ideot !!

    windows 7 have many bug !!

    1. Port 80 for update TAMPER, PHISING, and Many Problem. Please Use 443 for secure update and many repair bug from microsoft.

    2. Firewall, Can't Block Injection per 0,001 second or more min. and I test for LISTENING, TIME_WAIT it send and recieve data 3-10 kb, must no send or recieve. Microsoft no detect that 😀

    3. Bug .RND files it's problem with .RND file, .RND files is just Temp but you can remotely control any computer as if you were sitting right in front of it even through firewalls. All your partner has to do is start a small application, which does not even require installation or administrative rights. 😀 its cool

    4. Microsoft security center it's bug too. every can send malware with that 😀

    5. Firewall again i can send per 0.001 send to hack microsoft user 😀

    6. Tired because windows 7 ideot project. 😀

    7. many people know that. 😀

    Happy Ending

    system Microsoft headquarters can be in and out, without known. 😀

    windows 7 illegal and legal SAME!! maybe windows 8 same too

    Bye3x Genius :p

  118. Stefan says:

    Microsoft is lying.

    It was earlier said that Windows 8 should be able to run all software that are used in Windows XP. I got some clear answers from Microsoft yesterday that said that that isn't the case. So what was told earlier is a lie.

    That will be another reason why people won't upgrade to Windows 8.

    I think that Microsft is shooting themselves in the foot over and over…

  119. Karl says:

    Stefan : apparently MS does not want to make business with IT – professionals -).

    I know a small company, they still work with XP, the admin told me it works, why to run the risk

    that expensive software has problems with w7? I do not think they jump directly to the phone os w8.

  120. Klimax says:

    Stefan, your latest posts are form of trolling. I don't think your opinion is seen as too valuable due to form of your post. The latest which you start with accusation pretty much guarantees "ignore".

    Just friendly warning, that you don't make good impressino for your case to be taken seriously. (Accusation without backing like links are very bad idea…)

    And I don't believe you are VIP customer. Doesn't look true based upoon your posts.

  121. Jangid says:

    I was trying to Install in virtual box using Hindi language but in personalization section there is no option for change the character set and there is no option for go back or next.

    Finally I did it from scratch in default charcter set. is this intentionally or bug in setup??

    click this link for error image


    Manoj Jangid

  122. snldr1 says:

    I like what I see, but I too do not want to have to have an MSDN account to be a power user.  After 34 years in IT, I am used to having more tools than the consumer! 🙂

  123. Abasin hotak says:

    i am from kandahar afghanistan

    i want to download the win8 and my internet speed is about 1MB

    from where i can download win8

  124. xyz198155 says:

    The Search option in Windows developer preview is really more cumbersome compared to the global search bar in windows 7. The search in windows 7 takes just 2 clicks to get to your results.

    Whereas in windows developer preview in addition to clicking on search button, you would further need to chose the type of file you are trying to search.

    I dont understand why the windows 7 search option is being phased out, which was really efficient to get to what you were looking for anywhere on the computer in just 2 clicks.

  125. xyz198155 says:

    I dont think the metro interface really works well for the desktop experience. The metro interface suits well for the tablet interface, I agree totally, but not for the desktop.

  126. xyz198155 says:

    @Abasin hotak – you can download windows 8 from the following URL:…/br229516

    Make sure you click on the right link depending on weather you want to install 64 bit or 32 bit.

  127. Kubuntu Linux User says:

    Does the comment system even work. My post seems to have vanished

  128. Kubuntu Linux User says:

    @Steven Sinofsky @Microsoft PLEASE DO REPLY…/14873

    Is this true? If so I am not developing for metro. What happens if one wants to make an Open Source metro app?

    This is a really cheap anti-competitive thing to do by Microsoft. Sure they can have an app store but allow normal distribution as well.

    Why is Windows going so downhill since after XP?

    I have used every version of windows from 3.11 and I am extremely disappointed with the way it is going especially with Windows 8. I hope this flops worse than ME.  Also the new task-manager and file copy dialog are deliberate feature clones of software implementations from Linux. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out.

    The reason I use Windows is that it does not behave like an iPhone. I do not want my PC to act like a phone.

    Windows vista and higher are absolute resource hogs.

    Why not update XP (slightly) by giving it more hardware and technology support and re sell it as XP 2.0?

    The metro screen is like some addware that keeps popping up when you use the computer; when you logon and launch an app to remind you that you can buy things from the Appstore. As far as the UI of windows 8 goes, its Ugly. The flat buttons do not look nice at all. Even windows 9X looks better. Enterprises do not want to use an annoying metro screen. Maybe Microsoft should have expanded Windows Phone 7 to tablets rather than Windows 7 to tablets.

    Windows 8 looks like the one version of Windows I will never purchase. I have used every version of Windows from 3.11. And so far no product has impressed me more than XP.

    We develop business applications and most of our clients run Windows XP. I think its time to migrate them to Linux systems.

  129. Kubuntu Linux User says:

    @Steven Sinofsky @Microsoft PLEASE DO REPLY

    I also feel that Microsoft is not being exactly innovative. In recent years most of its most hyped features originate from other places.

    These two blog posts show what I am trying to say as does this presentation from Apple

    Taskbar grouping introduced in Windows XP – copied from KDE

    New start menu with search and scrollbar – copied from kickoff launcher in KDE which existed long before vista

    Desktop composition – Existed in many forms on linux systems

    Large taskbar – Flagship style of KDE

    Icon only taskbar with controls embedded – copied from mac OS X

    Windows 8 start launcher – Copied from Ubuntu Unity Dash

  130. i says:

    @Kubuntu Linux Use

    you want invent cycle of the first ?

    most linux features copied from old windows.

    only bias or zeal .

    if  you have new  Innovation please represent.

  131. Kubuntu Linux User says:


    Firstly I already stated my facts and in most cases the features existed years before in the Open implementations. You on the other hand provided no facts. Just saying something because it is what you want to believe does not make it true.

    Not true. Just because WIndows is so much more popular (in home usage world) doesn't mean we don't get innovation first. The point of the open platform is innovation.

    Developers who want to re implement windows like stuff are free to do so. But all things I mentioned were present years before on Linux.

    To add two more features

    Taskmanager in WIndows 8. Graphs like that etc have been there since the late 90's in ksysguard and other apps.

    Desktop composition – Also existed in Linux long ago. (agreed it was more primitive back in the day)

  132. Kubuntu Linux User says:

    No versions of Windows could ever be considered major innovations except for Windows NT4 and Windows XP. Those two were really advanced considering their release date. Windows XP can still do most of the things above versions do and does everything the typical PC user wants.

  133. Not sure you have the dialogs just right. The compatibility summary refers to "info about each *app* and device" and "X of your *programs* and devices will work". Is the mixed terminology intentional? If the CPL 'Programs and Features' is not renamed, it might be best to refer to apps as programs in the Win8 Setup/Desktop context, and change the terminology throughout in the following release.

    "X items need your attention" – maybe break this into "* X programs have known compatibility issues", and "* Y (hardware?) devices are not currently supported by Windows 8". This sounds more authoritive and the phrase "need your attention" gives the impression that it's the users responsiblity to resolve these issues before setup will continue. In the compat report, "These will work automatically" – should be "These programs are fully compatible, and will continue to work as currently", and "These need your attention" – should be "Programs with compatibility problems – if retained, manual intervention will be required".

    On the options for upgrade dialog, are users clear on what 'Windows settings' refers to? Also, what about public files? Maybe change the references to "Personal and Public files + Installed Programs + Personal settings and preferences", and "Personal and Public files (only)". What is/isn't being kept should be spelt out very clearly. Drag "What are my options for what i want to keep" closer to the options list.

    "Resolving blocking issues" – i like the phrase and the concept. This time i might win the "easier said than done prize" but this idea should be generalized throughout both the OS and for application options, as far as possible. Users should never be presented with "greyed-out" (disabled) options, with no means of discovering what the blocking issue(s) is/are. All options in all contexts should either A) work, B) present a "Resolving blocking issues" dialog, C) Popup help that explains why the option is unavailable.

    Regarding the backup of users files and settings:

    1. "In Windows 8, instead of moving things file-by-file, we move entire folders, drastically reducing the number of file operations required." Is that an implicit reference to multi-threaded copying, or something else? I hope Robocopy has access to all the tricks available to Setup. 🙂

    2. The mystery remains as to why Microsoft doesn't offer an advanced option during 'advanced setup' to store user data on a non-SystemDrive partition. There should be something like an Advanced or Options button at the start of setup that presents a dialog that allows the user to specify an alternate partition/disk to store the Users folder, and when a single-disk setup, includes a sliding bar with percent and GBs for chosen SystemDrive and UserData drive. This option would naturally take care of things like compatibility junction points and permissions. Yes i know there is an unattended option to relocate Users and another to relocate ProgramData, but that is a little too advanced for most users. The only issue that moving Users entirely might create is the possibility of a corrupted UsersDefault profile (not fixed if SystemDrive is reimaged) – this profile should ideally remain on SystemDrive, as should Administrator.

    Comments regarding advanced setup – IT pro style:

    1. A missing tool is a log viewer – something that links to all known setup related logs, perhaps via a tree-view. Perhaps with error highlighting. WinPE compatible. A related option would be the possibility of saving setup logs in *both* normal and verbose format. The log viewer can then flip between 'views' as required.

    2. Setup should have a verbose messaging option – enabling this (via unattend.xml or Group Policy) means that all setup steps, errors and warnings are displayed onscreen. The option would also apply to Windows Update processing.

    3. I noticed that what is registry key data in Vista/7 – HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionSetupSysprep – has moved to XML files in the WDP. So Sysprep seems to be getting some changes, and DISM has a bunch of new switches that give it most of Imagex's functionality. Hopefully we will get a blog on deployment and servicing related stuff in the new year.

    4. For unattend.xml items like ProductKey, what is Microsoft's general position on the use of replacable environment variables in these files? Ex: <Key>%ProductKey%</Key> – where %ProductKey% is added to the machine environment "ahead of time". Are env vars A) A supported option, B) Available in all setup passes (where appropriate) C) Workable for some items but not all?

    5. There should be a more formal way of comparing in-box versus out-of-box driver ranks, so deployment techs can manage the addition and removal of drivers from WIM images in a more automated manner. Something like 'DISM /get-driverranks …', with tabular output. I will post on this somewhere more appropriate.

    6. DISM should have a '/Get-PendingActions' switch to compliment the existing '/Revert-PendingActions' switch.

    7. It would be nice if Diskpart had both an 'online' and 'single-line mode', like say, netsh and WMIC do. I want to avoid having to rely on 3rd-party disk tools as much as possible.

    8. (off-topic) The BITS service should get a timestamping option, to avoid downloads of files with the same name and date/time – again to avoid having to use 3rd-party stuff, just because of a single deficiency.

    9. Too much stuff is running/enabled during setup that ideally should only be activated at the end of Oobe. Stuff like System Restore, Windows Update, Prefetch/Superfetch, screen saver and sub-maximal power modes should all be disabled by default until as late as possible in the setup process.

    10. Unattended options like RunSynchronousCommand and First/LogonCommands combine command paths and command lines into single elements. A small quible but i think paths and commands should always be discrete elements.

    11. The 'Default User' concept is too restrictive. It would be preferable to have alternative default profiles – one for Administrators and one for Users. The concept of altering the Administrators profile and then making this the template profile by copying over the Default profile implies that all new accounts should start-out identically, regardless of group membership. This is too limiting – default profiles should be tweakable with the purpose of the end-user in mind.

    12. When capturing/appending images using Imagex, there is no way of forcing a specific and unused index number. This is a problem if wanting to create a new install.wim with latest service pack for each required SKU, but not all required SKUs have a consecutive index number. Example – capturing Professional, HomePremium, and Ultimate is equivalent to index numbers 3,4 and 5 in the inbox Win7 install.wim. I want a new install.wim *with the same index numbers* (not 1, 2, & 3 as in this ex). It would be nice if /index:# could be specified when capturing/appending, and/or if the /flags switch were used, to automatically use the appropriate index number in the capturing wim, if available. Also, when using the /capture switch, if filename.wim already exists, Imagex will overwrite the file without first prompting the user. Default behavior should be to prompt unless something like an /overwrite switch is specified.

  134. says:

    very good..i also think beta will be better than prebeta..

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