Windows 8 is Microsoft’s latest OS offering to the computer market which promises a unified yet uncompromising user experience. But before you can try any of this out you have to get it on your computer first if you opted out of purchasing a whole new machine.
I debated long and hard whether or not to take the plunge. Then, last weekend I found myself confronted with the low cost of entry combined with the ever looming threat of the free Media Center Pack offer mere days away from expiring. I took a deep breath and decided to jump right in. What could I lose except a few bucks and the time and effort spent installing it. If successful it would go on a new computer build I’m planning in the near future. There’s no need for me to mess around with my current Windows 7 setup when it’s perfectly fine the way it is. So for now I will only experience the install and setup process.
I decided to go with the clean install on a fresh blank hard drive. This way when I install it in the new computer I can add the latest versions of what I need with no remnants from past iterations. Ready to get this going I inserting a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 8 into my computer. The install process started almost immediately. I was presented with a few prompts and the install continued on. Around 30 to 40 minutes past with some restarts but nothing that required attention. Once the install process finished my computer restarted one final time immediately followed by a few first time setup prompts then it was off to the races. If I didn’t know any better I’d say my computer came with Windows 8 pre-installed just waiting for me to set it up. It worked that well. I then decided to install all the available updates to get some “housekeeping” out the way because I’m pretty sure there’s going to be quite a few more as this sits around doing nothing until I start my next project. This took maybe another 20 minutes to complete as there were numerous updates available for download. And since I was only days way from my free Media Center Pack key expiring; installing that was my next move. As smooth as the Windows 8 install went so did Media Center not that I expected any complications but you never know. So in well under 2 hours I was able to install Windows 8, download and install multiple updates, install Media Center and do one more check for updates. This is a definite improvement over pervious Windows installations and I’m quite pleased with it. Every installation my not go as smooth as this which is to be expected but with a little pre-install preparation most if not all major issues could be avoided.
My first suggestion for anyone wanting to install Windows 8 regardless of whether you are performing an upgrade or a clean install is to create an install disc or a bootable USB drive before you do anything else. Heck, why not both if you can. Installing it this way avoids the whole re-downloading scenario it may put you through and other issues associated with the online method by having all the setup files ready to go.
Secondly, save all your files and media to a separate partition, hard drive, disc, flash drive, cloud service, what have you. Bad things do sometimes happen due to no fault of your own even when you follow instructions to the letter. So, backup, backup, backup somewhere else. Oh, and one more thing, make note of all the applications you have installed. There will always be one you will forget about until you really need it. On the other hand there may be a few programs worth forgetting. It’s up to you.
Once you’re ready, all you will need to do is to put the install medium in your computer, start the install process, follow a few install prompts then go find something else to do. Yes, it’s just that simple. Installing Windows 8 is Microsoft’s smoothest, trouble free experience I have had so far when dealing with Windows. Once set in motion it ran without any user intervention during the whole process. No annoying prompts every few minutes asking about device drivers forcing you to sit and stare at a monitor until it’s done. It seems that the time Microsoft spent reworking Windows for the future was time well spent. The majority of users should have no issues installing Windows 8 and that really says something. Let’s hope Microsoft continues on the good foot.