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  1. #1
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    Experiences upgrading from XP

    There have been a few discussions about upgrade paths in the past, so I thought I would record a few experiences that I encountered while upgrading a machine from Windows XP.

    The PC is a 5 year old machine with an activated Windows XP licence and all updates in place. It has 4GB ram installed and runs an Intel Core 2 E6700 CPU @2.66GHz. It's currently used by a 14 year old relative for typical teenage stuff and a little schoolwork.

    I decided to run through the standard upgrade path partly because it costs only 24.99 and partly because I wanted to see exactly what the standard path would entail going from XP.

    I went to the Windows 8 Upgrade assistant site, ran the tool which told me that a custom install would be needed and that my upgrade option was limited to Windows 8 Pro - not a problem because that's what I intended anyway. As per the recommendation, I disabled the antivirus and all startup application, though for non technical people that may prove a little challenging.

    Proceeding to the "We are getting a few things ready" screen the machine hung for 3 hours. There was no CPU activity to speak of, but there was a reasonable amount of network traffic, so I left it for a while thinking that it may be downloading the installation files. But no, after 3 hours and still no progress, I dropped out of the Websetup application and tried again. This time the Upgrade Assistant ran smooth and after selecting Windows 8 Pro, I was taken to a screen where I needed to enter my personal details and payment options. That screen did not appear the first time. After payment was confirmed the Websetup displayed the new Windows 8 key and it was sent to me by email too.

    The setup proceeded to download the installation file, gave me the option to install now or save to the desktop for later installation: I chose install now. Installation was a little slower than for a clean install, based on installations of the RP, CP and Technet RTM, but I guess that's because it was running an upgrade, even though I told it to keep nothing.

    After about 40 minutes and several automatic reboots later, we were in Windows 8 first run setup screen. At no point did it ask for the licence key. Inspection shows that Windows is already activated with the key that was supplied.

    There were a few things that hadn't worked as expected:

    • The hangup during the Websetup waiting for the personal details and payment options screen to appear.
    • The graphics driver was not loaded correctly. Despite the Upgrade Assistant telling me the slightly old ATI X300SE card was compatible, it defaulted to the Windows basic video driver, so I have to find the ATI driver separately.
    • There was a Windows.old folder from the XP install left on the machine, plus a couple of pre-existing application folders in the root of the system volume, despite me asking for a custom install and to keep nothing. A quick cleanup fixed that.
    • Perhaps most irksome, the system never asked me which version of Windows 8 Pro to install (32 or 64 bit). It downloaded and installed 32 bit. The CPU and system is capable of 64 bit, but I assume the upgrade from XP 32 bit is only available to Windows 8 Pro 32 bit. Not a big problem, 3GB usable will be ok, but it would have been nice to consider being able to drop additional ram into the machine.


    Overall the upgrade needed a little thinking, possibly because based on previous WIndows 8 installs I was expecting to see slightly different screens at several stages). Perhaps for the general public, it may prove an easier route as it is very well guided. Having obtained the upgrade licence key, I guess I might have been able to use a separate ISO download and run a clean install wiping out XP completely, but I specifically wanted to see the upgrade warts and all.

    Normally, I default to clean installs. However, this process, although needing a little attention, appears to have resulted in a pretty robust install. Video driver excepted, it appears cleaner than previous test upgrades that I have made going from XP to Vista or Vista to 7.

    I'm currently leaving the machine without any customisation to see how my young relative gets on with it in its raw form. I suspect that her use will mainly be in Metro using IE10, Facebook, etc, and she would come to me for any heavy lifting on the desktop. That said, I'm without doubt going to be asked to sort out video playback in Media Centre or VLC equivalent if she doesn't discover how to do that herself. I'll probably be asked to install Office at some point for her schoolwork and that may lead her into uncharted territory regarding Windows 8 UI switching.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I wonder if you had chosen to Install from Media if you could have then chosen the 64 Bit download. I am not sure on this as both our laptops were already 64 Bit OS's. In trying to research this, it appears MS has admitted this has been a problem and also states that soon there will be a link to both 32 Bit and 64 Bit downloads. (This is second hand info)

    Another advantage of the Install from Media is that you will then have an installation media (DVD or Flash) to use for future endeavors such as Repair Console or reinstalls.

    I also wonder if the little glitches you encountered could have been averted using the Install from Media option as booting from the DVD you can choose Custom install as you did and end up with the windows.old folder, or choose to format the drive during the installation.

    It does seem that those who choose the install now have encountered more reported problems than those that chose the install from media option. Unfortunately it's difficult to tell just how many of each has been done since people that do not have problems generally do not report how their installation has gone, whether Upgrade or Custom.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  3. #3
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    Yes Ted, install from media option was one of the things I was interested to see if it offered because I already have installation media courtesy of my Technet subscription. However, the only place during the entire upgrade process it mentions media is when you go to place the upgrade order: you can order a DVD disk for an extra 12.99. I guess it would take several weeks for that to come through and I wanted to clear this one fairly quickly, plus I didn't want to spend an extra 13 to get media that I already have. My guess is that most people taking the upgrade route will opt for the download rather than wait for the DVD.

    It's possible, but not certain, that I could have used my pre-existing installation media to run a clean install, deleting the XP partition and starting afresh, entering the supplied upgrade key when requested. The unclear bit being whether the upgrade key would be accepted or not.

    On the 32 bit / 64 bit question, my suspicions were aroused fairly early on in the process when it told me that the download was 2GB and this was before I committed to download or additional DVD option. Even allowing for compression that's a lot smaller than the 64 Bit: Technet versions of 32bit are 2.5GB, while 64bit are 3.3GB.

    The video driver is a peculiar one. The Upgrade Assistant told me the card was compatible, but as noted earlier it's running the Default Microsoft video adapter in Device Manager and the X300 card is listed as no driver available. However, the Default Microsoft Video adapter can drive the card to the full resolution, so most people might not even notice that it is not using the ATI driver. It only becomes apparent when running the Windows Experience rating wizard, or by direct inspection of device manager.

    As noted, I always try to fallback to clean installs, but other than a few quirks and the automatic selection of 32bit, the installation went very smooth and was well guided. I'm not sure if I would take this route for paying clients who are upgrading from XP where it is not possible to keep installed applications: there is little to lose to go to a clean install (assuming the upgrade key works in a clean install). However, if upgrading from Vista or Win7 where it may be possible to keep applications, this process might be a useful route that would not have been advised previously.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Weird, you should see the following list of screens in order: (These are all after the purchase screens)

    11.jpg12.jpg13.jpg14.jpg

    On the last screen I show you should have the option to Install by creating media. This is where you would download the ISO file to your PC and burn it to DVD or Flash. I also chose to Save As, and saved the ISO file to my Downloads folder (If you remember my data folders are all on a separate partition)

    If you choose to format the partition during the installation the upgrade key works fine, that's exactly what I did.

    Boot to DVD, choose Custom Install, on next screen click Advanced (Disk) options, highlight the installation partition and choose Format, then continue the installation.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-11-18 at 09:10.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The next screens are the actual installation:

    15.jpg16.jpg17.jpg18.jpg20.jpg
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  6. #6
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    Thanks for describing in such detail your experience, Tinto. It will surely be useful to someone else.

    It would seem to me now that all upgrade installs will have similar behavior to one of your negatives - the windows.old folder creation and some installation folders. That happened to me when upgrading my 7 32 bit installation to 8 x64. This was done with media, but the behavior was pretty much the same.

    As to the x86 nature of the install, it seems to go in accordance with previous install reports made my Lounge members - using this web install path, you don't seem to be able to change from x86 to x64 - you will be offered an install that matches your original OS.

    I can also confirm a similar experience regarding hardware support - the fact that some hardware is supported, doesn't mean it will necessarily be supported in the best possible way. The included Windows drivers are not usually the best, although they allow you to use the hardware you have. I guess that's a risk with early adoption. Even some manufacturer provided driver packages end up being much less featured than what they offer for Windows 7. Being an early adopter does have its costs .

  7. #7
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    Ted, re the screen to select Install Windows 8 giving you the option to:

    • Install Now,
    • Install by Creating Media
    • Install from Your Desktop


    I'm pretty sure I was not given the option to Install from Media. Of course I can't go back and confirm that to be 100% correct now, but it was one of the things I was looking out for (out of my own interest rather than just wanting to get the upgrade done). Maybe the upgrade from XP to Win8 is different than from 7 to 8?

    Good to know your upgrade key worked using a clean install of the downloaded media. I'm not absolutely sure it would for me, because my installation media is the RTM from Technet.

    Ruirib: I gave up trying to fix the X300 video driver situation and dropped in a 3ryr old Nvidia 8800GT card that I had lying around. Probably over specified for her needs, but I wanted to get it working for this afternoon. After a reboot with the 8800GT card, all was fine and Windows had installed an Nvidia driver dated June this year.

    :
    :
    :

    So, I have demonstrated the system this afternoon, connecting it to her hotmail and gmail accounts. I pinned Facebook and a few others to Start. All her contacts came in. I reinforced the message to take the mouse to the corner for a "context menu" - I'm not sure "Charms" would mean anything to a 14year old who just wants to surf, use social media and play games. I also showed her the desktop and again re-enforced the method of closing that and switching back to Start.

    I haven't added a 3rd party Start button, nor power down etc. I showed her that pressing the power button does the same thing as selecting shutdown.

    I showed her how to type in Start to search for things. I strongly suspect she will spend most of her time in Metro, which perhaps is where Microsoft wants users such as her to be.

    Her first impressions: "It's well cool!". Her big sister: "That looks like Windows Phone...Can my laptop run it?"

    I've learnt a few things from this exercise. Not just some technical stuff, but based on a market survey of two teenagers; that Microsoft might have forged a new market.
    In God we trust; all others must bring data.

    - William Edwards Deming. 1900 - 1993

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinto Tech View Post
    I've learnt a few things from this exercise. Not just some technical stuff, but based on a market survey of two teenagers; that Microsoft might have forged a new market.
    My 12 year old loves his Windows Phone . If you have no prior bias, the tiles do make a lot of sense .

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Well Tinto, it looks like you might have another installation in your near future. I do not have any XP installations to try the Win 8 installation on so I cannot verify if there is a screen difference from XP to Win 8 versus Win 7 to Win 8.

    I also do not remember the exact wording of the link to format the partition during the installation, whether it is Advanced options or Disk options. My wife tells me the statins I'm taking for cholesterol affects memory so I will blame my lack thereof on those meds.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

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