By Murali Takalpati | September 1, 2012
Today, I wanted to share my experience upgrading from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Pro. Before I installed Windows 8 Pro, I started with Windows 8 Enterprise. I launched the Windows 8 Enterprise setup and I was made aware that I could only do a fresh install going from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 8 Enterprise and I could not go the upgrade route, Since I did not want to do a clean install, so I just went with Windows 8 Pro.
I strongly recommend taking a complete backup of your data before you do the upgrade. I did not lose any data, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Here is my current system type and specs
Lenovo W510 Laptop
Intel Core i7 Q 720 1.6 GHz
4 GB Ram
I downloaded the Windows 8 Pro from the MSDN Subscriber downloads, if you do not have a subscription you will need to purchase one. There are a lot of different offers for Professionals like BizSpark, DreamSpark, Web Site Spark and Action Pack Subscriptions. All the Spark subscriptions are free if you become eligible for these programs, but the Action Pack Subscription is available for Certified Professionals, ISV’s or Solution Providers at a discounted price. With the Action Pack Subscription you will get upto 10 Windows 8 Licenses, Office Software Licenses, Some Server Licenses and quite a few other Development Software and Tools all for about $450/-
After I downloaded the software I used the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, this tool takes a ISO file and creates a bootable DVD/USB Installlable setup program from the ISO. Here are the steps on using the tool
After the ISO file is selected in the first step, next you will get the option to choose either a USB drive or DVD like below
As you see from the image above, you can select either a DVD or USB. I selected an USB device, please take a backup of any data in the USB device, since you will have to format the USB drive before it starts creating the Installation device for you. Once you select the USB Device button, it will start creating the Bootable Installation USB Stick for you. It will take atleast 15 mins, I have a USB 2.0, it may be faster if you have USB 3.0.
After the Setup device was ready. I clicked the setup program from the USB stick, it launched the Setup Program, the first step it asks to download the latest updates, but I said No Thanks and continued, here is the screen shot
In the next step you enter the Product Key
In the next step you have to accept the Terms of the License before you can proceed.
In the next step, you get the 3 options, the first option is to keep the settings and data, the second option is to keep only the data and the third option is keep nothing. If you want to completely do a clean install then select “Keep Nothing”. I selected the option to “Keep Windows Settings, Personal files and apps”. This was a good choice, since I did not have to do any kind of configuration after I completed the upgrade, everything from my Windows 7 Ultimate got carried over.
Next step, the Installation program verifies all the installed software and drivers for compatibility with Windows 8 Pro
The Verification step does an excellent job of identifying all the incompatible settings and software. It identified these things for me
1. Intel Proset/Wireless WIFI Software
2. Microsoft Security Essentials
3. Free Up 20 GB Space
4. Suspend Bitlocker
5. Restart PC
Please keep in mind every PC is different, this is what was found on my machine, it could be a totally different set of software and settings for a different PC. The good thing about this view is beside each of the Incompatible software and settings, there is a button right beside to correct the action. In the case of Intel Proset WIFI Software and Security Essentials, the button beside did the uninstall. In the case of the “Suspend Bitlocker”, the button beside suspended the Bitlocker from right there. This is very neat, do not have to leave this screen to take corrective action, it is right there.
One thing that is a must is atleast 20GB of disk space on the Hard Drive/SSD.
Also Windows 8 Comes with Windows Defender software, which is a highly advanced Anti-Virus and Malware Protection software. You will not have to purchase any Anti-Virus subscriptions for your PC unless you are looking for some specific protection solution depending on your needs.
The one challenge I faced is after I uninstalled the Intel Proset WIFI software my Wireless Internet connection was not working. I did some research on the internet and found that installing the latest version of the Intel Proset WIFI software will work with Windows 8. Intel has a great software utility which will identify the driver, version and suggest the available upgrade for you, here is the link to the Intel Driver Update Utility
Now I was all set for the Installation, restarted the machine and the setup continued from where I left off
This step confirms your choices as you can see from the image below
Then the system restarts and the Installation begins, it will restart a few times, I did not keep the count
After the Installation is complete, next is the configuration step. The first step is to select the color of your desktop like below
In the next step you login to the PC with your existing password
After this step, the one other step will be associating a Windows Live Account with this account, it is required for Skydrive and synchronizing your settings across all the Windows 8 Devices you will use.
The Installation went very smoothly after I upgraded the Intel Proset WIFI software to the latest version. All my software and settings were intact. There definitely is a bit of a learning curve to learn to use the Charms bar and navigating between the Desktop and the new Tiled View.
One of the first things I tried was the Picture Password, it is pretty cool, simple to use and it works as expected. I have used the Finger Print Reader on my laptop, but a lot of times I had to resort to typing in the Password. The Picture Password is a lot more reliable than a Finger print reader.
Now the next thing I tried is if my Visual Studio 2010 and the applications will still build and run. I tried a couple of applications, it all worked great. All my settings were preserved. I have a couple of Windows Azure Projects, I was able to build them, run them and publish them with no additional effort.
Everything looks very slick and seems to come up faster than earlier. I have been trying IE 10 and it seems to be pretty fast, definitely a lot faster than IE 9. I had some trouble initially using IE 10 in the metro view, I was trying to figure out where the back and next buttons are. But if you are using the touch screen, all you have to do is either swipe right or swipe left. It is very touch friendly. There is no chrome, the complete desktop shows the content. It is very easy to pin your favorite web sites as a Tile to the Start Page.
One other huge security advantage with IE 10 is it runs in the Sandbox mode in the Tiled View, so it is pretty secure. You will need to enable the IE 10 Sandbox specifically in the Desktop mode. Also, Windows 8 is the most secure Windows Software to date.
There is definitely a bit of learning curve. If you are looking for the Control Panel you will have to go to the Desktop view. If you want it in the Tiled Start Page, you will have to pin it.
If you want to put your computer in Sleep/Restart/Shutdown you will have to go to the Charms bar, click on settings and then click on the “Power” icon, it shows the different options. It feels like a bit hidden. I was searching for hibernate, I could not find it. I found this article by Kaushik which details how to enable the “hibernate” option.
Hope this step by step Windows 8 Pro Installation/Upgrade steps helps someone looking to upgrade. Please share your experiences during your installation experience by posting your comments to this article, it will be helpful to someone either planning or in the process of installing Windows 8.
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