Installing Windows 8.1
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Thread: Installing Windows 8.1

  1. #1
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Installing Windows 8.1

    I must be honest and admit that the general look of Windows 8 doesn't appeal to me personally - but an increasing number of my customers seem to be switching to it. So about 6 weeks ago I made the decision to upgrade a PC here which is currently running Windows XP.

    Given that Windows 8.1 was imminent I decided to wait for the new version (which has just been released, this very day!)

    BUT... according to Microsoft's announcement

    Windows 8.1 is not designed for installation on devices running Windows XP or Windows Vista
    Groan.... that's about all the information they give. I don't know whether they mean that Win 8.1 can't co-exist on a machine that's already running XP (i.e. on a different partition) - or if it simply means that you can't update from Win XP to Win 8.1.

    Does anyone here have the full story..?
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    To upgrade to 8.1 from xp, buy Windows 8. Upgrade xp to 8 and then install the 8.1 free upgrade.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

  3. #3
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Thanks 2kaud. That was going to be my next question!
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Yes, 2kaud is correct ( as always ). Because Windows 8.1 is just a newer version of Windows 8 - the best would be to upgrade to it from Windows 8

  5. #5
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Groan.... I just went to a local retailer to buy Windows 8.0 - but he told me that even 8.0 cannot upgrade from XP. It can only upgrade from Vista or later. Anyone know if that's true??
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    If you are running XP SP3 you can upgrade to Windows 8 Professional - but it only keeps your personal files and not the installed software. You will need to install required software after the upgrade. Only by upgrading from 7 to 8 do you keep your software programs.

    As far as I am aware, if you want to keep the installed programs you have to do xp-> vista -> win7 ->win8! Upgrading xp to either 7 or 8, or upgrading vista to 8 just keeps your personal files.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    You can also buy a copy of Windows 8.1 FULL EDITION. You can format and install that, to skip a few hours of headaches. Back everything up, restore it, and reinstall apps that will work with Windows 8.1. Make sure the machine isn't more than about 5 years old, also.
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  8. #8
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    Arjay is offline Moderator / MS MVP Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Hate to sound negative, but it's unrealistic to expect to upgrade to an OS that is three major versions earlier.

    It's like upgrading code built in vc6 and expecting it to compile on vc 2013.

    At any rate, I would recommend never upgrading an OS, but always clean install the OS and reinstall the apps you need.

    That way, you are starting from a clean slate and don't bring along any old baggage.

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    but it's unrealistic to expect to upgrade to an OS that is three major versions earlier.
    But that is exactly what people currently using XP want when they upgrade away from XP! I still use XP as my main computer precisely because of this. I have loads of programs installed and I'm not starting again to re-install them. Some were free, some were bought with a one install licence and I'm not buying the programs again just because Microsoft can't get their upgrade program to work properly. I guess a lot of other current XP users are similar. If Microsoft wants us to move away from XP (which they do) then they need to provide an upgrade path from XP to 8 that keeps all the existing programs working in 8 (using compatability mode). Until they do I'm sticking with XP and only using 7/8 virtualised on a test computer when needed.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

  10. #10
    Arjay's Avatar
    Arjay is offline Moderator / MS MVP Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    I started to add to my response, but it was on my smart phone and it got lost before I could send it.

    I just built up a new home computer to do programming with. I built an i7 machine that I'm running Win2012 server r2 which host hyper-v. I've got two virtual machines running Win7 and Win8.1. I could easily spin up a XP machine if I wanted.

    This might be a good option for folks (as long as you aren't programming directx or Kinect because you can't program them from a vm).

    I believe there are tools out there that enable you to turn an existing os install into a vhd file in order to run it under hyper-v. I did this a few years ago to an xp machine and it worked pretty well.

    Honestly, I feel if you are going to start using a new OS, then you need to install it from a clean install. Some older programs just aren't going to run on the new OS (although compatibility mode will help some) and for those keep the XP vhd around.

    But for the new OS, clean install it and start fresh.

    My last computer was an old Dell desktop that I bought for $200. I had run 208 R2 as the host machine and had several vm's - the main one running Win7.

    When I built the new Win2012 host machine, I just copied over the old vhd file and created an new vm off of it and now the Win7 instance runs on the new hardware. Then I created a Win8.1 vm.

    Btw, the hardest part of the buildout was getting the built-in Ethernet card to work on Win2012. Intel had flagged the chipset on the motherboard as non-server hardware. I spent a few hours on the internet researching how to change the inf file for the driver and put Win2012 into testmode to get the modified driver to install. Fortunately it work perfectly.

    Imo, I won't ever run a machine without a hyper-v host. It's so convenient to host multiple different OS's at a time that can run simultaneously and communicate with each other.

    It might be a good option for those folks that just have to run that 13 year old XP install with old software - just turn it into a vhd and host it on 2008 or 2012 R2 (XP has no idea it isn't running directly on the hardware).

    Say, I'm typing my response on my Win7 vm while watching the Azure Bootcamp on my Win8.1 vm. Life is good.

  11. #11
    Arjay's Avatar
    Arjay is offline Moderator / MS MVP Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Quote Originally Posted by 2kaud View Post
    Some were free, some were bought with a one install licence and I'm not buying the programs again just because Microsoft can't get their upgrade program to work properly.
    I think you misunderstand how this works. Microsoft can't always make an older 3rd party program run on the newer OS, because often times the program was incorrectly written. MS goes out of their way to ensure compatibility and even has an app shim layer which detects the type and version of the app and corrects any bad calls the app makes. Folks think it's MS's problem for a poorly written 3rd party app, but is it?

    It's funny that every time a new version comes out, some folks always want to hang on to the older version. I started in the NT world with NT3.51. When NT4 came out, some folks resisted (didn't like the new shell). Same thing for NT5 (Win2000) - folks had to keep their NT4 machines. Then XP came out and some stayed on Win2000 (I know, right?). Then Vista (but no one ran Vista <g>). Now Win7, Win8 Win8.1 are out, I'm not surprised that folks are clutching their XP.

    You know, software development years are like dog years due to the rate of improvement. So that 13 year old version of XP is really like a 91 year old OS.

    P.S. Microsoft is not going to provide an upgrade path from XP to 8, so you might as well quit waiting for it. Of course that is just my opinion, but my take is if you didn't upgrade from XP to Vista, or XP to Win7, they aren't going to make an upgrade path for something that is 3 generations later.

    To me, in this business, you need to stay current; otherwise, you find that you are behind.

    Disclaimer: Even though I am a Microsoft MVP, my area of expertise has nothing to do with the OS and app migration. I just happen to have worked in that area for 5 years and know what a difficult problem it is and what is realistic. These on my own opinions, not those of Microsoft.

  12. #12
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjay View Post
    but it's unrealistic to expect to upgrade to an OS that is three major versions earlier.

    [...]

    That way, you are starting from a clean slate and don't bring along any old baggage.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2kaud View Post
    But that is exactly what people currently using XP want when they upgrade away from XP! I still use XP as my main computer precisely because of this. I have loads of programs installed and I'm not starting again to re-install them. Some were free, some were bought with a one install licence and I'm not buying the programs again just because Microsoft can't get their upgrade program to work properly.
    Yes, I entirely agree with that. It's simply not true to say that older apps won't run on a newer version of Windows. With the exception of 16-bit apps that's never been true. In fact it's a key reason why people have historically chosen Windows over Mac. Every Mac user I know bleats about the fact that whenever they upgrade their OS they then need to spend a fortune upgrading all their apps. Why should they???

    In any case, if (as in the case of Windows) it's possible to re-install those apps after a clean OS install, it should equally be possible to upgrade the OS. Remember that many apps require you to find an obscure installation key which you probably haven't seen for many years (and which might not even work after a re-install). IMHO upgrading should be considered the norm, not the exception. You should only need to do a clean installation if you've bought a new PC or if something's gone badly wrong with your previous installation.
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Its a marketing decision by Microsoft - not technical. To upgrade to Windows 8.1 from XP and keep the programs you have to upgrade to Vista, then upgrade to 7, then upgrade to 8 then upgrade to 8,1. Microsoft is effectively saying that because they didn't earn any money from you for the previous upgrades, they're going to make life hard for you.

    Arjay's point in post #10 re hyper-v, running muliple OSs and converting the XP system into a vhd file is a good one.
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on.

  14. #14
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    I just did a clean install of 8.1 and I must admit, it was remarkably quick! Apart from one slight hiccup (not recognising the fact that I have two monitors) everything seems to have gone smoothly. I can't say I like the appearance very much. It's kinda half way between Windows NT and Windows 7. But I'd heard that you can re-install the Aero Glass effect. Sadly, it seems as if this is only available via 3rd party apps. I've tried two so far... WinAeroGlass (which worked very badly) - and Aero8Tuner. Not only does the latter not work at all - but the Download button is the small grey one that you can hardly see. The more prominent, bright green buttons just seem to install unwanted crap!

    Anyone know of a decent Aero Glass enabler for Win8.1 ?

    [Edit...] Oh, one slightly annoying thing about 8.1 is that after fixing the dual-monitor issue, I now see 2 x identical launch bars (one on each monitor) I haven't figured out yet if it's possible to disable one of them.
    Last edited by John E; November 6th, 2013 at 11:53 AM.
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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    Re: Installing Windows 8.1

    Get the classic Windows features
    Classic Shell is a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows but are removed from Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. It has a classic start menu for Windows 7, it adds a toolbar for Windows Explorer and supports a variety of smaller features.
    http://classic-shell.en.softonicdown...3-f72a216b8702

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