I upgraded a freshly installed Windows 7 to a "keep nothing" Windows 8 install, taking advantage of a $40 upgrade deal (expiring 31 Jan 13). That was 29 Nov. I'm still unable to get it to remain in a stable state.
I had been running one or more of the release candidates and other preivews quite successfully. Almost all I've done is use it to become familiar with the new Win8 (formerly Metro) UI (opinion: "meh") and test websites in the new Internet Explorer 10. I had also downloaded and played with Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, but didn't really make any software with it.
Because of my successful exections of the release candidates, and both the developer and consumer previews, I'm certain that VirtualBox can handle Windows 8 on my Mac. VirtualBox recently received and update allowing the selection of "Windows 8" as a VM target.
So with the final release, and the expiration of my previews, I built a new Win7 VM (2GB RAM, 40GB HDD), dropped the couple of Jacksons on the Microsoft purchase site, and waited for the massive 2GB download to finish. After the download, it prompts you to restart, but I opted to shutdown instead. While the VM was "powered down," I changed its settings to be Win8. This didn't seem to change the offerings, but I wanted to give the installer the best chance of identifying the right "hardware." I also took a moment to make a snapshot of the virtual drive, in case the installation got munged--so I wouldn't have to re-download the whole installation again (honestly, I'm not even sure how to re-enter my previous purchase for another download, nor am I quite sure how to "make installation media" from within the VM). I started the VM and after a few moments was greeted by the familiar Win7 desktop. After double-clicking the "Install Windows" icon on the desktop I was prompted to complete the installation (it also offered to make the aforementioned media, and to quit and run the installation later).
I let the installation grind and copy and and reboot a few times. I answered what few questions there were (I think it wanted me to pick a color scheme, name the PC, and enter my e-mail address to attach to the admin account). It rebooted one last time and started Win8 just fine. I logged in and jumped to the desktop where I used msconfig to tell Windows 8 to boot into safe mode, and I installed the VirtualBox (the VM I'm using) client add-ons, so that I could resize the screens and such; I used safe mode so I could enable 3D acceleration, which worked slick on the previews. I shut down and made another snapshot, so I'd have a clean post-install without any other tweaks or changes.
Sadly, every time I started the VM after that, it would run for just a few minutes and seize. I did still have an unexpired preview, so I could still test IE10, but was a little disappointed in the full installation's failure to run. It's also important to note, that since starting this task, both of my previews (dev and consumer) have expired, so I have only the actual Win8 installation to try to make work.
It became quickly apparent that the 3D acceleration was not boding well. The screen would blank and not return, or sometimes moving the mouse would reveal an area beneath, which would ultimatley fail back to black. I turned the 3D acceleration off in the VM settings, and the display behaved much better. Still, it would not run very reliably.
Windows 8 would occasionally fail to boot, sticking, or sometimes even stopping on the logo screen, somtimes the wicked spinning circle would continue endlessly, sometimes it would disappear. But Windows wouldn't leave the logo screen.
If Windows 8 finished booting, it would always make it through the greeting splash and login screens. It didn't seem to matter how long I waited, or whether I waited before or after closing the splash screen. It would always work through this screen.
If Windows 8 finished booting and allowed me to log in, Windows 8 would frequently fail to complete loading all of the tiles on the new home screen. Sometimes the tiles would all load, but then they would stop switching, and Windows would stop responding. Sometimes I could tap a tile, and then that app might start and work for a while but still freeze, and sometimes launching that app would freeze at its splash screen, but most frequently, interacting with the tiles would cause Windows 8 to freeze.
The one "app" that never froze during "launch" or immediately after launching was the desktop. It became my habit, as I suspect it will for many, to login and very quickly tap the desktop app. Of course, it was sometimes the case that Windows 8 would freeze while clicking on the desktop tile, but if it passed that, the desktop would function for a while. Occasionally the desktop would
On the desktop I was able to use the browser and Control Panel to try to update Windows 8. I checked for updates and found that there were a dozen, totalling a couple-hundred megabytes. It took a few tries, because sometimes the Control Panel or Windows Update would freeze during the download, but eventually I got the The performance didn't improve. Well, to be fair, it wasn't an issue of performance, but one of reliability.
Eventually (realizing this is only within the span of a week for my efforts), there was a new massive update, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2770917. Windows 8 would successfully download this update, but fail to install. It complained with an error message 80073712 (which was a little too hard to research), which indicates an error in the component store. Additional research led me to http://support.microsoft.com/kb/947821 which told how to try to correct the corrupted component store. I ran the steps, but, alas, no joy:
Further research on the update in question led me to find that each of the components in the combined update could be downloaded and installed separately. There were seven or so downloads, and after about ninteen tries (as Windows would lock up during the download), I had them all.
Installing was tedious as each required a reboot after installing. One failed every time, even after I re-downloaded the installer package.
I tried reverting to my post-install snapshot to re-run the updates, thinking maybe the later update would be included in an earlier state. I rolled back to that snapshot, turned off the 3D acceleration, and rebooted. Frustratingly, the initial unreliable state is failing also to reach the desktop for long enough to run Windows Update to check for the new updates.
I've since cloned the original Win7, post-download, changed to Win8 (but with 3D acceleration already disabled). Win7 boots just fine (even with the VM set to Win8). It's currently re-running the Windows 8 installation. Curiously, even though it did a 2GB download to prepare for the installation, a goodly portion of the installation has involved the network, possibly downloading updates during the installation. Rather...hopefully downloading updates during the installation...
As I type this, the VM is rebooting, for the first time into Windows 8...for the second time...
I'll follow this up with some general useability discussion, which is mostly based on the previews and not the final release.
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