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Microsoft talks about improving setup in Windows 8

In a new Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft begins to talk about the new and improved features of the setup experience within Windows 8, and how it will be more efficient for the end user.

Microsoft, in a Building Windows 8 blog post have today began to talk about the setup experience within Windows 8, and how the company has begun making the setup more efficient for the end user. Some of the new features is web installation, streamlining, determining compatibility, resolving blocking issues and many more new features.

First, Microsoft began talking about how the they were planning to streamline the end-to-end experience, which is how the user decides to install the operating system, either via a .exe or bootable media. Microsoft plan to separate the two different types of customer groups, those who like to upgrade with minimum hassle, and those who wish to clean install.

“The way we approached these needs was based on the realization that the first group typically runs setup in the UI of their current Windows OS (i.e. they launch it like an app), while the second group typically runs setup from boot media. So, rather than trying to rationalize two fairly different experiences and customer requirements, we chose to maintain two setup user experiences: a streamlined setup that you reach by running an .exe from the DVD or via web delivery, and an advanced setup that runs when you boot off of a DVD or USB key.”

The streamlined setup is a brand new experience, which has been optimized for ease-of-use upgrades, and web installation via a download while using the installation client. Advanced setup is for those who wish to clean install, which includes support for unattended installation, partition selection, and formatting. Both installation types share the same setup engine components.

Microsoft then talked about web delivery, and how they want to include it with the Windows 8 install client. The company are planning to make purchasing Windows online easier than ever, by giving the user a download to a .exe file, where they can download, setup and install Windows from one application from the beginning to the end. The .exe file will also pre-key the setup image that is downloaded to the user, which means you wont have to type in a 25 digit product key. WinBeta originally discussed this idea back in July, and it looks like Microsoft caught on.

Microsoft went on to talk about reducing the amount of programs used to help install Windows. With Windows 7, installation was a hassle for those who needed to use the upgrade advisor, backup, burn, and transfer before installing their system. Microsoft have made this much more simple in Windows 8, buy integrating all those features into the installation setup, instead of using the many different applications that would do the same.

“This end-to-end experience included 4 different web and client experiences and required the average customer to walk through 60 screens to complete.”

Microsoft continued, by talking about compatibility, and how Windows 8 will determine it. The setup will first scan the computer to determine what applications/drivers will work with Windows 8, and will show you which ones will and will not work.

“It provides information on the apps and devices that will work in Windows 8, those that won’t work, and any other system information that is useful to know when determining whether or not to purchase and install Windows 8.”

The compatibility report will also include a more detailed explanation, which can help advanced users.

Microsoft have implemented the ability to download Windwos 8 within the install app. The setup offers the ability to pause, resume and re-download parts of the file if anything goes wrong, which will same time by not having to download the whole ISO again. Snce the PC has already been scanned for compatibility checks, the setup knows which version of Windows 8 to download.

Microsoft have also updated the options to booting from bootable media. Once the download has completed, you will receive the option to continue the installation, or install on another partition. The latter option will take you to the advanced setup, which allows you to save an ISO or create a new bootable USB drive before completing the advanced setup.

Microsoft have also updated the options for choosing what to keep or discard while installing Windows 8. this allows you to keep all, some or none of the personal data on your computer, depending what operating system you are upgrading from, as well as your personal preferences.

“The “Windows settings, personal files, and apps” option is akin to the existing “upgrade” option in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, where an in-place upgrade is performed over the current OS, retaining the apps that were previously installed as well as settings and user files on disk.”

If you are upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7, you can transfer your Applications, Windows settings, user accounts and files. Upgrading from Vista will only allow you to keep your Applications, accounts and files, where Windows XP won’t allow you to transfer anything.

Resolving blocking issues have also been updated, you will be able to do the selected tasks, or be walked through what you are needed to do within the installation setup program, instead of quitting out and using the appropriate programs.

” In Windows 8, most items listed in the actionable compatibility report (shown below) include a button to help you directly resolve the blocking issue. For example, if an app needs to be uninstalled, clicking a button in this report automatically launches the uninstaller for that particular app. Once the app is uninstalled the report automatically refreshes, and setup continues without having to start again.”

The overall result of these improvements have minimized the amount of clicks while installing Windows 8, 82% fewer clicks. The exact number of steps you need to take can vary on your existing OS, and what other settings you want to fiddle with.

Microsoft have been hard at work on Windows 8 for the past 2 years, with a Windows 8 Developer Preview already available, the operating system is fast approaching a beta, which is rumoured to be released sometime in 2012.

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