Windows users are either using Windows XP, Vista or 7. Windows XP is a decade old while Vista is about four years old–dinosaurs in the tech world especially, with the availability of Windows 7. So what happens when Windows 8 is launched onto the market? Will previous Windows versions be considered remnants of the past, like fossils and ancient artifacts, or will they be like cockroaches, forever existing through time?
All joking aside, Windows 8 will be launched whether consumers like it or not, so let’s look at the recent updates for the upcoming OS.
The main reason why people are still using either XP or Vista instead of 7, though their computers or laptops can run 7, is because users perceived the installation to be quite difficult. It involves the following steps:
- Download and install Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
- Run Windows Upgrade Advisor
- Run Windows Easy Transfer to save files and settings
- Run Windows 7 setup and clean install
- Run Windows Easy Transfer to restore files and settings
During the setup, users will have to go through 60 screens to complete the whole daunting process. And this is what they wanted to eliminate in Windows 8. With the streamlined end-to-end approach, the number of screens were reduced by 82%, or as low as 11 screens to go through the installation process.
The Windows 8 setup involves the following:
- Determining compatibility
- Downloading Windows 8
- Continuing with installation or creating bootable media
- Choosing what to keep
- Resolving blocking issues
Installing Windows is a complex operation that provides an incredibly unique capability—the ability to run a new version of Windows on a vast array of hardware configurations and combinations that were designed with no knowledge of a future Windows, even a version with substantial re-architecture of the Kernel. While most people do not experience the full code path of setup/upgrade (because they buy new PCs and choose to get a new version of Windows that way), even orchestrating the new PC “out of box experience” (OOBE) is a complex technical challenge, says Christa St. Pierre on Microsoft Windows’ Setup and Deployment team.
Our aim in improving setup is to reduce the time from start to finish so that customers can get to Windows and use the full power of Windows to further customize and ultimately enjoy their new Windows experience.
Upgrading Windows 7 takes quite a while, since the upgrade process preserves customer applications in the Program Files folder and files in the Users folder by moving each file to a transport location then moving them back again to complete the installation. Windows 8 has a faster upgrade time, since entire folders are being moved, transport is simplified, hard link operations are used instead, and the down-level gather phase is removed.
Windows 8 is compatible with computers running Windows 7 and most computers running Windows XP and Vista. It was quite an amazing how the Windows team is able to tackle the task of creating an operating software that would be compatible with various computer hardware when absolutely necessary.
To keep informed as to what’s happening with the development of Windows 8, go to Building Windows 8.