Installing Windows 8

Having used a Macbook Pro for the past 10 months I’ve been neglecting the Windows desktop; running Windows Update now and then. Tonight I thought I’d take advantage of the £24.99 update offer for Windows 8. 

Maybe it’s because my Dell is 3 years old, maybe it’s because it’s a Dell, or maybe I just forgot how painful it can be working with Windows. This was a far from straightforward process. 

First you go through the Windows 8 upgrade check. At this point you learn that from Vista you can’t keep your apps, everything must be reinstalled. OK I’ll grit my teeth and live with that. Then the upgrade check comes up with a list of problems, mostly associated with hardware drivers.

Cue visits to several sites linked from the problem list. 

One goes to Belkin and appears to upgrade the wireless USB adaptor but afterwards the upgrade check still identifies the newly updated software as a problem.

The references to Intel web sites are rebuffed by Intel as being unrecognised hardware after installing their hardware update checks.

Try visiting Dell and after installing yet another so called update checker I’m presented with a list of urgent, recommended and optional updates. I choose to download everything just to be safe ten run the first download to be told it’s trying to upgrade the BIOS from 1.0.18 to 1.0.1. Update 2 is a BIOS upgrade to 1.0.18; in other words no upgrade. Some of the rest seem to update stuff, others fail with mysterious errors, some seem to repeat the same upgrade just run.

Frustrating, as even after all this the Windows Upgrade check still lists all the same problems. 

At this point I should have given up but…

Biting the bullet I hope that the Windows install will overcome all the problems listed and fish out the debit card to pay the £25 (opting to shell out an extra £12.50 for a DVD + postage). 

Now I have a 2Gb download to wait for – 20 mins on my broadband. This is followed by quite a lengthy “preparing files” phase but roughly an hour later I’m ready to install. 

I choose to install from media so have to burn the iso file to DVD, another 15 minutes. Finish that and follow on with the install which seems to take ages (I’ve stopped timing things & just get on with other things). 

A couple of reboots later and I have a wizzy Windows 8 screen but no internet and no way of easily updating the wireless adaptor. My computer is a paperweight. 

More fiddling with Ethernet cables ensues switching them between wired computers and my desktop (awkward because of the distance being further than the available cable length). Find and run the network troubleshooter to get Ethernet connected to the internet and download the Belkin drivers again – this time the Win7 version the Windows 8 Upgrade checker failed to point out before the upgrade. This is a temperamental upgrade, stubbornly asking for the device to be plugged in then not recognising it. Even the Microsoft site only offers “hope this will help” when recommending the Win7 driver. I’ve got news for them and Belkin, it doesn’t work with Windows 8. 

At this point I give up on wireless and dig out the long Ethernet cable, sacrificing the connection of  a lesser used machine. Eventually I have a working Windows 8 machine with no wireless. A less than optimal solution but it’s half past midnight, I started this a 8 pm and am now mightily pissed off. Sorting out the wireless will have to wait. 

Apple might be annoying me by sueing all and sundry then trying to avoid complying with court orders they don’t like, but at least their software is easier to deal with.

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