Microsoft Touts Windows 8's Much Improved, Web-optimized Setup Experience

Pulkit Chandna

The typical Maximum PC reader is unlikely to break a sweat while installing Windows, but that’s not to say that it’s a walk in the park for everyone out there. As acknowledged by the Windows engineering team in its most recent Building Windows 8 blog post, there are still those who find the whole process fairly “complex.” But they will be happy to know that Microsoft has promised a simpler and much more streamlined setup experience with Windows 8. Details after the jump.

If the previous posts on the Building Windows 8 blog were all conspicuous due to their detail, this latest post by Christa St. Pierre , a member of the Windows setup and deployment team, is further proof that the Windows engineering team does not like to skimp on words. The latest post details the various enhancements that will help deliver a much more streamlined setup experience.

Last year, Microsoft commissioned a study to “hear from customers who chose not to upgrade to Windows 7 even though their PCs would run it.” The study, according to St. Pierre, revealed that a large number of them were discouraged by the setup process, which they perceived as being difficult.

Keeping this in mind, Microsoft has simplified the installation from a chest of tedium containing 60 screens to one that is spread across only 11 clicks. "In Windows 8, rather than having Upgrade Advisor, Setup, and Windows Easy Transfer as separate apps or features, we've folded them together into one fast and fluid experience in which we first determine if your PC, apps, and devices will work in the new OS, note which things you want to keep (apps, files and/or settings), and then install the new OS,” wrote St. Pierre.

Windows 8 will debut in a slightly different world to the one that existed back at the time of its hugely successful predecessor’s debut. It will be a world where digital downloads will enjoy far greater popularity. Microsoft wants to make sure that Windows 8 is not only available through the web, but that it’s optimized for such form of delivery. For starters, the size of the download will be 37.5 percent smaller than with Windows 7. But that’s not all.

“In Windows 8, customers do not have to install a separate download manager, mount the ISO to begin the installation, check the hash of the file for verification post-download, manually clean up unneeded files, or restart a download from the beginning should connectivity be interrupted. Setup takes care of all of these steps automatically, providing a fast, resilient, and easy setup experience.”

She also touched on the upgrade engine, which has been modified to offer vastly improved upgrade performance even when a large number of files are involved, saying that the “variation in upgrade times [compared to Windows 7] based on number of files has been virtually eliminated.”

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