Simplifying the Windows 8 UpgradeMicrosoft is preparing a much simpler Windows 8 setup and installation. They hope to reduce the number of clicks that it takes for the entire process down to 11. The new upgrade will also drastically decrease the amount of time that it takes to upgrade systems that have tons of files and applications. In addition to the newly simplified setup process, Microsoft will also make available a more tedious process for users that want to configure advanced options.
Microsoft explains the new setup process in a post on its Building Windows 8 blog, which has been revealing bits and pieces about the new OS gradually. The overall goal is to reduce the amount of stuff that users have to go through to upgrade their system to Windows 8, reducing the size of the new OS’ download and reducing the amount of time that it takes to install.
New AlgorithmMicrosoft engineers are using a new algorithm to dramatically reduce the number of duplicate files and redundant processes that were present in Windows 7. This could significantly decrease the amount of upgrade time from as much as 513 minutes to as low as 52 minutes.
"Installation times in Windows 7 didn't scale very well" for people with large numbers of files, Microsoft senior program manager Christa St. Pierre wrote on the Windows 8 blog. A “clean” installation of Windows 7 takes around 32 minutes (according to Microsoft), a “medium” sized upgrade with 213,000 files and 77 applications takes 131 minutes. “Heavy” upgrades with upwards of 400,000 files and 90 applications take 188 minutes. And the number just increases from there. In Windows 8, Microsoft hopes to put a cap on the maximum download time at 52 minutes.
Navigating thorough Screens and ClicksAn often-cited source of user frustration is the number of clicks and screens a user has to deal with during the installation phase. By maintaining the same system requirements that Windows 7 had, Microsoft is hoping that people will merely upgrade their machines as opposed to buying new ones. A study that was commissioned by Microsoft found that many users want to upgrade their systems, but think that the process is too complicated, so they just stick with what they already have.
With Windows 7, a standard upgrade involves the use of several background tools and clicking through about 60 screens. “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,” St. Pierre wrote. “We’ve also added the capability for setup to resume automatically after certain actions (such as resolving a blocking compatibility problem), which in the past would have required restarting setup again from the beginning.”
In the end, a Windows 8 upgrade can be finished in as little as 11 clicks, Microsoft commented. "The exact number of steps you need to take to complete the installation varies based on your existing OS, migration choices, install method, and number of blocking issues you need to resolve to get the PC ready for installation, but the experience is greatly simplified for everyone. We accomplished all of this with no loss of functionality or customization—we simply streamlined the existing experience."