My Windows 8.1 Upgrade

No pictures – just a story. I want to relate my personal experiences trying to upgrade my vintage Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop with 2GB RAM, a 1.5GHZ CPU, and a 100GB 5400rpm disk drive running Windows 7 to Windows 8.1.

Full disclosure, I have an iPad and I’ve been using it for about six months. I have had no real need to use the laptop in my current work and the older the computer gets the slower it appears to run.

The other day, I stopped at Best Buy for something, wandered over to the computer section and spotted the new Surface 2 RT and the Surface Pro 2 – or is it the Surface Pro 2? Being a Windows person, I’ve always been intrigued by the Surface since they shrunk down the original end-table-sized device to its present form factor. I’m still curious to see how it stacks up to the iPad 3 that I’m currently using to type up this blog post on. There are a number of blogs and YouTube videos comparing the two products, so I won’t go into that here. The idea of just being able to play with a new toy just hooked me. I had a retail copy of the Windows 8 Upgrade product from my days working at Microsoft so I decided to try my hand at an upgrade of a new OS on old machinery. Hey, I was successful installing Windows 7 on a Dell Latitude 600. Why wouldn’t this work?

First step is to not shoot yourself. Why render a perfectly usable computer into a worthless hunk that you need to rebuild at an inconvenient time? So, I used Acronis to make a disk backup of my Windows 7 machine. I had a spare 5400rpm 120GB disk, so I popped that in and restored the backup image to this disk. My retail copy is a upgrade so it needs Windows 7 installed in order to run.

Booting up in Windows 7, I popped in the Windows 8 32bit DVD and off it went. Setup started copying files and doing its thing. Two hours later, it rebooted. When it came back up, I was in the Black Screen of Woe telling me that the upgrade failed and I should try again. I noticed a link at the bottom of the screen that allowed me to “Learn more”. So I did and found out that “You can’t install Windows because your processor doesn’t support NX.”

Learning more, I found I needed a 1GHZ PAE, NX or SSE2 processor with 1GB RAM, DirectX9 Graphics card and some disk space. Well, I guess I didn’t have the right processor or maybe the NX wasn’t switched on. Booting the computer into BIOS, I found there were no configurable options for the processor. Just like a Bose audio system, press the power button and off you go.

Ok, that’s it! End of story. Oh, one surprise – when I rebooted, the upgrade program restored the system back to Windows 7 and removed all traces of Windows 8 from the computer. That was nice! Thank you Microsoft!

I don’t have a windows “mouse-based” computer to play with Windows 8 and I’m not contemplating getting a Windows 8 phone in the near future and unless Santa leaves a Surface RT under the tree, I won’t be spending any time with one soon. I guess it’s back to running Windows Server 2012 through Remote Desktop if I want the new Metro experience. RDP to a Windows 2012 Server? That my friends is a royal pain in the ass.

 This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, guarantees or rights whatsoever.

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