digital wave / Reiner Pittinger: iOS, Web Technologies, Interaction DesignSoftware Development in Berlin: iOS, Web Technologies, Interaction Design

The Windows 8 Install Rant

Windows already sucks before you install it.

Although having done only iOS development in the last three years I have been insterested since the release of Windows Phone 7.5, and sometimes even enthousiastic about the development of the Microsoft platform. (I admit that the free phone I got on a Nokia developer day here in Berlin helped on my openness.)

So after Microsoft rented Times Square in New York for the Windows-8-Launch-WOOHOOOO-Event, I wanted to WOHOO-too and decided to get Windows 8.

Seems like my first mistake.

The disappointment started with the price tag: 90,90 € is 3x the price compared to Apples last three OS versions. And remember, those are’nt just updates but FULL versions of an OS, with not less features than Windows 8 compared to 7.

They even missed the opportunity to sell it for 88,88 €. Steve, where is the salesman in you!

Update: I found out I bought the “wrong” version, as I was eligible for an upgrade, that indeed just costs ~30 €, but which is available as download only.

Fail #1: Installation from DVD

As system installs take some time, I started on Saturday morning to have Windows 8 running in the afternoon. (What a fool I’ve been!)

I boot from the DVD, and for 15 Minutes I see nothing that the Windows 8 Logo on the screen. No progress bar, no information like “Loading Setup…” (with some kind of “Hey, I am still there…”). I do not know if setup has crashed or not (pardon, I meant ”Setup is not responding”).

But patience is honored: after 15 Minutes the first setup screen appears.

Then comes the “Enter product key” dialog, and I misstype the product key two times because I can hardly read it (I am just 30 years) because

  • It’s printed on a colorfull, highly patterned “security” background that makes it hard to read the letters.
  • It’s written in a light font face with no more that 8 points.
  • It’s written in a font that makes it hard to differentiate single glyphs like 8 and B.

Poor upgrading people who need to get their magnifying glass out for that task…

My installation ends abrubtly: “To keep your programs and data, you must run setup from Windows (and not from the DVD).”

Thanks for wasting 30 minutes of my time.

Fail #2: Installation from Windows 7

I admit: I rarely use Windows on my Mac, even more seldom since the Genuine Protection program was nagging when I booted Windows with VMWare from my bootcamp partition (and obviously not able to handle the virtual machine).

So I fire up Windows, and, of course, 14 updates and 7 very important ones urgently want to be installed. That’s another reason why I rarely use Windows: it’s always not up-to-date.

I start Setup again, and have a hard time entering the product key again, but with a new feature.

The “smart” formatting behavior of the input field inserts dashes automatically, and as I have typed one letter to much, I cannot just replace or delete it because Setup ignores my keystrokes nagging “The key would be to short” or “The key would be to long”. AARGH!

The only way is to delete the entire key and re-enter it carefully (!) from the beginning.

Next comes the bummer: “Ready to install, but you need 20 GB free disk space.

My Bootcamp partition is 40 GB, with 37 GB being used. Crap!

I have nearly nothing installed except that bullshit-load of Visual Studio from my Windows Phone development trials.

As the entire Visual-Studio-Suite is outdated (it feels so Windows), I start to look for precious free diskspace.

Fail #3: Trying to free disk space

I start by uninstalling the Windows Phone SDK, which I think is the biggest blocker on the system.

Because it’s boring to watch a progress bar move, I browse to the //build conference homepage to watch a session on Windows 8 development.

But - suprise: “Silverlight is not up to date. To watch the videos, you need to update the player.”

I click OK and start the Silverlight updater, and get the message:

“Cannot install. Another installation is running”.

It’s our friend, the Windows Phone SDK uninstaller still working on that 5th of 9 components, and there is no multitasking on installations. CRAP.

So I am doomed to watch progress bar. When it finally completes, I look at my free disk space and wonder: nothing has changed. There are still just 3 GB of free space.

I look for more stuff to uninstall, and in the “Remove and install software” dialog see entries like these:

  • Microsoft Expression Blend 3 SDK
  • Microsoft Expression Blend 4
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK fro .NET 4
  • Microsoft Expression Blend SDK for Silverlight 4
  • Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone 7
  • Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone OS 7.1

This is the same for Silverlight, the .NET framework, Visual Studio runtimes and a pile of other packages.

Do I readlly need to uninstall all those components seperately?!

And why are there so many anyway!

Y U NO HAVE ONE UNINSTALLER FOR ALL?!

I sort the list by size to get rid of the the biggest packages first. The biggest is 500 MB. That won’t help very much. Then I notice the status bar that tells me: “Size of installed software: about 1,89 GB.”

So even if I uninstall everything, I get only 2 lousy gigabytes?!

Even if that number is wrong, I do not if unsinstallting stuff will help me at all freeing disk space.

And that’s when I gave up trying to upgrade for now.

Conclusion

I decided to just wipe the entire Bootcamp partition. I would try to increase the partition size, but as far as I know that’s not easy.

Before blocking my computer for another couple of hours, I wanted to share this piece.

For me, this stream of unfortunate events is the Windows experience. And it sucks.

Thank you, Windows, you really made my day.