Windows 8 Upgrade

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by Steve Deal on January 8, 2013

Windows 8 Install Now

This week I upgraded a Windows 7 domain PC to Windows 8.

  • ‘Upgrade’ means that I installed Windows 8 on top of Windows 7
    (Compare to ‘Clean Install’  – wipe the machine and start over).
  • ‘Domain’ means this was a business computer, attached to and  managed by a server.

Upgrade Perils

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Upgrade sounds like a good idea – You don’t have to reinstall your programs.

But upgrades are fraught with perils.

  • Will the hardware support the new Operating System (OS)?
  • Will there be drivers for my old (printer/scanner/video card)?
  • Will my old programs still work?

Also, after the upgrade, you still carry any old defects you had over to the new OS.  So for most of us, we should put a new OS like Windows 8 on new hardware.

I decided to do an upgrade because

  1. I wanted Windows 8 for a learning platform.
  2. I had a clean Windows 7 system, with appropriate hardware, and
  3. Nobody else had documented the Windows 8 upgrade process for a business PC.


Assistant Output

  • I ran the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant.  This will show you programs that are known to be troublesome.  As expected, some older programs might have issues. Note – this does not examine all your programs – just the ones Microsoft has reviewed.
  • I then did some additional quick research on my programs.
    • Basically, I Googled ‘Windows 8 compatibility <program name>’.
    • For example, a search for ‘Windows 8 compatibility QuickBooks’ suggested that I might need QuickBooks 2013 (instead of the 2011 version I owned).
  • I deactivated the licenses on two programs that I suspected might be troublesome (Acrobat, ShadowProtect).


  • I ran the installer from the DVD and entered my product key.
  • It runs an inventory, and notifies you of any conflicts or issues.  For example, if you use Microsoft Security Essentials, you have to uninstall that before the upgrade (it’s replaced by ‘Windows Defender’ in Windows 8).

The installation was actually very smooth, and took about 90 minutes for me.  There were about 9,000 screens that said ‘Making sure you’re ready to install’, ‘Installing Windows 8’,  ‘Preparing’, ‘Getting Ready’, etc.

First Boot

The initial impressions are comforting!

  • You logon with domain credentials, just like before (domain\username).
  • The ‘desktop’ portion of Windows 8 is perfect.  Every icon is there, in the same location.  Every customized task bar is there.  Except for the missing Start Orb, the desktop is just like the Windows 7 you left behind.
  • I had MORE free disk space than when I started (28GB vs 20GB in Win7).

Program Compatibility

OS upgrades often force you to purchase new versions of your programs.  My research had indicated that I might need to, but so far everything that ran under Windows 7 runs under Windows 8.

I didn’t expect it to work, but it did

  • Acrobat 9.5.2
    • Acrobat 10.1.4 is the officially supported Win 8 version.  Mine works fine.
  • QuickBooks Pro 2011
    • QuickBooks 2013 is the officially supported Win 8 version.  Mine works fine after applying a PDF printing fix.
  • ShadowProtect
    • ShadowProtect 5 is the officially supported Win 8 version.
    • I did a repair installation of 4.2.7, and rebuilt my jobs, and it works fine.
  • Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003
    • I no longer use this, and it’s clearly labelled ‘Not compatible’.  But it still edits HTML.
  • PsPad 4.5.4
    • Assistant said a reinstall was required.  Mine works fine (but I updated to the new 4.5.6 anyway).

It’s Not Compatible /  Upgrades required

  • Virtualization – If you install Hyper-V, other hypervisors are not supported.
    • Virtual PC – Create new virtual machines using your existing VHD disk files.  You have to reactivate.
    • VMware Workstation 7  “VMware Workstation and Hyper-V are not compatible”.
    • VirtualBox
    • (As a workaround, you can disable Hyper-V at boot time.  You probably should convert to VHD files before upgrading if planning to user Hyper-V.)
  • Paragon Partition Manager 9
    • Old partitioning tools never seem to make the transition to a new OS.  Version 12 says “Windows 8 support coming soon”
  • Autotask
    • Autotask has  “full plans to support Windows 8 in the future”.  It works for me except the Outlook extensions.  You can test your browser with this link).

It just worked

Almost everything else just worked with no changes.  I haven’t exhaustively tested every feature, but most things seem to work.

  • Bomgar Remote Support Client
  • Browsers – Chrome, FireFox & IE
  • Carbonite
  • Fujitsu S500 ScanSnap Scanner
  • GoToMyPC (it automatically installed the latest version)
  • IrfanView
  • iTunes
  • KatMouse
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (it automatically applied a ‘Compatibility Solution’).
  • Macro Express 3
  • Nero 7 Ultra Edition
  • Quicken Premier 2013
  • SonicWALL Global VPN client (I did reinstall after creating new Hyper-V network adapters)
  • THE Rename (I had to reinstall)
  • Trillian 5.2
  • UltraMon (although it’s hardly needed now with Windows 8 updates for multiple monitors)
  • X1 6.7.4


I was pretty impressed with the upgrade process.  A Windows 7 to Windows 8 migration should have been straightforward, and actually was.

I found that I was productive almost immediately.  However – I have done Windows 8 training and tutorials, so I am comfortable with the new elements.  But I think most Windows 7 users will be pretty happy with the Windows 8 ‘desktop’.

I still would not recommend an upgrade for most users.   You don’t gain significant new features, and there is a learning curve.   Older hardware in particular will not have the drivers you need.  But Windows 8 for your new desktop / laptop will be fine !

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