I have only just installed the Release Preview of it, and though I was doing things a little unorthodox, that is installing it as a VHD, thanks to Scott Hanselman’s blog, this is for Windows 8 and for those who are curious, Windows 7.
I will not go over the same things he did. But suffice to say I ran into one small issue. It was nothing with the software or the installation, but more to do with the setup of my particular PC.
I have 2 monitors, 1 is a wonderful M2700HD from BENQ. It has a plethora of inputs from 2 HDMIs, DVI, D-Sub, Component, S-Video and composite, it does include USB but I haven’t used them to a great extent as it turns them off when the monitor goes into stand-by. That aside, I have my equally wonderful VA2413wm, which was connected at the time to my wife’s new computer, well a re-commissioned old one of mine.
But my video card had the current DVI connection which I was using for Windows 7 and an HDMI connection also being used as I was wondering what might have been better for speed of throughput. I am unable to say.
So, I created the VHD, attached it. Installed Windows 8 onto it, and when it rebooted, having the Windows 8 setup taken care of the BCDedit part by including Windows 8 VHD option I noticed a black screen. Not sure that to think on this one.
I let it sit there thinking it was strange but perhaps it was doing something, I did notice the HDD was doing something. After a while I would return and notice that there is still a black screen and no HDD activity. I repeated this process a few more times. Due to it being a preview there wasn’t a lot of resources out there regarding issues, especially black screen issues. But I did notice a post that was talking about multi-monitor setups and it made me think. I looked over and did realise the Viewsonic was not plugged in, but the DVI and HDMI were. The post was about someone on their laptop unable to see things, BUT, when they plugged it into their TV it worked.
So I did one more install of Windows 8 onto a Clean VHD. I then picked up a trusty remote and switched from DVI to HDMI, low and behold there is the screen telling me Windows is preparing, or something along that nature. There was screen animation. After a while (which is when it was asking for input and there was no HDD activity) I was able to painlessly step through the rest of the install.
Once in there I was able to switch it back to DVI only and everything is OK.
If you see a Black Screen (and the monitor doesn’t turn off, or into Stand-By mode), move the mouse, move it around if you do see it cursor on the screen check what is connected to your video card and if like me you may have multiple outputs on the back, just test the other connection to see if a signal is being produced from one of them. If so, you can revert everything back to what it was once you have completed the installation process of Windows 8.
Confusion, Relief and a Little Disappointment
These were the exact feelings I had when using Windows 8 for the first time. The start menu was the area of confusion, I have been using a Windows Phone 7 for nearly 2 years now. I love it. The start menu looks similar to that. I was able to get around things. But there was a few minor unknowns. Moving the mouse to the top right or bottom right of the screen brings up some addition icons for the settings. I will put in a post that will show some small tips on Windows 8 and how to use it.
Disappointment – No updating of the start menu. I will explain. The current start menu can be updated, it works. But, one of Microsoft things have been slow transition. Windows 95 when it first came out. Wow, that is so different to the Program Manager in Windows 3.11, but when installing Windows 95, you could select Program Manager as an option. Windows XP came with an updated Start Menu, with pinned items and frequently accessed programs. But, there was still the option in the properties to switch to Classic Start Menu. Now, Windows 8 brings a new look, and from what I could see so far, no way to switch back to the old style Start Menu.
In the developer previews there were registry settings for it. But it seems that Microsoft are trying to get you to use the Metro UI. When I first started using XP I would turn the classic menu on. Now I am using the new version. I used it in Windows Vista and Windows 7. I have switched them over but I went back quickly due to me just being used to the new way. Now, I have no doubt I will get used to the new way of doing things. But in reality I want to decide when to switch over. Not be forced into it.
Relief – The Desktop. That is where it is. Inside it, I can pin items to the task bar, like Windows 7. The only real difference is no Start menu. So I know that potentially a lot of the old applications will work.
I love playing SWTOR, but Windows 8 had me a little worried. But that is all unfounded, thankfully. I played SWTOR last night without not an issue. A few things needed to be done first, but one of them is automatic.
- Install the Visual C++ 2008 runtime. This is done, well it was for me but there was an update installed from BioWare when I was attempting to play it.
- Install Direct-X 9c – Seeing this did disappointment me a little since I thought it was running off Direct-X 10. But this isn’t a big problem in the long run.
- Update your video card driver to the latest for Windows 8 (Windows 7 drivers seemed to work), as the WDDM version that is shipped with Windows is not good enough to play high-end games on. Get them here, NVidia, AMD
- Most preferences have been reset within the game. Graphics properties, Interface, looting etc… have all been reverted to normal. This is possibly due to those preferences being a Windows user preference. But all my key bindings were there, so this seems to be a per character (toon) preferences since I have always needed to set this up for new toons.
Number 4 is only realised once in the game. But with the first 3 done. The game can be launched. I did it and it worked. And though I was playing the game on VHD, thankfully my SWTOR was installed into an SSD.
So, this is where a lot of relief was. Now all I need is a few more tests and I will be more than happy with upgrading to Windows 8 when the time comes, but I think I may hold off right this moment.