Microsoft shrinks Windows 8 install time

Microsoft shrinks Windows 8 install time

Summary: Microsoft has cut down the install time of Windows 8 with the help of some deployment tools.


Microsoft has made Windows 8 adoption easier by cutting down the installation time of the new operating system, according to Microsoft Windows deployment marketing manager Michael Niehaus.

He was speaking at the TechEd 2012 Deploying Windows 8 session in the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Windows 8 will be launched in October, and it touts a new visual look from previous Windows releases. The OS is made to operate seamlessly across desktop and tablet devices, and is intended to work on the same type of hardware that's compatible with Windows 7. This means that users will not have to invest in new equipment, according to Niehaus.

Microsoft has made the deployment of Windows 8 much faster than its predecessors. The install time of Windows 7 on a virtual machine running on a standard workstation is 15 minutes. Windows 8 cuts that time down to 10 minutes. That's for a brand new OS install, not just an upgrade.

For comparison's sake, Windows 7 expands to 8GB when applied to disk, and Windows 8 is about 7.76GB.

For those who are looking to upgrade, going from Windows 7 to Windows 8 on a machine with no data or apps would take 20 minutes. Going from Windows Vista to Windows 7 would be about 30 minutes.

But when it comes to upgrading a machine loaded with data and apps, that's when the difference becomes significant.

"There have been some fundamental changes to the upgrade process that will improve the upgrade time regardless of how much you throw at it," Niehaus said.

But none of the install-time improvements can be attributed to the OS itself; the deployment tools take all the credit. These include Microsoft's user state migration tool (USMT) 4.0 and Windows pre-installation environment (PE).

"As long as you don't have any software or driver compatibility issues, then the upgrade process should be pretty smooth going from Windows 7 to Windows 8," Niehaus said.

Despite the improvements, Niehaus conceded that enterprises may still be hesitant about adopting Windows 8.

"Maybe it's still something most people do for their home machines and it's not so much something done for enterprise deployments," he said.

Spandas Lui attended TechEd 2012 as a guest for Microsoft.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems

Spandas Lui

About Spandas Lui

Spandas forayed into tech journalism in 2009 as a fresh university graduate spurring her passion for all things tech. Based in Australia, Spandas covers enterprise and business IT.

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  • See, Microsoft Cares About Its Customers

    Spending less time each time you have to reinstall Windows will easily save up to $50,000 per year per seat. Less time spent on reinstalling means more time to spend on rebooting. With those sorts of productivity gains, upgrading to Windows 8 is a no-brainer. Heck, not even a no-brainer, it’s a no-cerebral-cortexer. You don’t even need a functioning brain stem to see how great an improvement that is! Anybody who nay-says Windows 8 upgrades after this more than just stupid, they’re not worthy to be described as organic life at all.
  • Question for the author, Spandas Lui

    You must be without much talent if ZDNet has you writing a whole article on decreased install time.

    Maybe you can write another article about the boot screen alone.
    • Resistance

      the new is always resisted and anything Microsoft is even more so. More articles, in the simplest terms, like this one are needed to reassure not only the uninformed, but the overtly knowledgeable.
      • RE: Times a wastin

        Save 5 minutes one the installation and lose hours and hours fighting with the design, but that is ok when my computer breaks down I won’t buy a new computer after all I am just a dumb old luddite who needs to get out of the way. I am a nice guy I don't like to be in the way, where is the nearest reducation camp that I can go to? I am having a lot of trouble with understanding the concept of newness and progress bieng the same.
        • Errrr

          5 minutes to some like *YOU* is nothing but try deploying Windows 8 [if a company is nuts to do so] to 5,000 computers. That's 25,000 minutes [theoretically] saved or almost 417 hours or around a full year for a single technician [I'm excluding the fact that most techie's can do more than 1 PC at a time].
    • Good idea!

      It's a nice boot screen, especially the options when you have multiple partitions with different OS on them. I would read that article.

      Install time is an important part of any OS experience and Windows 8 has definite improvements over its predecessors in the complexity and time required for install.

      How many articles have you written, @spinit? The fact that it's a limited subject matter means that more care to detail is required, thus more talent than the "big picture" article you were wanting.
      • No, it's called keeping the name in the news, paid piece.

        Never having made a sausage shouldn't stop me from critiquing them.

        How many sausages have you made?
        • You make a lot of assumptions...

          And you're quite the jerk to boot.

          Ever thought of the fact that you've got your nose just a little too far into this site? You've been hanging out with the trolls a bit too much to see that this simple piece has a lot of information in it. Just because you don't particularly care and seem to have a bias against the OS doesn't mean it isn't valuable to others.

          Have you tried the OS? I'd at least want you to have tried a sausage or two before judging the competition...

          BTW, Ms. Lui may not have even been paid to write this one... Ease up on the assumptions and the need to feel superior to everyone else, especially the content producers, would ya?
      • Hmmmm

        You can't really complain unless you've blogged on a major site yourself.

        Prior to installing Win 7 [beta, preview, RTM] did you know that it was a faster install?
  • will have to see

    the new windows 8 sents they hope fixed it
  • Microsoft shrinks Windows 8 install time

    Good, the less time there is for installing means the more time people can use their computers to be productive. I know when I'm installing Microsoft Windows I always get eager to finish the installation so I can start using it.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • . . . MS shrinks Windows 8 install time...

    It took Microsoft THIS LONG to figure it out?
    From Windows-1 to Win-8 . . . ummmmm about 25 years.
    So I could "Time Line" surmise it would take 3 to 5 more generations before MS makes an OS that is 100% useable without freezing up.
  • Psh* Don't Have To Buy New Equipment...

    "The OS is made to operate seamlessly across desktop and tablet devices and is intended to work on the same type of hardware compatible with Windows 7. This means users will not have to invest in new equipment, according to Niehaus."

    "As long as you don't have any software or driver compatitibility issues then the upgrade process should be pretty smooth going from Windows 7 to Windows 8."

    That dude just went back on his words. You don't have to invest in new equipment but could have driver issues which means you would have to invest in new equipment. I know that not all stuff that works on windows 7 doesn't work on windows 8 from experience. I tried using a wireless usb adapter and windows 8 couldn't use the drivers on it. So no, don't think you won't have to invest in new equipment, just be wary that you might and don't delete your other partition until you're sure everything you use works.
    • Not a Windows 8 problem

      When are people going to learn that driver incompatibility is a vendor/manufacturer issue and not (usually) a Windows issue? It's not like Microsoft writes drivers for all the peripherals and hardware out there. They might have some generic drivers for some select hardware to make sure stuff doesn't implode, but that's it.

      Christ, the OS isn't even out yet (general availability) and you're already complaining that drivers don't work. Give the vendor some time to write new drivers and I am sure it will work.
    • Errrr

      Can't blame Microsoft. They make the OS - not the drivers for hardware.
      "I know that not all stuff that works on windows 7 doesn't work on windows 8 from experience"? I'm using Vista drivers for my laser printer because HP didn't develop specific drivers for my printer for Win 7. I suspect I'll use the same drivers if and when I use Win 8.
      In almost all cases, Win 7 drivers will work with Win 8 unless there is something that interacts with the core of Windows.
  • No new equipment

    “This means users will not have to invest in new equipment…”

    This implies that users would be willing to purchase a new computer and/or peripherals just so they can run Windows 8! How incredibly arrogant of MS.

    Personally, I don’t care about a couple extra minutes. Big deal! Might feel differently were I to have to upgrade hundreds of machines, but as an individual, what’s a couple minutes difference?
  • Re: M$ Shrinks.................................

    A "ugly visual look is still a "UGLY" visual look" whether it upgrades in 30 minutes OR 30 HOURS. Ugly is still UGLY!!!!!

    Romper Room kiddies or Sesame Street kiddies could have and probably, if asked, would have done better! IMHO!!!
  • With the comments here...

    ZDNet would do the world a favor to disable commenting on their articles. I need to stop reading them...
    • RE: With the comments here...

      I agree! Don't get me wrong, there are some (and only some...) useful comments here however I feel that the majority of 'Windows hating' individuals are slating it just because they like the sound of their own voice. Or that they are being 'pedantic' for 'pedantic' sake. Wake up world. It's the 21st Century. Just roll with the change and see what happens. I for one am looking forward to the full release of the new OS. I've tried it and liked it. It will take some getting used to. As I say to my colleagues, it is predominantly designed for the tablet so as far as I am concerned, the tiles can stay! Any comments ladies and gentlemen???
  • really

    The classic installation process seems to be slower than in Windows 7