Microsoft shrinks Windows 8 install time

Microsoft has cut down the install time of Windows 8 with the help of some deployment tools.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

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.

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