Scroll to the end of this post for my summary. The low-down: if you are doing the Windows Pro upgrade from Windows 7 32-bit, be prepared to reinstall ALL of your existing programs.
Purchase and Download
It was nearly midnight, Mountain Time, on October 25 and I tried once more to click the ‘Buy Now’ link on the Microsoft Store page for a Windows 8 upgrade. This time, instead of the ‘coming soon’ page, the Upgrade Assistant loaded.
The Upgrade Assistant ran and determined my computer was capable of the upgrade from my current version of Windows 7, which was 32-bit pro. During the lengthy download, there was no indication of how large the file was, but by 1 a.m., the Windows 8 download was 99% complete and I was excited to begin the install.
After the download was complete, the Upgrade Assistant went through
- Getting Files Ready
- Install Windows 8
- Getting Updates/Checking for Updates
- Restarting Windows 8 Setup
- We’re getting a few things ready
- Something Happened
The last ‘Something Happened’ was my first install glitch. The sub-error was, “We couldn’t find the License Agreement”. My only option was to click the Close button and the install box disappeared. After over 90 minutes, I was apparently nowhere.
However, I still my order confirmation screen open in the browser – the Thank You page that came up after I submitted payment for the upgrade in the Microsoft Store. There was a line on the page that read, “This is your receipt – make sure to print or save a copy for your records. if you need to download Windows, write down your new product key and enter it here.” The word ‘here’ was a link and I clicked it. I was prompted to download another program, which was small and quick, and suddenly the Install Windows 8 screen appeared again.
Next was the License Terms to accept for Windows 8 Pro, then a screen that it was ready to install with the following checked:
- Install Windows 8 Pro
- Keep personal files only
There was an option to change the selection under ‘keep personal files only’, and I think that is where the main problem that occurred later began. I think I remember an option to keep personal files and programs, which I thought I had originally checked, but apparently I did not.
At that point, the install box went away and the entire screen was blue with big letters that said ‘Installing Windows 8 – your PC will restart several times. This might take a while.’
The Windows 8 Setup
16 minutes later, the computer was attempting to restart and close the open windows I had. I did a force close to shut the explorer windows that were still open, then there was a black screen with a lone window and text that read, “Scanning and reparing drive (X:): 1% complete.” That progress lasted another 10 minutes and ended with the Windows Boot Manager screen that prompted me to choose an operating system to start. My choices were Windows 8, Windows Setup, or Windows 7. I chose Windows 8, but after a few minutes of the screen changing to appear that something was loading, I ended up back on the Boot Manager screen. I tried two or three more times with the same result.
I decided to try choosing the Windows Setup option on the boot screen and was able to get out of the loop. By 2 a.m., just a few minutes later, I saw a screen that said, “Getting ready.”
The Getting Ready step took about 15 minutes and then a “Moving your settings” message appeared with another percentage count. By 2:20 a.m., I was in Windows setup at the Personalize screen, where I was prompted to choose the color I liked.
Next was the Wireless setup, and my home network appeared on the list and connected after I entered my password. I was then at a Settings screen where I could click a button to use Express Settings or customize settings pertaining to auto-installing important and recommended updates, turning on Do Not Track in Internet Explorer, etc.
The next set of settings concerned protecting and updating my PC. There were on/off options for Windows Update, SmartScreen Filter and Do Not Track requests. By now it was 2:26 a.m.
More settings to toggle on or off – improve Windows Store, respond to malicious apps and malware, improve Microsoft services, participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program, check online for solutions, share info with apps. Those screens were followed by the ‘Sign in to your PC’ screen with my name and prompt for Windows password, which was the same as my setting in Windows 7.
I encountered a glitch when I was prompted to enter my Microsoft account password, which included my email and password. I knew I already had a Microsoft account associated with my main email, but I could not remember what my password was for that account and it wasn’t taking the ones I was trying. I used the option to reset my password and a link was sent to my email account, which I was able to access from my Android phone. However, the link to reset the password led to an screen that said there was a temporary error. (NOTE: even 12 hours later, when trying to set up a new Microsoft account, the email confirmation link leads to a temporary error page.) I was provided with an option to continue without signing in with a Microsoft account and using my local account instead.
Windows 8 Metro – a New User Interface
A few minutes later, the new Windows 8 user interface screen appeared! I believe Windows is currently calling it ‘Metro’. It was 2:33 a.m.
I fiddled with the tile settings which were access via a right mouse click. I could easily uninstall a tile, turn off the live aspects of tiles, and move them around. There was an ‘All Apps’ button available by right mouse clicking on the metro screen. I found where I could install a new app through the Store tile, but it required a Microsoft account login, which I was still unsuccessful at accessing.
I was able to set my location for the Bing weather tile and discovered all of my options for national and world news, which could be pinned to the Start screen.
I discovered the quick way to get to toggle my old desktop and the new metro interface using either the Windows key on the keyboard or by dragging my mouse to the upper or lower right corners and choosing Start, which looked like a window. There is a desktop tile on the metro screen. But what I couldn’t find, no matter how hard I poked around, were my previous program files, such as Outlook, Word, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and all the other applications that I used on a daily basis.
I was able to determine that the programs were indeed on the hard drive, in a folder called windows.old, but none of the applications would run. I searched online forums, recent posts, and the Twitter feeds for any information that could help, but at the early hours I was working there was nothing I could find to tell me how to get the programs to transfer over. At 4 a.m., I gave up for the night.
By 8 a.m., I was back online searching for information on how to get my programs back. I found a few threads that stated an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro was not possible from a 32-bit version of Windows 7. This was obviously not true since I was actually running Windows 8 and it was not only working fine, it was functioning faster than my previous version.
From what I have discovered, I have two options to get my programs. I can uninstall my upgrade and revert Windows 7, then upgrade again and this time ensure that the setting is checked to keep personal settings AND programs (which I thought I had done). Because I am confident that I did indeed say I wanted to keep settings and programs, and from what I’ve read about program settings not being able to transfer over from the 32-bit version of Windows 7, I don’t think uninstalling and reinstalling will do any good.
My second option, which I will do, is to find the installation information for my previously installed programs and re-install. My fear of doing that is that much of the install information, including keys and registration codes, are stored in Microsoft Outlook as notes, and I am not able to access Outlook as it is no longer installed. <Sigh>.
As I type this, I am re-installing Microsoft Office. My attitude is that installing only the programs I want will help me in the long run since after two years, I have lots of junk that I only used once and never removed. I’ll post a follow-up to share the results.
If you currently have Windows 7 32-bit, be sure you have all of your program discs and data available since you will not have access to any of your programs after upgrading to Windows 8 Pro.
As far as the metro interface, I like it so far. I consider myself extremely techno-savvy, and there was still quite a learning curve to discover how to get where I wanted to go. I don’t recommend you attempt the upgrade without setting aside a large block of time to install and learn the new system.