Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Windows 8 RTM and the Win8 store - thumbs up??

One of the benefits of having an MSDN subscription is that you get access to the latest operating systems and tools before they are released to the general public.  I got access to the RTM (Released To Manufacturing) and needed to install it to submit my latest version of Thoughts and Prayers for the Windows 8 store.  I wanted to share a few things about the install and upgrades for Windows 8.

In the MSDN account, Microsoft generously provides 5 Windows 8 retail and 5 Windows 8 Pro licenses.  This is great so that I can put it on my laptop, my tablet and have extras.  My youngest son also wanted me to install Windows 8 on his desktop machine.  I figured it would be a good test for doing an upgrade from Vista to Win8 and I would not be putting my development system in jeopardy of being DOA. 

Windows 8

Let's start with the upgrade on my son's desktop.  This is a custom built machine that I put together years ago.  It is an AMD 4400, with 2G of ram and many different hard drives.  We first did just a standard upgrade.  One of the first things I noticed is that the desktop was missing many of the icons that he had before the upgrade.  Then we tested some of the icons that were left and they did not work at all.  He uses this system to do video editing, watch videos, and play and host a Minecraft server from it.  So I decided to get him a new 2TB drive and just install the OS fresh.  This system already had 3 SATA drives and a PATA drive in it.  So after the install, which went pretty smoothly, I decided that I wanted to get rid of all of those old drives.  I found a utility from SysInternals called Disk2VHD.  This lets you copy a disk and create a VHD that you can just mount in Windows 8.  It took a while to create all of the VHDs but it worked well.  Of course when we pulled the drives out we realized that the boot sector of one of the drives we removed was the active partition and we could not boot, so my son decided to just reinstall overtop again.  This moved everything from the desktop and Windows folders to be copied into desktop.old and Windows.old folders for safe keeping.  I am now connecting to his machine and mounting the drives and cleaning them up so that I can get some data off that I need for other projects.

For my laptop, I decided that I would get a new SSD to put in because I have 2 bays for drives.  This way I can put my 512GB drive as a secondary for storage.  I prefer to put a new operating system on a clean drive so that I don't cause issues with projects I am working on.  After I ordered and got a drive, the install worked smooth.  And the download and install of VS2012 was equally uneventful.

Win8 Store

I download my source code from TFSPreview and recompile.  One issue that I had at first is that the PubCenter Ad system did not have a version for the RTM.  It only had the Release Preview.  This of course causes a problem.  Luckily, the Ad system was updated the next day. 

After testing, everything looked good and I go to submit.  I then go to open my store account and my Live Account tells me that the machine has not be trusted on the account so I cannot log in.  The only thing I could do is to look at the security info and to see that I needed to log in with my old drive to authorize the new hardware.  I switch the drive back and my Live Account does not recognize it as my trusted machine either.  It was very frustrating that I could not confirm any security info and I could not trust the new machine.  I did not have this issue with the previous versions of Windows 8 at all.  The only clue on what to do said that to trust a new machine you had to have Windows Live Essentials installed.  I installed it but things did not work.  I tried this multiple times and emailed a few people that I know at Microsoft but nothing would work.  I finally decided to email the support for my Live Account to see what I could do.  After that about an hour later, I was able to actually trust my machine and get things into the store.


First I want to say that I love using Windows 8.  My son's old desktop also runs very well, and actually better than it did before the upgrade.  The only issue I have is that Microsoft has stated that the upgrade to Windows 8 will work on machines all the way down to XP.  In my experience, this did not work. 

The only other warning that I will give is to make sure that you have all of your security info confirmed and machines trusted before even starting.  The issue I had was because the only confirmed issue was the old pc name.  If you had an email or cell phone number confirmed you might have been able to use that instead.