As I web site developer I need to test web sites using browsers running under Windows. I could get a dedicated PC but I can run Windows on a Mac (there are several ways of doing this and we've got an article in the works). So yesterday I thought I would upgrade my Windows XP setup to Windows 8 so I can run the latest browser versions. My XP setup is pretty basic, I run it under Parallels Desktop and it just has a few browsers installed and some web plug-ins. I made sure my Parallels 8 installation was up to date by installing the latest update and then used the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant and it didn't find anything untoward with my setup so I purchased Windows 8 online, downloaded it and ran the installer. It crashed at 80% with a basic "Windows 8 could not be installed - OK" error message (no explanation, no error code, nothing - just can't be installed - thanks Microsoft!). I restarted Windows and ran the installer again. Now it complained about some folders needing to be renamed so I renamed them and ran the installer again. 80% again - install failed.
So using Parallels' instructions for creating an ISO disc I burnt a disc of the Windows 8 ESD and tried that - no go, just wouldn't work. So assuming my basic Windows XP setup was the problem I created a fresh Windows XP SP3 installation in Parallels, copied my Windows 8 ESD software to it and tried again. 80% again - install failed. Getting a little frustrated now. For a laugh I tried using the ISO disc image to install Windows 8 directly not as an upgrade - didn't work.
So, assuming the original Windows 8 download was the problem I created another fresh, clean Windows XP SP3 installation in Parallels, re-downloaded the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, re-downloaded the Windows 8 ESD and so with a clean XP and a clean installer tried again. Immediately got "Error - the installer could not be initialised - OK" WTF? - a clean XP, a clean download and the installer can't even start! Restarted Windows (for another laugh) and tried the newly placed shortcut to the Windows 8 installer on the desktop. The installer now decided it could initialise and so I set the installation off again. 80% again - install failed!
Not much time left in the day so I thought I would give it one more try. Restarted Windows, ran the installer, it complained about those folders needing to be renamed again so I renamed them and ran the installer again and left it going while I went to bed. Low and behold I get up this morning and Windows 8 has installed and I'm at the setup screen. This makes absolutely no sense at all - there is no rhyme or reason why that particular installation should work whereas the others didn't. What a convoluted, incoherent mess and the error messages the Windows 8 gave when it failed were so poor as to be worthless. As a consultant I've installed Mac OS X hundreds of times and never, ever seen anything like I did with this basic, supposedly simple Windows 8 install. Even with Apple's recent move to online software distribution themselves with OS X 10.7 and 10.8 it's always been simple and easy with no problems encountered and it's really simple to archive your OS X installer that you download and even make an install disc of it.
OS X online software distribution and install = 10 out of 10.
Windows 8 online software distribution and install 1 out of 10.