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Trying To Install Windoze 8 ESD

by Graham Needham (BH) on 30th November 2012

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 MacStrategy has 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.

Blog Post Author = Graham Needham (BH)
Blog Post Created On = 30th November 2012
Blog Post Last Revised = 25th January 2018 12:34
Blog Post URL =

This blog post is representative of the blog author's individual opinions and as such any opinions that may be expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of everyone at MacStrategy or the holding company Burning Helix.

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