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Microsoft to offer dual upgrade path for Windows 8

One for the technical, another for the not so

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Microsoft will change its upgrade procedures when it introduces Windows 8, offering a simple system for home users and a more technical option for IT staff.

Redmond said it wants to make the upgrade path easier, since the Windows 7 introduction saw some users complaining that the process was too complicated. To ease the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft will now offer two options for those looking to make the leap to the new OS: a streamlined and an advanced setup. The new format will dramatically decrease upgrade times, Microsoft promised.

Streamlined setup will be enabled for those running the upgrade software from either an .exe file on a DVD or when downloading the new OS from Microsoft’s web site. Microsoft has combined the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor, Windows Easy Transfer, and Setup applications into a single-run wizard intended to handle all aspects of upgrading much faster.

Windows upgrade comparison

Microsoft claims a major speed boost to upgrading, be you technical or not

The wizard identifies any potential problems with the upgrade (such as duff drivers), lets the user decide if they are vital, and then sets up to transfer applications, Windows settings, and personal files from the Windows 7 system being replaced. Those upgrading from Vista can’t shift applications, and XP users are limited to just moving personal files.

Microsoft estimates that the old Windows 7 upgrade process took around 60 dialog boxes and four wizards to complete, but says that the new process can be completed in just 11 clicks contained in a single application. This dramatically speeds up the process, Redmond claims.

Windows 7 setup

Upgrading to Windows 7 took a lot of clicks

For more-advanced users loading from DVD or USB stick, the same upgrade wizard has extra levels, allowing full support for unattended installation, partition selection, and formatting during the upgrade process. The system can also be set up for dual boot configuration, and the file-transfer method has been simplified, with whole folders being moved en masse, rather than individual files.

“With Windows 8 setup we have greatly improved both speed and ease of use, while still retaining all of the advanced setup functionality that many customers will demand,” blogged Christa St. Pierre of Microsoft’s setup and deployment team. “We have integrated what was once many separate steps for people to perform when preparing and starting their setup into a streamlined user experience, with a fast and reliable setup engine under the hood.” ®

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