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back to article Wait for it, waaiiit for it: We update an Atom tablet to Windows 8.1 Pro

If you own an Atom tablet and you’re pondering on upgrading to Windows 8.1 now it’s out in the wild, then there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that it installs fairly smoothly in my experience. That said, I would advise to send out for pizza and rent an epic movie, the longer the better, as the update takes an age to …

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Microsoft Time (sucks)

I installed Pro on a Thinkpad T60 last night.

I did the 'search for updates' this morning.

What the hell have they done to it?

you start downloading the patches and it sits there for minutes at 0% suddenly it goes to 78%. WTF?

What is it with microsoft and estimating the time remaining for something? Can't they ever get it right?

This is just really annoying and IMHO worse than Windows 7/Server 208 R2.

The only positive thing is that it found all the drivers for the T60 including the fingerprint reader. Thankfully it is dual booted with Windows 7 and I suspect that 8.1 will only get an occasional boot.

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Re: Microsoft Time (sucks)

http://xkcd.com/612/

Seems appropriate

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Re: Microsoft Time (sucks)

"Seems appropriate"

Obligatory I would say. Beat me to it :D

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Re: Microsoft Time (sucks)

I must admit this is the only thing that truly annoys me about Windows 8. Had many instances of initial or secondary update where the download counter sits at 0% for ages and ages.

No clue whats going on if anything. A few reboots and retry gets you there eventually but it's not great.

Seems it either works perfectly or just acts plain stubborn.

On another note I installed 8.1 on my 8GB Athlon II X3 PC this morning. I just let it run in the background till it told me it wanted to restart. Didn't seem to take long at all, no longer than a usual Windows install.

Maybe 45 minutes tops. All went really smoothly. No issues.

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Just a Windows minute.......

The phrase "Windows Minute" has become commonplace amongst my colleagues and I - when asked how long a task will take the reply "Just a Windows minute" equates to "I have no fucking idea, could be anywhere between one second and just after the heat death of the universe...."

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Re: Microsoft Time (sucks)

"What is it with microsoft and estimating the time remaining for something? Can't they ever get it right?"

Oh dear, first world problems.

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Anonymous Coward

2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Don't you just love the windows update mechanism.

Give me Yast, Apt, Yum or anything else please but not the torturously glacial windows update.

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Gimp

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Don't you just love the windows update mechanism.

Give me Yast, Apt, Yum or anything else please but not the torturously glacial windows update.

*Yawn*

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Trollface

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

You are only allowed to "yawn" if the same expedience can be reached than with a standard Linux upgrade.

But at least you get epic foreplay in this case. You should be ready to blow the load on WinWord once the desktop comes up.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

You are only allowed to "yawn" if the same expedience can be reached than with a standard Linux upgrade.

Can't say that a Windows Update session has ever bothered me. Yeah after a fresh install you've got a 600-700Mb update-fest, but most normal people leave that run overnight instead of sitting there watching a progress bar. After that, it's a few patches a month...

To be honest, I find the constant bleating of the linux fanbois more boring than anything Microsoft can throw at me.

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Devil

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"Yeah after a fresh install you've got a 600-700Mb update-fest, but most normal people leave that run overnight instead of sitting there watching a progress bar"

Boss: I need a desktop with a fresh installation, ASAP, FOR YESTERDAY!

You: Yesterday?? You mean *tomorrow* right?

Boss: Yeah, tomorrow you dont need to come over!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"Give me Yast, Apt, Yum or anything else please but not the torturously glacial windows update."

Windows update + WIndows installer are lot more powerful than those - e,g, Delta based updates, streamed installs, etc - so it can take a while in some cases. In others it is much faster than anything on Linux. For instance try installing the Microsoft free evaluation of Office 2013. It will launch the requested Office application within a minute of starting the download and carry on installing the rest in the background!

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"if the same expedience can be reached than with a standard Linux upgrade."

At least you can do an in place upgrade of Windows. Unlike with say Red Hat or CentOS....

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Trollface

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Boss: I need a desktop with a fresh installation, ASAP, FOR YESTERDAY!

You: Yesterday?? You mean *tomorrow* right?

Boss: Yeah, tomorrow you dont need to come over!

Oh ok, you're talking about a work scenario...

I'd go to the storeroom and get one of the updated PCs I keep for just such an eventuality.

Anything else?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

> you've got a 600-700Mb update-fest,

You have a multiple update fest. The last "fresh" install I did was W7, there were 5 different lots of patches so I had to check for updates, install them, reboot and the check again only to find a whole new set of patches.

One lot of patch installs even stopped half way through (not at the beginning or end but halfway f@cking through) to ask me a question so leaving it untended isn't an option.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"Boss: I need a desktop with a fresh installation, ASAP, FOR YESTERDAY!

You: Yesterday?? You mean *tomorrow* right?"

If you aren't patching your base install image, you're doing it wrong.

Or is it that Apt, Yum, Yast etc don't support offline image patching?

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Stop

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

It was a joke but you still dont get it. If you had to make a fresh install, while you wait for the updates on windows, you would have a linux box installed, updated, configured and ready for the user. Heck, even installed at the user's desk...

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Christ, always with the Office 2013 installer - you know, the one that shits itself 10% of the time and needs to be ripped out from the registry before it'll let you do a clean install. It's a piece of shit, sir, and I can quality that statement any way you want. And that's before you start talking about non Volume Licensed installations on more than three computers in a day. Because you can't. Because MS won't let you register more than three MS Office accounts per day, per machine - once again, shitting all over the SMB and VAR crowd.

Anyway, you want installation efficiency? A few weeks ago, I was RDPing a couple of Windows servers and reading Facebook while waiting for progress bars to move on them, writing up a .doc file to document the processes on the servers - dong all that on a Linux installation that was in progress on a laptop.

I finished the remote server updates, documented them, emailed them to myself through my office webmail, then rebooted the sytem into a fresh linux install.

Take your Office 2013 steaming, er, I mean, streaming install, and come back to the party when you have something worthwhile to talk about....

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Stop

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"If you aren't patching your base install image, you're doing it wrong."

The scenario was a joke but just to please you, imagine that the box was needed to test a new setup, something that never happens right?

Anyway, I can have a new desktop configured with my full setups at home in 1 hour using linux and that while with an eye at the TV. I wont see myself waste such amount of time with windows, I have better things to do.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

I'd go to the storeroom and get one of the updated PCs I keep for just such an eventuality.

Ohh, you mean the ones you had for such an eventuality … until the beancounters saw all these surplus assets and decided to flog them off for cash?

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Boffin

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"At least you can do an in place upgrade of Windows. Unlike with say Red Hat or CentOS...."

@TheVogon

I saw what you did there...

You are perfectly correct in stating that Red Hat require clean installations of each major version of their Enterprise Linux product, e.g. RHEL 5 to 6 (the currently supported versions) and to 7 (the version that will be released next). It is worth mentioning that major versions have a support life measured in decades.

CentOS is of course a clone of RHEL, as are Scientific Linux, PUIAS/Springdale Linux, and Oracle Linux, so they follow the same process.

Minor version updates (e.g 6.2 -> 6.3 -> 6.4 in my case) are unproblematic and occur as a normal part of the software update - I was able to carry on wasting my time on this forum when 6.3 updated to 6.4 on my CentOS laptop, then I was able to reboot into the updated kernel when appropriate. I imagine that systems administrators running production servers will disable automatic updates and will have a test box to check fine details of the minor upgrades.

Other Linux distributions allow in-place upgrades. Obviously when there are major technology shifts it might be better to do a clean install, and some distributions set up a separate /home partition to make this process easier. At least one poster on the Debian forums claims never to have reinstalled since Woody, including in place updates and when changing hardware. He simply makes a tar.gz of the hard drive and unpacks this on the new hard drive and then reinstalls grub and runs update-grub. Some changing of config files is needed (UUIDs). This does actually work, and I have 'swapped' a Debian and a CentOS installation between a desktop PC and a laptop using this method. Saved a lot of time and downloads.

Finally, some Linux distributions follow a 'rolling' model where packages are updated as and when and there is never a need to reinstall. These tend to be enthusiast oriented distributions as there will be issues regarding library compatibility and configuration changes.

I get paid to use Windows, and the techs at work keep our system running very nicely with very little downtime.

At home, the thing I remember most about windows was having to reboot continuously when installing and updating a machine. Interesting to see that seems to have continued.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Quote: "At least one poster on the Debian forums claims never to have reinstalled since Woody, "

My house server is like that. Since potato actually. When the time to do hardware swap comes along it is tarred, untarred onto a new RAID set in a new box to replace the old one. It has been in-place upgraded since some time in 1999. I have not had a single upgrade issue on it in 15 years (it has a full desktop software installation just in case too so you can run xterms off it). However this is Debian, not R00tH4t which has this polished to perfection.

As far as the general install - I have a "packing list" for new machines so I just do an apt-get install with it after initial install and continue on whatever I was doing before it. Depending on the fatness of the Internet pipe and the freshness of the cache, a fully installed, fully patched and ready to use machine is ready between 30 and 90 minutes later.

I have to do the same process at work every few months after the geniuses from IT deregister my Windows VM from the domain controller for lack of use. It takes (even with lots of magic incantations to get super-performance out of kvm on a 16G RAM box) half a day or more. It also fails half of the time because the 5GB ISO with the "latest" corporate standard happens to be 2 days out of date with the install server. After that it needs 1-2h to apply all updates. All of that just to have a fully compatible windows typewriter. Nuts...

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

I've just uprated a Windows 8 "Ultrabook" to Mint whilst reading this article and the comments! My only needed interventions were to tell the installer that yes, I do want to use the whole hard drive, that I'm in London, and I have a UK keyboard. It's done the rest, and is now installing a few applications that I like to have on board. Total install time? Just 25 minutes, including a comprehensive suite of applications.

Game Over, Microsoft!

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

It true rhel shouldn't be updated in place updated between major versions. But its no big deal. No company would or should do an in place upgrade of a server or desktop. You install the new system and migrate. Anything else on a production system is asking for it. You can in place upgrade rhel just not supported, perhaps because its not really sensible in a corporate sense they don't want the support hassle it could generate (its not a key customer requirement).

Yum on Fedora supports delta updates, so rhel7 too. So yes RH was a bit late to this one. But every OS is late to some feature or other. Look how long Windows took to get bonded NICs, windows 2012 and I heard recently that Dell had to write that for them. Wonder if that is true.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

One lot of patch installs even stopped half way through (not at the beginning or end but halfway f@cking through) to ask me a question so leaving it untended isn't an option.

Yes, a new version of MSIE has been the culprit there on several occasions.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

"Windows update + WIndows installer are lot more powerful than those"

I'd rather not be the bleating Linux fanboy but how on earth can you sing the praises of an update mechanism that will download multiple different versions of the same file (because they're encased in binary blobs,) so that it can install them over the top of each other in sequential order?

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Did a full clean install of 8.1 off of an TechNet ISO/DVD yesterday in about 25 minutes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

I'm happy for you. No really I am.

You managed to install a 4 day old OS, and all the megabytes of patches it has accumulated over those 4 days, in 25 minutes. Now come back in about 6 months after it has accumulated a few patches and patches of patches and try it again. Then you will find they have patched the patcher module but the patcher module depends upon a previous patch so you have to install that patch, reboot, install the patcher patch, reboot install next patch set, answer a bleeding question half way through, reboot, patch some NET framework which depended upon some previous patch, reboot, patch everything that depended upon the NET framework, agree to some new license halfway through, reboot and then use your machine.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

I'd rather not be the bleating Linux fanboy but how on earth can you sing the praises of an update mechanism that will download multiple different versions of the same file (because they're encased in binary blobs,) so that it can install them over the top of each other in sequential order?

To be fair, while appearing very stupid and annoying, this is to allow subsequent rollback and patch removal. Or to try to explain a better better: this isn't to allow the current patch in question to be removed, it's to allow subsequent patches of the same file to be removed, reverting to a "known good" combination of files and libraries.

While sending diff's of the various files would be useful, having the version to apply the diff to in the first place is another problem. This problem is compounded with the signing of Operating System (or in MS's terminology, everything they want to bundle with the Operating System) - the signing of these files is a good thing but it does introduce further complexities.

I'm sure they could do something to improve the situation, but sometimes simplicity is best, even if it is inefficient... but when was the last time MS actually did something efficient?

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Have you ever worked with Linux?

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Last time I installed Fedora it needed 405 updates post install. I don't know exactly how long it took but it was basically all night for the install and updates, say maybe 4 hours.

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Re: 2hrs 45minutes and still not done !

Actually, you CAN do an inplace upgrade, just that they won't support you if it goes titsup.

A stupdendously stupid decision, but not exactly the only inanity built into Redhat.

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Anonymous Coward

On the balance of all evidence ..

.. I think we can safely assume that the guy who wrote the progress bar code must have worked for London Transport before. They have the same, somewhat loose interpretation of the number of seconds that fit in a minute.

On that topic, what annoys me more than randomised progress in a progress bar is one that keeps restarting. WTF? The idea is to see begin, end and where you are between those points so you can decide between getting a drink of a full 4 course meal before you have to pay attention again.

Ah, that reminds me, irritant no 2: a loooooooooong install routine with additional questions somewhere in the middle of it. As evidenced in this story. Bad, bad, very seriously bad, because once you have fired off such a long process you should not have to babysit it until it has done whatever it needs to do.

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Re: On the balance of all evidence ..

"Ah, that reminds me, irritant no 2: a loooooooooong install routine with additional questions somewhere in the middle of it."

And thus crushes the entire "leave it run overnight" witticism.

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Re: On the balance of all evidence ..

And thus crushes the entire "leave it run overnight" witticism.

Answer Files are the "solution" here. However how many of us are going to bother to create a damn Answer File and slipstreaming this onto the update media or to download and apply the updates separately in order to apply the Answer File for <insert random friend or relative's name here>'s computer?

Internet Explorer and Security Essentials are the chief culprits here when it comes to requiring an answer in the middle of an update. I've learnt to exclude these from overnight updates and to apply them, and the inevitable subsequent updates, more interactively.

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Anonymous Coward

But why?

Why pray would one do this when Win 7 Pro runs fine on N450s? The fashion for all things new I suppose. You will have to pry my high res Dell 1012 from my cold dead hands when I am gone...

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Re: But why?

You will have to pry my high res Dell 1012 from my cold dead hands when I am gone...

Well, few would want to find their hands cold and dead before they pass on…

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But why?

Your offer.... is acceptable.

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WTF?

Most annoying thing for me

It removes your anti virus etc and doesn't tell you.....

That's right you have paid for and installed an alternative to MS and they delete it from your drive......

Top that with the fact Kaspersky won't install unless you download the USA version with patch b ......

What a total cluster fuck......

Thanks MS, at least I read about it before I went on the bank website etc this morning.

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Re: Most annoying thing for me

It removes your anti virus etc and doesn't tell you.....

After reading the article, and noticing the phrase "taking care of a few things" I was mulling over making a post suggesting that this might actually be a euphemism, and that the extra 4.5Gb free was due to "taking care" of some competing products that were on the disk initially. I'd meant it as a joke, but now I'm just gob-smacked ... MS couldn't be that obvious, could they?

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Re: Most annoying thing for me

If it is "taking care" of all the crapware HP shovels onto their computers, then I have no objections.

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JDX
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It removes your anti virus etc and doesn't tell you.....

Considering how deeply AV software integrates into the OS installation, I'm not that surprised Windows doesn't know what to do about it.

Side question; does W8 include MSE the same as W7 does? Always been good enough for me, coupled with the built-in firewall.

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Re: Most annoying thing for me

...Of course a proper operating system doesn't need an anti-virus.....

Shame that MS still can't get their heads around the basic concept of permissions and add properly granular access control to files and processes - like we've had in Linux since 1992.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It removes your anti virus etc and doesn't tell you..... @JDX

Sorry what is all this AV/MSE stuff you keep talking about ? Can't seem to find it in my Repos.

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Re: Most annoying thing for me

I hope that was irony otherwise you are the dumbest troll I have seen in a decade.

NT (since NT4) access control is quite a bit more granular than that of OOB Linux. Actually mapping Windows ACL to the rather course Unix ones is a major problem and the Posix ACL implemented in Linux since the early 2000nds was based on a withdrawn standard (Posix 1003-1e, withdrawn 1997). The NEW Posix ACL proposal - is based on NTFS (RFC 3010)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Most annoying thing for me @ mmeier

Pity windows doesn't have a clue what file type something is until it's told what it is by three suffix letters.

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Yep - just about what I saw last night

Updating an HP Elitebook 8440P from 12:05am to 1:45am this morning. Downloaded 3.47GB for Win 8.1 with Media Center over my satellite (thus the middle of night/no download limits from 12-5am).

Went pretty much the same, although no HP tools to deal with - HP doesn't make 'em for older Elitebooks - Firefox crashed this morning while coming back from sleep, nothing amazing to report.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yep - just about what I saw last night

While HP doesn't provide Win8 drivers for products that didn't ship with Win8 (including my Probook 6540b), the latest ProtectTools software installs just fine in older laptops. It can be found from the driver download page of newer products, eg. 8470p or 6570b.

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So still an easier and quicker install than iOS7 was when it was first released. Damn iPad took over three hours to download and install a 650MB file.

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Anonymous Coward

updating iOS

"So still an easier and quicker install than iOS7 was when it was first released."

On the first day of an iOS release it's always slow as so many people are tying to do updates simultaneously that the servers an bandwidth get hammered.

Maybe MS could use this as a tag line for Surface "Updating your Surface RT to windows 8.1 will be really quick as you'll be the only person downloading it".

;)

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