Windows 8 RTM is not a gift

The 90 day free license to Windows 8 RTM is not upgradeable and a big waste of time

Windows 8 RTM free license expires in 90 days

When Microsoft rolled out Windows 8 RTM (Released to Manufacturing) last week, they gave MSDN and TechNet subscribers a free copy and gave beta testers and enthusiasts a 90 day license.

In Quebec they call that “c’est pas un cadeau” which means a “real pain”, as in not a gift at all. It is not worth the effort to have Windows 8 two months before the official launch. 

Installing Windows 8 RTM takes your effort and time. The Windows 8 RTM install takes a few hours, or a day if something goes wrong. Then you have to install all your software applications, browser bookmarks, favorites, logins and passwords, any video audio or other device drivers that are unique to your computer.

Since most of us don’t catalog all the stuff on our computers, the process can take a week or more as we discover things that are missing. It may not be easy to find misplaced downloaded files and any keys required to run programs. Programs like Adobe CS5 and Cakewalk Sonar have had multiple updates since the first installation. Installing and testing those apps requires time that will have to be repeated in October.

If you have a synced iPhone or Android, add more time to get your mobile devices synchronized.

With Windows 8 RTM all that gets lost in 90 days when the operating system has to be wiped off the computer and a purchased copy installed. The installation process and tweaking start all over again.

Since a 5 computer license will only cost $40, doing the upgrade now seems like a waste of time.

There is nothing really new in Windows 8 RTM that isn’t in the Release Preview from June so the effort required to install it is a waste of two weeks of time for a 2 month head start.
Things to Know Before You Start

Microsoft MSDN warns users before installing the Windows 8 RTM

  • “The evaluation edition will expire and cannot be upgraded.
  • To upgrade, the evaluation must be uninstalled and a non-evaluation version of Windows must be re-installed from your original installation media.
  • Consider running the evaluation edition in a virtual environment or installing on a separate hard drive or partition. The will allow you to upgrade your original Windows installation to Windows 8.
  • During registration (required) you must login with a Microsoft account and provide your name, e-mail address and country.
  • You are required to activate the product online within 10 days after installing.
  • Once the evaluation is installed, you cannot upgrade. To revert to a previous version of Windows, you must do a clean install from your original installation media.”

One of the suggestions from Microsoft is to install Windows 8 RTM on another hard drive in your computer. I did that and now my boot time has gone to over a minute and a half while the computer decides which version to use. Without Windows 8 RTM, my boot time was less than 20 seconds.

The 80 GB of data on my SkyDrive is syncing all over again because it thinks Windows 8 RTM is a new computer. The Office 2013 Preview also used up another of the 5 installs to check out how that works with the RTM.

Windows 8 RTM is slightly smoother than the Windows 8 Release Preview but it is not a show stopper.

In 90 days, we will have to wipe all that work and start over. There is also a risk that data can be lost in the process.

Microsoft could have rewarded the more than 1 million Windows 8 beta testers and enthusiasts with the same version of Windows 8 Professional available on MSDN and TechNet but they didn’t.

C’est pas un cadeau.

I am going to stick with the Windows 8 Release Preview. It works. It’s stable and I will only have to upgrade once in October. Time is precious.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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