Bohl's Blog

my digital life

Moving on to Windows 8 - this time seriously...

I have been exploring and playing around with Windows8 for quite a while now - I had an installation running on VMWare and on a second PC inside a VHD. Now I thought it would be time to get real and install Windows8 on my main machine on bare metal and use it daily. I was not ready to say goodbye to my trusty Windows7-installation yet, so I went to buy a new harddisk and came back with a 256GB-SSD. I bought an SanDisk-SSD which was a special offer at €139,00. Not the best and not the fastest device, but should be a good value for the money. And, taking my experiences with the Intel-SSD into account, well... it can't get worse I suppose.

Now, the fun part of the installation of Windows8 was the fact that I am using Intel's RST on the Windows7-system - which uses the SSD to accelerate a normal HDD. And this is something you do not want to live without once you are used to it. It requires to configure the SATA-ports in "RAID-mode" instead of AHCI. Well, no big deal I thought... and went on to insert the Windows8-DVD. All went fine until...

 

I tried to delete, format and what-not this drive - to no avail. Finally, I managed to find the "log file" mentioned here (you need to bring up a command promt from the setup), which just read something like "cannot determine boot device" or so.

OK, next try was to install the Intel-drivers. Just download the "F6-drivers" and this gave me:

 

I don't know if the dialog is supposed to tell me that something went wrong (or that all is fine) - however, now the devices on the SATA-ports are gone. Still don't know why this didn't work...

So I went on changing the SATA-ports to "AHCI". My plan was to install Windows8 with AHCI-mode, then install the Intel-drivers, then again switch to RAID. This approach finally succeded, however... it took several attempts, and I don't know what was wrong when it didn't work. Several times the machine didn't boot into Windows8 with different symptoms like this one:

 

Maybe my motherboard or its BIOS is responsible for the troubles (it's an ASUS P8Z68V-Pro), it has proven to be somewhat stubborn before.

Finally, after switching this setting countless times

 

it now seems to work ok! Both Windows7 and Windows8 work and RST is also working ok.

One final mystery: Windows8 installed a beautiful boot-manager (in Metro Windows8-design), however - during the course of struggeling with AHCI/RAID etc. at some point I got this old-fashioned boot-manager:

 

However - since I got this boot-manager it works, so be it.

 

All that remains for me to say is: it would have been nice if Intel and Microsoft (and whoever is involved into this) somehow managed to put heads together and simplify this ACHI-RAID-mess.

 

We will see how Windows8 "feels" when used more heavily. The Metro-UI still feels a bit strange and alien on a desktop-PC, and I guess it will continue to do so. I will have to wait until the Windows-tablets hit the stores...

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