Windows 8’s Amazing Hardware Support

windows-8-logoOver the past couple of months my time spent with Windows has been pretty adventurous. My newest machine is getting on for 5 years old now and hardware failures have contributed to a slew of minor issues and some serious down time… mind you, anything longer than 5 minutes is serious in my estimation.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing some of these experiences with you. In the end, it’s surprising how often one’s education can be furthered by having to deal with these issues… who was it said ‘out of bad things, good things come’?

During recent tribulations involving a failed hard drive I had occasion to swap an old drive, containing a Windows 8 installation, between 3 machines with varying hardware configurations. I won’t bore you with intricate details, suffice to say that it provided a means to an end.

When Windows 8 was first released I took advantage of the discounted upgrade option to install the new operating system on 2 machines; one on my main machine and another on an old XP machine I had laying around from a client who had upgraded her PC.

hddWithin a few short months the old XP machine died, it was no great surprise and no great loss really… except, of course, for the $40.00 I’d paid for the upgrade. Before discarding the old machine I extracted the hard drive, which was still in good working order, and squirreled it away… I am a hoarder from way back.

Skip forward 10 months and the hard drive in my main (and more modern) machine failed… woe is me!! So, I had this bright idea of restoring an image to the old Windows 8 hard drive I’d previously put aside, connected it to my newer machine, and got the shock of my life when the operating system actually started to load. I watched in awe as messages displayed across the screen … “New hardware discovered” – “Please wait while we configure your new hardware” – “Setting up your new hardware” … or words to that effect.

Five or six minutes later and, to my surprise, up pops Windows 8, not a BSOD in sight. A quick check through device manager confirms that all devices are listed and working, none of those troublesome little yellow exclamation marks. This is a completely different hardware configuration to the original installation requiring a completely different set of drivers. To say I was amazed is an understatement. Maybe I hadn’t lost my meager investment after all.

dell-logoTo cut a long story short, I ended up buying a brand new hard drive and restoring the image to that instead. This, of course, left me with the old Windows 8 hard drive spare, and now configured to run on my newer machine. Keen to at least try and recoup my $40.00 outlay, a quick reccy around the workshop uncovered an old Dell machine with minimum specs but one that I knew was in working order… why not, I thought.

So, in with the Windows 8 drive, press the Go button and wait with baited breath. Same messages, same result. Five or six minutes later Windows 8 is up and running on the old Dell, no problem.

To put things in perspective; here is an operating system that’s been connected to 3 different machines, all with widely disparate hardware configurations, and running perfectly on all three with absolutely zero user intervention or BSODs. Try doing that with XP, or even Windows 7 for that matter.

What about activation I hear you say

Glad you asked. 🙂

Windows ActivationAfter the first swap, Windows 8 was fully activated, another surprise. After the second swap, I received a message… “You have exceeded the maximum number of activations, please buy a new license“… (or something very similar, I don”t recall the exact wording). Hardly surprising under the circumstances.

Not to be deterred I rang the proffered Microsoft support number and spoke with a lovely lady who was obviously working from an offshore location. After providing said lady with the operating system ID displayed on the screen, she gave me a new set of numbers which I duly typed in, hit the “Activation” button, and that was that.

This was a totally opposite result to previous experiences when attempting to re-activate earlier operating systems following hardware replacements. Microsoft’s reaction then was more or less “tough, there’s nothing we can do”. A complete turn around in attitude to be sure.

So, thanks to Windows 8’s amazing hardware support; after what was initially a complete fluke, followed by a little fiddling and a smidgeon of perseverance, I now have both Windows 8 machines up and running again.


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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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