ASUS laptop and Windows 8 don't play nice



  • I have:

    • An ASUS laptop (Asus K53SJ) with UEFI boot support and NO optical disk drive
    • A Dreamspark subscription
    • A 4GB USB stick

    I want to:

    • Do a clean install of Windows 8.1 in UEFI mode

    Sounds easy right? Any modern laptop should support Windows 8 right? Well let's see. ....

    • Mini-WTF #1: Microsoft still only distributes their OSs in iso format. Do people actually prefer to install from DVD? Do they have machines uncapable of installing from USB?
    • Mini-WTF #2: the shitty website and shitty software you have to use 

      But hey, I'm about to nuke the whole disk so I'll gladly install whatever they ask me to. So I get an ISO file. Great, now off to boot it from an USB stick. Here's where the main WhatTheFuckery starts.

    • The "official" website recommends this tool called "Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool", which is not exclusively for Windows 7, and it doesn't actually download anything (unless you consider copying a file to an USB stick "downloading"). Why The Fuck is it called that? To confuse people I assume. I already ranted about it here under a different username.

       

    • I start the "download" process and 10 minutes later I get a cryptic, useless error (how unexpected): "We were unable to copy your files. Please check your USB device and selected iso file and try again".

      Google says this error occurs when the MBR of the USB stick is not "clean". Why The Fuck does this cause the tool to fail? No idea.

    • I "clean" it with diskpart, as recommended by every result in google. Oops, the problem persists. That's odd. I google a bit more, I check that the partitions are correct, etc. Nothing.

       

      Hold on a second. I want to boot in UEFI mode. UEFI only works with FAT32 partitions. This tool always formats as NTFS. Could it be... let me google this.

    • Yep, I have been wasting my time. The "download tool" is only for MBR installs. To boot from UEFI you don't need any fancy tools, you just copy the files from the install disk to a FAT32 formatted partition. Thank you Microsoft for not documenting this anywhere.

       

    • The 4GB thumb drive is apparently not large enough for the Windows 8.1 installer (it needs around 30MB more). Yay. That's probably the cause of the "We were unable to copy your files" error from before. I fetch a larger drive.
    • It works! It's booting from USB! A logo appears! All my efforts have finally paid off!

       

      ...
      ...
      ...

      It's completely frozen.

      Turns out this is a common problem, with no clear solution. I try disabling things on the BIOS settings, but there's not much to disable there. I switch between AHCI and IDE modes, I unplug both hard drives, I try with a different USB drive on a different port, I try waiting 40 minutes on the installer screen, nothing works.

      At this point I accept that I won't be able to install Windows 8.1 in UEFI mode. I decide to try Windows 7. It's not likely to work, but I already have an ISO.

    • Despite officially supporting UEFI, Windows 7 doesn't even boot. In order to boot the installer from USB, you have to install 7-Zip, use it to open the file sources\install.wim in the installer disk, extract the file \1\Windows\boot\EFI\bootmgfw.efi, rename it to bootx64.efi and copy it to the USB disk. What the fuck. Was I supposed to figure this on my own?

       

    The W7 installer boots, but also freezes. The 8.1 installer is running right now (not in UEFI mode) and it seems like it might manage to do something this time.

    The freezing problems are probably ASUS' fault. This laptop has given me dozens of problems like that before, which is why I was reinstalling it in the first place. They're a $14 billion company and they can't even translate their software properly FFS. But the usability problems with the installer are definitely MS' fault. Just making a decent iso-to-usb program would have saved me an hour or two.



  • Follow-up:

    The installer worked properly, but the system froze again after the first reboot. I tried again, this time making sure to pull out the USB stick from the computer during the reboot, and it worked.

    Alas, the main problem I had before reinstalling still persists. The computer doesn't shut down. The screen goes black but the computer doesn't halt or suspend, it just stays there, sometimes with a 100% CPU usage until I hold the shutdown button. This means I can't even suspend or reboot properly. I tried installing Windows updates and every driver and application from ASUS, but nothing.

    I guess Windows 8 just doesn't run on this laptop. I blame the monstrosity that is ACPI. I'll go wipe everything again and install 7 (and Linux) now.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Do people actually prefer to install from DVD? Do they have machines uncapable of installing from USB?

    USB DVD drives are cheap.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @anonymous234 said:
    Do people actually prefer to install from DVD? Do they have machines uncapable of installing from USB?

    USB DVD drives are cheap.

    Not having to buy a USB DVD drive is cheaper.



  • @Zecc said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    @anonymous234 said:
    Do people actually prefer to install from DVD? Do they have machines uncapable of installing from USB?

    USB DVD drives are cheap.

    Not having to buy a USB DVD drive is cheaper.

    Not owning a laptop at all is cheaper.



  • I feel like people are holding onto to their optical drives the way people hung on to their floppies and zip drives. It's going the way of the Dodo people, get over it. Haven't had a computer with an optical drive in over 2 years myself, and the only time it has come up is if someone wanted me to burn them something. I just tell them buy a $5 - $10 USB drive and give to me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    USB DVD drives are cheap.
     

     

    USB flash drives are cheaper. Plus, they install Linux just fine.



  • @spamcourt said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    USB DVD drives are cheap.
     

     

    USB flash drives are cheaper. Plus, they install Linux just fine.

    PXE Installs are even cheaper and they install linux and windows just fine too.

    Question is, at what point is not having the less than $20 item worth having to spend time figuring out how to install something using USB flash drive or PXE?



  • Follow-up #2: this might not be Windows 8's fault after all. The problem persists on a clean Windows 7 install AND on the factory recovery image (which I'm 100% sure worked before). I must have breaken something somehow.



  • @DrakeSmith said:

    I feel like people are holding onto to their optical drives the way people hung on to their floppies and zip drives. It's going the way of the Dodo people, get over it. Haven't had a computer with an optical drive in over 2 years myself, and the only time it has come up is if someone wanted me to burn them something. I just tell them buy a $5 - $10 USB drive and give to me.
     

    Tell that to photographers. They just now gave up in the idea that the photos they took under your hire are not their property, they are not still ready to give up on handling physical media to people.

    Now for something on-topic...

    Yes ASUS is a XX billion dolar company, but they wont bother to support the monstruosity that is UEFI. That's because nobody else will, so there is no competitive pressure. Yep, they are probably able to if they want. Blame it on Microsoft for forcing everybody to use it, and if you want some sane standard, get one from a standards body that does not have Microsoft as a member.

    As an example, this computer I'm writting on has a Linux kernel as BIOS. Yep, BIOS suck, but the interface is just a tiny layer over a lot of ok software. Yep, it's overkill, but it's easier to maintain. Yep, it was made by the same ASUS that won't correctly support UEFI. And no, it's not Windows 8 ready, what means that if I install Windows 8, it'll almost certainly run.



  • @DrakeSmith said:

    I feel like people are holding onto to their optical drives the way people hung on to their floppies and zip drives. It's going the way of the Dodo people, get over it. Haven't had a computer with an optical drive in over 2 years myself, and the only time it has come up is if someone wanted me to burn them something. I just tell them buy a $5 - $10 USB drive and give to me.
    So what do I do with all that software I get that is supplied on CD/DVD only? Until you have universal installation of all software from online sources you are going to need optical drives.

    "But .. but .. but USB" .. in which case we will be having the same discussion about USB ports in a few more years.



  • TRWTF is UEFI. One of the most horrible instances of solution-looking-for-a-problem I've seen (the other monstrosity, ACPI, pales in comparison.) What's wrong with just "load the first sector on the first bootable device at 0000:7c00 and jump to it"?



  • @OzPeter said:

    @DrakeSmith said:
    I feel like people are holding onto to their optical drives the way people hung on to their floppies and zip drives. It's going the way of the Dodo people, get over it. Haven't had a computer with an optical drive in over 2 years myself, and the only time it has come up is if someone wanted me to burn them something. I just tell them buy a $5 - $10 USB drive and give to me.
    So what do I do with all that software I get that is supplied on CD/DVD only? Until you have universal installation of all software from online sources you are going to need optical drives.

    "But .. but .. but USB" .. in which case we will be having the same discussion about USB ports in a few more years.

    I don't get software on physical medium any more. M$ put the last nail in that coffin I think with the Windows store on Windows 8.



  • @DrakeSmith said:

    I don't get software on physical medium any more. M$ put the last nail in that coffin I think with the Windows store on Windows 8.
    Ahh .. the classic "It works for me, therefor it must work for everyone else". You do know that there are sources of Windows based software other than Microsoft? And that not all things can be found on the windows store?



  •  @spamcourt said:

    TRWTF is UEFI. One of the most horrible instances of solution-looking-for-a-problem I've seen (the other monstrosity, ACPI, pales in comparison.) What's wrong with just "load the first sector on the first bootable device at 0000:7c00 and jump to it"?

    Step 2: Run the hardware-vendor -supplied binary blobs to get the hardware up, running and identified.

     

    If I've understood correctly, BIOS is the answer to the problem of not knowing the hardware you will boot on beforehand.



  •  Or you could turn UEFI off



  • @Mcoder said:

    As an example, this computer I'm writting on has a Linux kernel as BIOS.

    What computer is that?



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Yep, I have been wasting my time. The "download tool" is only for MBR installs. To boot from
    UEFI you don't need any fancy tools, you just copy the files from the install
    disk to a FAT32 formatted partition. Thank you Microsoft for not documenting
    this anywhere.
    Even better: you can do a MBR install off FAT32 USB just as easily - copy files from ISO to USB, then run from elevated command prompt:
    X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 X: /force /mbr
    (assuming X: is your USB drive)



    As for Windows 7 install freezing in UEFI mode, this is solved by going to BIOS setup and enabling CSM (BIOS compatibility - Windows 7 UEFI bootloader calls VESA BIOS functions, which only exist if CSM is loaded), though this doesn't affect Windows 8 (which should load just fine without CSM).



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Microsoft still only distributes their OSs in iso format. Do people actually prefer to install from DVD? Do they have machines uncapable of installing from USB?
    @anonymous234 said:
    Just making a decent iso-to-usb program would have saved me an hour or two.
    They have.



  • @OzPeter said:

    @DrakeSmith said:
    I don't get software on physical medium any more. M$ put the last nail in that coffin I think with the Windows store on Windows 8.
    Ahh .. the classic "It works for me, therefor it must work for everyone else". You do know that there are sources of Windows based software other than Microsoft? And that not all things can be found on the windows store?

    1. Over the next year or two, I'm betting the Windows store will kill the purchase of software elsewhere based on the simple matter of convenience.

    2. Not using physical media is far easier when not on Windows - there isn't a windows computer in my house, and for that matter there isn't a CD/DVD/BLU-RAY PC drive in my house either. Hasn't been either for two years.



  • @DrakeSmith said:

    @OzPeter said:
    @DrakeSmith said:
    I don't get software on physical medium any more. M$ put the last nail in that coffin I think with the Windows store on Windows 8.
    Ahh .. the classic "It works for me, therefor it must work for everyone else". You do know that there are sources of Windows based software other than Microsoft? And that not all things can be found on the windows store?

    1. Over the next year or two, I'm betting the Windows store will kill the purchase of software elsewhere based on the simple matter of convenience.

    2. Not using physical media is far easier when not on Windows - there isn't a windows computer in my house, and for that matter there isn't a CD/DVD/BLU-RAY PC drive in my house either. Hasn't been either for two years.

     

    You sir, are a riot.

     Unless you meant these things, in which case I hope Gabe Newell beats you to death with the Games for Windows Marketplace

     



  • @fire2k said:

    @DrakeSmith said:

    @OzPeter said:
    @DrakeSmith said:
    I don't get software on physical medium any more. M$ put the last nail in that coffin I think with the Windows store on Windows 8.
    Ahh .. the classic "It works for me, therefor it must work for everyone else". You do know that there are sources of Windows based software other than Microsoft? And that not all things can be found on the windows store?

    1. Over the next year or two, I'm betting the Windows store will kill the purchase of software elsewhere based on the simple matter of convenience.

    2. Not using physical media is far easier when not on Windows - there isn't a windows computer in my house, and for that matter there isn't a CD/DVD/BLU-RAY PC drive in my house either. Hasn't been either for two years.

     

    You sir, are a riot.

     Unless you meant these things, in which case I hope Gabe Newell beats you to death with the Games for Windows Marketplace

     

    Gaming, of course, is the one place where physical media will still be around. If nothing else but because of publishers' faulty sense of security from the requirement of the disc as some form of DRM.

    Discs are really becoming an antiquated way of delivering software/music/movies though. They're slow, easily damaged, and quickly becoming too small in storage capacity (especially in relevance to physical size).



  • @DrakeSmith said:

    Gaming, of course, is the one place where physical media will still be around.
     

    Although it's true that I have pretty much never bought non-game software on disc, as for games, I'm not sure if I prefer an unhandy phsycial copy on my shelf, or bound to an account that may up and vanish one day.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dhromed said:

    @DrakeSmith said:

    Gaming, of course, is the one place where physical media will still be around.
     

    Although it's true that I have pretty much never bought non-game software on disc, as for games, I'm not sure if I prefer an unhandy phsycial copy on my shelf, or bound to an account that may up and vanish one day.

    All my games are medialess digital copies, be they on Wii U, XBox One, PS4, or Steam.


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