Walkthrough Windows 8 Consumer Preview installation (Windows Setup) step-by-step

Windows Setup - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Ready to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview? You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do this. The amount of steps has been reduced, and the installation time has dramatically decreased as well. 

In this guide, I’ll walk you through step-by-step to successfully complete the Windows Setup.

To get started, download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview ISO file that will suit your hardware configuration; you can choose from 32-bit or 64-bit version and different languages are also available. You should also check How to prepare your PC for Windows 8 Consumer Preview, in this article you’ll find many important tips you need to know to deal with a pre-release version of Windows (system requirement, use a virtual machine or a physical machine, what is the optimal screen resolution for Windows, what to do before install and much more).

Once you have a basic understanding with what you are dealing with, and you downloaded the version of Windows that you want, you need to create a USB or DVD — refer to this previous article – How to create a Windows 8 bootable USB drive or bootable DVD.

1. Make sure that your computer BIOS is configured to boot from either a USB or DVD drive, depending on what you’ve decided to use to install Windows 8. Because there are many ways to do this, you’ll need to look up this information in your computer’s manual or manufacture website.

2. Insert the USB drive or DVD in the computer and start the computer.

3. Windows 8 Consumer Preview will start loading with the Metro style, “betta fish” splash screen.

Betta fish loading - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Then the traditional Windows Setup will load and now click Next.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Windows Setup

4. Click Install Now.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Install Now

5. This time around you are required to enter a product key for Windows 8, but don’t worry that Microsoft has already supplied them. They can be found in the download page. Once that is done, click Next.

Product Key - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

6. Accept the license terms and click Next.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - License Terms

7. Now, here comes the trick part: should I choose the Upgrade or the Custom options? The best options would be using a Custom installation, even though it says “advanced”, this is not too complicated — I’ll be covering this in the following steps–. If you want to use the Upgrade option keep all this in mind:

  • You should never install a pre-released version of any operating system in your primary computer (this is a really bad idea! Things are expected to go wrong). If you do, the least you can do is to create a full backup of Windows 7 before doing anything.
  • If you’re using your primary computer, what you can also do is to swap the hard drive were Windows is installed with another spare hard drive, that way if something doesn’t work you can just switch back the hard drive and you’ll be ready to go.

Doing a clean install (Custom) on a spare computer, or using a virtual machine (this is really easy — check our previous article to learn how to create a VM) will be best.

Click the Custom: Install Windows Only (advanced) option.

Custom option - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

8. Make sure you selected the correct hard drive for the installation and the one that do not have any important information, then click Next.

Custom option - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

9. Sit and relax and let Windows 8 install…

Windows 8 Consumer Preview - Installing

10. Once Windows Setup finish installing all the necessary components and restart several times, you’ll be presented with the Personalize page. Personalize allows you to pick a theme color for the Metro style user interface and a name for your PC. Choose your settings and click Next.

Personalize - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

11. In Settings, you’re given the choice to Use express settings, which basically will automatically take care of various aspects of maintenance, it will help you better to find solutions to problem, send information to Microsoft, and more. I am going to deep using the Customize option.

Note: Using the express settings will automatically configure many of the PC settings, reducing most of the following steps.

Settings: Windows Setup - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

12. If you are at your home, you can choose the Settings’s option Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices.

Settings: Networking - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

13. Now select how to update your PC using Windows Update and how to protect from unsafe data and websites. For the most part leave the defaults settings here and click Next.

Settings: Windows Update - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

14. Control if you want Microsoft to collect information from your computer, then click Next.

Send Microsoft Info - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

15. Turn ON or OFF how Windows checks online for solutions to problems and if you want apps to share information among themselves, and click Next

Solutions  - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

16. Because we took the step-by-step route setting up Windows 8, we are going to configure the PC with an email address from Microsoft. The reason is because adding an email address will allow you to access the new Windows Store to download any Metro style app, you can have full access to your pictures and files remotely, and you can also sync various settings with other PCs. Once you’ve entered your email address, click Next.

Sign In your PC  - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

17. Enter your Microsoft account password and click Next. You already have an account if: you use Messenger, Hotmail, Xbox Live or any Windows Live services. If you don’t have either of these, you can click the Sign up for a Microsoft account link to create one.

Microsoft account  - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

18. Windows 8 offers a method to recover your password and to keep your account more secure. You’ll need to supply a least 2 options in order to continue. When you are done, click Next.

Account verification - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

If you get the error “This service isn’t available right now–…”, choose a username and password with hint for your Windows account, and click Finish.

Windows account local - Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows will finalize the setup and your Windows 8 Consumer Preview is finally installed. Believe it or not, the whole process took me less than 20 minutes!

Did you see how well Windows 8 Consumer Preview manages the system resources? This machine is only using 330MB of Ram and almost nothing on CPU. I also already installed Windows 8 on a laptop that has about 7 years and this OS works like a charm!

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Desktop with Task Manager

Happy Windows 8 Consumer Preview test!

Leave a comment with your Windows 8 installation experience and if you are having trouble, ask questions!

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].