I installed Windows 8 Developer Preview on my laptop. That was not the brightest idea I've had.

Yesterday morning:

It had Windows 7 using ~197 GB, Ubuntu using ~70 GB, Fedora using ~29 GB, a funky little 3 GB partition that I had no clue what it was, and 4 GB of free space that was floating in the middle of the Fedora and Ubuntu installs that wouldn't allow itself to be used for anything. If I booted into Fedora, it would mess up my MBR. The disk map in the partitioning tool on Fedora LiveCD looked like spaghetti. All the partitions were fragmented like crazy. Windows couldn't even defragment any of them.

Note the past tense.

After I went in, I made it even worse. I made a 13 GB partition for Windows 8 {the drive was so fragmented that I couldn't make the partition any larger}, booted into Windows 7, installed Windows 8 off the flash drive onto the 13 GB partition, and finished the install process. Then, I booted into Windows Developer Preview. Things were not pretty. The Indexing Service was going crazy, trying to index things but running out of free space. In order to make free space, I copied programs from the Program Files folder to a flash drive. I eventually got fed up with Windows 8 and decided to find a way to make that 13 GBs 50 GBs. I booted into Windows 7.

Hours later:

I finally found a trial piece of software that would let me defragment my harddrive. It took 2 hours, but got the job done. The drive map, by the way, looked insanely fragmented before I defragmented it.

I then went into the Windows 7 advanced tools. I partitioned the 37ish gigs off of the Windows 7 partition, and tried to expand the Windows 8 partition.

No luck.

More hours later:

I found a free partitioner. I went in, told it to make my Windows 8 partition 50 gigs, and it did, even if it took about 25 minutes. Woo! So I fixed up some Windows Live Mesh stuff, shut off the PC, and went to bed.

This morning:

I, excited to use Windows 8 on my laptop {it's on my desktop but I wanted to see the non-touchscreen experience}, decided to boot up my laptop. It shows me the Dell symbol {happens whenever I boot}, then shows me a blue screen {does NOT happen whenever I boot}.

Crap. It says the following:

Windows Recovery Environment

Your PC needs to be repaired

A required device isn't connected or can't be accessed.

Error code: 0xc0000225

Your PC doesn't have the Windows Recovery Environment installed. You'll need to use the recovery tools on your installation media. If you don't have any installation media (like a disk or USB device), contact your system administrator or PC manufacturer.

Near the bottom of the screen, it says:

Press Enter to try again

Press F9 to use a different operating system

So I pressed Enter. The screen flashed black for a split second. And then the same blue screen came up. I pressed Enter 10 more times, with each press despairing more and more that I would never see Windows 8 on my laptop.

But I didn't give up.

I searched Bing, Google, DuckDuckGo, and even Yahoo for answers to my plight. No one had, so it seemed, seen this error before. The error code showed up as being commonly found with VirtualBox installations and a black screen, but I used not this "VirtualBox", and my screen was blue. At this point, so was I.

I kept going. I inserted my 8GB flash drive which was my installation media into my laptop. I booted it up, and selected to repair my computer after telling it that I spoke English and had an English keyboard.

I tried all the options. Reset, refresh, advanced tools, I tried them all. None worked.

I wanted to give up. But the desire to see Windows 8 on my laptop was so great that I managed to type out this.

Right now:

My question to you: How can I see Windows 8 Developer Preview on my laptop? Should I reformat the partition with Windows 8 on it and reinstall Windows 8, or should I try to save my current install?

  • 8
    I feel like you should nuke every partition and start fresh. This sounds like a mess – Simon Sheehan Dec 31 '11 at 15:43
  • 2
    Maybe look into using VirtualBox or another VM software next time, unless you have a specific reason to install pre beta operating systems on your machine. – Daniel Beck Dec 31 '11 at 15:49
  • I agree with Simon and Daniel. I prefer virtualization over multi-booting/partitioning, myself. – iglvzx Dec 31 '11 at 15:52
  • @Daniel Beck: I can't stand VMing an OS that's as great as Windows 8. When I started, I figured that this machine has seen worse {failing harddrive and battery while wireless is corrupted and the MBR is deleted while a Java exploit is invading, anyone?}, so I decided to try to get yet another OS onto it. Oh well; I think I'll just nuke the partitions and start fresh, like what Simon Sheehan said. Then I'll reinstall all my OSes. At least it's not as bad as The Catastrophe {see above}. – JavaAndCSharp Dec 31 '11 at 18:55
  • 1
    Okay, everyone: I've followed Simon Sheehan's advice and then reinstalled the OSes on the partitions. Everything's working great. But now the question is: Where does the green ✔ go? Should I give it to tombull89, even though I feel that he did not tell me a clear way to fix the problem? Should Simon Sheehan write an answer that is basically his comment in answer form because I followed his advice? Would he write an answer? Should I write an answer? I'm hoping Simon will write an answer, but will he? Decisions, decisions, decisions! – JavaAndCSharp Jan 2 '12 at 14:52

Woah. Personally, when trying out new OS's and software, I install it clean on a spare machine or laptop. If it breaks it doesn't hose the whole setup, although I realise this is no help to you now.

I would be more worried about getting back to the state where you were before this whole incident started and they worry about Windows 8 DP. If you do manage to get it back to how it was, try a full-disk image such as CloneZilla (may take a few hours to image, especially to external USB storage) but if it does go wrong (again) then just restore the image back to how it was a few hours earlier. I would also be tempted to wipe and start again (I think trying to run more than two type of OS's on a machine is A Bad Idea, but that's just me) but again that may be a very difficult option. You could try Defraggler (from the same people that do Recuva and CCLeaner) for defragging in windows, and also GParted or part of a Linux live CD for shuffling the partitions about.

Whatever you do though, take off anything of value. You know, just in case.

SO, you've got a working machine now. You could try running Window 8 DP in VirtualBox (which I have done, and for the most part works fine), or, if you're really feeling brave...go for it again?

Good luck.

  • I think I'll have a go at it again. My Windows 8 DP only has about 15 minutes of work that I'd lose, so I think I'll just reinstall. I have all my stuff backed up with Windows Live Mesh. What I'm worrying about now is taking down my Windows 7 partition. I don't see many ways for that to happen just by installing Windows 8 DP. Do you? As I said previously, I only want to quad-boot. – JavaAndCSharp Dec 31 '11 at 19:00
  • I don't think Windows 8 give the option for partitioning, people have found out in the past when it was first released that it takes up the whole disk, regardless of what's currently installed. – tombull89 Jan 3 '12 at 13:32
  • That's what I thought. Then, I found superuser.com/a/337856/71567. – JavaAndCSharp Jan 6 '12 at 2:04
  • Ah, I didn't know that. Good to know an answer is out there. – tombull89 Jan 6 '12 at 8:24
  • I guess I'll give the check to this answer, because it was partially correct. – JavaAndCSharp Mar 7 '12 at 13:22

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