Windows 8, despite all the "anti-aircraft artillery" it got to force the tile-based Modern UI on users, is actually a very good update to Windows 7 - faster, simpler, and offers a good set of new features. But there is a catch: you need a display resolution of at least 1024x768 to install it. This is not a problem for most people, but a significant proportion of them own netbooks, most of which come with a 1024x600 display like the Asus Eee PC 1005HA.
When you try to run Windows 8 or 8.1 Setup from within Windows XP or Windows 7, you will be notified that your resolution is not high enough and you cannot continue. It's a shame because Windows 8 is perfect for the low-powered Atom processor in most netbooks.
With this guide you will be able to upgrade your old netbook to version 8 or 8.1!
Step 1. Extract the ISO file for Windows 8.1 to a folder on your root drive
C: \ Win81Setup is a great location. Your netbook will restart several times during the installation process, so it's not a good idea to run the installer from a removable drive.
Step 2. Use a registry hack to enable higher permissions
This step Windows 7 allows you to increase the resolution above the maximum 1024x600. While in Windows 7, open the Registry Editor. Find all examples with key 'Display1_DownScalingSupported' "and double click on them to change the value of each to '1'.
Step 3. Restart your computer for the registry hack to take effect
Step 4. Change to a higher resolution
Right click on the desktop and select 'Screen resolution'. Now you should be able to change the resolution to 1024x768 or even 1152x864. Select any of them and click Apply.
Step 5. Start the Windows 8.1 installation
Go to the Windows 8.1 installation directory and run the installer. You should be able to follow the installation steps without a hitch. There will probably be 3-4 reboots before everything is done. Once Windows 8.1 is installed and running, you will find that your resolution is set to 800x600. The registry hack mentioned above no longer works on Windows 8.1. The good news is that you can select a higher value, but the bad news is that you cannot select a higher value for the maximum.
Step 6. Download the graphics adapter driver
Go to the Intel website and download the appropriate Mobile Intel 945 driver for 32-bit Windows 7. You will need to confirm which graphics adapter the netbook is running with, but anyway - the Windows 7 version should do the trick.
Step 7. Install the driver
This might probably change the resolution to 1024x600 instantly, or it might require a reboot, so restart it.
Step 8. Everything is ready
The downside is that due to the low resolution, you won't be able to run any modern applications with the Modern UI, but you don't need them either. Everything else works just fine! Check out the Tips section below to enhance your netbook experience.
- If you've used Windows 7 gadgets, you can purchase the free '8gadgetpack' to get them back.
- The Modern Start Screen is little used on non-touch devices and even more so on a netbook, because you won't be launching any modern Modern UI apps. You'll want to have the good old Start Menu back, so go find and install 'Classic Shell 4.0 "(or higher). It mimics the Start Menu and even allows you to disable this abrupt transition from Desktop to Modern. It even lets you boot Windows right into your desktop. desktop! Classic Shell is a free app.
- Make sure your RAM is expandable. 2GB is the maximum that most netbooks can go up to, and that's a good thing.
- This is a bit of a top-level advice, but you'll thank yourself for following it. Your netbook probably comes with a regular hard disk drive (HDD). If you remove it and insert a solid state drive (SSD), Windows 8 performance will be overwhelmed. We're talking 30 second boot times and a 13 second idle summary!