Installing Windows 8 RTM on a Samsung //Build slate

Note: I already had the latest firmware version installed. If you haven't upgraded your firmware, do so before installing Windows 8 RTM. For the //Build tablets this is firmware version 05WJ. If you don't your tablet will be unable to start after the installation of the RTM bits.

Samsung strongly urges retail slate users to also update to the latest firmware version before installing Windows 8. Also note that Samsung will not provide support for a slate that was originally installed with Windows 7. Why I do not know, I don't like it either.

Ok, so yesterday I went ahead and flushed my slate. No in place upgrade this time. A fresh install. What I did was the following:

  • Make a backup of your content (Skydrive comes to mind)
  • Format a bootable USB key of 4GB. I used Fat32
  • Download the Windows 8 iso, or insert the disk into your machine
  • Copy the contents of the iso file to the empty usb disk (some slates can even boot by copying the iso file to the usb key as is).
  • Now you have a usb installation key for Windows 8. Put it in the slate's usb port.

Depending on whether you have the //Build Developer Device or a retail Samsung 7 Slate, the next steps differs:

//Build Retail
- Restart your slate while holding vol-up+vol-down
- Disable CSM and Safe Boot in the bios.

- Navigate, change value: vol-up, vol-down
- Enter sub menu: Rotate lock
- Confirm selection: Rotate lock
- Cancel: vol-up+vol-down

- Save the changes and restart the slate again while holding vol-up+vol-down.
- Choose Boot from USB
- Restart your slate while holding pwr+winkey
- Enable UEFI, Legacy USB

- Navigate on page, change value: vol-up, vol-down.
- Enter sub menu: Rotate Lock
- Confirm Selection: Rotate Lock
- Navigate between pages: Rotate lock + vol-up/vol-down
- Cancel: Winkey

- Save changes and reboot.
- Hold winkey+pwr
- Go to the last tab and choose to boot from the usb key you have connected to the slate.

Ok, so now you're in Windows. In my case all drivers loaded themselves. While the touch drivers are updated, your slate may act weird. Wait for the driver installation to happen silently in the background. Touch should return to normal function automagically.

When I tried to activate it said "DNS not found". And I couldn't find any place to enter my key (I installed Windows 8 Enterprise, it might be different for Pro). So I entered it from an Administrative command line (ctrl-shift-enter in the start menu, or slide tile down and start it as administrator from the options bar).

slmgr.vbs -ipk insert-your-product-key-here
slmgr.vbs -ato

After activation a couple of drivers were updated. Nothing fancy.

The GPS sensor was not detected on the slate, no idea why I followed the hints provided here but so far I've only managed to get the Application Interface to show up. No GPS Sensor. So I installed Geosense instead. For what I use the location on the slate, that suffices.

At work the wifi still won't work with the Windows 8 provided drivers. I was told this is a configuration issue with the Cisco access points we use, but since they're out of my control I downgraded the Wifi drivers to the latest Windows 7 drivers which work just fine. Don't forget to hide the driver update in Windows Update, otherwise your fix will be short lived.

The only issue I'm still bugged about, has to do with the HDMI connector on the dock. I was so hoping that the issues I have with it would have been a driver or software issue, but it looks like they're hardware related. Luckily I have a workaround as long as the screen I work with has at least two connectors.

So far I've added the following additional device drivers to the system:

Note: Intel releases new drivers regularly. I've stopped updating the above list of links. To check whether you have the latest driver versions, visit the Intel Driver Update Utility page.

Then make sure you've backed up your Bitlocker recovery keys if you use the bitlocker security feature.

There is a firmware upgrade for the Touch sensors available which reduced tap-and-hold issues and generally improves the touch experience.

Remaining issues