Windows 8: “Tough Luck, Bub”

Today I purchased and downloaded Windows 8 Pro on my c. 2003 Shuttle SB51G computer. It has a Pentium 4 2.8 GHz CPU. At the end of February 2012, I was able to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on it. Last June, I tried installing the Windows 8 Release Preview, which didn’t work.

I started the upgrade purchase through the Microsoft site and one of the upgrade adviser warnings said that the NX bit needed to be enabled in the BIOS. I knew that my CPU (Northwood) didn’t have this feature which was also the reason the Windows 8 Consumer Preview wouldn’t install. I still completed the purchase knowing that I would use the license on another computer. The Windows 8 installation procedure went through like everything it was fine. It was, until the reboot:

Windows 8 Your PC needs to restart

The message on the reboot said, “Your PC needs to restart. Please hold down the power button.” This same message was displayed after several cold boot attempts. The error code, 0x0000005D, with the parameters 0x030F0207, 0x756E6547, 0x49656E69, 0x6C65746E, as far as I can find, refer to an incompatible CPU.

I think it would have been nicer on Microsoft’s part to say, before I plopped down $39.95, that Windows 8 wouldn’t work with my CPU. I can imagine this happening to a customer reading the hype about Windows 8 and trying the upgrade, paying for it and then getting a cryptic message. It seems to be Microsoft’s way of saying, “Tough luck, bub.”

I restored XP from an image, and my ancient computer is back to being a file server.