Installing Windows 8 on Lenovo W520 from USB

A few minor gotchas when installing Windows 8 RTM on my Lenovo W520 – may affect others with Optimus switchable graphics, or other Lenovos.

Issues encountered initially include:

  1. USB Boot drive not being picked up properly
  2. Stuck / hung on “Getting devices ready” during installation (94%)

After downloading Win 8 RTM from MSDN these steps worked for me:

  1. Install Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool
  2. Run the installed tool and browse to a Windows 8 RTM ISO (e.g. from MSDN) to create a bootable USB install
  3. Set the files on the USB drive to be read-only (this may not be necessary for everybody, but it helped for me; meant that it was picked up as a boot drive and didn’t get confused at the point of browsing for drives to install to)
  4. Go into the Bios – set the Display options to Integrated Graphics (not switchable, not Optimus) – this is important otherwise the install will hang at the “Getting devices ready” stage; the OOTB Win8 drivers can’t cope with the NVidia graphics card during install
  5. Plug your newly created USB stick into a non-USB 3.0 port (Any one that is NOT blue.. the eSATA combo port or the yellow always on port will do)
  6. Reboot, hit F12 to select the USB Drive
  7. Install as normal
  8. Switch your graphics back to Optimus

Hope that helps somebody!

6 thoughts on “Installing Windows 8 on Lenovo W520 from USB

  1. Point 4 was exactly, what stoped the Installation process on my W520. Thanks a lot for for your post.

  2. I have same problem with ” getting devices ready”. Just, I have HP635 with switchable 6370, but there is no option in bios to turn it off. So no win8 for me:(.

  3. I have the same issue with my w520, Im going to try again later and switch to intergrated graphics

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