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Windows 8 Developer Preview Ported on First HTC Touch-Based Phone: Instructions Part 1

I don't know how many of you remember the HTC Shift, HTC's first touch-based phone that was developed in partnership with Microsoft for their operating system, long time ago. More of a PC than a phone, this device came fully equipped with an Intel A110 Stanley CPU clocked at 800 MHz, running on a 32-bit Windows Vista OS or SnapVUE, when the phone was used in PDA mode. Released back in 2008, it made a big splash within business niches, proving to be a very scalable device that could handle even Windows 7. Now, as Microsoft just launched the developer preview version of Windows 8, the folks over DistantEarth succeeded to install this OS on the HTC smartphone.

We are going to detail and guide you through the steps, but you should be warned that this will be a long procedure. We will wipe the device and do a clean install, because upgrading from Vista is way too difficult at this moment. Make sure you backup all the information needed before proceeding. All the drivers will be manually applied and because this Microsoft OS is a pre-beta release, there may be some unexpected problems.

Excluding the casual USB stick, you will have to remove any external storage device and enable your Wi-Fi connection before starting the procedure. This can be done from the Control Panel found in Vista.

We are also going to need a big USB stick, capacity no less than 8GB, and a normal computer running on Windows. The steps may be performed on Linux or Mac OS X terminals, but some commands may vary.

In a few words, we are going to wipe the phone clean out, install Windows 8 developer preview and then manually apply all drivers. If you have an USB Ethernet adaptor, the last part can be easily done by starting Windows update and automatically searching for any missing drivers. The following steps are for the worst case scenario, where you don't have this adaptor.

We will divide the guide into three articles, where we are going to first make an USB installation stick containing all the drivers the HTC Shift needs, install Windows 8 developer preview on the phone and then tweak each file so it becomes compatible with the new OS.

The steps are not difficult to complete, but the whole procedure may take a while.

Chapter 1: Making an USB installation stick

1. Create a bootable Windows 8 USB stick using our procedure.

2. Open the USB and create a folder called "Drivers", right on the root of the removable drive.

3. In this newly created folder, copy the Intel GMA Driver and Windows Mobile Device Center.

4. Download this archive and extract it on the desktop. Move the five folders inside the Drivers directory we created above.

At the end of it, this is how the USB drive should look like. The next steps will be posted tomorrow. Click here for Part 2.