I’ve left this article in place for archival reasons. Here’s the most current version regarding installing Windows 8 on the HP TouchSmart 600-1005xt after Windows 8 was available in stores.
I was having trouble installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview on an HP TouchSmart 600 (specifically model 600-1005xt) using VHD to keep my Windows 7 install intact. After booting from the Windows 8 disc, the picture of the betta fish and chasing dots appeared, but then all the significant whirrings stopped and nothing else happened for who knows how long1.
My solution was: In the BIOS I changed the SATA Controller Mode2 from AHCI to IDE, then tried installing again. No wait at all!
Warning: Just because this worked several times for me doesn’t mean it’ll work again for me, or anybody. And in my case, I wanted to use both Windows 7 and Windows 8 at the same time, and it makes getting back to Windows 7 on the non-VHD drive unpleasant, as it was (probably) installed with the setting at ACHI. It requires a last-known-good boot to get back to Windows 7 in this configuration.
1 30 minutes, going on forever, so I shut it down at that point
2 The specific setting I changed is under Advanced, SATA1 Controller, SATA Controller Mode, in the BIOS menu (press F10 at the blue HP screen as the PC starts up.)