Installing Windows 8 on HP TouchSmart 600-1005xt: The final word

I bought the retail DVD version of Windows 8 Pro and installed it clean (the “keep nothing” option) on our TouchSmart 600-1005xt PC.

I ran into an issue during installation where it got hung up as close to forever as I care to measure at this Windows logo screen:

As of November 15 2012, a workaround I discovered during Windows “beta” appears to still be necessary on the 600-1005xt: in the BIOS menu* change the SATA Controller Mode to IDE, and install again. 

Once you get Windows 8 installed don’t change it back to AHCI; ACHI is a nonsense option on this hardware anyhow, and I’m not sure why it’s set that way from the factory.

Other workarounds I had to do during Windows 8’s “beta” period (installing a pre-release NVIDIA GT 230 video driver to gain performance, changing “disabledynamictick” to avoid freezing) seem no longer necessary either.  The PC was stable after install, then I ran Windows Update  and new drivers were pulled down for some of the hardware, including the GT 230, and it’s working great with these. The audio driver does not get installed correctly (volume controls, but no sound), so in Device Manager I found the audio device and chose “Update Driver”, and Windows Update then did the right thing. (It might’ve done this itself if I’d been patient.)

Great job Microsoft, NVIDIA, and HP in getting things wrapped up.

* To get into the BIOS menu on this device, after turning the PC on, press F10 at the HP screen. The SATA Controller Mode setting is under Advanced, SATA1 Controller.

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  1. Hi
    Could you explain me how did you boot you PC with SATA IDE controller mode
    I have the same hp touchsmart 600-1005xt as yours however, the moment I change my SATA at BIOS from AHCI to IDE I cannot boot the computer.
    A black screen appears which gives me two options
    – Launch start up repair – if I press this option the computer asks me to restore using System Restore
    – Launch Windows 7 normally – if I press this option the computer reboots
    Did you have same problem ? And how did you fix it ?

    • Once you change to IDE the computer won’t be able to find the existing operating system on the hard drive, as you found out. At this point I rebooted with the Windows 8 DVD in the DVD drive, and the install started from the DVD. I don’t recall whether this computer is configured to boot off the DVD drive before the hard drive or not: there is a BIOS option that sets DVD-first vs. hard-drive-first.

      If you bought Windows as a download instead of DVD, there’s a way to create a DVD built into the download software. I haven’t tried this myself, but here it is:

    • Oh, and as you may have noticed, you can change the option back to AHCI and all should be well with your Windows 7 install (if not, the repair option I believe will fix it.) Change it back to IDE when you’re ready to boot/install from the Windows 8 DVD.

  2. Hi
    Thanks for your help
    So far I like Windows 8 yet I did notice couple of problems with my touchscreen responsiveness and I do miss some of the gestures from Windows 7.

    Could you tell me is it just me or there is no way I could open or swipe anything from the top or left side of the monitor ?

    Also do you know by any chance when are they going to increase the number of touch points? It is nice to have 2 points, yet it used to be 5 at Windows 7

    • If you resize the desktop using the NVIDIA control panel you can add some black space around the edge of the screen so your finger fits even with the fat bezel. I find about 50px is enough. The downside of course is then the screen is smaller. We’ve found the mouse is faster than touch to do these things after you get used to the gestures… to “swipe from the left”, throw the mouse to the lower left corner then diagonally left, and to swipe from the top, just right click (or, more reliably in apps like Internet Explorer, throw your mouse to the top of the screen and right click.) To swipe from the right, do the mirror image of swipe from the left. Anyway, if you want to resize the screen, press Windows-W to go straight to Settings, and you’ll find the control panel under “NVIDIA.” The specific setting is called “Resize the desktop”; it is different than changing the resolution/scaling.

      There isn’t a way to increase the touch points or the touch responsiveness. The type of touchscreen used on the old TouchSmarts is optical (it detects fingers by light shone across the surface of the screen) and every finger you put down on the screen blocks the view of the others from the detectors… not even 2 work that well. :)

      Windows 8 hardware sold today does not have these issues because Microsoft has made the requirement that the bezel not be huge, that the screen support 5 touch points, and have a certain degree of responsiveness. Some of the new all-in-ones out there are really nice.

  3. Thanks , you are the best
    Did you do something with the home button on the touchsmart?
    Since there is no more touchsmart software on the computer is it possible simply to assign it to the metro ui screen (start menu)?
    Also is it possible to install ambient light software from the touchsmart ?
    And the last question is what did you do with the Windows 7 restore disk? Can I just overwrite Windows 8 on it ?

    • Well thank you. I’m glad this has been useful to you, and hopefully others.

      I didn’t do anything with the home button below the screen. I don’t know how to change its behavior even if I wanted to. I’d honestly sort of forgotten it was there.

      A long time ago (before I even knew about Windows 8) I deleted HP’s Windows 7 restore disk to get more space, so I did in essence overwrite it. If you intend to never go back to Windows 7 I think you will not need it anyhow, as Windows 8 is able to refresh & reinstall itself without a separate partition from the manufacturer ( under Settings->Change PC Settings->General.) If you wanted to go back to Windows 7, I suppose I’d leave the restore partition… I don’t think it will cause any problems.

      It’s possible to get the Ambient Light software, although HP made the installer only work on Windows 7. I asked this question on the HP support forum a while back: and was pointed to the right part of the installer’s contents by an employee; it can be easily installed by hand.

      • Here’s the link to HPAmbientLight.exe, which is the application from HP that sets the color of the light: Please save this to your own machine. It doesn’t seem to require anything other than what Windows 8 installs, although I suppose it is possible I’d already done a necessary firmware update.

        The same file can also be extracted from the installer linked to by the HP support forum page. I hope this saves you time & trouble.

        • Sorry to wake up a long-sleeping thread but….THANK YOU!!

          6/2015 and I was given an HP TouchSmart 600 1215xt. Poor thing came abused (dirtied up by a group of little kids who marked God-knows-what all over it), missing keyboard and mouse, hard drive failing, etc. Took me a couple of days to really get it cleaned, install a fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, do all the updates, installed the HP drivers and software, etc. Got it working beautifully. It’s a nice machine.

          Then I noticed the subtle blue ambient light. Pretty cool. Found the ambient light button on the left of the machine and discovered three brightness settings. That’s when I’d remembered that I’d seen other TouchSmart units with white lights then considered the possibility of having different colors. I searched a little bit and came across this thread. Finding the original HP software for this computer has been met with a lot of frustration and no luck. Then I saw this blog. Visited the link you provided, saved the file to my hard drive, pinned a shortcut for it in my Start menu and voila! I can change the color any time I want.

          Lots of “oooh” and “ahhhh” and smiles. Know what would be uber cool? The light randomly and gently changing through the colors, kind of like those multi-color nightlights. Missed opportunity there, HP.

          Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for this tidbit. Now my “new” HP 600 is complete. :-) Windows 10 is coming and while I’m hesitant to leave Windows 7 on my Dell XPS One A2010 (Red – a GORGEOUS all-in-one machine I’ve had for years), I’m anxious to see what 10 will do on this device. I’m not a fan of Windows 8 but I’ve seen and heard some good things about 10 having fixed a lot of problems 8 came with. This being a touch interface (I love having at least two or three different ways to interact with my devices to relieve “interface boredom”), and being a big iPad user, I’d really like to see how well this computer will work in a “tablet” fashion the way Microsoft intended.


          • Sure, I’m glad it was helpful!

            We’re running Windows 10 on the TouchSmart now and it’s pretty nice, fixing a lot of the unusual behaviors of full screen vs. partial-screen from Windows 8, and it seems to be a bit faster.

  4. Hi! where can i download the correct driver for the touchscreen? My pc is a TouchSmart 600 1340la (Latin America). I made a clean installation of Win 8 x64, but i can´t find any driver. Windows update helped me only with graphics driver, but touchscreen don´t work; device manager show a yellow icon. Thanks in advance.

    • Aside from running Windows Update, and if this doesn’t update the driver then try downloading and installing the Windows 7 x64 driver from HP support site, I don’t have any suggestions. I didn’t have any issues with the touchscreen; it worked correctly after Windows 8 was installed without having to do anything else. But the 1005xt and 1340la likely are not the same hardware, so what has worked for me would not necessarily for you.

      • Thanks for your suggestions. I tried with the win 7 driver and don´t worked. I hope hp release a compatible driver in the next months. Thanks.

      • UPDATE: The win 7 driver work perfectly, i copied the driver´s folder from my win 7 partition (I have both, win 7 and win 8 versions) and I installed manually from device manager. Thanks.

        • I’m glad it’s working for you. Would you mind providing information from Device Manager about which driver you used, and for which touch screen hardware it was? Our 600-1005xt appears to have a NextWindow 1950 Touch Screen, and the driver that installed automatically when installing Windows 8 is provided by NextWindow dated 9/16/2009 (the date indicating it’s actually a Windows 7-era driver) and version is, signed by Microsoft Windows Hardware Compatibility Publisher.

  5. I also have a HP Touchscreen 600. I had the same issue, and tried to do the work around but when I finally got the computer to boot from Windows 8 DVD, after I entered the security code, it told me that I must uninstert the DVD and load from windows. I then checked the settings in the Bios, and everything was set up to boot from CDROM drive. After several attempts I have changed the setting back to AHCI and now when I reboot I get the the loading windows screen and no futher. Do I now have to do a complete restore just to access windows 7 again? Thanks for your advise!

    • I’m not familiar with “it told me that I must uninsert the DVD and load from Windows”… I can think of a couple things that sound like that.

      Are you saying you got Windows 8 successfully installed (got to the new start screen), then it told you that activation failed because you needed to install from Windows 7? If so, this is a requirement of the Windows 8 upgrade. I have heard you can activate it using the “call to activate” option; hopefully that’s available to you. If the PC had Windows 7 activated on it at any point though I think this will not be a problem… I installed & activated the Windows 8 upgrade long after having wiped Windows 7 from the drive. I did get scolded though trying to upgrade a Mac that’d never had Windows 7 on it to Windows 8, but that is what I expected would happen.

      Otherwise, I’d switch back to IDE (in my experience this model simply can’t be successful with Windows 8 any other way) and try different permutations of the install… for example if it asks you to “press any key to boot off the CD/DVD”, don’t, as that loops back through the install again.

  6. hiI!! I have a2009 touchsmart 600t, and my ambient light that’s but in keeps cycling 3 times for low, medium, and high lighting and it won’t stop. Even if the computer is off, I have to turn off my battery backup for it to stop. It just started doing this today. I can’t find anything online to fix it and my PC didn’t have hp ambient light software installed at all it just signed with a button and was onlyy one color. I have unplugged it. Replugged it. Rebooted it. There are no solutions online to help with this. Help please lol