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Thanks for your input Paul however as the pre-migration checks indicated that, unlike some other pieces of software, Windows 8 didn't have any compatibility issues with Oracle Database 11g Express Edition the assumption would have to be that if it was OK for Win 7 then it should+ be OK for Win 8. This is supported by the fact that the service does start - its the immediately closing down again bit that's the problem here :).
The earliest version to support Win 8 / 2012 might be 188.8.131.52, per SOD document:
XE prod release is 184.108.40.206 and also there are no patches for XE so you won't be able to patch the server to whatever version required.
Best bet is to stay on Win 7 and wait for a later release of XE, if there will be one.
Thanks for that - wish XE had been incompatible with Win 8 as I would have held off the migration until XE was OK with it.
As it is I've done the deed and after spending a good few hours on it yesterday I'm not inclined to attempt to roll back to Win 7 at the moment so I guess that means that my tinkerings with Apex will need to stop until a Win 8 version of XE is released.
In the mean time is there anywhere that this thread can be posted to so that others who perhaps depend on XE a bit more than I do can be made aware of the pitfalls of migrating to win 8?