Windows 8 Preview – Review

Windows 8 Preview

Windows 8 is here! This is not the final version, but it’s close. Windows 8, which likely won’t be available as a shipping product for some time, marks an aggressive turn for Microsoft. The completely revamped OS borrows heavily from the Windows Phone 7 user experience, with the Metro-style interface. Just as important, it brings together many types of user input–from touch to keyboard to mouse. Check the official Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview webpage here. This is not only a beta product several months away from release, it is also dramatically different from any operating system you’ve used before.

The Windows 8 Metro interface is the signature of the new operating system, and one that borrows from Windows Phone 7, which–despite high praise from many reviewers-still hasn’t made much of a dent in smartphone market share. However, this user experience is pretty intuitive. It doesn’t take much thought. And, by using either the touch or mouse interface, you can do things like go to the bottom left (where the normal Windows Start button would be) to get to your apps; going to the top left corner you can run through your apps, and dragging down slightly lets you see all of your running apps. There are many similar, accessible features built into Windows 8.

I haven’t tried it yet but here are some instructions I received to set it up on your Windows computer alongside your current Windows OS. To run Windows 8 separate from your current OS you’ll need to create a disk partition, which means clearing out a blank space on your computer for Windows 8 to install to.

Open the Start Menu and right click on the “Computer” option. Click “Manage”, and in the window that appears, click on “Disk Management” in the left sidebar.

Find your system hard disk in the graphical list that appears in the bottom pane. Right-click on it and then click “Shrink Volume”. Shrink it down so you have at least 20GB of space left on the end of the drive, and click OK. Then, click on the “Unallocated” block of that drive that appears and click “New Simple Volume”. Click Next on the next few windows until you get to the “Format Partition” window. Here, give it a volume label you’ll recognize (like “Windows 8”) and click Next. It should format the drive for you. Now you’re all set to install Windows 8.

Your PC will now boot into Windows 8 by default, but if you want your previous version to auto-start, go to “Change Defaults or Choose Other Options” from the Windows 8 boot menu.

Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup Here

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup will check to see if your PC can run Windows 8 Consumer Preview and select the right download. Setup also features a compatibility report and upgrade assistance. You can download a .ISO DVD image but I suggest you run the Consumer Preview Setup first to see software you are using that is incompatible with Windows 8. You can gather upgrades before doing the install.

Download an .ISO image Here

Use this activation key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview will last until 1/15/2013. You can buy Windows 8 when it’s released and install it, or you can reinstall your previous Windows operating system. A release date for Windows 8 has not been announced yet. Please note: You can not uninstall the Consumer Preview. To go back to your previous version of Windows, you’ll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC, and reinstall your programs. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is stable and has been thoroughly tested, but it’s not the finished product. Your PC could crash and you could lose important files. You should back up your data and you shouldn’t test Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your primary home or business PC. For more info – Windows 8 Consumer Preview FAQ.

Read my comments for more…

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3 Responses to Windows 8 Preview – Review

  1. Craig says:

    I ran the Windows 8 setup program and couldn’t believe the number of outdated apps I have on my computer. I’ve been spending the afternoon updating and deleting like mad.

  2. Craig says:

    Last night I installed Windows 8 on an old Dell Inspiron 1100 that I had lying around. I downloaded the .ISO and installed from the DVD. I hit the first problem. The old Dell only had a CD/RW drive so I had to grab a DVD drive from another old computer and install it.

    The Dell had a clean install of Windows XP on it but setup still complained that Windows Messenger was not compatible. No biggie. The install process went on…and on…and on. My old Dell had a 2.5GHZ Celeron isn’t fast but sheesh the install took hours. I went to bed.

    This morning setup asked me a few questions on preferences and asked for my email. If you have a Windows Live account use that or it will just set up another one for you. I was greeted with the new Windows 8 desktop. It really looks like it was made for touch screens; and in my case it was. I had no mouse cursor. A little digging and I found that my Dell’s graphic card is not Aero capable. You would think that the Windows 8 Setup Check would have caught that!!! I turned off the Aero desktop and got a mouse cursor. (Most of the time anyway.)

    I installed Windows 8 because I had read that it was fast. It is fast to boot, 10-15 seconds from hitting power to the desktop. I can’t time it exactly because it asks me for a password along the way and I haven’t figured out how to bypass it yet. Some things work well while others slow to a crawl or don’t work at all because I don’t have the proper video card. Even a cheap Windows 8 capable PCI video card for my computer costs around $50 which is more than the computer is worth so unless someone donates one I may have to abandon Windows 8 for now.

    Some last thoughts on the new “Metro” interface. I don’t like it. It’s not intuitive, at least for me. I find doing most anything frustrating. It looks like it would be great on a Smartphone or a tablet but it just doesn’t work on a desktop. Part of my problem could be because I am old. I started on Windows 3.0 and am used to the traditional ways of doing things. Perhaps the new generation of iPhone users will take to this operating system more easily than I am.

    In conclusion, after using Windows 8 for just a few hours I am already considering re-installing the old OS.

  3. Craig Harris says:

    So far I’m not a big fan of the Metro interface in Windows 8. Perhaps I will learn to like it, perhaps not. Well it seems that I am not alone. Check out this article:

    Laptop Magazine via Gizmodo: 6 Ways to Totally Avoid Metro and Use Only Desktop Mode in Windows 8

    I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like there may be a fix for Windows 8. I just hope that when Microsoft puts together the shipping version that they include a “Classic Interface” option.

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