What to expect with Windows 8

Well, I have been looking at Windows 8 Consumer Preview. First, here is what’s new:

Gone is your friendly Start menu. Instead you are “treated” to a bunch of boxes as your home page called the Metro interface. Why did they do that? They are trying to make a single client that will work on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones – whether or not you have a touch screen. Each of the corners of the desktop/laptop screen contain hidden bars/menus.

One of the first things you will notice is that you may need a Windows Live ID. This is because when you log into the computer, you need to supply a name and password. This will probably be easy for Microsoft support as fewer issues related to people who forgot their login password on their laptop or tablet. But is it necessary on a desktop? And what happens if there is no Internet access where you are [does it remember your password somehow]?

Reminder that Windows Live ID includes your Live.com, live.ca and Hotmail accounts. So if you have one of these you are set.

Microsoft will also allow you to store up to 25GB of files on their SkyDrive [which is tied to your Windows Live ID]. File Picker utility will give you access as if the SkyDrive files are local. So no excuse if you forgot something at home. Possibly, you may be able to back up your computer [or data] to the SkyDrive.

Seems to me the changes, including pictograms and the general feeling, reminds me as if they have dropped down to Apple’s way of dumbing things down for their users.

Applications that aren’t made for Windows 8’s Metro interface will still work. You are treated to a Windows 7 like desktop but you will notice no Start menu.

The Microsoft Store – akin to Apple’s AppStore(TM) – will be available in time for the launch.  Both Windows 8 and legacy [i.e. non-Windows 8] applications will be available, but if a legacy application is selected, it will take you to [we’ll assume] the author’s web site. This replaces their old “Marketplace” in Vista [but dropped in Windows 7].

Windows Defender is back and souped up to include the features of Microsoft Security Essentials. Unsure why they didn’t just call it MSE as Defender isn’t even noticeable in Windows 7.

The new PC Refresh option will allow you to wipe out Windows while preserve your settings and data. Reinstall should just be 4-5 minutes. I guess you use this if your computer gets infected with some nasty malware.

Windows 8 will now include a more common printer interface. In fact 70% of the printers out there can use it right away. So possibly no need for specific drivers.

Various applications that come with Windows as well as the Windows Explorer will now include the ribbon that you see in Office 2007 and Office 2010.

Microsoft cheats a bit on boot time. They claim as little as 5 seconds from turning on your computer to the desktop. This is true as it hibernates a portion of Windows to disk prior to shutdown. Hibernating won’t occur if you install a system update such as security updates.

Techies will like the built in Hyper-V client that replaces the VirtualPC software as well as Windows To Go which allows you to run Windows 8 on a USB key and Remote Desktop will allow a new multi-machine interface.

Some thoughts:

If this is what it looks like, I think I’ll pass. Can’t turn off the Metro interface [you could with the Developer preview] but now it’s disabled. An online petition is asking Microsoft to bring back the Start menu. Good luck to them.

Now you have to hunt down to shutdown or restart the system.

After the first time booting up, I got to the opening screen and I waited for something to happen. Nothing did. I had to press Ctrl-Alt to see that login prompt. Jeez. How ugly.

What’s with the fish on the screen at boot up [or is it a bird smoking something]?

I would assume on a computer domain [for businesses] that you will get a more “normal” login screen.

As mentioned before in a different blog, there is good news. Hardware requirements are similar to Windows 7. As a matter of fact, if your Windows 7 laptop, desktop or tablet is “designed” for Windows 7, it should work with Windows 8 without a hitch.

But a word of warning before you try the Consumer Preview: This is a preview. It is not perfect and will have bugs in it. It has an expiry date of very early next year [but that could change]. So you don’t want to upgrade your current OS. Do not install on your every day computer.

Note: That this is far from finished operating systems. Features can still be added, enhanced or removed.


About ebraiter
computer guy

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