I have had the opportunity to test the new Windows Developer Preview or more popularly known as Windows 8. You can download it by typing “dev.windows.com” on your browser, I downloaded the 32-bit version. The application is pretty stable, considering the fact that it is pre-beta and I tested it on a virtual machine with only 1G of RAM and on a single-core. Anyway, if Microsoft was able to run it on an old netbook, it would definitely run on my box. I encountered some problems during installation, but that was due to my corrupted download. I strongly recommend that you check the SHA1 checksum of your download and compare it to the SHA1 checksum on the Microsoft website, if it doesn’t match, even 1 character, then you have a corrupted download and sadly, if you’re willing, download the whole thing again. Installation was fairly easy, the on-screen instructions are easy to follow. On my virtual machine, the whole start-up process (from cold-boot to start-up screen) took around less than 30 seconds at most, but maybe because its virtualized.
The new Windows OS is really an innovation on the part of Microsoft. With Windows 8, Microsoft just made the tablet market more competitive. And as Microsoft stated, Windows 8 will be a full-featured OS for the tablet, something Android nor iOS can’t claim at the moment. With a full-featured OS, this means that you can now, supposedly, run full-featured applications on your tablet such as a full-featured Office or even AutoCAD, but I highly doubt that on a 10-inch screen. But even though, I really don’t think it will replace Windows 7 any sooner. I mean, Windows 7 will be barely four years old when they release Windows 8, maybe late 2012 to early 2013. And from a firsthand experience, Windows 8 will be much more appreciated if it’s used on a tablet. Using it on a static desktop screen will require some bit of learning and a lot of patience. There are lots of new things introduced in Windows 8, and I mean really new things, some are a bit confusing. You can still use the mouse or the arrow keys on your physical keyboard, but only after you figured out where to find the scroll bars. The Start button is hidden, you have to hover your cursor over to the lowermost left-side of your screen for the Start button to show up. And clicking Start will not open up a menu, it will toggle you to the Windows Desktop application instead. The only way to see the list of applications installed is if you open Search. Also, there’s the non-existent exit button to terminate apps. I instead have to open the Task Manager just to manually terminate apps. As much as I like the Metro, if you have at least 50 applications installed, it would be a cluttering disaster. Maybe I’m just jumping too early, but I do hope that when the RC version comes out, they would have solved some of these issues.
Windows 8 is still a work in progress and it needs a lot of it. I commend Microsoft for releasing a pre-beta version of Windows 8 to the public so that the public can test it and see what it needs to improve. I just do hope that Microsoft listen to what the public says about its product and put some thought into it, because in the end, it will be the buying public who will judge if Windows 8 is as good as Windows XP or it’s another failed attempt just to have something called innovative. I was planning to buy a new unit next year but I think I’ll just wait until Windows 8 is officially launched and I hope its worth it.