Yesterday morning Microsoft suddenly releases a Developer Preview version of Windows 8 at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/home/. I’m hearing a lot about this new Windows version and curios to see how the Metro-style looks like. Is it the same as windows phone or different? So I decide to download the 32 bit version without developer tools to test on my VM Ware workstation and I would like to write some reviews for someone who has no chance to try it now. But at the beginning, may be interesting for you is how I configure VM Ware to install Windows 8 on it. When you create a new virtual machine in VM Ware, choose option “I will install the operating system later” and “Windows 7” as guest operating system as images below.
After creating VM (Virtual Machine), go to VM properties by right clicking on it and choose “Settings”, move to option “CD/DVD Drive” and browse its path to your .ISO file. Then turn on VMs and start install Windows 8 like usual. The installation takes about 15 minutes on my desktop with Intel Core i3 and 4 GB RAM to finish. And then I restart it to get new “fresh” start up.
1. The lock screen looks beautiful but it takes me one minute to find out how to bypass it. I thought it was a welcome screen or logon screen. I waited and tried to find where I can enter something to enter. It takes me a while until I accidentally click on the screen and drag it up and the lock screen is away. It is exactly “gesture” behavior of tablet or smartphone and I like really it. Imagine that we sit before a computer and move the mouse as we are on tablet. It’s great isn’t it?
2. After going through the lock screen, logon screen will welcome, enter password (if necessary), then users will land on “Start screen” as below.
3. If you are using Windows Phone before or developing on it, you’ll see that Windows 8 looks exactly like Windows Phone’s Metro style. The Start screen contains a lot of rectangles (or box, or button, or whatever you would like to call) and each one represents for an application. The applications can be RSS feed, shop link, website, shortcut to system (control panel) or normal application like mail, game…etc. Until now only 3 links are working: Windows Explorer, Control Panel and Desktop. When you move your mouse to the left under corner, there will be there a Start menu for Easy Access to some popular functions as Settings, Search, and Share…
4. IMHO, this start screen is made for tablet. Although I find it’s really cool with drifting around on start screen but it’s really waste of time to use it on computer. The monitor of desktop or laptop is much larger than tablet and the users can click exactly on small area and I think users would like to have all icons in sight. It’s not likely in tablet where the monitor is much smaller and users cannot click small area with their fingers.
5. Go back to Start Menu and click on Start entry we will land on our familiar desktop with all of our shortcuts. The Windows Explorer is now equipped with a ribbon bar. And I don’t like it, really. Windows takes a step back with this ribbon bar. Microsoft is trying to make a cross platform OS for many devices. This ribbon bar is of course necessary for tablet where users cannot “right click” and therefore they need something to easily access simple actions like: Copy, Paste, Cut… but it’s really useless for computer. Nowadays computer is even as popular as television (in my case, computer is more popular than television. I have 2 laptops and 1 desktop while I have only one television). Computer users are not stupid any more. They all uses keyboard shortcut for simple actions. Then what does ribbon bar stand here for? I hope Microsoft finds another elegant solution instead of using this ribbon bar type.
6. So we have a first look at Windows 8. Now we will go through some highlights of this new Windows OS version. First highlight is new Windows Task Manager with new user interface in combination with Windows Resource Monitor. Each process will be marked with color depending on how much resources they are using.
7. Second is Picture Passport where users can choose one of their pictures and define their gestures by drawing directly on picture to create a combination of taps, straight, lines….
8. I heard a rumor that Windows 8 will provide a PDF reader. We don’t need to install a PDF reader anymore but when I try to open a PDF file he asks me which program should be used to open or go to the App Store still not opened.
9. Refresh PC should be a great option for who always play around with his computer by installing a lot of software. This highlight will keep files and personalization settings, the apps from Windows Store too but the other apps will be removed. This Refresh PC functionality takes about 15 minutes at my VM to finish but I’m not sure if it lasts longer in real case where users install a lot of software.
10. Now we reach the end of this blog post. I will test and update this blog if I find something interesting. Windows 8 is pretty good at first sight. Besides new GUI, new functionalities, there is some “step back” as ribbon bar and some important things as users cannot easily access the programs they installed before. Either they have program icons on desktop or they must use Search function to find it out. And the last thing: Where is my shutdown button? Microsoft doesn’t allow us to shutdown computer anymore ^_^. No just joke, after some minutes of searching, I finally found shut down button at “Setting” area.
UPDATE 17.09.2011: How to return to user interface of Windows 7 from Windows 8
– Press Windows+R to open Run Dialog. Enter “regedit” to open “Registry Editor”.
– Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer, modify RPEnabled from 1 to 0, then restart computer. You’ll be back to the old desktop style