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Hands on: Windows 8 review

Updated Detailed look at the Release Preview of Windows 8

By Mary Branscombe June 4th

62 comments

Page 1 of 8Windows 8: Getting started, ARM and x86

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NOTE: This article has been completely revised for the new Windows 8 Release Preview.

The Windows 8 Release Preview (here’s the Windows 8 download) has now been released.

Although the Windows 8 Release Preview is far from finished (with more changes to the desktop user interface still to come before RTM at the end of July), this is an operating system that has matured significantly since the Consumer Preview release in February.

Metro is here to stay, but there are numerous improvements to the way you switch apps and open Charms with the mouse and trackpad; significant improvements to the Mail, Calendar, People and Photos apps; the addition of Flash to Metro-style IE; more Metro apps to try out; more attractive live tiles and a better range of colours for personalising the Start screen.

You may not find Metro as disturbing as you think, especially when more notebooks support the full set of trackpad gestures.

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There are improvements on the desktop as well, including minor interface changes in Explorer and improved multi-monitor support plus privacy and navigation improvements in Internet Explorer.

Performance and responsiveness are improved from the already speedy Consumer Preview; rough edges are getting their final polish and the big picture of Windows 8 is coming together. So what does that big picture look like?

Running the Windows 8 Release Preview

First of all, it’s worth noting that the Release Preview is only for x86/64 PCs; there isn’t an ARM version that you can download and try out, since there aren’t any ARM devices that will run it.

That’s because of the extremely custom way that ARM devices are built, where not even the way to control a physical button is standard. Microsoft isn’t supporting tablets built to run Android or WebOS, either.

Much of what we’re seeing in the Review Preview will be the same on Windows RT systems – Windows RT is the name for the ARM version of Windows 8. Most features – from the Metro user interface to the touch gestures, to the Windows desktop and built-in Windows tools such as Explorer and Task Manager – will be practically the same.

Windows 8 Release Preview: Start apps

Microsoft has even confirmed it will offer Flash functionality for IE on Windows RT (at least on what it calls the "initial delivery of Windows RT PCs"). But until we see it in action, we don’t know what Windows RT performance and battery life will be like.

Windows 8 Release Preview YouTube

Release Preview doesn’t include the desktop Office apps that will be bundled with Windows RT either – and of course it runs all the x86 desktop apps that won’t work on RT.

When you download the Release Preview, installing it is as simple as for Consumer Preview. You can start the installation directly from the web page, instead of having to download an ISO file and burn that to an optical disc. You can still burn an ISO if you want, and the installer can also create a bootable USB stick so you can download Release Preview once and install it on multiple machines.

As with Consumer Preview, how much of a previous Windows system you can keep when you install Release Preview depends on which version you’re upgrading from; upgrade from Windows 7 and you can keep programs, Windows settings, user accounts and files; upgrade from XP and you only get accounts and files.

Unlike Consumer Preview, you can’t upgrade from any of the previous Windows 8 preview releases; what you get is a clean installation with all your files moved into a WINDOWS.OLD folder where you can retrieve them.

If you can copy the files to an external drive it’s much faster to do a clean install (which took ten minutes to get to the personalisation screen on our test PCs) than an upgrade from Consumer Preview (which took 30 minutes on all our test PCs).

Page 1 of 8Windows 8: Getting started, ARM and x86

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62 comments

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bradavonJune 1st

62

Correction I see only pages 1-3 are new, pages 4-7 the about the outdated Consumer Preview.

bradavonJune 1st

61

The Desktop Apps page needs updating. It still references Consumer Preview, not Release Preview.
Media Center isn’t in the Release Preview but it’s easy to add:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57445533-75/how-to-add-media-center-to-windows-8-release-preview/

bradavonJune 1st

60

It doesn’t sound like it’s clear for first timers how you’re supposed to access the metro app switcher and charms menu. Surely some kind of on-screen notifier isn’t to much to ask?
"The Metro SkyDrive app still doesn’t sync files the way the desktop SkyDrive app does; it’s for viewing files when you’re online"
It doesn’t need to. Microsoft is still expecting you to jump to Windows Explorer for file management on Windows 8 or Windows RT, no matter whether it’s a laptop, desktop or tablet. Windows RT’s Windows Explorer is bound to have the same desktop SkyDrive app built-in.
"but you can now turn individual calendars on and off"
Great because that really bugs me in the Consumer Preview.
I really hope Office 2012 is Metro compatible because as good as Mail/Calendar/People are they’re no replacements for Outlook 2010!

GriavramMay 28th

59

Thanks for the information and success. http://sitedesignnet.ro

saptarshi_pcApril 25th

58

i installed in my laptop windows 8 consumer preview and find that many i am not able to install any kind of software not supporting any software by windows 8

saptarshi_pcApril 25th

57

I feel windows 8 is good with now Microsoft revealing versions g that it will have 4 versions 1)Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the x86 and x86-64 architectures 2)Windows 8 Pro succeeds Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate [4][3] and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. 3)Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below).[4] This edition will only be available to Software Assurance customers.4)Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs[5], and was named for the Windows Runtime (WinRT) development platform that Microsoft is introducing in Windows 8 all together better than windows 7 with new metro start screen

ShrimpytApril 15th

56

I definitely love the tile interface. Better than a start menu in my opinion.

mozart1893April 9th

55

can anybody help me by mail ( mozart1893@gmail.com )….
i installed windows 8 consumer preview on a secondary partition on my pc and i cant get the dual boot selection option…..
pls i need assistance on this very urgently….

waghela_vinod2005@yahoo.comApril 2nd

54

really, indexing is so slow & worst…..
cant get old windows 7 features & advantages…
some of the software cant run….
desktop mode is also lengthy…..

baz6359March 30th

53

Just downloaded and installed it, it’s a poor imitation of ubuntu’s unity desktop. It’s an OS for smart phones!!

wraakianMarch 23rd

52

My Sony DVD Blu-ray hasn’t been picked up by Windows 8 so I can’t use it at present. I would like to ask if anyone has able to contact the Windows 8 development team, I’ve signed up to help development but is this a one way thing as I can’t find any communication channel to report things such as the DVD problem

marybranscombeMarch 18th

51

@bucky use Win-C to open the Charms and select the Start menu. or take your mouse into the left top or bottom corner and drag it to get the switching thumbnails. or use alt-tab to switch apps. you don’t back-back-back like iOS, you just go on to what you want to do next. different metaphor.
@bradavon – belatedly, Win-Tab includes all the desktop apps separately. Aero Peek is on Win-comma. You can choose what account each of the apps uses, except the SkyDrive account is the one from the main account so you could have Login & SkyDrive & Settings be Hotmail and email/calendar/contacts be Gmail. Actually, you can have multiple accounts in calendar/email/photos etc – I’m sure you have it worked out by now.

bartw78March 17th

50

Funny how people complain about the apps in Windows 8. These are just preview apps people and not the final deal!!!!! So please, when you test a system aka Windows 8, focus on Windows 8 and not the Windows Live apps or any other app for that matter). I know its tempting, but hold on to those until the final release.

buckyfMarch 17th

49

I’ll tell you what I hate, when you go into some app in Windows 8 and there’s no "Back" button and no obvious means to get back to the desktop. It’s like a nightmare. You’d think even the most elementary of developers would remember to include navigation buttons.
Right now I’m stuck in the "PC Settings" screen and there’s no way out. I’m gonna have to reset the virtual machine and restart Windows. But really, if Microsoft wants us to shell out $200 again for a new OS these should be fixed in the Consumer preview, don’t ya think??

hunterguy2March 15th

48

I’ve been using this on my work laptop for a while now. It took a bit to get used to, but I like it a lot, and I’ve found that my ordinary usage hasn’t really changed.
I mainly use Outlook, Word and Visual Studio, all of which run on the desktop. They work the same as they always have. Alt-Tab does too, so I’m not sure what people are complaining about there. I use the regular desktop as my hardcore productivity workspace.
What’s new about how I use the laptop is the metro apps – they are ‘that thing I flip open to check something real quick’, which I do occasionally at work, and exclusively at home. The apps look better than anything I’ve used on the desktop, which is awesome. Remote Desktop is my fav, though I guess most people won’t use it as much as I do.
There are some other nice touches, such as snapping the IM or email app while doing stuff on the desktop, or keeping the Maps app on the right while writing an email. Not something I use all the time, but it’s definitely icing.

mrman365March 15th

47

Ahh man, Ive been really looking forward to this but having installed it I was frustrated only after 5 mins.
Its very difficult to navigate and confusing. I couldnt figure out how to minimize an app or find my way around.
it needs some pop up tutorial as you attempt to navigate. moving the mouse to the corners does some weird stuff im not used to.
Im an experienced IT user but if im having trouble, then i cant see my novice friends picking this up easily.
I have given up and uninstalled it after 15mins.
I hope its better on a tablet / touch interface but in my opinion, with a mouse and keyboard it sucks.
Im also a little tired of the retro look. I mean the apps on my windows phone are so basic and just runs poorly. Why does EVERYTHING have to have that retro look? I hope all the apps on Win8 dont become like this.
I miss my iphone 4 at times because IOS apps are just so much better quality and each one is unique. If windows can have the metro style main screen / interface but the apps be non metro and better looking, it would be much better.
Basically merge windows’ metro UI with IOS’s quality of apps!
If there is a way to disable the metro for good on a pc, then I may buy the full version just for the little improvements over win 7 as i prefer and love the original way of using a pc > Start menu, mouse and keyboard!
for now I will be sticking with win7 and buying an ipad 3.

refsocrd1March 14th

46

@kakas, well you apparently don’t use those programs professionally.
Cad:does not need a keyboard and mouse. I use both touch screens, and wacom/penabled devices all the time for cad rendering.
photoshop:does not need a monster screen. my crappy little 10 inch tablet pc(tc1100) has no problem doing photo editing. and the pen makes it easier.
And frankly i can do things easier and faster than you can with mouse and keyboard.
Heck i can just lay the design over my tablet and directly trace it.
do that with a mouse and keyboard?
TO the "80% of programs…" is irrelevant.
90% of programs available at the release of vista weren’t compatible.
As usual new programs will have to be developed or existing programs will have to be upgraded to take advantage of new tech.
Sticking with all the old ways of doing things keeps you missing out on ways that can make it easier and faster to do the same things.
To the windows 8 preview, getting ready to test it on my beast, we’ll see what does and does not work.
should be fun.

kakas10March 12th

45

Touchscreens will not replace the traditional mouse/keyboard combo anytime
soon cause there so many programs like AutoCAD/CATIA, Photoshop/Corel that require a large (21′ minimum) screen to work properly. And i cant imagine my self carrying a 26 inches tablet….And 80% of the programs out there arent touch screen oriented. So even if i have a touch screen i wll still need to use my old keyboard and mouse,,,. Not be able to switch easily modes makes that OS plainly **** IMHO,,,,

bradavonMarch 10th

44

@ tentimes:
"I really don’t understand why they didn’t go with a desktop version optimized for a mouse and a touch version optimized for your paws."
That’s exactly what they have done. If you don’t wish to use the Start Screen, it’s only one click to show the Desktop.
"But, all the main sites are so scared of getting sued they won’t tell you this. Try it out for yourself and you will see what I mean!"
You’re kidding right? The web’s full of people bashing Windows 8.
"MINIMUM RESOLUTION = 1024 x 768"
You’re not seriously getting annoyed because that’s the minimum resolution? That’s been the minimum for years. You maybe able to get away with it but plenty of websites and software don’t display properly in anything less.
Windows 8 isn’t intended for Netbooks. Windows 7 was the first and the last Microsoft OS intended for them.
Besides 1366×768 is the recommended resolution. 1024 x 768 is some way off.
Microsoft cannot be expected to support everything!

yogeshagMarch 9th

43

hey nice article with lots of information but i would like to share an article which i came across explained in much easier way about the installation
http://enzag.com/technology/microsoft/windows8/upgrade-machine-windows-8/

tentimesMarch 9th

42

Oh, and forget putting this on your old netbook.
MINIMUM RESOLUTION = 1024 x 768
(Well you can install on 1024×600 NC10, but none of the apps will run without a hack)

tentimesMarch 9th

41

It’s a real pain using Windows 8 with a mouse. I installed it on my laptop yesterday and:
(a) It’s very tricky using the mouse now to navigate as it is primarily designed for touch screen.
(b) It takes ages to find the things you want, like for changing the screen resolution. Before you just right clicked on the desktop, now you need to invoke the desktop or go through several other redundant steps were 1 click would have done it.
(c) I couldn’t use this on my desktop – it would drive me insane.
I really don’t understand why they didn’t go with a desktop version optimized for a mouse and a touch version optimized for your paws.
But, all the main sites are so scared of getting sued they won’t tell you this. Try it out for yourself and you will see what I mean!

bradavonMarch 6th

40

@ hapismiley: That’s what business metro apps + desktop mode is for.
It’s designed to replace your Windows 7/OS X laptop and Android/iPad tablet.
Personally what you describe sounds great. It’s about time laptops/desktops got more notification centric.

hapismileyMarch 5th

39

Hi, been trying this windows 8 consumer preview amd so far, the ff. are my observation:
1. The UI is fluid and presents you with all the notification updates you have or will need (i.e. Email, messages, xbox)
2. The software both works with touch screen, as well as trackpad and mouse clicks
3. On the other hand, with this kind of UI, your notebook or desktop now functions more as a social media device rather than a productive tool. In fact, it feels more of the smartphonification of laptops.
4. I dont want to judge this version of windows, as it still is on its preview stage, however, If I already have an ipad or an android tablet (not to mention a smartphone) w/c pretty does the same thing, would I still want it on my laptop? Or would I rather have a software that will make me even more productive, whether as a student,a parent or a businessman?

joebinottoMarch 3rd

38

I have been pleasantly surprised how much I like Windows 8 on my 23" HP All-in-One touchscreen! Love the live tiles, Explorer is blazing fast and fun, several good free news apps, & even the mail is good! There are some beta issues. None of my printers were recognized and note sure how it plays with Office or Quicken. But I really like it & will for sure upgrade when it becomes officially available. btw, all these kinds words are from a huge Mac guy (I have two iMacs and Macbook Pro).

dangrabhamMarch 1stdangrabham

37

When I updated this article I meant to post here to make it clear that comments on this article before yesterday are actually referring to the Developer Build of Windows 8 that we looked at previously.
Thanks
Dan
Deputy Editor, TechRadar

bradavonMarch 1st

36

A friend of mine had never heard of Alt-Tab and they’ve been using computers for a long time. I said it works exactly the same whether you’re using Windows or OS X.
I couldn’t do without Alt-Tab for app switching.

wyliecoyoteukMarch 1st

35

Great UI for home users, perhaps, but rubbish for business.
Want to know how to speed up the average database operator?
STEAL THEIR MOUSE. Then they have to use keyboard shortcuts. I have users who still don’t use the enter or tab keys to navigate screens, but keep moving their hand to the mouse to click OK.
Want to slow people like that down even more? add a touch screen.

bradavonMarch 1st

34

It’s annoying the new switch list doesn’t include Desktops apps too because lets face it, for the foreseeable future and even on WOA (Office 15!) we’ll be working with a mixture of Metro and Desktop apps.
Which basically makes this particular app list redundant and the legacy Alt+Tab app list switcher, still the best app switching method.
People want to switch between apps irrespective of their type. Lumping all Desktop apps under a single "Desktop Mode" selection makes no logical sense.
At least Microsoft have found a use for Windows Key+Tab because the current 3D Alt+Tab in Vista/Windows 7 is pretty but completely pointless.
p.s – It makes sense the first account is admin and other ones by default not. People will only be tempted to create all accounts as admin otherwise.

bradavonMarch 1st

33

It sounds like using Gmail as your login credentials will assign that Gmail account a Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID.
Is that how it works?
Which in turn you’ll have created a new Microsoft Account/Windows Live ID but using your Gmail details to authenticate.
Much like you can do today, where you can attach any e-mail address to a new Windows Live ID (i.e – the e-mail address becomes your Windows Live ID login, you get services like SkyDrive but not E-Mail).

bradavonMarch 1st

32

A couple of questions please:
1. We know Aero Snap still works but what about Aero Peek?
In Windows 7 moving the cursor to the bottom right initiates Aero Peek but in Windows 8 it causes the charms menu to appear. I hope it still works, it’s useful. Aero Shake is pointless.
2. What if you’ve got both a Gmail and Hotmail account?
I’d like Gmail/Google to be my Login ID, Calendar and Contacts sync (it’s an Android thing) but Hotmail for SkyDrive and Windows/Apps Settings sync. How does this work?
Can you configure it so all the Windows Live type stuff is synced with Hotmail and Calendar/Contacts is synced with Google/Gmail?
I’m hoping it’s controllable in each app, so you can choose in Mail/Calendar/Contacts/Sync which account controls what.
I’m sure you can configure the Mail app to work with both Gmail & Hotmail, so that’s not a problem.
—————————————————————————————–
I’m really excited about Windows 8, unlike Mountain Line (I’m sure it’s very good but it’s more of the same) it looks like a real revolutionary step forward. Hopefully Microsoft can pull it off!

bradavonMarch 1st

31

Good article thanks.
Some observations:
1. Vista introduced bundled apps to Windows like never before.
With Windows 7 this was scaled back and only Windows Media Player remained. To get E-Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Messenger, Photos, Video Creation and Sync you needed to install Windows Live Essentials.
In Windows 8 bundled apps are back, including E-Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Messenger, Photos and Sync (it looks like you still need Windows Live Essentials for Video Creation and the more advanced aspects of Sync, which makes sense).
This is the ideal scenario for tablets (where a pre-installed experience makes sense) but not on desktops/laptops.
Plenty of people will never use the limited Metro Mail, Calendar, Contacts apps. Outlook 2010 for instance is simply much more powerful!
I much the Windows 7 we’ll leave them out, so your OS isn’t bloated approach (even if this wasn’t actually Microsoft’s reason for removing them).
2. It looks like Windows 8 has Zune when in Metro but the legacy Windows Media Player when in Desktop. I was expecting Microsoft to replace Windows Media Player with the Desktop Zune Player.

artifactFebruary 29th

30

What is MS going to rip people off for it?

blackbettyFebruary 29th

29

Won’t be touching anything that has the atrocious Metro user interface.
That means no Xbox, no Windows Phone and no Windows 8.
No loss there then….
Really this makes Unbutu’s Unity woes seem pretty easy to manage.

nabsterFebruary 29th

28

boozercruiser Install firefox install Adblock exstension and hey presto no adverts.

candytripnFebruary 14th

27

Yeah, Windows 8 looks great on a tablet.. so whats for desktops, wait what? Metro?!? Yeah, I’ve been running W8 on and off on my desktop, and I can say so far.. I hate it. Sure it boots fast (how often to you boot your computer with mere moments to use it before it’s too late?) but the interface is clunky, unorganized and just plain annoying (from a desktop point of view – I actually liked metro on my HD2, it works for portable)
I can see how someone who didn’t know the first thing about computers might like the simplistic nature of it, but this will never work for business (or even hardcore gamers) users. Desktop mode just seems like a slap in the face. Here you go, look desktop, <clicks start button>, right back to metro.. where’s the 80’s "Siiiiikkkee!" that should play along?
Lets face it, metro is designed as a touch interface and just feels sloppy and dumbed down with a mouse. I’m sorry, but even if touch screen monitors become cheap and comparable to normal mid range monitors, it will still only be a gimmik.. gorilla arm anyone?
Gamers won’t like the changes either, seeing as currently (under the developers copy) the only way to even close a progr.. er app, is to ctrl+alt+del, click task manager, then scroll to find it and force it closed. Now some may argue that windows does a great job managing resources, but we’ve (gamers) have seen how well windows handles that (BF3 and aero anyone? aero and any high end game?)
As for businesses, it’s pretty much a no go, unless you are striving for that "cloud computing" approach. Hell, a lot of places are still using xp do to the fact that it works. Moving to 7 is a pain if you’ve got any sort of complicated networking (scripting, drive mapping, etc) as it’s not backward compatible; imagine trying that with windows 8 and the "cloud". The only incentive for moving away from xp is the dropping of support coming in the next two years.
I could go on and on…
Bottom line is, Microsoft better make some changes or continue 7 support until something non-gimmicky takes it’s place.
(it’s comical how Microsoft has a habit of alternating releases of good OS’s and bad ones;
Windows 3.1 > Windows 95
Windows 98 > Windows ME
Windows XP > Windows Vista
Windows 7 > Windows 8
Notice a pattern?)

boozercruiserFebruary 11th

26

I have no comment about Windows 8 because I cannot be bothered to read the article.
I will though comment on the fact that I will not be visiting here anymore because I find all of the moving advertisements around the screen too distracting to read anything.
Bye.

mikeinnycJanuary 15th

25

I had Windows 8 for over 2 months now. I have gotten used to this however, today my wife used my computer. I was scolded and told to put back windows 7! She was clicking every button desperately to gain access to the old start menus.
My wife "now hates windows 8" no chance of her going back. She’s Italian!
I had a deep Epiphany of what Microsoft MUST DO: "MS must have an OLD Start menu available" to those that won’t take the time to learn.
I see the stock falling hard as investors dump shares in droves.
I will sell Microsoft stock short just knowing that there are people out there like my wife who won’t take the time to learn.
Sadly, its the best OS out there but "I must think like the Average computer user" because really that what this OS was built for.
Definitely not for experienced IT guys. On the outside its wildly confusing with 1000 apps. How about lets neatly get rid of scatter and place them back into folders like the old start menu. Its just overwhelming noise that could be deem confusing for the massive changes MS invoked into this system. yes this is the best OS MS has ever had with super speed IE loading web pages. I can’t believe how fast pages load! As well the from boot time to start up. RDC is vastly improved but only if you use the run command MSTSC but you will be lost in the metro trying to configure settings. While I am grateful as an alpha tester with 30 years experience MS has some deep choices to make. make it for dummies or make it for pros but make it so that each can use the computer without using a hammer!

d000000dDecember 29th 2011

24

have been using the pre beta for a few days now and have to say that this is by far the best computing experiance i have had by far for these reasons
1) quick install taking only 3 clicks
2) works perfect with windows 7 drivers and programmes such as flash player, ati ccc and games. my non plug and play wireless n usb adapter even instantly worked on plug in.
3)built in virtual drive is very handy.
4)the more i use my pc and install it genuinly adapts to and keeps getting quicker.
5)new start menu is very good being quick easy and layed out well.
have today used a windows 7 laptop after using this copy of 8 and have to say after using windows 8 you WILL NOT want to go back. there are a couple of problems i have seen such as the os seems to double download and double open exe on occasions but seeing as this is only a pre beta and far from the final build i expect this upcoming release to far surpass anything on the market.

mbryansNovember 28th 2011

23

If there are things that should be fixed in Windows 8 is:
1. Improve performance of Windows Photo Viewer, so much faster than IrfanView.
2. Simplify Windows Media Player, as shown in iTunes.
3. Modifying Windows Explorer to be able to display photos and videos as beautiful as iPhoto.
Can Windows 8 really see the needs of its loyal users?

mbryansNovember 28th 2011

22

Some of features that are absolute for Windows users:
1. Simple desktop with wallpapers and gadgets
2. Windows with big red close button
3. Star Menu at the bottom left corner of the taskbar
4. Fast searching box in top right corner of the window
5. Taskbar with icons, pinned shortcuts, and clock
I hope Microsoft is still preserved on Windows 8.

ru4r33lr8n0wOctober 4th 2011

21

Windows 8 is garbage! Unless you consider mind-numbing frustration at having to redundantly click on a myriad of counter-intuitive tiles and panels and windows for the sake of what had been done previously with one click; somehow tolerable…it’s ****!
Here’s a new WinDev mantra I’ve made up for Win8…
M-indlessly
E-mploy
T-iles
R-egardless
O-f
U-ser
I-ntuition

masterctrl1September 24th 2011

20

Anyone stuck in "desktop mode" should try this test anytime you have the opportunity. Run your favorite desktop app on a touchscreen system configured for large icons or larger font or a screen resolution to make buttons and menus work best. Spend 2-3 days using it this way with mouse, keyboard, and touchscreen, Then switch back to good ol’ desktop mode without a touchscreen. I guarantee you’ll want the touchscreen back — immediately! Now imagine if all your favorite desktop apps were touchscreen optimized. That is the future, plain and simple, and Windows 8 is going to take us there with a common UI across multiple devices. I for one, can’t wait and I started out on an IBM PC running DOS with floppy drives. Imagine the next generation growing up with touch-driven tools starting in kindergarden and grade school. The desktop as we know it is DEAD.

lonestar33September 23rd 2011

19

I’m giving it a chance in Boot Camp on my MacBook Air for now. It is clearly tablet influenced, but it’s pretty ugly to look at. The double tiles are just pointless, reduce them down. How do I change the weather to read Celcius please? Who chose that unpleasant shade of green? Can it be changed. By the way although Boot Camp is strictly speaking set up for Win7 it can be made to work.

xarzySeptember 16th 2011xarzy

18

i do hope that Windows 8 would live-up to the high expectations of Windows loyal users. And may engineers of this incoming platform provides an easy to integrate code policy and a robust fun to use interface.
see related post: http://www.infotechpeek.com/2011/09/13/windows-8/

jamesSeptember 16th 2011james

17

To those asking, we’re busy playing around with Windows 8 and will add more of our thoughts about its potential as a desktop OS very soon

paulSeptember 15th 2011

16

@paul43524 Our reviews policy regarding hands ons is here: http://bit.ly/qncEYw

somethingelseSeptember 15th 2011

15

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DArxXyimC0Y
I made this short video after a 12 hr test of Windows 8
it shows Windows 8 with no true desktop style start menu, a BIG mistake by ms
OK MS said in the dev video "the windows 7 start menu is gone", they need to have a option to put back.
How to get 7 start back in bindoh’s hate (for now) …
Open Run type regedit.exe hit Enter key to launch Registry Editor.
In the Registry Editor, navigate to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Mic­rosoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\­Explorer
In the right pane, double-click on the entry named RPEnabled and change its value from 1 to 0 to enable the Windows 7 Start menu in Windows 8

paul43524September 15th 2011

14

I wish TechRadar would stop calling Previews "Reviews". This applies not only to this article, but across the site.

bradavonSeptember 15th 2011

13

This hands on has some more info about Windows 8 Desktop mode:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9219996/First_look_The_two_faces_of_Windows_8_Developer_Preview_

bradavonSeptember 14th 2011

12

@ Dj99: I remain unconvinced. Desktop Apps still won’t be written for touch. How well will they run? Not very well IMO, even with fuzzy logic.
All iOS and Android apps are written from scratch with touch in mind.
Besides Windows 8 tablets are a good year away. There’s plenty of time to buy iPad 2/iPad 3 or Android and then Windows 8.
We don’t even know how far along iPad or Android will be when Windows 8 ships.

bradavonSeptember 14th 2011

11

I imagine it will run fine with a mouse/keyboard. A big button will work just as well with a mouse, as a finger.
The question that everyone is wondering and as all articles are tablet focused no one has answered, is how well Windows 8 will run as a Desktop OS?
I mean 100% of people using Windows today aren’t use Metro Apps, they’re using Desktop Apps. That 100% will work in the Desktop mode of Windows 8.
* How do these work in Windows 8?
* Is the constant jarring nature of Metro to Desktop to Metro annoying?
* How easy it is to stay in Desktop mode?
There’s no Start Menu for instance. So as soon as you press it, you’re dumped back into Metro. It looks like to avoid this, you "have" to put every app on the Desktop or pin it to the Task Bar. If it’s on the Start screen, you’re dumped out of Desktop mode.
* What new features does Desktop mode get?
I’ve seen articles mentioning an improved System Restore that allows you to restore revisions of documents/photos etc… Actually it was a different app. I forget the name.

liassicSeptember 14th 2011

10

It would have been useful if you’d said at the beginning of the review that you were going to review it from a tablet point of view.
I’m more interested in how it works as a desktop OS – with a mouse and keyboard.
Is this the end of Windows as a desktop OS?
That’s what I need to know. Thanks.

munichlondonSeptember 14th 2011

9

Looks very promising indeed. To me W8 is one of the prime examples why competition between compentent companies is the best thing that can happen to customers.

dj99September 14th 2011

8

Looks really good.
At the moment if you are thinking about buying a new computer you will need to own a tablet AND a laptop/desktop (if you want an iPad for example).
With Windows 8 you can just buy a tablet and have a keyboard dock around if you need it. Also… it will run Crysis!

techpikeSeptember 14th 2011

7

A desktop os based on a tablet OS…Still a day late and a dollar short.

bradavonSeptember 13th 2011

6

@ Geordie2004: Agreed. We need to see how well it works on Desktops and Laptops. Pretty much all the noise on Win8 so far has been about how well it works on tablets when the vast majority of users won’t be using it on these form factors.
I also want to know how the Desktop Mode is handled too.

anteausSeptember 13th 2011

5

This kind of interface was designed for small touchscreens where menus wouldn’t work, at least not without a stylus. But, and a very big but, I simply cannot see why I would want to use this kind of interface on a computer with a physical keyboard and an accurate pointing device. It would be like being forced to use a stillson when I have a ringspanner.

stu531September 13th 2011

4

I genuinely hope Microsoft continue to innovate with Windows. We all know they took their eye off the ball with Vista (or maybe XP was still good enough) – but anyway, keeping up with (and continuing to challenge) Google and Apple is ultimately good for customers.

geordie2004September 13th 2011

3

Personally I would love to see another review of this OS, but on a regular desktop PC rather than a touchscreen/tablet ‘rig’. This was a good review for what it was, but the vast majority of it dealt with things from a tablet perspective.

kasserSeptember 13th 2011

2

From Xbox, Windows 7, Windows Phone 7 and now Windows 8 – looks Microsoft are starting do it right.
And least I can hand my toy iPad to my three year old.

bradavonSeptember 13th 2011

1

Win8 looks ace on tablets/touch-screens but that’s almost to be expected.
Can you configure Win8 to go straight to Desktop mode? So until you press Start you’re solely in Desktop mode.

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