Monthly Archives: October 2011

Should you install the Windows 8 Developer Preview?

Depends. I am running it as my main OS for the past few weeks and I am enjoying some of the new features along with enduring some of the quirks. Personally, I would only recommend it to a die hard enthusiast. Don’t get me wrong, Windows 8 build 8102 is surprisingly stable for a pre-release, but I wouldn’t recommend you install it on a production machine unless you plan to setup a partition or install it in a virtual machine.

One of the quirks I am facing is with my USB thumb drive, I notice it has problems reading the drive, it ends up hanging Windows Explorer when I try to copy files to or from it. Another problem I am having issues with is Internet Explorer 10 and Facebook. When I try to make comments or post, its like my keys are stuck and hard to form letters. Another thing I don’t like is the forcing to go from Classic to Metro. For instance, when I launch a URL using the run command, it takes me to Metro IE instead of classic IE.

Apart from these relatively minor issues (or annoyances), there is familiarity, you click Start and the Start screen appears. I have had to readjust my thinking for the past few weeks just because 15 years of expecting a pane with familiar menus are no more. So, before you consider installing Windows 8, understand, this is an OS you must not consider complete or refined yet. There are quirks, there are problems, some applications you use might not function the way you would expect them to. All my favorite applications I use most often, I have to make sure I pin them or I have to use Search or scroll through the Start screen to discover them. I hope by the beta build, Microsoft works out a more convenient way to access your library of applications in the classic user interface. Maybe a User Folder type Programs Group icon pinned to the Taskbar.

One of the benefits though of using Windows 8, it allows you to better grasp features first introduced into Windows 7 more such as Jump list to access recently opened documents or web sites or launch Personal Folders. Another feature I use a lot now is the run command, if you were using it before, it has become a handy feature for quickly launching applications.  Shutting down is more of an exercise, since you need to remember to hover the Start menu, point to Settings, click it then click the Power Options button to click Shut Down. Not intuitive in my opinion. I have worked around this issue by simply creating a short button for Shut Down on my Taskbar.

But, if you have a spare machine, or you can setup a partition, I say why not? Microsoft doing a first by offering users a chance to experience the next generation of Windows for ‘free’. Just make sure you don’t wipe out your existing Windows 7/Vista/XP installation in the process. I have discovered the safest way after setting up a partition when installing Windows 8 is by booting from the DVD, you can simply select the partition and Window’s 8 will ensure that your other installation/s of Windows are not affected. Although you have to do some configuration after to access them, especially if you are dual booting with Windows XP.

Part of the reason why I decided to make Windows 8 my main operating system going forward is its excellent compatibility (surprisingly). My HUAWEI GPRS modem that never seemed to work under Windows 7 64 bit, surprisingly works out of the box using Troubleshoot compatibility under Windows 8 64 bit.

There is a lot I am still discovering in Windows 8, I still have not tried many of its highly touted features, but when I do, I will be sure to relay my experiences with you.

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