If you haven’t heard yet Microsoft is currently offering free downloads of the Developers Preview edition of Windows 8. I downloaded a copy and installed it in VirtualBox so I could see what’s new and mess around with the new features a bit. This version probably has a time bomb and will expire at some point as the actual release gets closer but Microsoft hasn’t said how long this version will work for.
You don’t have to use Windows 8 for very long to see that it has been heavily optimized for tablets, Microsoft might as well change the name to Windows 8 Tablet Edition.
New Start Menu
The start menu in Windows 8 looks nothing like what I would have expected. The new layout will probably work great for tablets and touch screens but not so well for the average user. Hopefully there will be an option to revert to the classic start menu. It looks like they’ve tried to copy the look of the home screen on Android OS.
You can drag the icons around on the screen to change their position but it just seems awkward. I don’t like that clicking on the start menu takes you completely away from the desktop.
The control panel is another area of Windows 8 that has been drastically changed. Similar to the start menu the control panel takes up the entire screen. Does Microsoft not expect anyone to run this new OS on anything besides a tablet?
They layout of the menus doesn’t seem useful or intuitive to me. If you click the “More Settings” button at the bottom you are taken to a Windows 7 style control panel that opens up on the Desktop.
Updated Task Manager
Microsoft has finally updated the task manager in Windows 8. I really like the new features, especially the app history tab. App history allows you to track how much CPU time and network activity an application has been consuming. Sorting the columns allows you to quickly find the top resource consumers running on the computer.
Valuable Feedback for Microsoft
The video below shows a systems administrators hilarious reaction after Windows 8 was installed on his computer.
Windows 8 Beta
I’ll be very interested to see what changes Microsoft makes to Windows 8 when the beta is released. MS has taken a very different approach with Windows 8 by publicly releasing such an early version of the new OS. Hopefully they are listening to all of the feedback they receive from their experiment.