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Windows 8 First Thoughts

March 6, 2012

My first hands-on with Windows 8 was with the Developer Preview I downloaded several weeks back.  I was excited to play around with the Metro desktop, apps, Internet Explorer 10 preview (HTML5 support anyone?), SkyDrive tweaks and in general see how Microsoft was going to play catch-up with our more mobile world through their latest offering.  As a disclaimer I had no way to test tablet interaction or functionality but I’ve read good things on this front.  My install was through Parallels Desktop on my iMac and was surprisingly fast.  In fact, the install happened so fast (less than 15 minutes) once I downloaded the ISO file that I missed it while working in other windows.

 

Once installed and ready to go I jumped right in and well, found my expectations needed to be reined in a bit.  Remember this was a developer preview and it was installed through desktop virtualization software.   Due to my virtual machine software I had to wrangle my mouse into submission and get point and click working – to a degree.  This meant several reboots while I worked through the mouse issue and from that I can say that boot-ups are nice and zippy.  Once that was done it was all about plugging in my Windows Live ID (now just known as my Microsoft Account), Exchange account information, Xbox Live gamer ID and so forth to get any useful functionality out of the Metro Desktop.  Let me just say that in its current iteration this slick, simple Metro interface really wants to get to know you and takes a lot of work on the back end as far as plugging in various accounts and IDs to get working. 

My Outlook email setup is still a work in progress since I’m having trouble having the preview build play nice with our Exchange server while setting up existing Hotmail accounts worked without a hitch.  From what I’ve been able to find this is an issue many others are experiencing.

As far as having the foresight to create an account from my existing Xbox Live ID, we’ll just chalk that up as “good to know for next time”.

Windows 8 does look like it will be a social and messaging powerhouse once everything is finalized.  Tying everything into my Windows 8 account is just something I’ll have to swallow at some point in the future.  Ugh, this is going to require me to remember all of my various passwords and accounts.

The much reported removal of the Windows Start button is something to get used to.  Once you choose to navigate to the standard Windows Desktop we’re all used to from the Metro interface you can hover over the very lower left portion of the screen (yep, where the Start button used to be) to have the option to jump back to Metro again.  Progress?  Innovation?  I’ll let you decide.

I do like the customizable aspect of the Metro interface.  IT administrators will like the ability to easily add or remove panels in the Start interface (removing access to an Xbox Live account for example).  This will make providing access to the exact applications and services required by employees much easier while locking down other areas that aren’t necessary for day to day work.  This customizable aspect allows you to work exclusively in the Desktop portion of the OS if you’re not too keen on the Metro layout.  But who are you kidding, you like Metro or probably will, given a bit of time.  I personally find the Desktop interface to be jarring when implemented in conjunction with the Metro interface.  Desktop being the interface of days gone by while Metro the interface of the future.

What are your thoughts on Windows 8?  Have you had a chance to download and install the developer or consumer preview?  Sound off and let us know!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 9:08 pm

    No, didn’t get the chance to test windows 8. But I am happy with Mac OS, hope windows will deliver something superior soon….

  2. Laura Johnson permalink
    March 8, 2012 3:58 pm

    Interesting to see all the changes. Thanks for reviewing this for us.

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