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A first look at Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Windows 8 Customer Preview is finally here. Customer Preview being a fancy name for beta.

I’m running mine in a virtual machine with 4gb memory and a 60Gb hard drive. I won’t bore you with the installation which is almost identical to Windows 7. The only notable difference is the option to customise the installation or use Express settings. But at the end of the day the day, Windows 8 was installed.

Windows 8 start screen

I logged in using my Hotmail account, no fuss there. And there was what met my eyes. (I had seen this before, Windows 8 Developer Preview to be exact, so I wasn’t surprised)

Experience

I have used a mouse and keyboard all my computing life and I really had initial problems with applications in this interface. Opening apps was dead simple, click on it and it opens. No funny tricks there. Closing, well that was another issue. Except those applications like windows Explorer which I opened in Desktop mode, I could not close these apps. No close buttons, no exit menus. Maybe its me, or maybe these apps are not supposed to be closed I don’t know.

Apps

Most Windows apps, have been made into Metro apps, including a calendar, Mail app, messaging app and it’s a refreshing new look. Of course in using them I kept looking for the exit buttons, which naturally do not exist in these Metro happy apps.

Windows 8 Mail App

Windows 8 Mail App

It took me some few minutes to realise that the options bar at the bottom, is activated by right clicking anywhere in the app.

The other app was Calendar, looks clean and new and allows me to actually create events and reminders without Outlook. Hooraayy. Event invitations also worked like a charm. They are most likely using Hotmails calendar function to achieve this. After realising that my invitations were having the wrong time, I had to change the time zone. Don’t remember being asked about my time zone anywhere in the setup process

 

Windows 8 Calendar app

Windows 8 Calendar app

Windows explorer, in windows 8 as we saw in the  Developer Preview has been ribbonised. This means that it resembles and works like the ribbon in Office 2012. This means, some menu options are activated or displayed based on selected items. Besides that its still our old and lovely explorer and works as expected.

 

Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer with Ribbon interface

Start Button

There is no start menu in Windows 8. I’m not sure whether to be hapy or sad. But its not there. But its functionality still exists. If you start typing, your results start coming out whether you press the Windows key or not. Which is pretty actually, remove one click from opening my apps. The moment I started typing des (for desktop) these results came up:

App and File Search

App and File Search

Solitaire

Solitaire was one of the first games I played on windows. I smiled when I saw that it now has a metro version. But for some reason I struggled to play it. Every time I tried moving cards (with my mouse) nothiing was moving. Maybe its just me.

 

Solitaire on Windows 8

Solitaire on Windows 8

Internet Explorer

Internet explorer has two versions in Windows 8. One is the metro IE10 and the other is the full desktop version. The metro version is limited in that it does not run plugins (like flash), whilst the desktop version has all the bells and whistles expected from a browser.

App Store

The app store seems to be straight forward. You open the store, find the app you want, you install. That’s it. That’s exactly what I did when I installed cut the rope.

 

Cut the rope

Cut the rope

 

Desktop Experience

File copying as highlighted in the Windows 8 Blogs, has a new dialog box.

 

File copy dialog

File copy dialog

 

Check the Second Part of the Blog for more insight into the Windows 8 Customer Preview.

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