Microsoft has recently made the Windows 8 Customer Preview available. I installed it in a virtual machine made out of VirtualBox.
Here is some of the screenshots, my observations and my views on Windows 8 at first look.
A setup package (in .exe form) can be downloaded from here, or an ISO file can be downloaded from here.
ISO download size is 3.3 GB for 64 bit version, 2.5 GB for 32 bit. After installation it consumed 7.37 GB of my hard disk space.
Installation takes about an hour or less, which is good.
1. Installation completes really quick.
2. It doesn’t ask too much of questions as other Windows versions used to do. It grabs most of your information from windows mail profile. I used my Live id to register it which is already associated to Microsoft. However it might take some additional steps to register your windows profile if you don’t have one.
Cons: I didn’t see any blue screens like from other version.
Personalizing has the steps of choosing desktop colors, PC name, your network etc.
Pros: Again the number of steps look to be very few.
Cons: I would say, as a windows desktop user for years, the interface appears to be too simple, in some way too primitive. It reminds me the graphics and interface we used to have when we were using MS-DOS.
Home / Start Screen
Windows phone users can easily recognize the screen. It’s appears to be a strategically idea of Microsoft to make the line between Desktop and Mobile operating system thinner / disappear completely.
I like the idea of making the platform application centric. Since most people using a computer likes to work on some apps. So its not necessary to insist the user to go to the desktop, click on Start, Go to All Programs etc.
1. As a developer, I like the idea of making the desktop and mobile platforms the same, since with the existing knowledge and technology I used for desktop development can be extended to Mobile development.
2. Its good that they preserved the desktop, windows explorer, control panel etc., so that we always have some workaround if we think we run out of some option.
3. Its good to see a little thumb nail of every running apps all at one place.
4. Application switching preserved in Windows 8 unlike Windows Mobile phones. Alt+Tab and Win+Tab are still active.
1. Fixed sized icons/boxes: The boxes appears to be fixed size, at the max you can make the rectangle to square and vice versa. Nothing much can be customized, at least can not be done easily. (Or Perhaps I have not seen the options yet)
2. NO START BUTTON ON DESKTOP: Its being difficult to work in a desktop without a start button. It looks like a read only desktop, you can see something running, but you can’t start any app from desktop
However, Windows key on the keyboard bring us quickly to the start page.
The apps are cool as usual. I checked out some and I like their appearance. Its good to see that apps have retained their richer colors.
We have a cute looking task manager with Windows 8. I love it at the first site.
Pros: Task manager looks to have been carefully changed. Its well organized and color coded. However, the Resource Monitor hasn’t changed a bit.
Cons: I don’t see any.
Synchronizing and Sharing
All the apps are synchronized to your profile cloud. It enables you to work with all your application independent of your devices. If synchronization is made ideal (I haven’t tested it yet.), I can create a word file from my home machine, travel to office and open the same file from my office machine to edit it. However, for now I can see my calendar is synchronized to my google account.
Sharing feature is available in many apps, and enables us share things through mail (I haven’t seen any option to share things on the social network, like facebook, etc.).
As usual with any change, windows 8 will go though a lot of resistance from its users. But eventually, things will settle down. Windows 8 has a long way to go.
However, personally I like the bigger idea of the Windows 8. It brings the desktop and mobiles closer. From the development stand point, an application made for a desktop can work on any mobile device. We don’t need to learn any additional technologies.