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Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Look at Windows 8 Release Preview

Well, Microsoft calls it Windows, but it’s not Windows as I’m used to it. I set up this latest Release Preview on Virtual Box virtual machines on my Mac mini and my Wintel 7 machine Friday evening. Here’s my take on it.

The Metro interface with these large tiles is very interesting. At least it’s not a blatant copy of OS X, but real original work. Full screen applications if you have the Metro SDK.


The applications written for the Metro interface look great. I especially liked the News and Music applications.

Now if you did not write your application for the Metro interface, you end up on the Desktop page. Desktop itself is a Metro application.

Your Windows application ends up on a desktop resembling Windows 7 with a trashcan icon on the desktop and a task bar at the bottom. Your application’s windows float in the middle. You can change the desktop’s theme same as Windows 7.


You don’t have a Start button, which I think will frustrate many new users. It took me a while to realize two ways to accessing the Start page. I could hit the Windows key on the keyboard. Boom, I’m back.

Second, which tablet users will have to use, you hover your cursor in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. A miniature version of the Start page appears and you click or tap on it.

Now the Start page doesn’t present all the apps on your computer. On my Mac Mini’s touchpad, I tap twice with two fingers to make a button appear that will show a list of all apps. On my Windows machine, I only needed to to right-click on a blank area of the Start page for this list to appear.


I can tell that Microsoft has a lot of work to do yet. The Control Panel is still the same Windows 7 version. Wordpad is still a Windows 7 app. How MS Office fits into this remains to be seen.

As I mentioned, Windows 8 at this stage reminds me of OS X 10.1. At 10.1, OS X lacked original apps written for it. You could run an app for the older OS 9, get an app that would run in both OS 9 and OS X (the Carbon apps), or wait for a native OS X app.

When I got my first Mac in 2001, I could dual-boot it between OS 9.2.2 and OS X 10.1. I could run older apps in windows that resembled my HP desktop with Windows 98. So Apple eased the learning curve for me. I hope Microsoft builds in help for idiots.

I wonder how many users will insist on dual-booting their systems if their employers want to inflict Windows 8 on them.

I look forward to seeing the first Windows 8 desktops, laptops, and tablets. Will consumers get confused by tablets with the x86 architecture vs. the ARM architecture? “I wanna run MS Office on this tablet! Why can’t I run MS Office, which I paid good money for, on this tablet?”

Speaking of MS Office, will it come out for the iPad in November as speculated?

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager

MacValley UG

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