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Sep 17

After watching the BUILD keynote and the awesome Windows 8 demos I was very eager to test it my self. Today I installed Windows 8 (or Windows Developer Preview as they call it). The installation process was very easy and as they promised the whole process took only about 15 minutes.

This article is written from Windows 8 on a Acer Ferrari 5000 laptop I had stowed away. I installed it from USB key by following the guide I found at ghacks.net

Windows 8 running on my Acer Ferrari 5000

My first impressions

Even though this is a very early version of Windows 8 I must say that I really like it. The Metro UI is just what I like with the collection of my most important apps and live feed/info in the tiles. It’s easy to use and after a few minutes playing around it feels like a natural way of navigating and interacting with the different apps. Of course the user experience is for sure much better on a  touch enabled device but it is no problem using it from an old laptop with mouse and keyboard.

The startup time is also impressive, from this 4-5 years old laptop with no SSD it boots in 15-20 seconds! The boot time for Windows Vista (yeah I know..) that was previously installed took probably 1-2 minutes.

Tough I’m very excited about Windows 8 I must also add that it’s easy to see that this is an early version and I have experienced a few issues. For example while writing this article from WordPress it hang when I tried to insert images (had to do this from Windows 7) and sometimes it lags a bit (might be because of my the old laptop I’m running this on).

It is also nice to see that the Windows UI as we know it from Windows 7 is just a click away. It also looks like this part has gone through some polishing as well. Looks very similar to Office 2010 and I think that is good. Then you can use the Metro UI for your most common tasks and go behind this layer when doing more advanced stuff.

Resource friendly

Windows 8 is also very resource friendly, Microsoft have reduced the number of core processes running and the memory usage is down 50%

Below you can see a screenshot from the new Task Manager displaying the performance monitor on this computer.

Developing apps

The Windows Store opens for a new distribution channel for app developers and with 450 000 000 Windows 7 copies sold/installed you can just imagine the potential. The developers can also write their apps in several different languages like XAML, C#, C, Javascript, HTML5 ++

It will also be quite straight forward to modify your Windows Phone 7 apps to run on Windows 8. You can read this article to see how: Migrating a Windows Phone app to XAML. I will soon try to port the PinCodeKeeper WP7 app I created a while ago.

I’m impressed by all the things Microsoft have achieved lately and I’m looking forward to the official release of Windows 8.

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3 Comments to “Installing and running Windows 8”

  1. jonM says:

    Hi, I’ve installed Windows 8 consumer preview on my Acer Ferrari 5000 and am having an issue which I wondered whether you have experienced yourself. Each time I restart/shutdown/hibernate the computer has a bluescreen (complete with Win8 sad :( face) but I cannot find the source of the problem and it is very frustrating. I installed as an upgrade to an installation of Windows 7 though, so perhaps this is the root of the problem. I have tried upgrading/changing the graphics drivers as I had originally thought that to be the problem; I do get graphical glitches which causes lines to be drawn/scrambled across the screen but usually scrolling a page gets rid of them but they do often occur – have you had the same problem too?

    All in all (despite the blue screen issue when turning off the machine) I’ve found Windows 8 to be good and I like the metro interface though I feel it really has many shortfalls when in use with a mouse or a touchpad, whereas I can imagine with a touchscreen it would be much better. I think the switch between Metro and desktop is a little clunky to say the least though, it’s fast enough on the Ferrari, it’s just a little weird that you have to go through (what is essentially) a pretty start menu before being able to get to your open Metro apps, rather than being able to switch to them without that intermediate step. Likewise if you have several applications open on the Desktop and are in Metro interface, you cannot choose which application to switch to, instead you have to first go to the desktop and then go to the relevant application. It’s feels like running two operating systems in one somehow. Still, it’s a matter of getting used to it and sure enough I have done so relatively quickly. There are a lot of things that get me thinking, “why?” and sometimes seem to be a case of style over substance.

  2. jonM says:

    Further to my last message, I decided to reinstall windows 8 Consumer Preview and all seems well! Boots up in about 15 seconds as per the original articles findings and that’s on an old non SSD HDD which makes it all the more impressive. Seems solid apart from the occasional graphical glitch – horizontal lines that flicker when a page/image loads but quickly disappear as the page refreshes or the mouse is moved. Win 8 seems solid and the Metro interface adds to the whole experience. I use the laptop for photo editing and in desktop mode with Photoshop running, there’s no difference to using any previous incarnation of windows. The metro interface is really just a revamped start menu with apps. Once you get used to the quirks of Win8 over Win7, it is quite intuitive and simple. As more and more Metro apps become available, I can see it becoming more and more dominant, to the point where I wouldn’t even be surprised if Windows10 or even Windows9 might be solesly metro based, but with support for a traditional window app if needed, so you could run older software still.

  3. Hi JonM,

    I have not experienced any of the issues you have when running Windows 8.

    I gues quite a lot has happened since I wrote this post. I guess there will always (or at least for a very long time) be able to run “old” Windows apps and I also guess that a lot of the more advanced features will be running in that kind of style.

    Personally I am looking forward to Windows 8 and also to have Metro apps on my laptop, tablet and phone.

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