Windows 8 Beta
So I finally abandoned the developer preview of Windows 8 and installed 64 bit Windows 8 Consumer Beta on my 64 Windows 7 notebook using Oracles VirtualBox. Unfortunately Windows 7 Virtual PC will not host 64 bit OS virtual machines and I always prefer 64 bit to 32 bit in an OS. The additional setup is 2GB RAM, 50GB Hard Disk, Optical Drive, Sound, etc. This runs on a 64 bit Windows 7 system with 6GB RAM with a 500GB Hard Disk.
Clearly most of you aware by now that the most prominent, new feature of Windows 8 Is the Metro Start screen. This will provide the touch screen interface necessary for mobile devices while maintaining useful functionality on a laptop/desktop system. Apple is already moving in this direction by morphing iOS features in to the latest iteration of the Mac OS. Windows 8 may help remedy Microsoft’s tardy arrival to the tablet dance courtesy of the Metro screen.
Understanding that the "Start" button we have grown used to from Windows 7 and Vista (ugh) is now replaced with an entire screen that replaces the old start button. All the application short cuts you would normally pin to your start menu now are placed on the Metro screen. For desktops and tablets this will allow you to customize the Metro screen for the way you work. All your most utilized apps will be in a single display.
Apps that are able to run independent of the original desktop will run in their own window. I have set up the Mail, People, SkyDrive, News and Weather. A simple Crtl-Esc will return to the Metro screen. Alt-Tab and Windows-Tab will page you through the open apps and the Metro screen. It is also very simple to add short-cut tiles to the Metro screen for shutdown, restart, command window, etc. After installing Office 2010 I found that all of the icons were now short-cut tiles in Metro as well. Very convenient.
For Desktop dependent apps like Office (I am writing this in Word 2010 installed on my Windows 8 virtual machine) will continue to run on the standard desktop. Even though Windows 8 is still in beta I have not had any "hiccups" as yet. I will continue testing and pushing this as much as I can.
Networking and other infrastructure setup was as expected. I joined my Active directory domain without incident. Since I am running this as a VirtualBox VM
There are numerous other enhancements to Windows 8 but they will have to wait for another article. If you have any questions I would be happy to speak with you. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit the Cybercon Blog at www.cybercon1.com/blog for additional articles and technology news.