The first truly public preview of Windows 8 went online February 29 and almost immediately dozens of e-mails from the Windows Secrets contributors showed up in my inbox.
Most of the ensuing discussion was not about the merits of Windows 8 and it Metro interface, but how to get it safely installed on our various PCs.
Apparently a lot of other folks were doing the same. A Building Windows 8 tweet claimed one million downloads in one day. And the Windows 8 forums were buzzing with posts asking for installation help. (Microsoft set up a comprehensive Win8 Consumer Preview site with information, FAQs, and download links.)
As you’d expect with an early beta product, setting up Windows 8 was far from a slam dunk, even for our highly knowledgeable crew of Windows Secrets writers. I can’t put the blame totally on Win8, nearly all of us were installing this new OS in virtual machines, mostly using Oracle’s VirtualBox (download site). It’s also a fact that most of us down bother to read installation instructions unless we have to.
Over an afternoon, I succeeded in getting Windows 8 running (in a virtual machine) on my newish LenovoT410 notebook. The only two tips I can offer from my experience are: 1) make sure virtualization is turned on in your BIOS and 2) it’s better to have 4GB of RAM and a 64-bit version of Windows 7 so you an use all of that memory.
I did spend a bit of time poking through the new Metro interface. My guess is that most long-time Windows users will find it rather clumsy to use, at least on the desktop. I’ll reserve judgement on it’s application in tablets and smartphones.
Look for a series of Windows 8 posts with the thoughts and impressions of Windows Secrets’ contributors, as they dig around in Microsoft’s next OS. — Tracey Capen, editor in chief