Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Posted: March 27, 2012 in SBS 2011
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While certainly not an SBS topic, I nevertheless thought it worthy of a post to share my experiences with an upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  Here is the scenario:

  • MSI A4000 laptop
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit
  • Joined to a SBS 2011 domain
  • 4GB memor7
  • Keyboard, touch-pad, no touchscreen

The upgrade process took about 45 minutes total.  I got warning messages that the version of Skype was not current (I rarely use it on this laptop) and there were compatibility issues with the Trend Micro Worry Free Advanced agent and IE plugin.  I proceeded with the install, and it launched without further ado.

Once it started, I was prompted to upgrade Skype, which I did, and Trend Micro’s agent upgraded from my server.  I still got a compatibility warning, but it seems to run fine.

The only thing I noticed was the built-in web cam was not in the device list.  However, once I used the function key combination (FN+F6 in this case) to turn the camera on, voila! It showed up and functions just fine.  All other on-board devices seem to work perfectly: touch-pad, wireless LAN, etc.

If you have a Windows phone – as I  do – you have a leg up on the interface.  A couple of things are not intuitive, and I have yet to look up how to accomplish them with a mouse and a keyboard; I would like to think I am smart enough to play around and get them to work.  Maybe not.

Here is what I have figured out:

  • Right-click on the backrround for the tiles and a bar appears at the bottom of the screen with an icon for All aps.  Click on that, and you get a grouped display of what was in All Programs from the Windows 7 Start menu.
  • Right-click on any app that appears from the previous bullet and you get a bottom bar that lets you pin the app to the Start tiles or uninstall the application.  Easier than the Control Panel.
  • When you are anywhere else, press the Windows key and the Start tiles page appears.
  • Click on the Desktop tile and a normal Windows 7 desktop appears.  There is, however, no Start button (Sorry Rolling Stones).  Use the Apps screen to do the stuff you would have done from the Start menu, although I suspect there is some other way.
  • There is a mail icon that lets you connect to your Exchange and other accounts, just like Windows 7 phones.  If there is a way to get to other folders besides Inbox, I haven’t found it yet. But People lets me see my cot acts and Facebook stuff, just like – you guessed it – Windows 7 phone.

What I still haven’t stumbled across is how to end an app started from a tile.  I can go back to the tiles with the Windows key, but somehow it feels like I am cheating.

I can’t wait to try this on a tablet with mufti-touch.  I am sure it will be a great experience.

What I love so far:

  • Live tiles.  Gives me a lot of useful information without opening an app
  • New look for task manager.  So much more information and convenience.
  • Speed is really fast on this modest laptop.
  • Already seems more friendly and accessible.

Questions:

  1. Where will I throw stuff for temp storage I normally put on the desktop?
  2. Will I find things so easily in the folders?
  3. What tiles am I going to end up with?
  4. When will I get a touch screen?

Let me know if you want to hear more about this and Windows 8 Server.

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