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back to article Microsoft unveils Windows 8 'release preview' for June

Windows 8 will be signed off and released to PC manufacturers in June, paving the way for a September or October launch. Microsoft will deliver what it's calling a "release preview" of Windows 8 in the first week of June, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has revealed. Sinofsky announced the news at Windows 8 Dev Days in Japan, …

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I wonder if they'll have made it usable by then?

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FAIL

No chance

.. You know it. It'll be exactly like the Consumer Preview, and be an absolutely unusable mess, with duplicate control panels, duplicate browsers, duplicate ways of managing tasks.

Microsoft, there are no family-friendly words I could use to describe Windows 8.

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Unhappy

The relatively small timeframe between the consumer preview and this "release preview" makes that pretty unlikely, I'm afraid. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No chance

Off on a limb here but I'll guess not usable enough for the vocal grumblers here, many of whom apparently spend an unhealthy proportion of their day in the start menu/screen.

I'm not expecting an unveiling of massive changes from customer preview in June but what I am looking forward to is seeing what the OEMs come up with as their launch Win8 configurations. Love it or hate it, Win8 is encouraging greater hardware diversity, IMO a good thing.

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It's possible.

The only single thing they have to do, is to allow the user to turn off Metro. It's just one little thing. Do that and everything is rosy again. I guess we'll find out soon.

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Meh

Re: Do that and everything is rosy again.. Yes and

install Classic Shell.

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Anonymous Coward

It works perfectly. Maybe you're just stuck in a way of working where you think the only means of using a computing device is to have a menu in the bottom left labeled "Start".

It's not. Things change. Get used to it. It's the IT industry.

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Paris Hilton

Totally agree

I've had the CR on my laptop since it was released. Took me a couple of days to get used to it and it's great.

More importantly, my brother put it on my old mums computer as she had XP on it, and she loves it.

If you want "windows", it's the same, pretty much, just that the start menu takes up the whole screen. Is that too difficult to grasp?

Paris - Dumb blonde.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 1327

I'm always surprised by the amount of people who work in IT, who are resistant to change. They always come up with the answer "but this isn't good change" or something like that. Always.

It's not too long since all the people complaining about Win8 who are staying with XP were the people complaining Windows XP who were going to be staying on Win NT4 or 2k.

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Re: @AC 1327

And if modern versions of firefox and office ran on it I'd happily still be running 2k.

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Stop

Re: @AC 1327

Thats because change (for the sake of it) just means a rewrite of documentation, endless visits to peons who cannot figure out why the start menu is now round or where the file/save toolbar has gone etc.

It is a drain on your time. Creating yet more GPOs to set up "classic looks" for the obvious luddites is also a waste. I agree that I would much prefer to install office 2010 and aero 7 on everyones machines. I imagine my phone would melt very soon afterwards.

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Windows

@Nick

Agreed.

And to all the AC's who claim that people simply can't stand change... That's not it; if it were the case you'd hear a lot more whining about XP going EOL and people being forced to use Win7. The changes between those two are also quite heavy, and also involve functionality. The main difference though is that Win7 also increases where functionality is concerned. AND that it allows you 'move back' again (to a certain extend).

I don't think people who complain about Win8 complain due to the change alone. They complain because a whole level of functionality has been removed and nothing has been setup in return. The examples are numerous...

Sure; we still have some form of Aero on the desktop app. But what good is that if you're constantly taken away from said desktop app the moment when you merely want to start another program ?

Having to work with programs full screen without being able to see /anything/ else going on is not functional. Not in these days where a PC can perform a dozen tasks at the same time. And don't get me started on being able to run 2 Metro programs side by side but only if your monitor supports the right resolutions. I could run programs side by side on a 640 x 480 screen running Windows 98 (which in fact was simply a GUI running on top of DOS). So why can't you do that now?

Its not Metro. Metro is a very good environment which can be very functional, I use it on a daily basis on my Windows phone and I actually /enjoy/ working with it there.

The problem is enforcing the wrong solution at the wrong place. If they would have given us a choice; /or/ Metro /or/ the classic start menu then most people would have been happy.

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"Maybe you're just stuck in a way of working where you think the only means of using a computing device is to have a menu in the bottom left labeled 'Start'."

Indeed, anonymous sir or madam. That's not the only way. You could have a bug-ugly menu covering the whole damn screen and no way to switch it off. BWUHAHAHAHA!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Look, I spend only marginally more time in Metro then I do looking at the start menu on Win 7, the only real difference is that in that same period of time I can check a whole bunch of other things.

Productivity is significantly improved. Metro adds the snap shot of all things important, its not a UI replacement but it is a new way of working.

Ive been testing this for quite some time now and I fully admit that there is a harsh learning curve for people that are already set in their ways, but once you hit that curve an get over the hump its actually pretty damn good even in its current state.

New time users that haven't got a clue what they are doing actually pick this up very quickly, at least from my observations. Why? well I think its because things are were they expect them to be, simple sells, as proven by apple and Google. So why use outlook to check and delete emails? its a giant piece of software and id bet big money that the large majority of home users don't do anything more that read and delete stuff on it, a simple app would do and having that app on metro enables the user to see everything they have setup in the blink of an eye, but what do I know, I only spent time learning it, using it and feeding back to MS about it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Nick

Interesting. I've used Windows since the very early versions.

I run most applications full screen and then I tab between them. I don't use the Start Menu to launch anything. I use the Task Bar or I hit Windows+R and start typing.

I don't have a screen with a resolution below 1366x768 and I wouldn't buy any machine where I would run desktop apps below that resolution.

Consequently, Windows 8 works perfectly for me and it's working perfectly for me on different types of hardware and on multi-monitor.

I suspect I'm not alone. Only time will tell.

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Anonymous Coward

Here is an equation for you math people out there

Windows 8 = Windows 7 + Metro + secured boot for eventual vendor lockdown

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Re: @ShelLuser

"The main difference though is that Win7 also increases where functionality is concerned."

I was actually just ranting today that in our environment 7 is a step BACKWARDS from XP. Sure, it allows for >4GB of RAM and the use of SSD, but we don't use much of that. However, from my perspective it is harder to administer, everything from the more hidden "all users" desktop to the repeated erasing of the default gateway to the fact that you have to set up a printer first as admin before your users can install it to the default IPv6 to the crappy Bing addons needing to be disabled in every profile in the newer craptacular IE to the clunky sign-on screens you get in a domain.

7 is GREAT for home use, but positively sucks compared to XP in our domain. Maybe I'll grow fonder of it in time or if we stopped being a mixed mode XP/7 2k3/2k8 shop or if they bother to send me for some training on it, but in the interim it's been nothing more than a (very pretty) pain in the arse that's inflicted on us my XP's retirement and clueless managerial users who swear that shinier is better (even after Office 2010 beat some of that out of them to the point that they were clamoring for 2003 back).

I'm putting on my asbestos underwear for the incoming flames/downvotes/"yore dooin it RONG" posts.

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Re: @AC 1327

IceWM on Debian Squeeze. Use the Redmond or '95 theme. Just like 2k and Sh*t of a Shovel fast. Try it.

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Unhappy

This is to Windows 9 what Vista was to Windows 7

With the unusablilty dial turned up a thousand times more. Every user is a sucker just beta testing it for the next one, this is so obvious its painful. Just like WP7 in fact.

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Change is not necessarily for the better. Get used to it.

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Re: @ShelLuser

No flame from me. In the corporate network I look after, XP works just fine. It runs all the programs we need and has proved to be extremely reliable and easy to administer. If I could still get it, I would. People moving on to Windows 7 generally complain about it.

I have experimented with Windows 8 and can see nothing that would persuade me to migrate until I can no longer buy 7. In the meantime, I am looking more and more into the practicality of Linux on the desktop - in our simple environment, it might just work, although Exchange/Outlook is a hard act to follow.

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Stop

Change is for the profit margin

One thing to note here, the proprietary software industry's moto should genuinely be "Change or die". They *have* to change their stuff every now and then in order to make people buy a new copy, or an upgrade and buy new books and training courses. If they just did minor bugfixes on the same old stuff the whole time, they would go bust. They need the cash from the updates.

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Re: @AC 1327

> I'm always surprised by the amount of people who work in IT, who are resistant to change.

I'm always surprised by the number of people who have managed to find jobs of any sort but don't understand that change isn't an inherent good. Perhaps they don't teach critical thinking where you come from.

> They always come up with the answer "but this isn't good change" or something like that. Always.

Perhaps because that's always the problem that they have correctly identified with the change in question.

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Re: @AC 1327

I take it you've just installed in your computer and think that's enough testing.

I speak from experience when I say that something that works well on a technician's computer often works extremely badly when rolled out..

Look at it this way. If you are a lone user, running maybe 5 - 10 applications on your PC, then change is easy to accept. You just learn the differences and deal with them.

If, on the other hand, you are (as I am) an IT technician supporting hundreds or thousands of PCs and thousands of users (which various technical abilities and qualifications ranging from GCSEs to Professorships), not to mention that the average install on each PC is over 110 applications, then changes like this become a major event and require serious testing..

We got a lot of calls for even the relatively minor changes Windows 7 introduced. God knows how many we will get if and when we switch to Windows 8.

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FAIL

Launch song?

As Win 95 (which introduced the Start button) used "Start Me Up" by the Sones, should Win 8 (which removes it) use Kylie's "(Can't Start) Giving You Up" perhaps?

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Re: Launch song?

Always look on the bright side of life?

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Re: Launch song?

Use the same Rolling Stones song but start at the second line - "You make a grown man cry".

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Re: Launch song?

Jack of all trades, master of none?

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If you can opt out of Metro for non-tablet use I'll give it a go but if not it rates as high as Vista for me which I never bought.

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yes

there is a GPO for it so yes you can. (actually in true beta style you utilise the dont use start menu option!)

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FAIL

It's so clearly a turd

that they couldnt even be bothered to TRY polishing it :-(

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Re: It's so clearly a turd

Way to add value with an insightful comment there.

Face facts: even if it is a fail of Vista-proportions it will still comfortably out-sell every iteration of OSX ever made, just like Vista did. And that's a huge "if". Try using Win8 on a tablet (EP121), and it's actually pretty good. It "fingerizes" most stuff allowing quick access on the go, but when I sit down at a desk, I can use a keyboard and mouse & the full versions of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Office, etc.

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Re: It's so clearly a turd

I dare you to compare with iOS.... that's what it's aiming at and there it will fail. Windows will never have it's monopoly again: thank god

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Re: It's so clearly a turd

OK, i'll bite. (and I do like iOS, our family have many idevices).

Tell me how to do this in iOS. For 1000 users I want to roll out 500 devices. The devices are all identical. However, 100 need to be set up to use printer A and a set of programs that live in "group A", 100 printer B and programs in A and B and the rest no printer and programs A, B, C.

Oh and they all need various mapped drives. Next week I need to update acrobat reader on all 500 devices, the week after flash. The peons cannot be trusted so they cannot install software on their own machines. I also want to lock down their browser so they are forced throught the company firewall - transparent wont work as I also need to ID each person to allocate internet privs etc etc

Windows does have its place and a windows tablet that works will be bought in droves for our company.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

Short answer? You don't.

Include one page on how to turn it on and off, which web page to start at and the users ID/password.

Printers can be auto-discovered, just use the closest one.

Drive mappings? Ditch the DOS 1.0 drive letter model and have the home dirs, etc auto mount when accessed LIKE THEY DO ON MODERN OS's. You're obviously not knowledgable enough to know that this is controlled on the server-side, not at the client.

Software installation? Why? Move it to virtual server if you have to keep old-fashioned software on life-support.

Windows, like COBOL, will be around for a while (too many vested interests) but you have to realize its "best before" date was the day they launched Vista.

The "desktop" is dying, your job is changing. Learn how or move back to marketing.

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Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

> The "desktop" is dying, your job is changing. Learn how or move back to marketing.

The cloud is very beautiful, is changing the game, etc. But they forgot the people who will make the actual software.

I don't care if users can only use one 'app' a time, or the tablet interface. But I do care if I can't use a dual headed setup, overlapped windows, etc.

Users might like it, but developers don't seem to like Windows 8's interface. See Visual Studio: still using toolbars, while all other MS software uses the ribbon.

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Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

When you say "the desktop is dying", are you suggesting a global trend that people who previously had desk jobs are now tending to work standing up? Or are you merely accepting the vendors "unbiased, ho ho" opinion about how you ought to get your job done?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

Ehm, you're off in the wrong direction too.

I'm not supporting Windows 8, just ditch Windows and move on. I did (10 years ago), Microsoft have to and so do you. Metro is MS acknowledging this fact but they're failing to replace the revenue streams from Office and the desktop tax (their only money-making product lines to date).

NCR failed to solve the same issue in the early 80s when transitioning from mechanical cash registers, with high maintenance revenues, to reliable, almost disposible electronic tills.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

Neither.

First off, it has been largely forgotten that end-user businesses have no obligation to maintain the IT "industry" in its current state of bloat. The "desktop" is more of a high-margin business model for the IT supply chain and resource drain for the owner than a useful piece of equipment.

Monitor + ARM-based computer + browser + RDP client for legacy apps. Cost? On the desk, running, $300. 90% less power, very green. No management, no data security issues, no (expensive) control freakery. If it breaks, chuck it.

IT staff who know there job will be worth more but the Windows reboot/reinstall monkeys will be back on the dole.

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Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

@AC - Facepalm. You clearly have no IT experience at all. Your responses place so much obligation on the users to take pro-active steps to achieve the desired ends that - in your model - you would basically have to spend your entire working day doing user support instead of, you know, actual useful stuff.

Moreover, the desktop isn't dying in corporate IT. ipads look great in marketing, but when people want to sit down and work, there's nothing like a desktop, and the ipad doesn't come close. Nobody - including Apple - has abandoned their desktop market, because people still need real computers to do their work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

You can print in iOS?

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Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

yes. to certain devices. and its not very easy to do..i think they hid it away because it is so 'old fashioned' to print things out (and its limited to a small subset of printers...wouldnt want all those users to complain that they cant actually print even though the device says 'print' ) ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's so clearly a turd - Windows for control freaks?

@whiteafrican

Well, I may have picked up the odd snippet here and there during 30+ years in IT, unajua?

I place NO obligation on the user, the obligation is on IT to provide usable tools they need. (The term is "consumerisation of IT". Users are not idiots, give them usable tools instead of the arcane crap we feed them now. Apple"got it" years ago, now they're cashing in.

On a positive note, you are half right about the desktop, the FUNCTION is not going away but the current hard/software model is.

Yeh, all you Windows reboot monkeys are gonna be on the dole BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT NEEDED ANY MORE. Your world is dying, move on.

Now piss off and geeuz peace, eh?

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Look forward

Been waiting to upgrade for sometime in the offices, Win 8 shall be a welcome install for me. Can't see anything else worth installing any who!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Look forward

Genuine question - not trolling; Why would you install Windows 8 over the eminently usable, and pretty damn good effort that is Windows 7? What features does Win8 give you as an office worker that Win7 doesn't?

Interested, of Gloucester.

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Re: Look forward

Whilst I'm not keen on the Metro at all costs and No Start button option. I have to admit (and be mature about this) that to be honest after a week or two it's not that bad and you do get used to it.

I'm not darting bottom left automatically to shut down etc. I can get around now. You just have to stop moaning, man up and get on with it. It's not going to change because I don't like it so get on with it.

I have two laptops sitting in the corner of the living room. One with Windows 7 and the other with Windows 8. When I want to look something up I find I'm grabbing the Windows 8 laptop to use if nothing else for the really fast boot up time. For me that trumps the negatives.

MS really should have given the Start button option but set it to off as default. Then got rid of it in Windows 9 if they had to along with other modifications.

I still however, have zero use for the Metro stuff. I have installed quite a few of the apps and they are either crap or don't really work.

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Re: Look forward

@Ben Holmes. Upgrading a Windows 7 system to 8 doesn't really bring anything to a typical 'office worker' of 2012, and unlikely that changes next year and beyond. Not the primary target market for Microsoft. Most apps in this space will continue to be desktop and web-based.

Home office, same goes, although if its doubling as a entertainment/consumer PC, likely be interesting apps in the Windows store that may make 8 a better proposition for some people.

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Re: Look forward

@Jason,

I am with you on the Apps. Weak. The core installed previews show so much promise, but they absolutely fail to bring the consolidation...in this version. Windows Phone 7.5 is better with core functionality like the photo hub, contacts + facebook, live tile integration, etc.

There have been several things I didn't expect but I like very much:

* Windows 8 supports multiple user accounts and profiles that go with it. iPad and Android? Without multiple user support any device with logged in credentials is tied to a single user. Completely unsuitable for a household. Users need their own profiles.

* Using a touchscreen and a mouse. My touch enabled laptop has me occasionally touching the screen, and finding it more comfortable. I never expected I might like this since I hate a smudgy screen. I swipe the screen for obvious stuff, and touchpad/mouse and keyboard the rest. I know a huge number of keyboard shortcuts, and have mastered some of the gestures that are used regularly. In short I have adapted quickly. (it was a painful initial learning curve though)

* Tablet and proper desktop. Everyone is moaning about this. Hell, set this shit up with a touch enabled monitor and open the desktop to the main monitor in a multiple monitor setup. I just wish the touch enabled monitors hadn't completely disappeared from stores.

I recommend a side by side comparison versus Android or iOS tablets for the interface.

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Re: Look forward

"What features does Win8 give you as an office worker that Win7 doesn't?"

For that matter, what features did 7 give me that XP did not?

Since we have <4GB of RAM and no SSD in all our machines, the answer is "nothing but more headaches".

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Re: Look forward

"Tablet and proper desktop. Everyone is moaning about this. Hell, set this shit up with a touch enabled monitor and open the desktop to the main monitor in a multiple monitor setup. I just wish the touch enabled monitors hadn't completely disappeared from stores."

Touch enabled monitors failed with very good reason. They require the user to hold their arms up for an extended period. Something which we humans apparently aren't designed to do, and as such, something that can be very uncomfortable.

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