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back to article Windows 8: Download it, then speak YOUR brains

Got any plans next weekend? Cancel them. Tell your partner to finally catch up with those old university friends, get a cat sitter in, and order a pizza. This week sees the eagerly anticipated first release of Microsoft's Windows 8 to those outside the Redmond circle of friends. Windows 8 is, according to bullet-headed …

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trying it now

I just grabbed the x86 and x64 versions. I dont think I will be liking it having read up on the new UI etc but I need to learn my way about it for work reasons (you know some idiot will install it on his laptop and then expect me to fix it all).

Will stick it on an VM though I think as I dont think its good enough to replace a good solid stable and fast windows 7 base.

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Re: trying it now

You probably should've waited a day - currently there's only a Release Preview available, the final (RTM) version is being released to MSDN/TechNet tomorrow.

I've been using the Release Preview in a VM with limited success - mostly because VirtualBox isn't brilliantly compatible with Win8 yet (guest tools are flaky, and - even with 4GB guest / 8GB host RAM - it chugs like a mofo when switching in/out of The Interface Formerly Known As Metro). Dual-booting may be a stabler alternative, though like you, I'd rather not have its ungodly juices dipped too deep into my system.

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Re: trying it now

I found it Ok on VirtualBox - not brilliant but usable. That's with a core i7 running off SSD though

.

OTOH I found metro so annoying it didn't stay around long.. will load this release to see if they've fixed some of the issues (and always worth learning it a bit, even if it'll never be my main OS).

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Re: trying it now

TIFKAM - The Interface Formerly Known As Metro, better name than the original.

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Re: trying it now

If you can, dual boot it. I tried one of the earlier ones in a VM (Virtualbox) and found the VM software didn't handle full-screen / edges of the window very well. Using it normally, it's been fine. Better than fine, in fact. I use it as my preferred OS over Win7 at the moment. It's been plenty stable enough so far and everything I installed on Win7 has installed fine on Win8 that I've tried so far.

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Re: trying it now

"...I'd rather not have its ungodly juices dipped too deep into my system."

Upvote for that alone.

Going to be a VM for me too. CBA setting up a dual boot and risking this splattering my normal boot drive with some nasty incompatible files.

I'll have to fix some machine at some point. Or at least explain to someone how to work the new interface.

Plus, I want to make sure any software I've written still looks normal and works on it.

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MrT
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I've tried Windows 8...

... and my first impressions were probably Frank Spencer, Orinoco the Womble and Bod ...

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Happy

Ungodly juices: Re: trying it now

That's a new keyboard you owe me!

+1

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Re: Ungodly juices: trying it now

He owes me a new keyboard and TWO nostrils.....

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Re: trying it now

Running fine under VirtualBox on Linux here and will go fullscreen on either monitor with no slowness noticed. Seems to use less CPU time than Ubuntu as it happens.

Don't get me wrong, it's horrid, but since it may be forced upon me I am playing.

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Mushroom

Re: trying it now

Windows 8 is much faster than Windows 7. Especially for 3D graphics....I get notably higher 3D Mark ratings....

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MrT
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Re: I've tried Windows 8...

... but this and other comments are now adrift to one degree or another because the article title has just been changed from "...give us your first impressions" to "...speak your brains".

Brains(*): Sure, Mr Tracy, but can you give me some sort of a steer? I like to work to a specification...

* not mine though

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Linux

Re: trying it now

I've done the same. Works "fine" on VirtualBox / Ubuntu, assuming that what I see is how it is supposed to work in the first place. Yes, it is horrid, and from where I stand I find it to be unusable as an enterprise desktop. Quite apart from the as-yet-uncalculated cost of switching to touchscreen, when we have excellent high end monitors in service already.

Won't be recommending, won't be buying.

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Re: trying it now

"mostly because VirtualBox isn't brilliantly compatible with Win8 yet "

Can someone explain to me how a VM can be incompatible with an OS? Surely if it just emulates standard hardware it should be OS agnostic and any x86 OS you install should run using standard drivers?

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Happy

Re: trying it now

I am trying the RTM version now. This is the first time I've run it on tin, I've tried the previews in VMs before and I'm very impressed. I don't usually trust upgrades, I like to do a clean install instead, but this upgraded my Win7 to Win8 very smoothly. I have to log in now using my MS live account to get into my old Win7 account, but that's ok. My Win7 installed games work fine after the upgrade, so why Win8 would force game devs onto Linux is beyond me. Mind you, I'd like to see more games on Linux, so who cares?!

Maxivista doesn't work on Win8, so I'm back to two screens. Hopefully they'll get that sorted out, because Win 8's better than Win 7 on multiple screens - a taskbar on each screen and different desktop backgrounds - so I'd prefer to be using 3 screens.

I've got Hyper-V on my laptop which is awesome and will be a real productivity boost.

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Trollface

Re: trying it now

This new Microsoft software is bloody brilliant! I showed it to my wife and kids and they are extremely excited. Everyone I know is raving about it so hard!

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IT Angle

windows LOL

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Maybe

I gave it a try during the first release and was honestly less than impressed. I might give it a second try now that its further down the line, but I don't have high hopes.

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I already have an impression...

...and have Linux on "sticks" to rescue those who wish to escape the 'horror."

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N2

Re: I already have an impression...

Me too, I dont see why I should learn a new operating system every time MS releases windows, I'll stick with what works.

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HMB

Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

I honestly don't see Windows 8 as an upgrade.

Windows 8 is aimed at people buying new touch-enabled hardware. It's the only way it shines. Microsoft knows this.

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Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

This. I don't think they're seriously expecting people who use windows for a living to suddenly install an experimental UI (We'll probably have one for support purposes - we even have a vista box.. but that's it). This release is for new hardware - mainly their surface tablets and possible future touch enabled laptops.

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Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

I gave you a up vote, but you are only partially correct.

Windows 8 brings some very nice enhancements to the desktop as well, especially under multi-monitor set-ups.

But I agree, that I don't see "Modern"-UI apps being of any advantage on a traditional desktop - it takes away from the strengths of a traditional desktop / notebook PC; namely the ability to have mutliple windows open and visible at the same time.

That said, I do like the Windows 8 Start Screen, with its live tiles.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

It's popular to slam Metro at the moment. Not sure why, but I suspect that the tech community (the source of the slamming, given that the silent majority has yet to see W8) has a Windows/Microsoft axe to grind. I've been using Windows 8 on my Samsung Series 7 slate since the first preview was made available. Since then it made it's way onto my laptop and, when the release preview came out, onto my desktop.

Windows 8 has melted into the background. I don't even notice it anymore because I'm either busy in EMACS, Visual Studio, Word...

The only criticism I have is that the slate gave me the annoying habit of touching my non-touch desktop monitor.

Paris, because I hear tell she likes being touched.

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Coat

Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

Woohoo! Microsoft have finally (almost) achieved the level of functionality of KDE3! They're only eight or nine years late...

Metro (or whatever it's called this week) is truly horrible - even on a touch screen. The base OS is just the same old crap with a bit of new shiny on top - there's a surprise. It's fairly stable (only crashed twice in the first hour), but it's certainly not suitable for business use, looks dreadful on netbooks, and the touch interface is flaky as hell. All my users migrated to KDE4 as soon as it was stable, and they certainly won't change.

Looks like yet another expensive MS failure. Their stock price is already in the toilet - it's going to be subterranean if this carries on.

The latest Office is badly broken too, so their two biggest cash cows are no unsaleable. Shame....

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@Spearchucker Jones

No, I have no MS Axe to grind. I like Windows 7 and use it on a desktop with multiple monitors. I generally have multiple windows open, mainly with reference material or research I need to produce a document, presentation etc. or reading documentation in one window whilst programming in another.

The "Modern"-UI makes a lot of sense on a tablet or a very small screened notebook. The apps I've seen so far don't seem to make much sense on a multi-monitor 27" desktop. For example, in Windows 7, I have Solitaire open in a corner of the screen and play a couple of moves whilst waiting for another task to finish. In Windows 8, it is full screen and the graphics (at least on the preview) seemed to be rendered for a small, low-resolution screen. Having huge poorly rendered playing cards taking up a complete 27" monitor was ugly and looked stupid.

The Contacts app was similar. In Outlook, I can look at a contacts details, whilst writing a letter etc. In Metro the "card" takes up the complete 27" screen and is pretty useless. At best, I could split it 2/3 1/3 with another app, still not very useful, it only needs to take up a fifth of the screen, at most.

I like Metro on my Windows Phone 7, it works very well. The Start Screen works well in Windows 8. But not being able to resize and move the apps around on a multi-screen set-up is a huge leap backwards to the days of MS-DOS. As I said, Metro / Modern UI makes a lot of sense on small devices, but it doesn't make much sense in its current form on the desktop.

Some applications, like Lightroom or video editing suites, which tend to be used full screen, even on large displays, might benefit from the simplified interface, but I don't see it being a benefit with a majority of the applications I use today.

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@Spearchucker: sure you know which way the bias points?

"I suspect that the tech community (the source of the slamming, given that the silent majority has yet to see W8)"

For a change I sort of agree with you. The vast majority of unbiased observers have indeed not tried Win8 yet and we can only guess what will happen when they do.

Now convince me the biased minority that have bothered installing and trying Win8 are not mostly Microsoft fans, eager to try the latest shiny. Because I don't believe many with an anti MS agenda will have bothered unless their job demands it. Just too disruptive for most, even techies.

Comment on Win8 is indeed biased, with epic levels of very amateur astroturfing everywhere I look mixing with kneejerk anti-MS reactions. What I don't see *many of* are endorsements I actually believe read as genuine. It's a biased pool but I believe it's biased toward Win8 more than we'll see from the wider public.

Launch time is going to be interesting.

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Unhappy

Re: Windows/Microsoft axe to grind...

Tired of seeing these comments. Couldn't be further from the truth. Many of us are hard-core Windows enthusiasts who were pretty damned excited to try the previews when they first came out. But then some of us were left gaping at the screen after half an hour or so of trying to stop it booting into the bloody start menu.

Personally I found the tile apps looked quite nice, but some had nasty usability issues and some ran disgustingly slowly. Yes, I know the games were only tasters, but 1fps or less, on a 2008-era laptop? Not encouraging. 'Course, I didn't know then they were glorified Widgets. Hmm. Then of course I scrolled right (as has been noted ad-nauseum elsewhere) to find the horrendouns mess where everything seems to be stuffed at the same level of heirarchy, on the same start screen.

etc, etc...

And no, no axes to grind. If anything, I wanted to be able to shove Win8 right down the 'h8t0rs' throats as an 'I told you so', but now I'm just fecked off with the whole thing.

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kb
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Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

You nailed it friend, I've tried DP and CP (haven't had a chance to slap RTM on my test bed yet) and frankly the ONLY nice thing I could say about it was "it might be nice on a tablet" but on a desktop? Yucky, just awful. Maybe if they'd give us a way to kill Tile_UI maybe, but with the horrible Tile_UI (try installing more than a few programs and it becomes a fricking mess, worse than any start menu they've ever had) its a no sale for me. I'll probably pick up a copy of Win 8 pro since its only $40, just in case i run into a program that actually requires Win 8, but otherwise i'll be skipping it.

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Big Brother

Re: Windows 8 isn't aimed as an upgrade

Quite right. It - the UI - IS being slammed by the tech community, because they have had the opportunity to try it, and are making it abundantly clear that they do not like it.

The silent majority will doubtless make their views heard when they have tried it. Except that they will not have the opportunity to try before they buy. They will meet it out of the blue for the first time when they buy a new PC and switch it on (thereby accepting the EULA). After which it will be too late. In any other business area a marketing strategy like this would be seen as a con trick, and would warrant reporting to Trading Standards.

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Re: Windows/Microsoft axe to grind...

"Many of us are hard-core Windows enthusiasts who were pretty damned excited to try the previews when they first came out. But then some of us were left gaping at the screen after half an hour or so of trying to stop it booting into the bloody start menu."

I am calling BS on this. Windows enthusiasts? wtf

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Anonymous Coward

Wake me up for the "Balmer Bites the Bullet" edition - Window v8.5 that gets rid of Metro.

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Anonymous Coward

Ballmer bites the bullet?

You're assuming that Ballmer still has a job at Microsoft when that happens.

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Unhappy

Re: Ballmer bites the bullet?

"You're assuming that Ballmer still has a job at Microsoft when that happens."

Balmer will be there until the company goes bust or someone attacks him with a chair. Any management talent the company had left years ago. Now its just a load of me-too sychophants with balmer sitting at the top crapping on everyone below. They're completely devoid of any original ideas - what exactly is that billion dollar Microsoft Research dept producing these days? - and are simply trying to re-implement iOS badly. Even Jobs wasn't stupid enough to put iOS on a 27 inch monitor but Balmer probably thinks Jobs missed a trick and now the idiot is trying to do it.

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We trialled the previews with a view to using them in the school I work in. We had Windows 7-compatible, brand-new touchscreen PC's.

We disabled touch (kiddie security issues with being able to use shortcuts to do things they shouldn't). We need a way to disable Metro. That was about our only thought above and beyond what we thought of Windows 7. The closest we got was to make the Metro screen have only one icon, desktop, which took you to the desktop. If we bought 8 (we've already skipped Vista and 7, but we feel it's now either 7 or 8 or nothing for another three years), we'd need to buy that utility that puts the Start Menu back to how it should be.

Really can't work out why MS can't give the customer what they want, when it ties them more into the MS way of doing things, they scream out for it, and it costs nothing to implement. Obviously, they just don't want our business, so we already try our hardest to avoid giving them money as much as possible.

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Linux

One Size ...

Apple and Microsoft building one-size-fits-all AND you will abide? I suppose it's the new philosophy. W7 isn't so bad, but ML is in the cloud. There are plenty of Linux distros to chose from, for personal use. For work, I'll play on an etch a sketch if they want to pay me.

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Do you disable keyboard access too while you're at it? What security issues are of concern soley with touch input?

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"We disabled touch (kiddie security issues with being able to use shortcuts to do things they shouldn't). "

Mind if I ask what that security issue is? Just curious.

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Happy

Re: Mind if I ask what that security issue is? Just curious.

Bakunin et al:

If you've worked with IT deployment in any school in the UK, his comments would make perfect sense; even if there is *no* security issue at all with having 'unauthorised' apps present on the start screen, IT policy is inevitably dictated by the non-techy faculty suits. They say things like 'We can't have X, Y or Z available to the students'. Arguing common sense doesn't cut it.

Now idiotic as this may often be, a good OS allows this flexibility one way or another. It may be via an easy tweak of a Control Panel applet, or manual registry tweaks, or rolled out as group policy settings via a domain server.

But when you can't do what the boss wants, that's not good. Plus you risk sounding like a whiney, excuse-laden PFY.

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re:Lee Dowling

"we'd need to buy that utility that puts the Start Menu back to how it should be."

The tile interface IS how the start menu should be. Disabling it will mean that you're teaching kids an outdated interface and put them at a disadvantage when they enter the world of work since we are installing Win8 at many, many companies with the new interface.

FWIW I recently installed a whole secondary school's IT after a rebuild and think the whole touch screen thing is nonsense too. We gave the kids touch screen Vaios and they got on fine. IMHO the only thing schools need is a lower IT budget!

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Re: re:Lee Dowling

> you're teaching kids an outdated interface and put them at a disadvantage when they enter the world of work

You seem to think that training kids to be consumers of a specific product is a good thing. Well it is good for indoctrination. But it is like teaching them how to order at McDonalds because that is how they will eat when they leave home.

In any case it is unlikely that Windows 8 will be what they will do when they find work. It may be WinXP, or 7, or 10, it may be Ubuntu or OS/X. MS have been through WIMP, Ribbon and now Tiles. Next year they may have something entirely different, especially if Metro fails.

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Facepalm

@Lee Dowling

"If we bought 8 ... we'd need to buy that utility that puts the Start Menu back to how it should be."

It's Classic Shell you're looking for - http://classicshell.sf.net/ - no need to buy it ... it's free!

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I have a really good monitor and I'm not buying a new touch friendly one, just so I can use Windows 8.

Are there any GOOD options out there for capacitive overlays?

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You don't need a touch-device for Win8 at all. You can do pretty much everything with the same amount of clicks / mouse movements / keyboard shortcuts as you can in Win7. I've found very few cases where it takes more.

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More brokenware

You really do need a touchscreen to use this mess. It's truly horrible - touchscreen or keyboard / mouse. It's more than slightly unstable, too. It's slow, bloated brokenware.

But what else would you expect from a marketing-led software company?

Game Over M$ - Epic Fail!

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Re: More brokenware

"You really do need a touchscreen to use this mess. It's truly horrible - touchscreen or keyboard / mouse. It's more than slightly unstable, too. It's slow, bloated brokenware."

This is basically crap. First off, I've used Win8 for over a month as my primary OS without any touch interface at all, just keyboard and trackball. Give me a few examples of what you think I can't do without a touch-screen that I'd be able to do on Win7 without one.

More than slightly unstable? I haven't had a single crash. Not saying it can't happen, but my experience and the experience of others that I'm aware of is that it's very stable indeed.

"It's slow, bloated brokenware"

And yet all the performance metrics show that it actually runs faster than Win7. Maybe you think that is "slow, bloated brokenware", but I don't think most people do and this is demonstrably quicker than that.

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K
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WTF?

LOL.... El Reg should do stand up comedy..

After all you must be joking?

In all seriousness though, I usually rush for the download link, but Windows 8 is just CRAAAAAP! I'm actually more excited about the paint cracks on my wall!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LOL.... El Reg should do stand up comedy..

Yep it's totally fecking shit. Having much more fun with Opensuse 12.2 RC.

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Windows

Let's have a Windows party!

Just like we did for Windows 7 (following Microsoft recommendations of course)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyas7BrbUFY

( insert many Unicode U+1F388 ballons here )

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