Microsoft has just released the “Consumer Preview” of Windows 8, the latest iteration in a long line of <generally> successful operating systems for the PC. Before getting into the nuts and bolts (as far as the everyday PC user is concerned), it is important to note a few potential pros and cons which stand out pretty much straight away. This newest OS is not just “new” nor is it just “an improvement”; moreover, it is very nearly what Microsoft describes as a “re-imagination” of the PC operating system. Much of what is being introduced into Windows 8 is not actually brand new, but new to the Windows OS; the newest Mac OS has similar attributes as do smartphones and tablets. Now let’s have a look at what Windows 8 has in store for current and future PC users because it is likely to shape into what the norm will be.
Can you say touch? Well let’s think, yes Windows 7 has that capability so – can you say touch-centric? Not just touching a screen to activate something but actually interacting with that screen in ways that are very much akin to what many people already know as standard interaction with their smartphones and other devices. Drag and drop becomes swoop and place or slide and oops! (at least until one becomes familiar with this new GUI). Maybe that’s funny in a way but it is also a very good improvement once you realize that with Windows 8 nearly the same effect and experience can be achieved with a mouse when using a standard (non-touch) monitor. Microsoft aims to bring the PC experience to a new level with Windows 8 and the aforementioned part of it is impressive; so unless it gets broken, Windows 8 will likely draw a very enthusiastic following.
So if I start this with the positive, from where will the negative come? Perhaps debatable at this point because Windows 8 is still in Beta (it will change before being sold) but can you say social media? Facebook and MSN messenger became automatically integrated and part of the “Start Screen” that Windows 8 displays in place of what had been the “Start Menu” in the past. Since an email address is required for the Windows 8 download and I naturally used the one that is associated with TechNet, MSN, and Facebook… VIOLA … auto-seamless integration. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Does it amount to commandeering personal information or is it just a natural progression? Perhaps a little of both so perhaps it all depends on a person’s own opinion and perspective.
Along the same lines as above, with Windows 8 Programs have basically been “superseded” by Apps, which most of us will likely associate with things other than their PC operating system (smartphone, etc.) and it appears that one can only get Apps for Windows 8 directly through the Microsoft store. Fact of the matter is that a program = an application to begin with so it becomes a matter of semantics and social media “jargon” which again leads to the thought that (possibly excepting the store) this could be just a natural progression. Will that store be the only place to get programs to be used with Windows 8 in the future? Testing continues and updates will be posted here on a regular basis.
How Windows 8 functions overall is different than what people are accustomed to but the learning curve should not be difficult. If you want to try it out now you certainly can do so but I highly recommend a few precautionary measures beyond the normal BACKUP YOUR FILES!! First remember that you cannot easily go back to what had been used previously and although it can be done it’s likely far better to use a secondary machine about which you have less concern. Keep your current primary system right where it is – leave it alone. If you have the disk space and want to do it you can create a partition and have a dual boot setup (mine is now a triple boot with Windows 7, Ubuntu, and Windows 8) but have a look at the video below and judge for yourself if you really want to try it now at all.
If you seriously do wish to try it, you can get Windows 8 (Consumer Preview) HERE.
Windows 8 Has since been released