Maybe Windows 8 will end up a raging success after all. Power users and many in the media have criticized Microsoft's next generation operating system for being a perhaps too radical of a departure from Windows as we've known it for the past several years, changing up not only the interface in drastic fashion, but even altering the familiar logo. And maybe it's for those very reasons that so many people are flocking to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, to peek if things are truly as bad as they fear. Whatever the reason, Windows 8 is off and running to a large crowd.
Happy Windows 8 Consumer Preview day! Or, rather, happy day-after-Windows-8…. you get the idea. As an astute Maximum PC reader, you’re no doubt itching to get your hands on a not-quite-final build of Windows 8 to tinker around with.
But here’s the problem: You like using your current operating system. In fact, you probably have a great number of files, applications, and games all intertwined with your current operating system. And the absolute last thing you want to do – aside from learning how to use the Metro UI (we kid, we kid) – is back up everything within your operating system, wipe your drive, and introduce a fresh-faced Windows 8 into your life as your primary OS. Just think of all the application reinstallations you’ll have to go through!
Luckily, you have two awesome options when it comes to testing out Windows 8 without mucking up your primary Windows installation, settings, files, or any of that. You can split your current hard drive storage setup to create an extra, blank partition – Windows 8 goes there. Or, if you just want to monkey around in a self-contained environment within your current operating system, you can install Windows 8 onto a virtual PC.
Microsoft wasn't the only company releasing Windows 8 Consumer Preview software yesterday. If you're rocking a Radeon graphics card, you'll be happy to hear that AMD rolled out new Catalyst drivers specifically tailored for the prerelease OS, complete with support for Windows 8's WDDM 1.2 features.
Earlier today, Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (beta) at the 2012 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, giving the general public an opportunity to preview Windows 8 on existing x86 systems and provide feedback. But Microsoft’s “Consumer Preview” event wasn’t just all about the beta released today for x86-based PCs. The company also showcased a number of Windows 8 on ARM devices at today’s event. Hit the jump for more.
The slow, relentless trek towards the release of Windows 8 continues. The Developer Preview released several months back was nifty, but a bit rough around the edges -- as you would expect from an early build created for development use. Now, after months of rumors, tidbits and news about features that weren't included in the Developer Preview, you'll finally get a chance to try many of them out for yourself. Today, Microsoft unveiled the more-polished and user friendly Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
At an earnings call last week, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman seemed confident of her company’s holiday prospects, saying “we're going to be well-positioned for [the] holiday [season] on Windows 8 x86.” She hinted at an entire lineup of Windows 8 products from HP making it to the market in the fourth quarter. Although there is still a fairly long way to go for the holidays, the rumor mill has already started churning out stories about HP’s Windows 8 devices.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the old saying goes. The cliché looks to be in full effect in Windows 8. No, Microsoft hasn't suddenly and miraculously decided to drop the contentious-to-some Metro UI for its upcoming operating system, but it will be killing two other branding efforts. Windows Live and Zune are all rumored to be going the way of the Dodo, dropped in favor of Apple-esque simplified program names.
Once you post something on the Internet, it takes about a nanosecond for it be picked up by a wandering Web surfer with his or her finger on the Print Screen key, let alone Google's Web crawling bots that take cached snapshots of everything it finds. So even though Hewlett-Packard has taken down a couple of driver documents that made references to Windows 8 SKUs, we can still take a peek thanks to a pair of cached copies.
By including the touch-specific Metro UI alongside the traditional Windows desktop in its next desktop operating system, Microsoft is trying as hard as it has ever done to appeal to the tablet crowd. But its newfound enthusiasm for touch will not mean a lot if developers fail to respond just as enthusiastically. It’s important that developers deliver a consistent and easy-to-use experience across the Metro app ecosystem. To this end, Microsoft has just released a four-page PDF titled Windows 8 Touch Guidance for developers.
The Windows logo has evolved over the years, but has always followed a carefully crafted theme. The Iconic Windows Flag is one of the most recognizable logos of our generation, being printed literally billions of times on the stickers we find plastered to our cases and laptops, as well as the ever so handy start key on just about every keyboard made in the last 10 years. Love it or leave it, everyone knew it, and isn’t that the whole point? Apparently not, as Microsoft has now publically declared their intent to ditch it in favor of something new.