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 Windows 8 Beta (Consumer Preview) 
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Sheikah Elder
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Post Windows 8 Beta (Consumer Preview) • Posted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:43 pm
I'm gonna hop on the update train and see what's in store for Microsoft's new operating system. I'll give an in-depth perspective and screenshots of useful features as I find them. Anyone else gonna try it out?


Install Notes:
Spoiler: show
Setup was similar to Windows 7. The only difference was cutting down from 20 mins to 5 minutes. Once installed, a screen comes up with some options for you. Basically it asks if you want to install updates, change your security settings, provide feedback to Microsoft, and sign into your Windows Account (known formerly as Windows Live ID). 5 minutes. Man...

First Impressions:
Spoiler: show
I took a little time to get myself set up with fancy new wallpapers to test out the dial-a-color option for the taskbar when your background switches. It seems to stick with one color depending on what color stands out most between the 2 backgrounds, or is entirely dependent on one monitor's background. Either way, it's a neat feature. The missing start button doesn't seem to hinder much, since I can navigate the same by pushing the windows key on my keyboard. Since I'm used to looking for things by typing them in, it's really intuitive, but new users could find themselves confused. Hopefully Microsoft will spend time deciding that they should impliment a PC-only version and keep the start button, in addition to the version meant for tablets and touchscreen devices. More to come.

Technical errors and bugs in Windows 8:
"In order to make an Omelette, you gotta break a few eggs"
Spoiler: show
With a release just hot off the press, one can expect a few bugs, and it shows that some things need improved upon. Apparently Win8 doesn't like multi-monitor setups just yet, as the default video driver gave me some graphical errors. Another bug I found was with the built-in social media/messenger service that allows you to talk with your friends on Facebook, MSN, and other services. After switching from one service to the next I encountered an error where I couldn't continue conversations with people on MSN. I'll take another look and see if it was something I had done wrong.

Conclusion: (to be added)
Windows 8 Consumer Preview is loaded with tablet-rich features and functionality that even desktop users can get a handle on. While I do miss the traditional start menu, I have found a few things to help you familiarize yourself with the new interface. Let's get to know the new Startscreen:

[click on image to view larger picture]

As we can see, the new layout is pretty much like any traditional build of Windows as we have come to know. We can see the usual things like Games, a photo viewer of some sort, a calendar, among other things. New programs that can be considered handy are weather, messaging, and a store for Windows Apps. I won't touch too much on these apps, but as you can see, there's a nice blend going here. But let's say we want to seperate this blend...

[click on image to view larger picture]

As you can see, you can rearrange apps in your start screen much like you would rearrange icons on your desktop. The downside is that your categories are unlabled, so make a mental note for future reference as to what goes where if you're mixing it up a little. As a side note, I wanted to get some form of a traditional control panel up. By right-clicking anywhere on the background of the start menu, I found this:

[click on image to view larger picture]

When you click on "All apps" a traditional control panel of sorts comes up, allowing you to view installed apps, tweak system settings, and various other trinkets of interest. If you're not entirely sure where to find something in the new layout, you can always begin typing the name of something. Let's take for instance that I wanted to find the Control Panel to adjust power settings. I began typing, and this popped up:

[click on image to view larger picture]

Pretty cool huh? At this point, I began running around my system, setting up various things, and getting the environment to visually look the way I wanted it to. I started poking around a little, and found that on your taskbar, the developers left a small gap between the left of the taskbar and the first icon, allowing you to put your mouse there. Lo-and-behold a small window appeared, giving me a miniature startscreen. As I messed around with the image to see if it did anything, I right-clicked it, and this menu came up:

[click on image to view larger picture]

That's right! A miniature control panel! I have to say, it's a pretty brilliant way to adjust settings on the fly. No more toiling through twenty or more menus to adjust the performance of my system, but rather a few clicks, and away I go!
Previously, you could only have one resident taskbar in Vista and 7. In Windows 8, you're allowed to take more control of customization by having one taskbar per monitor. The neat part of it is that the developers allowed you to not crowd your taskbars by only showing icons in the taskbar for what applications are open in their respective monitors.

[click on image to view larger picture]

As part of Windows 8's metro-based interface, the goal was to simplify the Windows operating system. One of the most useful features for any user would have to be the Task Manager. As I pulled up the task manager, I was sceptical about it's tiny size, but all worry went away after I clicked on "More Details".

As you can see, there's a lot of statistics in here, and for system admins, it's always nice knowing what processor you're working with, and it's insanely handy to have quick specs like processor speed, core utilization, and misc. details about the machine you're working with. I hope my write-up hasn't kept you too long, but has offered a quick, but in-depth, up-close and personal look at what we can expect out of Windows 8.

LiD's Win8 Wallpack: http://www.groundz3ro.net/win8/win8wallpack.rar

[12:08:29 PM] AkaAnonymous: I buy expensive things and talk to pretty girls all day. When I'm not doing that, I usually act like I'm 10. Because 10 is awesome.

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