Windows

A first look at the Windows 8 Developer Preview

IE 10 on the Windows 8 desktop

The trick and the one thing every critic of Windows 8 needs to remember, is that you don't have to use the Metro Interface. If you switch to the normal Windows Desktop you get Internet Explorer 10 with all the typical features.

Image by Mark Kaelin for TechRepublic.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

56 comments
rwe9
rwe9

If it is not broken, why does MS seem to always want to change it?? At least MS should have given the option to users for the basic screens and commands to appear and operate in Win 8 as they now do in the users' prior versions. News to MS, forcing users to use new sequences and/or commands to access the same old stuff is not, repeat not, an improvement. It is a pain in the ass, very unnecessarily inflicted upon the users.

GSG
GSG moderator

The average end user will like it, but to me, it's like the office ribbon. It's great for those who don't use the product very much, and horrible for those with experience. The tiles, or whatever they are, seem to be in no particular order, all different sizes, etc... which will make things hard to find. And let's suck more bandwidth by having a stock ticker, and other useless time wasters. I expect that we can disable those, but that's one more thing to do before rolling out a workstation. It looks like they are trying to make something that will run on both a PC and a tablet, and something that business and home users will use. All it does is remind me of the old saying... "A mule is what a committee decided a horse should look like". Microsoft got their team together with the intention of creating a high-powered race horse, and instead are ending up with a donkey. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. After all, these are only screenshots of a Beta product.

wuboyblue
wuboyblue

Ubuntu wasn't very good in handling my new soundcard (EMU-20K chip) or my GTX-560 graphics card. Thanks to SMB-CIFS for the file handling.

wuboyblue
wuboyblue

Currently I use W7 with Objectdock, it gives me all the interface I need and it works and plays well in it's environment. All W8 has to do for me is the same, in a thinner environment. The VM for Xbox stuff is fine, just don't mess with the integration I now have between Xbox and desktop. Documentation creation can be done on anything so why not do it on a platform you enjoy. For me Windows will always be the choice for home entertainment, From my GTX 560 graphics card to my Soundblaster Fat1lity sound card, Windows will always rock my world. From my Klipsch Cornwalls to my Xbox, nothing integrates or compare to my 4TB of storage W7, Quad Core machine. The funny thing is that my son, working on his Master's thesis in Marine Biology needed a new machine, he's not a gamer, he's a grinder, his choice for computational power and software, an Alienware Area 55 desktop with W7 Ultimate. The kid does do the integration thing with his home entertainment as well. His budget dictated an old pair of my Klipsch Heresy's.

ProBasix
ProBasix

No doubt that the look is radically different and will take some adjustment. I can empathize with every opinion on this page, and I have several of my own. But I think the point that a lot of people miss when something like this happens is that things must change with the times and the way we do things. If nobody ever wanted anything "radically different" we'd still be renting movies on tape, playing our vinyl records, and running MS-DOS. If nobody could adapt to a little inconvenience we'd be driving our cars without seat belts and the speed limit would be 100 mph. Linux is having their own growing pains with the Unity and Gnome 3 desktops, KDE not that long ago when they went from v3.5 to v4 (sort of like Windows' transition from XP to Vista). In any case, I've come to learn that there are almost always "fall-back" modes, theme settings, and other preference controls to force these new ideas back a step to something more comfortable. I've also noticed that once most people step out of their comfort zone and try something new they quickly adapt to it. I'm a die-hard GNU/Linux user at home so don't think I'm defending Microsoft here. However, I use Windows 7 on my PC at work and I support over 40 users in our office running Win7, Vista, and XP. I have one user in his 70's that still talks about the days of his "green screen" and only uses the mouse if he absolutely has to. Times will change, as will the tools we use. It really boils down to whether people are *willing* to try something different and adapt, or not.

Crash2100
Crash2100

Will Microsoft ever learn that most users don't like it when they dramatically change the user interface in every new version of their software? This is one big reason why people keep using the old version of the software, or just go elsewhere.

steve6375
steve6375

create a file called xxxyyy.txt, now try and search for yyy - zilch! Same for Vista and windows 7. So if you know only part of a filename, Windows can't find it - what use is that!

greg.evans20
greg.evans20

I think I'll stick with Windows 7, or is it 8? I'm fairly sure there were 8 versions of windows before this one. Maybe Microsoft have blocked ME from their psyche the way most teccies have done!!!

mike
mike

I can see most users wanting to use the Start page the way they use their desktop at the moment: Lots of icons and shortcut. One thing appears to be missing - creating a shortcut to a folder or file on the start page. Many of my customers start their day by opening a folder from a shortcut on their desktop and starting the application by double clicking a file. If they can't do this then Metro will, to them, be flop. Also you can pin an application to the taskbar but not easily create shortcut on the desktop. I'm fine with that myself, I have a completely clean desktop, but most people like to see their apps there as well as their folders - which you can easily put there.

BitSlayr
BitSlayr

In attempting to reach a broader community or different clientel your going to loose other clients; 'hope that works out for you'. I hope the professional version doesn't look or feel like what I've seen. If this is the direction of Windows, It will be time to buy a MAC or convert my family and friends to Linux!

emmcdonald
emmcdonald

Is it just me or does Windows 8 look the same as a bad version of windows 7 + open source software?

foxgibbs
foxgibbs

what are the minimum specs for windows 8, and the BIOS?

exetron
exetron

What was MS thinking? This may be fine for tablets, but come on. This is not mambi, pambi land. In the IT world we use real pcs, workstations and servers. AND they require a real OS, not tablet OS. And 1 OS does not fit all solutions. Apple knows that and has a specific OS per device family. One OS just for the computers, and an OS customized for itouch, ipads, ipods and iphones. And Apple's products can communicate with more devices because of Apple's OS. My desktop pc does applications and functions that my itouch (or iphone) will not do and the reverse applies. That is because they each were designed that way and need a customized OS to work properly accordingly. This new MS approach reminds me of MAC OS 9, it really does. And that is a major step back in time for Apple users and the world as well. I have always had PCs and MACs on my network at work and at home as well. And MACs can do some things better that a PC because of the OS. Apple has a Server OS that works a lot of the Apple devices and systems. So when is MS going to release MS Windows Server 8 to handle the new Windows 8 devices? And speaking of the OS differences, my Intel processor based MAC computer does not care. It runs the latest Apple OS, various Windows OS, most Unix and Linux OS as well on one computer. So I probably will not use Windows8,as I like XP Pro as my Windows OS.

jim
jim

The desire to have one OS for all types of user and hardware is self defeating. The way one interacts with a smart (sic) phone is quite different from the way one interacts with a 24 or 27" screen on the desktop. Trying to make an OS fit both uses will mean that either, one will be great and the other useless and frustrating, or neither will be acceptable. It is easiest to make a comparison to motor vehicles. Not everyone drives a sub compact car ( tablet ), nor does everyone like or need a pickup truck (high end workstation). Even fewer need an 18 wheeler. But all are valid users and have different needs and tools in the cabs. Do you make all the users of the sub compact have a 13 speed manual transmission? No. So an all seeing, all doing, wonder dog called Windows 8, better have capabilities to suit the tasks at hand. A kiddy block desktop will not fly in a busy business workplace. This is a sure sign of "dumbing down" to suit the lowest common denominator or in this case the smallest screen and the most illiterate of users. Can you imagine trying to use such a kiddy block approach in an app like Autocad Inventor or Solidworks or other such applications. They have dozens of menus all visible and at hand all the time. No ribbon hiding 80 % of your choices, No kiddy blocks occupying 80% of the work screen. Great idea. Looks like the cartoon networks. Really great for those who can't read and have to look at pictures. Maybe they will resurrect the NT cynics with this one. Remember NeatToy, NiceTry, NotToday? The more a user uses a computer to compute I suspect the less that user will appreciate this type of interface.

mike
mike

How do you get to your apps from the 'old' style desktop without going into Metro?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

a 'Go' variant where the object is to get 5 stones in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The '5' logo in the bottom left supports this theory. I'm guessing you shouldn't have to do more than click on the line intersections where you want to place your stone. You also place stones to prevent your opponent from making rows, so there's both offensive and defensive tactics. I recall Othello requires placing your piece / stone adjacent to the previously played pieces. There is no such requirement in Pente (or Go); your move can be to add an nonadjacent 'free floating' stone such as the highlighted black piece in the screen shot. If the demo app is more like Pente, there may be a feature to 'capture' two of your opponent's adjoining stones by 'flanking' them on either end of the pair with your own stones. Captured pairs are removed from the board, so if pieces start disappearing after being flanked, then the game is more likely Pente than Go. If they have to be surrounded entirely, then it's Go (edited to correct my failing memory). I'd appreciate it if anyone can recommend a good version of Go or Pente for XP or W7. Thanks in advance. Otherwise, I've expressed my initial 'hands off' reactions elsewhere on TR. They boil down to agreeing with those who feel MS should be developing two different versions of their new OS: one for 'traditional' desktops / laptops, one for newer mobile / content consumption devices.

TG2
TG2

I really just don't understand what microsoft is doing! Metro if it really can be turned off will probably be the first thing to go! It might be "ok" for kids to get started, but the rest of us? Do we really want or need a push-button-like OS? And then the Internet Explorer window!? No URL / Location / Address bar? WTF WERE THEY THINKING? How many times have we HARPED on *NOT* going to unknown sites... and yet without the URL bar ... how the f**k are you supposed to know where the F**K you are!? REGARDLESS of ribbon like "bring it out, auto hide" it is a HORRIBLE idea! Users are already screwing up their PC's they don't need microsoft to make it easier for the cracker to do things.. and hide behind an UGLY button / "tile"-ize interface. I swear Microsoft is pushing me to debian and it will be my main operating system. Microsoft.. you've got to stop "stupid" pretty soon it will be all you're known for.

itadmin
itadmin

MS is a very big concern and they need a continuous stream of income. So, how to convince the public to keep on buying new software? Change it from time to time and tout the new version as so much better than the old. Much the same is the case with cars, even though cars wear out, unlike software, and even if the models don't change one will sooner or later forced to buy a new one. Real improvements are much rarer than new versions. If changes had to be limited to improvements there would be far fewer new versions of anything. So, make some cosmetic changes, change the way we do the same things, throw in one or two real improvements and what do we have, a new version. The new version is guaranteed to please some and displease others. Like Muhamad Ali said, one can't win them all. But we've got to keep the wheel spinning. So, run, man, run.

mike
mike

I have a 'phone7 mobile, love it mostly, but would still like all my Outlook to sychronise by cable instead of the "cloud". I think that Metro is pretty effective and enjoy using it; PC or 'phone. As for Linux:- looked at it several times; ok looks nice but it still requires more mntce. than Win anything. If I wasn't retired (after 40 years in IT) I'd cheer - more work for me!

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

My first impression, which is usually difficult at best to change, is that this OS violates every comfort zone of productivity that I have developed in twenty plus years. This thing is all about pictures, smart phones, and tablets. It's all about trying to emulate Apple products with their "one size fits all" OS philosophy. I sincerely have to wonder if Microsoft has ever stopped to figure out why XP still has such a large user base. Could it be because productivity is at a maximum with the XP OS? Could it be that the amount of licensing fees and needed hardware upgrades just can't be justified in relationship to productivity and profit? Could it be the large amount of money that will have to be spent in training users to be productive in this parade of pictures also is viewed as not cost effective and will not positively impact profit margins? It's all about pretty pictures and negating the need to be able to read and understand what you are reading. But if you look at the SAT scores that are coming out of the high school seniors these days you'll recognize that these kids can't catch on to anything beyond "See Mac, Mac is a dog, see Mac run" and understand it. There are, of course, exceptions but generally the scores don't lie.However, for those of us who can still comprehend what we are reading this OS is really in the category of three steps forward and four backward. For me, well, Linux is looking better and better every day. I use Linux almost daily now and am beginning to think of it as a breath of fresh air that does what I need and can be configured to suit my productivity needs. It certainly will more than influence TCO and will definitely have a positive impact on overall profitability. Be sure to remember ME and Vista. Remember what they yielded for your user base, your reputation, and your profit margin. The golden brick road is littered over time with Microsoft operating systems that either failed miserably or were short lived as they did not measure up to expectation. Good luck, Microsoft! It's been a great ride!

PasiPTL
PasiPTL

I don't understand what is so difficult about the Windows 8. I have now used it since it was introduced and I haven't had any trouble to work my way around with it . First thing after password what I do is the press Ctrl and that moves straight to desktop. After that it works very close like any older Windows and I have used almost all them since they came out and PC's from the early 80's. I personally didn't have Win7 or vista, I have used both of them and Vista is the most problematic version that I know if not counted some first releases like 98 and I didn't use Me, but removed it from some computes for the favor of 2000. So changing over from earlier version that in my case is Xp. So far I like the Windows 8 and it seem to handle most of my old programs. So far only one failed to instal.

Peconet Tietokoneet
Peconet Tietokoneet

As i work on the desktop mostly this new Windows 8 is going to drive me nuts. I do not need ALL of those apps on the main page, i know you can unpin them, i need to install only what i need on this new system not this (what i call) rubbish. When all is done and working this new system better have in play a system where you can disable or uninstall (or not install) these extra (rubbish) apps, i do not need them. What i need the new Windows system to be like: Able to choose what i need to install. Access to the command line without going through too many windows to get to it. That is my (hopeful) version of Windows 8.

tunez1
tunez1

Installed on a 2 year old Gatway FX Laptop was really suprised at what I saw, after taking about 15 minutes trying tofigure thigs out I had to get on my other laptop with Windows 7 and google some questions like how to shut the freekin thing down when you were done ( for those who are gonna try it you have to hit ALT F4 to bring down the shutdown menu ) right now its mostly just pretty, it fast but I will be staying with Windows 7

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

You make a lot of bad comparisons lol. Lets take vhs tape to dvd. Both you put it in the player press play not so different. cars you put a key in turn it grab the steering wheel step on gas and go either a model T of a ferrari. Very similar skins. Take windows xp now windows8 metro you turn it on....now its all different nothing is even remotely the same....You need to uograde but if the basics work then dont mess with it.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

I'm sorry to tell you this. The answer is "NO" they will never learn. Think about the progression from DOS to Windows 8 for a few minutes and I'm sure that it will answer your question. Have a good one, Crash!

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Numbers mean little in regards to windows os its just a name as you had windows 3.0, vista, xp, and Millenium, oh and 2000 so its not a 1 2 3 4 line up.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Mac os is what this windows 8 look is based upon so not sure why you would go make if you hate windows 8. Your best bet is a good old reliable os that functions and is made for true windows users or go ubunto or linux which is where I will go once microsoft stops xp vista or windows 7 support as windows 8 sucks and that apple direction is not for me.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

I agree with you 110%. For me, I choose Ubuntu Linux. Why? It works and does quite admirably all the things that 99% of users do with their computers. From DOS to Windows 8, its been quite a ride. However, I'm just about ready to get off the bus. Have a good day, BitSlayr.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

You buy them and install them as always. Now you have to be specific as in apps. Apps has always meant full blown software such as photoshop, dreamweaver or such where you buy the cd or download from wherever its sold and just install but now apps are also fart apps, angry birds or other such small things which you get from a market which microsoft will have to develope thier zune market more...ps the zune is still tons better then the ipod but microsoft sucks at promotion lol

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

You can load apps on the Taskbar, or on the Desktop - the usual suspects.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Someone else has suggested the game is Go - which I am not familiar with at all.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Pretty much the summary of as all long time windows users. someone at microsoft is an idiot and in charge..The metro UI is a fail and it needs an option to not even be installed. on install it should ask if you want a classic install or full with metro. then it should ask which windows skin would you prefer..xp,vista,windows 7 or metro..then it can install from there. i stopped using IE around ie 6. Its crap. Love my fast as can be firefox and opera . chrome kinda blows.

ProBasix
ProBasix

Clearly, I see the URL field at the bottom of the window. What's gone are the clutter of toolbars and the unnecessary title bar. But the URL is there. And I have a feeling a hotkey will bring up a menu just like ALT still pops up the menu in IE 7, 8, and 9.

Realvdude
Realvdude

Look at the bottom of image 2. Q: Who likes a push button OS? A: Most Apple users, and Windows Phone users too.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

You make valid points but as shown especially in the car industry if you stray to far from whats a really great car great with long time repeat buyers they will leave quickly. Microsoft is leaving its long time customer bas to go more apple which is the thing long time windows users can not stand as mac os is so unintuitive and breaks all common sense setup. The windows 8 developer os i have been using makes me just absolutley hate windows and microsoft. They need to keep a foot in what makes windows what people want to use. 2 things have to stay but can be improved and made better..the desktop and the start button with classic option for drop downs. Ribbons blow for peole who use computers to work or on a daily basis. Drop downs are so much more logical and easy to use and increase speed. people like windows because of the classic start menu and the desktop. You ditch those and its a wrap.The idea that one os will suit desktops, phones, and tablets is a bad one as they are all so different its like saying here use this it kinda works on everything just not very good on anything....Slim the windows bloat down, increase the speed or specs, let it be skinned by the installer offering metro, xp, vista, or 7 skins to the ui so all people get what they like and know. let ribbon or drop down be used depending on the skin install choosen. All cross device copatibility at the core ie let apps be able to run on the underlying os whether its office or photoshop or what have files the same kind for all devices. Don'tleave what made you great for the sake of change. Offer more to keep your loyal base happy and growing not mad and searching for a new os.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

You dont have to but it will boot to metro each time which is wasting time and in desktop mode if you go to the start button it just brings metro back up so productivity for windows 8 is out the window.

Realvdude
Realvdude

Although I am starting to adjust to "The Ribbon" in Office, it still scared me to see it as part of Windows Explorer. I'll be ok if the context menu still exists though. I imagine that the Metro Interface will have more home appeal, and business or power users will using the standard desktop. I think it is really going to come down to how much it can be customized.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Be sure to remember ME and Vista." Two different situations. Vista was marketed to customers who didn't have the hardware specs to run it, and licensed to vendors who put it on inadequate hardware. Marketing was the problem, not the otherwise competent OS. On the other hand, "See Me, Me is a dog, see Me NOT run".

wompai
wompai

I have been using XP since the beginning and I will keep installing it each time a fixe another pc. XP and 7 are just much more productive. I also use Ubuntu and it never lets me down.

mike
mike

It will take a little getting used to but my teenage daughter liked Socialite and I must admit it made more sense of Facebook than the web app. Managed tio change the weather app to show Preston (my home city) without too much bother but haven't got it in Centigrade yet. I'm staying W7 on my main PC and my tablet PC for the moment as the changeover to the public release will probably be an issue. If it wasn't I would do it now, it really is an improvement, and not just the wow, it's new factor.

mike
mike

Office 2010 loaded only onto the start page. Can't see it antwhere else.

Fletchguy
Fletchguy

Basically the smallest minority of people as even on apple most now install windows on their macs.

hleveque
hleveque

the really big hammer MS has over us, which is when they drop support for Win7. That is when the last of us are rounded up and forced to install the New OS. Worked that way in the past - if XP still had MS support, would you have installed Vista?

dogknees
dogknees

I find I almost never use the menu or the toolbar in Explorer. It's all drag and drop, right-drag and drop and context menu.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

I agree with your assessment of Vista completely. Microsoft and the manufacturers were to blame for it's lack of success, not the OS itself. Needless to say, I am in the numerical minority that has held that if you have the resources to support it, Vista is a competent OS. As for your "See me" comment, I'm sorry but I just don't get it. Have a good day......

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Let 'em drop it. Existing XP installation are not going to stop working. Incidentally, check the age on this discussion; it's past its 'relevancy' date.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That sort of hurts your argument.

lk_bellsouth.net
lk_bellsouth.net

Palmetto, Thank you for your input. I enjoy reading your comments and find most to be quite informative. For that I thank you. However, sometimes a bit of literary freedom in order to make a point is, in my mind, acceptable. For those who understand this and get the point, I am grateful. For those who simply can't overlook this due to their own standards all I can respectfully ask is to please get over it. Again, thanks for all your informative comments and I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day! --- Lee

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

'Me' as in the OS "Windows Me"; not 'Me' as in 'Me, myself, and I'. "See Me, Me is a dog, see Me NOT run".