Why would anyone who is not an avid beta tester install Windows 8 now, before the official release? Perhaps it is because the highly anticipated Consumer Preview version, which was recently released to users, has been met with a mostly positive reception. Although there have been a minority of negative reviews, most have been happily surprised by features like the new touch-based interface. Those who have used the touch based interface on mobile systems appear to be impressed.
What people are saying about Windows 8:
A pcworld.com reviewer tried Windows 8 on a tablet that had keyboard and mouse attachments, and reported that he almost immediately put those attachments aside to use only the touch interface. This doesn’t mean that users who are on strictly keyboard and mouse systems are any less happy. The reviewer, noting the versatility of the user interface, said that every option was left on the table. His appraisal of the versatile interface is summed up in one word: “fantastic.”
Superficially, there is some similarity between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7 due to the colorful tiles for available functions such as Marketplace, Microsoft’s app shop. However, Windows 8 represents a radical departure from all other operating systems that run on desktops. They have created an operating system that is as much at home on a touch platform as it is on a traditional desktop. After lagging behind other vendors in touch technology for so many years, with this version, Microsoft appears to have leapfrogged everyone else by developing an operating system that works well regardless of whether it is running on a touch system like a tablet, a laptop, or a full size desktop workstation.
While demonstrating Windows 8 for the D9 Conference, the Microsoft presenter was able to demonstrate the ease with which the new apps ran side-by-side with traditional desktop programs. The application can now be opened using gestures such as tapping or swiping. The obvious difference is apparent once the applications are open. While new apps present a touch interface similar to the operating system, legacy applications will still show the familiar windows user interface since they are not written as touch optimized applications.
Another pcworld.com reviewer set out to test how well the operating system performed tasks and, among other things, the speed of the system compared to Windows 7. Putting Windows 7 and 8 on the exact same hardware to find out which ran applications with more speed, Windows 8 was faster. Not only did it have a faster startup, it was able to launch the browser and access the Internet much faster.
Pcworld.com also conducted a survey among readers that confirmed the results of the reviewers. In the performance results from the survey, the speed of Windows 8 was faster for 40 percent of users, while 45 percent saw no change and 9 percent reported it being slower. The 6 percent left over were not sure how it performed. Some of the reviewers’ tests on office productivity applications gave a slight performance edge to Windows 7, but they remind the reader that Microsoft will likely tune the operating system to run those applications more efficiently before the final release. Failing that, Windows 8 might rule the day in mobile computing, while Windows 7 would remain the de facto standard for office applications. Until the release, however, this is just speculation.
The new Metro user interface might present something of a cultural shock for some; both casual and heavy business users alike. Reviewers seem to agree on one point—the big hurdle for its widespread adoption is how readily users are willing to accept the significantly different Windows experience.
It was probably with that issue in mind that Microsoft included an option to use a more traditional Windows interface in Windows 8. Regardless of that, most knowledgeable observers of the industry agree that tablets and smart phones are the future of computing, which is exactly what it is optimized for. Therefore, Microsoft needs to improve its presence in the touch driven world of mobile devices, as once traditional Windows users overcome any initial misgivings about the new user interface, they are sure to find a whole new world of innovation at their disposal.
Installing Windows 8
If you are eager to install Windows 8 to try it out, but you want to try it on a device that does not have a USB, DVD, CD or any type of media device that it can boot from, you will need to install it directly. However, be thoroughly warned that Windows 8 in this release will only install on an alternate partition if you do a clean install.
Here are the steps to perform a direct install:
1. Download the ISO disk image from:
You can then mount the disk image using a utility like Daemon Tools, Alcohol, MagicDisc or some other tool of your choice.
Warning: DO NOT run the auto run installer. It upgrades your system in place with no option to install and run from another partition.
2. Look for the folder name “sources” on the virtual install disk you mounted in step 1.
3. Run setup.exe from that folder and follow the steps to install on another partition.
Once installed, you can have your first taste of Windows 8 and its new user interface.