Microsoft's juggernaut Windows operating system powers on with the company preparing Windows 7's successor in Windows 8. The new operating system (OS) was first released for public consumption during the last BUILD conference in the form of a "Developer Preview." This release was mainly intended for software developers to start to get a feel for the OS and its new features, but many consumers and technology enthusiasts also took a peek at the OS to get an idea of where MS was going with its next OS.
Coinciding with Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012, Microsoft released the next iteration of the in progress OS, and this time it is aimed at getting consumer feedback. The aptly named Consumer Preview build is now available for download by anyone interested.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview Desktop
The question many consumers and enthusiasts are likely asking; however, is what to do with the MS provided ISO, and what the safest and easiest method for testing the beta operating system is. One appropriate answer, and the method covered in this guide, is to use a virtual machine program to test the Windows 8 Consumer Preview inside a VM without needing to muck with or worry about effecting your existing system or settings. Installing to bare hardware will always be faster, but if you upgrade to Windows 8 CP from Windows 7, you will not be able to go back once the beta period is over. By installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview inside a virtual machine will allow you to test out the operating system in a secure environment, and if you have a recent machine with at least 4 GB of RAM, performance of the OS should be sufficient to get an idea of the new OS and whether you want to pursue a bare hardware full install.
I expect that many users are going to be curious about the new build as the Windows 8 OS has ignited several heated debates among enthusiasts concerning the direction Microsoft is going. The new Metro interface, removal of Start Menu, and the overhauled Windows logo are three of the major concerns users have raised, for example.
The specific program in question that we will be using is Oracle's VirtualBox software, which is a free VM host that is very easy to setup and use. Another alternative is VMWare, and the setup process will be very similar (though the exact steps and settings will differ slightly). This guide will show you how to go from the Windows 8 ISO to a fully functional installation inside a VirtualBox virtual machine. If you are familiar with setting up a new VirtualBox VM, you can safely skip those steps. I felt it prudent to go through the entire process; however, for those new to VirtualBox that wish to try out the new Microsoft OS.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 21, 2012 - 01:21 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: antivirus, windows 8
Imagine if it were illegal for a dominant homebuilder to sell a house with locks on the door to be fair to the market of locksmiths?
The legality of Microsoft’s planned upgrades to its Windows Defender security suite has been questioned in an article up at ZDNet Asia. While the article itself is very correct in its analysis of the situation it does implicitly ask at what point a market should be obsolete.
Does it really protect consumers to intentionally unbundle security from a core application? Is it better to unbundle security to promote an industry worth of companies with products designed to successfully do little more than alert you when a breach has occurred?
Industry status - Not Protected
Despite the wording of the above three paragraphs, the answer actually is not simple. There is a lot of merit to disallowing the bundling of internal security applications and protect the antivirus industry.
Ponder this, what if Microsoft’s system was really bad? Would promoting competition ultimately drive for a stronger and more secure product in the end? Or alternatively, would the pressure from the attackers themselves be sufficient competition to not need to protect antivirus companies?
It really is an interesting problem when you look into it. What do you think? The comments await, and registration is not required to voice your opinion.
Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2012 - 01:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, windows, OS, microsoft, logo
That fluttering window containing flag that would carry Microsoft into Operating System dominance on the, er, wind of success debuted with Windows 3.0 in 1990. As the years have passed, the company has made alterations and updates to keep the design modern. After 22 years of ingraining into people's minds that the flag logo is Windows, Microsoft may be ditching it in favor of a new minimalistic monochromatic affair. According to Chinese site cnBeta.com, Microsoft will roll out the new Windows logo with the launch of Windows 8. Allegedly, the new logo will be four turquoise panels with a shifted perspective and separated by interior white borders. The site claims that the evidence lies in a logo photo and a photograph of a physical "Windows" button on a tablet.
Personally, I think Microsoft would be crazy to change their logo, and especially insane to switch to this particular alleged new logo. Minimalist designs certainly have their place, but the colorful Windows logo that we are all used to has always done a good job of catching the eye (and four blue-green rectangles just don't do it for me). Not to mention that the company has had 22 years to burn into the minds of consumers that the logo is Windows, and it will be difficult for people to accept the new logo. There is definitely a certain amount of nostalgia and consumer confidence associated with the "old" logo, and it seems odd that Microsoft would be so cavalier to throw it away just to make their logo look better on the Metro desktop. Perhaps if they were changing direction and entering a different market or if they had a line of crappy products they would want a new logo, but that really does not seem to be the case. Here's hoping the photos are just fake. On the other hand, if Microsoft does end up taking out the start button it's not like people will be seeing the new logo anyway (heh).
What are your thoughts on the new logo? Am I off base in thinking that the current logo has a lot of "mindshare" built up and it would be crazy to just leave it behind?
Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2012 - 11:19 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, windows, start orb, start button, microsoft, crazy
Microsoft is continuing full steam ahead with Windows 8 development where they axe many of the familiar features of previous Windows iterations. According to a post over at The Verge, the latest feature to get removed is the start button of all things. In the "Consumer Preview" version of the upcoming operating system, users will be greeted with a desktop that shows application icons and the Super Bar, but no start button in sight.
Oddly enough, they are removing the Start button in favor of a small area in the lower left of the screen that, when hovered over with a mouse or swiped over on a touchscreen, a Windows 8 charm (small menu) will appear along with a thumbnail preview of the mode that will be switched to upon clicking the element. For example, when you are in the Metro Start Screen mode, hovering over this area would show a small preview of the full Windows desktop and vice versa.
I'm a bit confused by this move as it doesn't really add anything to the experience, and makes the start "button" hover area harder to hit and find. Tech support people are likely crying now, as it is difficult enough to get people to click on the start button much less have the patience to hover over an area or perform a swipe action in the lower left of the screen! Not to mention that the start button has been a signature of the Microsoft operating system since Windows 95. At least the Windows key (i hope) still works as expected, but it seems like a non sensical move. How do you guys feel about the change? Will you be keeping your relatives and/or employees on Windows 7 (heh)?
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2012 - 04:24 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, arm
I will be honest with you; I was not, personally, paying attention to Windows 8 let alone Windows on ARM. I often like to push the newest and obscure releases of Windows falling prey to both Windows XP 64-bit as well as the not-nearly-as-bad-as-people-make-it-out-to-be Windows Vista; Windows 7 seems to suit my needs and I do not expect to push past it any time soon unless something shows me otherwise. If you, on the other hand, were awaiting Windows on ARM to be stable -- which frankly I thought it already happened, but apparently not -- and on their way to developers? Not now.
Intel's starting to drop bricks?
Brooke Crothers of CNET reports Windows 8 for ARM processors has reached a stable build and is expected to be in the hands of developers in February. Despite the seemingly late deployment, one source did not expect Windows 8 on ARM to be released later than the x86 version; that source also admitted to not being given information from Microsoft to support that assertion. I am skeptical of that source, to say the least, but I keep an open mind.
As for legacy applications, Microsoft Office has not been seen running on ARM devices. Intuitively, if Office were to be fully operational on ARM then Microsoft would likely have shown it off by now. Whether or not intuition holds true is yet to be seen, though CNET heard from a source of a source that Office is “running fine” on ARM.
Despite Microsoft’s demonstrations of Windows 8, there is little information circulating about Windows 8 on ARM. Even at CES, there was little that was shown to sate the questions asked about the new platform. Perhaps once it is in the hands of developers we might discover more concrete information?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2012 - 04:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, microsoft, CES 2012, CES
It is no secret that Microsoft is not attending the next CES and they stated publicly that there will be minimal announcements relative to what we typically expect. While that is all true, Microsoft still has some news at the show to be indulged upon. Tim has already covered the upcoming release of Kinect to Windows for approximately the price of an entry-level 2GB RAM dual-core laptop; Microsoft had a piece of NVIDIA’s keynote to discuss Windows on ARM; and Microsoft showed a newer build of Windows 8. The Verge spent some time with a Microsoft representative and took video to show for it. Find out the future for the mice that are not just going to stick with Windows 7.
Tiled of feeling blue?
Personally, I am not the biggest mobile user in the world: the majority of what I use my laptop for is to install a new version of Ubuntu, and even then I often skip versions. My cellphone usage is pay-as-you-go with $100 dollars on my account per year and somewhere around $90 of that expires or rolls over to the next year. I am not against mobile computing; I am just never in a situation where I need to use it. Keep those points in mind while I discuss Windows 8.
I am going to ignore the ability to re-skin the start screen despite it being a much desired feature. The more important development from an examination standpoint is how Microsoft expects the mouse and keyboard will fill in with Windows 8. You are able to navigate through the Metro interface left and right using your scroll wheel or alternatively hold ctrl to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel. Also on display is the top-to-bottom swipe gesture to kill an application for touchscreen users. Check them out in action for yourself at The Verge.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | January 7, 2012 - 02:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, transformer prime, tablet, eee memo pad, CES, asus, arm
CES isn't until next week, but many companies are talking product announcements beforehand. According to Engadget, a spokesperson at a company event in Taipei promises several mobile devices from ASUS that are coming out this year (some of which may make an appearance at CES).
Among the promises devices, Asus hinted at a version of the Transformer Prime with a 3G modem and possibly an improved AGPS chip. Be sure to check out our review of the Transformer Prime to get an idea of what you are looking at for the new version (though obviously minus the 3G). Further, the Eee Memo Pad, a 7" tablet running Android and used primarily in a vertical orientation (judging from where the ports are located). It packs a 1.2 GHz dual core Snapdragon ARM based processor, 3G and WiFi, up to 64 GB of internal storage, and a resolution of 1280x800.
Finally, although not quite ready in time for CES (or will it be?), Asus is committed to bringing an ARM powered Windows 8 tablet to the market. Allegedly, the new Windows 8 device will resemble the physical dimensions and look of the current Transformer Prime and will be released towards the end of this year. It will be interesting to see how the quad core Tegra chip handles Windows 8.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2011 - 11:48 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows 8, pebkac
It seems that Microsoft sees no problem in letting the non-technical upgrade their operating system without having to answer even the simple questions that were present in the Windows 7 upgrade. It seems they've decided there is an untapped market of people who are desperate to go out and purchase a copy of the newest Windows so that they can upgrade their own machine by themselves. For anyone who has had a discussion with a friend or family member who expressed utter shock when told that Windows costs money and doesn't just come for free on new computers; this new market seems unlikely.
Whether a good idea or not, The Register reports Win 8 will install in two different ways. The first is a streamlined upgrade, which you start from your current version of Windows via an EXE file, instead of having to deal with one of those pesky bootable USB or DVD drives. Microsoft hopes to reduce the time for even the most extreme upgrade path to under 60 minutes and with hardly any user interaction required. While this is good for the theoretical market of upgraders scared of reading and understanding messages from their operating system it probably scares most techs who realize they are going to have to support installations in which the user has no idea what when wrong or where.
This also seems to underline the concern many IT professionals feel when looking at Win 8. Microsoft seems to be ignoring the corporate customers who want the ability to customize Windows installations for their company. With products like SCCM you can make images which can install essentially unattended over your corporate network, but not without serious work done by people who know exactly what they are installing on. You don't release a generic build of Windows onto a network where you already know what models of clients are out there, let alone release a build which is intended to work on any machine plugged into the network whatsoever. There are too many hardware setup permutations to expect that what works on a desktop is going work on a custom Alienware laptop. It is too early to count Win 8 out yet, as there is a second type of installation which does involve booting from removable media and includes esoteric functions like disk formating, modifiable installation scripts and other scary technical terms that might result in you having to read text and click your mouse.
"Redmond said it wants to make the upgrade path easier, since the Windows 7 introduction saw some users complaining that the process was too complicated. To ease the introduction of Windows 8, Microsoft will now offer two options for those looking to make the leap to the new OS: a streamlined and an advanced setup. The new format will dramatically decrease upgrade times, Microsoft promised."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- MIT creates diode for light, makes photonic silicon chips possible @ ExtremeTech
- HTC considering Chrome OS for Internet-access devices @ DigiTimes
- Google mail crypto tweak makes eavesdropping harder @ The Register
- CCI makes 2mm thick Ultrabook vapor chamber @ SemiAccurate
- 3M CP45 Camcorder Projector @ The Inquirer
- GraVT Professional Photographer System Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 08:25 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, software, kal-el, hardware, Android
With Asus’ previous tablets being a success, the company has decided to push forward with four new tablets that are slated to debut next year. The new tablets will join the ranks of the Transformer and soon to be released Transformer Prime tablets under the Asus Eee Pad lineup. Of the four new devices, two tablets will be running Google’s Android OS (Operating System) while the remaining two tablets will run Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS.
The two tablets running Android are slated for release in the first quarter of 2012. While Asus has not released any specific hardware specifications, they will likely be powered by the quad core Nvidia Kal-El ARM processor like the upcoming Asus Transformer Prime (or the Kal-El’s successor).
On the other hand, quarter 3 of 2012 will see the release of two tablets running Windows 8. Interestingly, Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors are also supposed to launch in 2012, which would make for a nice match of technology. Whether we'll see Ivy Bridge powered tablets; however, will depend on how soon Ivy Bridge launches and how quickly Asus can turn around and roll out a product designed around it.
The marketing speak in the above slides indicates that at least the marketing department is excited about the prospect of what they have dubbed hero products. They are striving to win mind share and achieve a “perfect” product. Whether they will achieve that or not remains to be seen; however, having more Windows 8 tablets isn’t a bad thing! More information can be had here.
Are you still holding out for your “perfect” tablet, and if so what are you looking/waiting to see from a tablet?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 10:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, webOS, touchpad, tablet, slate, hp
The HP Touchpad was tablet that ran HP's WebOS mobile operating system. It was also a tablet with an extremely short lifespan, one that was ended long before its time according to the sentiments of many enthusiasts. The tablet's demise was a casualty of the company's former CEO Léo Apotheker getting rid of HP's PC division, and it started going for fire sale prices only a few weeks after its initial release.
There may yet be hope for the tablet, however. According to Fox News, an HP employee has told them that a team within the company is playing around with the (not so) dead HP Touchpad tablets by replacing the WebOS operating system with Windows 8 Developer Preview.
It seems as though the idea of a Windows powered slate may be something that HP is willing to try out. Although slates nor convertible tablets have never really caught on (at least in the US) due to Windows not being the most touch friendly interface, with the rise in popularity of tablets and Microsoft beginning to put a bit more care into a touch friendly UI, HP may be weighing the odds of a Windows 8 powered slate computer. If; however, HP goes ahead with the previous plans to ditch the PC division, the idea of a HP Touchpad reincarnation may be moot anyway.
If the souce turns out to be true; however, there may be hope for a new HP Touchpad in the future sans WebOS. Do you think HP will go ahead with the plan to follow in the footsteps of IBM, or will it give its PC division and(/or) touchpad tablet line a second chance?