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Microsoft Windows GUI Operating Systems Technology

Windows 8 Release Preview Now Available To Download 363

MrSeb writes "Microsoft has announced the immediate availability of Windows 8 Release Preview. Unfortunately there isn't a Consumer Preview > Release Preview upgrade path — you'll have to format and perform a clean installation. After downloading the ISO, simply burn Windows 8 RP onto a USB stick or DVD, reboot, and follow the (exceedingly quick and easy) installer. Alternatively, if you don't want to format a partition, ExtremeTech has a guide on virtualizing Windows 8 with VirtualBox. After a lot of fluster on the Building Windows 8 blog, the Release Preview is actually surprisingly similar to the Consumer Preview. Despite being promised a new, flat, Desktop/Explorer UI, Aero is still the default theme in Windows 8 RP. The tutorial that will introduce new users to the brave new Start buttonless Windows 8 world is also missing. Major features that did make the cut are improved multi-monitor support — it's now easier to hit the hot corners on a multi-monitor setup, and Metro apps can be moved between displays — and the Metro version of IE10 now has a built-in Flash plug-in. There will be no further pre-releases of Windows 8: the next build will be the RTM."
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Windows 8 Release Preview Now Available To Download

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  • by trifish ( 826353 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:21PM (#40172885)

    Despite being promised a new, flat, Desktop/Explorer UI, Aero is still the default theme in Windows 8 RP

    All right, only they didn't promise the new UI for pre-release versions. They explicitly said it will be in RTM.

    • they didn't promise the new UI for pre-release versions. They explicitly said it will be in RTM.

      But...the chances of it actually happening for the RTM (if they haven't already gotten the kinks worked out of it) are pretty much Nil...maybe it will be in one of the service packs?

      • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:54PM (#40173297) Homepage Journal

        Here's a working activation key:

      • by trifish ( 826353 )

        Source? Remember: Vista Aero was introduced in RTM too.

        • No source, just a long track record from Microsoft of releasing "The Next Big Thing" in a very broken state. Also, This Guy [slashdot.org] wants to make a bet with you.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anpheus ( 908711 )

        I'm really tired of people spreading stupidity about Win8, and the irrational fear of the future that seems to have gripped the tech rags and social sites I visit. There are legitimate concerns that Windows 8 will be a Vista style flop with changes too substantial to be readily adopted by consumers or businesses. Then there is your inanity.

        I will wager you $250 (payable to charity) via longbets.org to put your money where your mouth is. The wager would be that the RTM release of Windows 8 lacks the flattene

        • You wanna see how REAL people deal with Win 8? Well here you go [youtube.com] and as a retailer that set up a Win 8 CP for customers to try I can say that is pretty typical...the only difference I saw was more frustration and cursing.

          I'm sure Win 8 is GREAT for cell phones and tablets, along with touch screen PCs...the problem is that is less than 5% of MSFT's market. in fact if you take out POS and Kiosks last numbers I saw had touch enabled X86 units at less than 2% of the market.

          So you take a giant shit on 95% of the market.,...for 5% of the market and around 2% of the touch screen X86 units because POS and Kiosks run their own custom software. yep, no chance of a flop at all here. BTW Win 8 DID help my business, i had a lot of folks that were sitting on the fence buy Win 7! Thanks MSFT! Oh and thanks again for the year and a half of extra money as I get paid to wipe it off like i did Vista, that was a GREAT time for me, Thanks MSFT!

      • You assume that the work on RTM only starts after RP is shipped to public. RP build is actually about a week old (says so right in the blog post), and the corresponding branch forked even earlier than that.

  • Last preview I downloaded was pretty miserable, is it even remotely useable yet?

    If they quit offering Windows 7 when Windows 8 comes out then it may just end up being the year that Linux takes over the desktop market.

    • you can still buy vista. 7 is going nowhere for several years.

      in fact, i forsee an "xp still on sale a decade after release, due to demand" deal going on with windows 7 unless windows 9 is excellent.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean, seriously? Starting stuff from the stupid Start screen? Cripple the regular version of Visual Studio to only write apps for this screen?

    What the hell is wrong with MS? Does it not realise that a desktop is not a tablet?

    • by busyqth ( 2566075 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:47PM (#40173191)

      I mean, seriously? Starting stuff from the stupid Start screen?

      It was so much better back in the day when you started stuff from the shutdown menu.

    • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

      I've been considering getting it for my parents based on the reasoning that my mom at least might find the tablet-style interface intuitive. Looking at it, though...probably not. I have a hard enough time getting her to understand that attaching a Word document to an email is the exact same as attaching a photograph. I don't think I could survive teaching her how to use Metro.

      Metro actually is a pretty slick UI on a phone, though the information density in its current incarnation is much too low. I thin

    • Does it not realise that a desktop is not a tablet?

      They are moving away from desktop, clearing the way for 2013 year of the Linux desktop.

    • I have OSX lion, one of the most awkward features in launchpad, which tries to make the screen like iOS' Springboard screen. Springboard works best when you have hand gestures on a small area, not so useful on a non-touch 20" screen. Thats a lot of mousing.

      Metro reminds me of this, touch metaphors on a non-touch screen to show they're changing something at least. At least i'm not forced to use Launchpad on OSX.

      Launchers are surprisingly hard to do well. Apple had some bad ones in System 7 and before - At Ea

      • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

        Yeah, that's the important difference--though Launchpad is lame, at least it's optional. It's marginally more useful on a trackpad than a regular mouse, but I don't use it very often (only if my cursor is near where I know a certain app's icon is going to be when I do the pinch gesture to bring it up). For an example of a good launcher, look to Alfred.

    • I mean, seriously? Starting stuff from the stupid Start screen? Cripple the regular version of Visual Studio to only write apps for this screen?

      Visual Studio Express 12 is limited to Metro apps.

      Not VS 2012 Pro and higher.Compare Visual Studio 2012 editions [microsoft.com]

      Microsoft encourages the idea that the Start screen is the Windows 8 "home page." From there, a few mouse gestures or a keyboard shortcut will take you almost anywhere you want to go. If you need access to common functions previously available on the old Start menu, you can right-click on the lower left to bring up the Power User list. You can even modify this list, though Microsoft won't officially support or document the method for doing so.

      Windows 8 Release Preview Impressions [pcworld.com], Windows 8 Tip: Edit the Power User Tasks Menu [winsupersite.com]

  • Nothing new here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:37PM (#40173087)

    Sadly Linux won't take over anything (at least not now). Think Longhorn revolt followed by the success of W7. You gotta take a shot in the dark sometimes and if this turns out to be a ton of crap, they'll listen and go back to what's right. That's generally been the way MS has done things.

  • by Boyer ( 2652231 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @05:49PM (#40173231)

    Of course Microsoft will still get the massive number of automatic installs due to their lock on OEMs and corporations locked into Microsoft tech, but for every single person I know Microsoft has become a non-entity in their lives.

    Over the past few years it has rapidly become cellphones and tablets. No one goes home after work to sit in front of their computer checking their email and webbrowsing. They do that all day long now on their Android phones and tablets or iPhones and iPads. Ten years ago I would hear all the time about what computer someone was planning on buying or what they were doing with their computer. Now it is all about what Android or Apple cellphone or tablet to buy. And in the rare occasion someone actually does talk about buying a new computer it is almost universally a Mac to replace their old Windows machine.

  • Anybody knows why Metro apps are restricted to screen resolutions of 1024x768 or higher?
    Is it just an arbitrary limitation or is there a technical reason for this?

  • by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:12PM (#40173501)
    Tomorrows sunrise will be at 5:42am.
  • This is a dead serious question, so please do not downmod because it doesn't agree with some corporate agenda. ;)

    I currently run Windows XPSP3 on 7 laptops, and 1 desktop, at home. Behind a NAT firewall. I've never had a virus or other security problem. I re-image and update approximately every 2 years because, yes, Windows does slow down and break with age, and I also want a backup of the latest apps. But otherwise XP works great, with minimal interference,on machines with as little as 800Mhz P3, 128MB RAM

    • Win7 has a slew of features that you may or may not like; if you do (most people seem to), it's a question of whether you consider them worth the price.

      It's really impossible to answer your question precisely. If you are absolutely happy with XP and can't see how it could possibly be any better, then you probably don't have any reasons to switch (until support ends entirely, that is).

      • Win7 has a slew of features that you may or may not like

        Such as? This was exactly my question.

        It's really impossible to answer your question precisely

        Why? It is a piece of deterministic software, not a religious conundrum.

        you probably don't have any reasons to switch (until support ends entirely, that is)

        Also assuming that any support is relevant. I do keep all our Windows machines updated at least once a year, but frankly, I'm not sure how important that is since most of them run behind a firewall. The FUD does not seem to apply in this case.

        • Most useful to most users is the real live 64 bit support (can use > 3.5GB of RAM), support for DirectX 10, excellent driver support out of the box, and a few other bits and pieces (I'm no expert on win 7...).

          The parent post is exactly right that you can't answer the question precisely. It's a general purpose operating system. Some purposes can be fulfilled with windows XP, some can't. Basically - If you don't know why you should upgrade, you probably don't need to.

          Also, don't forget that direct ne
          • Most useful to most users is the real live 64 bit support (can use > 3.5GB of RAM), support for DirectX 10, excellent driver support out of the box, and a few other bits and pieces (I'm no expert on win 7...)

            Thanks, those are real details.

            I'm not a PC gamer, so I don't have any need for more than 3.5GB (actually 3.25GB on our biggest system) RAM, nor DirectX 10. The most extreme stuff I do is video transcoding. Second, realtime video and image editing. Third, video playback with various codecs, ranging from mjpeg to avc/h264. But I leave the games for our consoles.

            Re: drivers, I do use lots of odd pieces of hardware like serial microcontroller programmers, DMX controllers, dataloggers, Arduinos, 3D 6dof control

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      There's no reason I can see. From XP to 7 you get DX11 which is a bonus plus better handling and proper handling soundlayer system. From XP or 7 to 8? Maybe the filesystem, but I can't see that being a huge thing for the average person. Not for you, not for me. There doesn't appear to be anything specific for directX either.

      Oddly, I've been running Win7 for the last 3ish years(Original Install Date: 10/28/2009, 11:44:46 AM) and have yet to reinstall it. It seems to be running as fast as the day I

      • by SIGBUS ( 8236 )

        Of course, you have to rely on audio hardware vendors actually supporting the nifty new Windows 7 sound layer. If that vendor happens to be Creative, you're screwed, particularly if the product is discontinued. Case in point: the E-MU 0404 USB, which has a beta Windows 7 driver that hasn't ever been updated [creative.com].

        It works beautifully on an XP desktop system, and recent Linux kernels seem to support it at least for playback. On Linux, the Clementine audio player works well, but I like Foobar2000 better. Unfortunat

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Memory support,and about 1000 other modern abilities.

      Since many people actually run new software, XP is won't work for them.

      OTOH, you can't even manage your XP machines correctly, so I'm not sue upgrading is a wise thing for you to do.

      • Memory support,and about 1000 other modern abilities

        Memory support...my XP machines do max out at 2.0GB to 3.25GB depending on the mobo. But this isn't a problem. The OS and many services easily run in a couple hundred MB, without virtual memory. My biggest memory consumer is a web browser, which may exceed 1GB with lots of tabs and plug-ins, but that usually only happens on my main work machines. So 2GB is far more than enough for most of the machines.

        What are the "1000 other modern abilities" that you seem to think are provided by Windows beyond NT/2000/XP

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      1) You want to run newer applications
      2) You want to use newer hardware
      3) You want to to run older applications on more demanding data
      4) You want some of the collaboration features for phone / tablet...

      Otherwise no reason to upgrade. I know a woman who still writes on xywrite with a dot matrix printer since everything is setup perfectly for her. When she's finished she hands a floppy off to an editor who translates it. Old computers still work. Ask the mainframers.

  • I went to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview [microsoft.com] and all I got was a 5MB .EXE file.

    Kind of pointless for those of us who want to try it via VMWare or similar.

  • I tried Windows 8 on a netbook that has a touchscreen display... perfect for Windows 8, right?!! However, my netbook's display has a max resolution of 1024x600. Unfortunately, all the nice fancy new buttony looking Metro apps enforce a minimum resolution of something like 1024x768 and will not run if you're monitor doesn't support that resolution. This means that every single damn button/app/whatever-they-call-it on the default Windows 8 Metro UI didn't work. I can understand why Microsoft would enforce min
  • by aaronb1138 ( 2035478 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @06:27PM (#40173661)

    I think a lot of people are missing a few really smart choices it would appear Microsoft is intentionally making. First, they realize that corporate customers like their long term anchor software. They have done that with Windows 7 as the successor to XP as frequently mentioned. Second I think they are going to a release plan of Experiment followed by a Refinement release.

    Consider first that Microsoft supports too many customers with too diverse of requirements to be doing miniscule yearly feature releases as with OSX and Linux. OSX can because they have fixed hardware to support and a vastly smaller software library. Linux can because the community doesn't have anywhere near the hardware support of Windows and software is not binary compatible a requires recompilation.

    Faced with this issue, it only makes sense that Microsoft will release an OS filled with experimentation to find out what users and customers do a don't like and then make the next version the refinement, enhancement, and trimming of those features. Vista was full of UI experiments which were great ideas but only marginally implemented or just didn't flow easily. I couldn't stand Vista and only used it a few hours before going back to XP. I know I am by far not in a minority in having this experience. Windows 7 was taking all those features and fixing them, making them flow and interact together and getting rid of the development cruft. Windows 7 is great for many users, myself included.

    Windows 8 is filled with great ideas. It's filled with original ideas and people are complaining. Sure, Metro came from WP7 development, but nobody else considered using the metaphors for desktop use or how to adapt them. Again the number one complaint is incompleteness or not enough UI interoperability with the manners in which users have become acclimated. If Microsoft continues the pattern, then sure, some consumers will be forced to be guinea pigs with Windows 8, especially if the Windows tablet market takes off appreciably. In the same stroke, Windows 9 could easily come as the refinement stage where it all makes better sense.

    Who cares if Windows 8 is a dog. Vista was a dog and it led directly to 7. Give some credit to a company that could sit on it's old style of business like IBM in the late 70's, but instead challenges itself with products which can fail and are interesting and different.

    Linux by comparison has no consistent desktop metaphors. You have to test drive at least 3 different distros before you are sure which one will work. The only nearly consistent interfaces are the ones released at the same time as XP in stripped down distros. Unity is not bad, but it's just not for me. The more recent release is really getting there though. It's great experimentation in a different direction for fusing the desktop, laptop, and tablet UI segments.

    OSX is the opposite of where Linux and Windows have been experimenting. There is an extreme lack of interesting change since 2001 and only very small incremental refinements. Oooh, we just got a notification system, but really it's the one from our phones because we couldn't stand the thought of using a functional desktop one like in Windows 7 or Linux. You could actually load identical machines with OSX from 10 years ago and the latest Mountain Lion side by side and the average user wouldn't notice that they were different. If you think I am full of it, check this out: http://macgateway.com/featured-articles/a-decade-of-mac-os-x-a-retrospective/ [macgateway.com]

    • Who cares if Windows 8 is a dog. Vista was a dog and it led directly to 7. Give some credit to a company that could sit on it's old style of business like IBM in the late 70's, but instead challenges itself with products which can fail and are interesting and different.

      Microsoft cares if Windows 8 is a dog. They're betting the farm on this release. They desperately need this to work as a gateway to the mobile space, an area they're hopelessly behind in, and they don't have another couple of years to get it right.

      Apple's actually made a number of very significant improvements to OS X over the last 10 years but they also recognized the UI paradigm is fundamentally sound for the desktop space so there's no reason to make radical changes. Of course they also realize that a

      • by aaronb1138 ( 2035478 ) on Thursday May 31, 2012 @10:00PM (#40175631)

        Microsoft does not care if Windows 8 is a dog in the corporate desktop world. That is why the features which people are most unhappy with are entirely features which are great on tablets and other touchscreen devices. They are working on getting Windows 8 right for the mobile space. It is entirely reasonable to think their plan is to let Windows 9 tie that effectively with the desktop. Also, the OEMs are starting to push touchscreen desktops substantially. Once Windows 8 gets some adoption, it wouldn't be surprising to see off the shelf monitors in the consumer / commodity price range pop up with touchscreens as cheap options. IR touchscreens are really cheap to add manufacturer side and fit great with existing LCD bezel design.

        I would never say Apple hasn't made a lot of good changes to the backend of OSX, but the UI still feels worn and heavy. Sure, consistency is great, but it just says to me that people use their computers exactly the same way they did 10 years ago, and that is sad.

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          Also, the OEMs are starting to push touchscreen desktops substantially.

          Who the fsck wants to sit at a desktop holding their arm out to touch the screen all day?

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      You are right that Apple's interface is very stable. Mainly because they pulled so far ahead with interface in the early 2000s. That being said the GUI has gotten way way better since 10.1.

      Quartz Extreme
      Universal Access (this was huge for lots of people)
      Fast User Switching
      Preview later: instant alpha, graphic extraction
      Quicktime integration
      Integrated H.264/AVC
      Resource forks handled by command line
      XCode visual modeling, remote debugging, integrated reference library

  • So, I briefly tried Windows 8 Consumer Preview months ago, and found it utterly counterintuitive. Still, seeing as I ran out of patience after about 10 minutes, it's possible I just never got to the "good part." I don't presently have the energy to download and fiddle with it again, so I'm requesting input from those who are doing/have done so.

    A lot of people seem to have complained about how "bad" it is, but until now, they may have just been going from a buggy "Preview" copy. Can those who have tried thi

  • I downloaded the 64-bit ISO and installed it in VMWare Player 4.03. It got to a point a bit after the first reboot, then died with a "DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION" blue screen. So if you want to casually check Win8 out without setting up a box, apparently not all visualization solutions work right with this OS.

A company is known by the men it keeps.