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Meet the Windows of the future

[UPDATE 1 ] Tues. 2/29/2012 10:03 a.m.
 
Windows 8 Consumer Preview (a beta build) is now officially live on Microsoft's servers, so get ready for the rush.  Travel here to get it.
 
Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky at the unveil event stated, "We are really excited to be here. This is a day that's been long in coming for the Windows team. I just got a picture of the operations center where they're getting ready for the downloads. They've been up since 3 AM."
 
Let's hope they're ready -- in 2009 a similar beta of Windows 7 saw so much demand that it crashed Microsoft's servers.  It was all for a good cause, though -- the beta process found and fixed 2,000 bugs in Windows 7 and proved a key part of its record-smashing commercial success.  Microsoft hopes to recapture that success with Windows 8.
 
If you download it and try it, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you think.
 
[/UPDATE 1]

A crucial step in the road towards the launch of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) next commercial personal computer operating system is set to be taken in just minutes or perhaps hours from now.  Microsoft will unveil a public beta of Windows 8 to the world.  It is pitching the beta both to consumers and to businesses, who might not have jumped onboard the earlier MSDN/TechNet preview builds.

The new OS brings a slew of improvements including a developer-friendly 20-80 Microsoft-developer split for high-grossing apps, less painful Windows Update processfaster bootsdecreased OS resource consumption, and improved file transfers, a streamlined upgrade process for the initial installation, and switching to a primarily online sales distribution model.

Like Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) forthcoming Mountain Lion, Microsoft is pushing hard to "appify" traditional programs, bringing them in line with smartphone apps in terms of app store distribution, icons, and interfaces.  Microsoft is also pushing its SkyDrive -- its cloud storage scheme.

Metro Apps in Windows  8
A slew of Metro Ui apps in Windows 8 [Image Source: The Verge]

The new Windows 8 beta is being launched in Barcelona, Spain, at a 2012 Mobile World Congress event.  The location is appropriate given that Microsoft's new operating system heavily focuses on tablets, for the first time.

Ahead of the launch, some of the built in wallpapers have leaked via r27, an Italian website.  You can grab the 23.6 MB package from here.

WallPaper 1 Wallpaper2 Wallpaper 3 Wallpaper 4 Wallpaper 5 
Wallpaper 6 Wallpaper 7
 
(Click to enlarge)

The entire Windows 8 download (X64) is expected to be a bit under 3 GB.

Update: The X64 download is 3.3 GB for the English version, while the 32-bit version is 2.5 GB.

Microsoft has published a guide [PDF] for business.  It suggests how business can put Windows 8 on a USB stick for quick and painless managed boots at remote locations.  Given current USB stick capacities have reached 128 GB, it shouldn't be hard to squeeze a managed copy of Windows 8 on there, space-wise.  

Microsoft's business guide also brags about SmartScreen Application Reputation, a feature that screens downloads.  When you go to open a download, if it is a suspect file type and not from a trusted source a warning is given suggesting the user to abort.

The new OS should go live shortly, we will post a link when it does.

Remember, you can install the new operating system as a fully bootable operating system on a single-boot or multi-boot configuration, or more convenient pop it in a virtual machine like VMWare, Inc.'s (VMW) VMWare Workstation.

Sources: The Verge, r27



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RE: meh
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2012 2:05:10 AM , Rating: 1
I don't see how they possibly think this will be used in any office.

Going forward we'll basically have server products going back to a command line (I'm fine with this, nobody should have to RDP onto a server to do tasks) while the desktop OS goes to what they are presenting in Windows 8.

This unfortunately leaves power users such as myself in the dust. I really wish that there would be some segmentation between the tablet features and the desktop OS features. At least OS X Lion did a fair job integrating some iOS tablet features without getting in the way of the normal window/folder desktop functions. Otherwise the main Windows 8 additions I'm interested in, native ISO moutning and PDF viewing, have been in OS X for over a decade. Nice to see it is finally in Windows. Otherwise I really don't care for it so far, I'm done with it at the moment.

Since 2000 I've gotten my copies of Windows from a friend at Microsoft for about $35. I can get Windows 8 for cheap and I still don't know if I'll be upgrading from Windows 7. This is the first time I've ever felt that way about a Windows upgrade. I thought XP fans were nuts for not upgrading to Vista after its driver issues were hashed out after about six months, but this I'm not so sure about. :/


RE: meh
By TakinYourPoints on 3/1/2012 3:21:49 AM , Rating: 2
Remove the Metro UI or give an option to bypass it completely, add the start button back, and you have an updated Windows 7 with a tweaked kernel and some needed improvements (ie - ISO mounting and PDF reading). That would be cool and much more compelling than this tablet oriented OS.


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