Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Windows 8

Yesterday at Microsoft’s Build Conference they provided a lot of new information for developers about Windows 8. I highly recommend checking out the day one keynote speech, it’s long but worthwhile.

If you want to try out Windows 8 you can download a developer (pre-beta) preview here. There are 64 and 32 bit versions of just the OS, as well as a 64-bit version that also contains early versions of Visual Studio 11 and Expression Blend 5 that will allow you to immediately get started with Windows 8 development.

To try it out I decided to load the 64-bit version with the tools in a virtual machine. I first tried if with VMware Workstation, but it seemed to have a problem with the Win 8 installer and it failed before the install even got started. Virtual PC doesn’t support 64-bit, guests but I presume the 32-bit version of Windows 8 will work with it. I finally got it installed using Oracle Virtual Box, just remember that you need to have a processor that supports hardware virtualization to do this. The install went very smoothly with the exception of one crash while entering my Windows Live password. After a re-start the install process finished without any more problems.

The new Metro user interface can be a little tricky at first, especially if you don't have a computer with touch capability, so here are a few tips to help you out.

  1. Be sure you have you screen resolution set to at least 1024x768 or the Metro style apps will not start up.
  2. You can click on the Desktop tile to get to a Windows 7 style desktop. Once you have done that you can switch back and forth between the desktop and the Metro start screen using the Windows key.
  3. There is no Windows 7 style start menu; it's just the Metro start screen. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn the old start menu back on and no indication if Microsoft will add this feature or not.
  4. If you don't have touch, then you will need to fall back to keystrokes for a lot of things. Here are a couple useful ones:

Windows Key+F: Opens the search files panel

Windows Key+Q: Opens the search apps panel

Windows Key+C: Opens the charms panel

Windows Key+I: Opens settings charm

  1. To shut down Windows (you would think this would be obvious), press Windows Key+I, click the Power icon, then click Shut down or Restart from the popup menu.

No comments: