Windows 8: Consumer Preview (32-bit)
Released on 29 February, 2012
Final release date undecided
Microsoft is known to build good operating systems only in alternate releases. Windows XP was well-received and enjoyed good support up to Service Pack 3. I'm sure many of us even use it today because it's a gamer's haven for anyone who does not have fancy hardware specifications. Vista dampened most and the critics were, without a doubt, not happy with the effort. Windows 7 saw that change, and a big chunk of the consumer group seemed to appreciate it. What does Windows 8 bring to us? Will it be another failure? Will Microsoft ultimately break the streak of building good OS-bad OS?
Minimum Hardware Requirements
Let's start with the hardware that Microsoft deems minimum, each for a computer running a 32-bit copy, and a 64-bit copy.
Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: 1 GB
GPU: DirectX 9 compatible, with WDDM 1.0 or higher
Free Space (HDD): 16 GB
Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: 2 GB
GPU: DirectX 9 compatible, with WDDM 1.0 or higher
Free Space (HDD): 20 GB
The requirements are meager if we honestly look at what we have right now. It's common to see 3 GHz+ processors (dual/quad core), 2-4 GB of DDR2/DDR3 RAM, and 500GB-2TB of hard disk space today. That said, none of us are supposed to have any trouble running the OS. Even the old machines will deal with it just fine, and I say that from experience.
My Personal Favorite 3 Features So Far
1. Metro UI
There is no doubt the new Metro user interface, which hit the mainstream market via Windows Mobile 7.5, is a solid addition to the Windows platform, and turns eyes. If you're unaware, following is a screenshot:
Itâ€™s clean and sweet, right? One can access it by taking their cursor to the bottom-left of their screen, just like they have done in the previous OS releases, however the start button does not turn up until you drag your cursor there. What's nice about the Start Menu featuring the Metro UI is: it's customizable. You can arrange the icons the way you want them, turn live tiles on/off, and choose from nine background colors and six designs, making a combination of 54 alternatives.
There are also Metro-styled applications in abundance, something Microsoft did take seriously. You have Mail, Messenger/Chat, Finance, Settings, Music, Photos, Videos and more! All of them have a plain, big, and simple, yet somehow an attractive interface. Those are the attributes I've always wanted and now it's here! These applications seem to work well. Finance, for example, has all the information you need to know: stock indices, stock prices, currency valuations etc. It really is built for an economics-guy.
Last of all, whether a touch device or a traditional keyboard-mouse combination, you're sure to have fun using this!
I have been running Windows 7 for a long time, even though I knew XP would run faster. I thought Windows 8 was going to slow things down further for me. Well? It made them faster! The computer boots in under 30 seconds, as opposed to about a minute for Windows 7. This will wary from hardware-to-hardware. On the newer technology, expect your computer to boot in 10-12 seconds. Make that 8, if you're going to use an SSD (Solid State Drive).
What about shut-down? Same results for me. About 30 seconds to shut down, as opposed to however, 2 minutes on Windows 7. That is a major improvement, if you ask me.
Boot up, and shut-down times aside, how are the applications performing? Rather nicely, I would say. Chrome takes about a second to start, opposed to 3-5 seconds in Windows 7. Firefox takes 3 seconds as opposed to 5-6 seconds on Windows 7. For most of my applications, it was reduced to half, while some others seem to be stuck on the same performance level. Either way, I enjoy the speed and hope there is some more fine-tuning in the final release, the date for which is not yet officially announced.
Not to forget, the operating system uses about 450 MB of RAM, leaving ~550 MB for your applications if you are running on the minimum hardware (1 GB RAM).
The performance would be significantly better than even this, if you use the 64-bit version.
3. Cloud Computing
That's the word on the street right now, and I won't blame the innovators. If you do not know about it, here's a little something: Cloud computing enables real-time synchronization of data between certain devices/computers. For example, if you save a document you made at home for work, it will be there on your work computer when you reach there, or your travel iPad. This eliminates a lot of hassle because you don't have to use a pen-drive/flash-disk for petty tasks anymore, nor write an email attaching a file and then have to download it at work. It's all done for you over the internet.
Windows 8 uses your Live ID to enable cloud. It will also integrate SkyDrive, a popular competitor to Dropbox, an online-storage solution. This will allow those Windows 8 computers where you have your Live ID logged in to sync together.
+ An improved copy/move dialogue box
Windows 8 brings together all your copy/move actions into one dialogue box, making it simple and easy for you. The speeds as well as the estimated time are relatively more accurate now. The ability to pause transfers has finally been implemented, and it was long over-due.
+ Picture passwords
Yes, this feature is not limited to Android smartphones anymore. It's going to be on your desktop soon!
+ Improved Task Manager
The task manager now bundles together applications that belong together. All instances of Explorer, for example, will be under one thread, and each process will be named properly, and not ambiguously "explorer.exe," thereby making it far better. This doesn't seem to work for Chrome yet. Ofcourse, if you prefer the old style, you can still view that by going to the Details tab.
The performance tab is now more beginner-friendly.
+ Lightning fast search
It's almost instant for me in the start menu and filters the results by Apps, Settings and Files. There is also a very noticeable improvement in the Windows search, but the start menu search stands out.
+ Support for ARM processors
Intel and AMD are well known processor-manufacturers. Let's welcome ARM, who makes low-power, efficient, and cheap processors. Most Android phones are already running ARM processors, and you can see for yourself how cheap they can get compared to Windows phones, yet offer the same level of performance.
If you'd like to know more about ARM processors, check their official website.
+ Support for 128-bit architecture (Speculative)
- Ribbon in Windows Explorer
First seen in Office 2010, the ribbon is being brought onto the Explorer. I think it's a redundant addition and makes the explorer look ugly. Personally, it has not made things easier for me. It's only good they decided to let us at least minimize the ribbon. However, beginners might enjoy this update, which is something I am not in a position to judge.
- Theme could be better
The default theme isn't the best it could be. Considering the creativity we see originate from household-designers, you'd expect Microsoft to put out something decent enough to at least compete. I used an improved version of the default theme on Windows 7, because I didn't like the default theme on the previous Windows either. Yet, the release date is not known, and this is only a "consumer preview." I might be in for a surprise.
If you've enjoyed transparency in Windows 7, you're not likely to feel the same with Windows 8. It's only marginally noticeable. One shall eventually get used to it, though.
- Long procedure to reach Shut down/Restart/Sleep/Hibernate
First, you have to open a sidebar by holding your cursor on the bottom-right of the screen, then select settings, then hit Power and choose the desired option. This would take about 2 seconds on the previous releases, but now needs more effort for about 5 seconds. It's annoying if you do that often.
All in all, I'm excited for the final release, and would be upgrading my 2-year old hardware soon. I can't wait to get on the high skyline that Windows 8 has to offer! I recommend this version of Windows. It suits all hardware, is fast and for the first time, actually friendly. We can expect better in the final release.
Yeah I have been busy, Read what I have been up to now. The changes below add to a simpler JR Network!
Removed minecraft server information and put posts in to Minecraft General Discussion
Removed JR Network news forum and placed topics in the Members Area General Chat (We are posting site news including forum news on the News category on the site only)
Disabled JR Rewards for now
Moved Getting started and general chat in to the Site and Forum Category
Site and Forum Category renamed to JR General Forum
When you create a new topic on the introductions forum this shows up:
Welcome to JR Network, Glad to see your well on your way to be a brilliant member, Please remember to follow the rules at http://rules.jrnetwork.net/
We hope you enjoy your time here!
Accedentially removed all member introductions while trying to merge the forum with getting started >.< Sorry!
Added The Rage Forum. Enjoy your debates
Moved Gold Forum Higher so gold members see it.
Moved the minecraft category into gaming and removed the only sub category
Added Minecraft Map to the menu