Monday, September 19, 2011

Microsoft Windows 8 Developer Preview

Microsoft Windows 8 Developer Preview

The Windows 8 Developer Preview provides an early (but surprisingly complete) look at the next generation of Windows, complete with touch interface, brand new desktop apps, and more.

You're not a developer? You don't have a touch screen device? Don't worry, this release is aimed at developers, but anyone can use it. And while the new interface is very touch-oriented, it also works with the mouse and keyboard.

You do need to be careful where you install it, though. The Developer Preview requires a clean install, and can't be uninstalled later, so it's best to use it on a spare system, if you have one (especially as it's also an early version, buggy, incomplete, and with no support on offer from Microsoft). If you've an old laptop capable of running Windows 7, for instance, then it should be able to run Windows 8, too.

Or if you don't have the necessary hardware, then it can be safely run in a VirtualBox virtual machine, instead.

However you install the Developer Preview, once it's launched you'll find the new Metro-style desktop (if you've ever used or seen Windows Phone 7 then you'll know exactly what to expect) comes packed with extras. So as well as links to Explorer, Control Panel, IE and the old-style desktop (which is still available, if you get lost) there's a weather app, social networking tools, games, productivity apps and a whole lot more.

These are just sample applications, not what will be included with the finished Windows 8. They're still interesting to explore, though, and once you get tired of these then you can always install and run your existing apps, just as you always did. Well, that's the plan, at least - there are sure to be incompatibilities in this release, however, so don't be surprised if you have some issues.

System Requirements
Windows Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7:
* 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
* 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
* 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
* DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
* Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
* To run Metro style Apps, you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater


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