Microsoft Set To Release Windows 8 Preview Feb. 29

If you want a peek at Microsoft’s next operating system and won’t mind enduring possible pre-release glitches, you won’t have to wait much longer to try it out. Microsoft announced it’s expanding its preview of Windows 8 to the general public Feb. 29. Members of the developer community have had their paws on the preview since September.

InformationWeek is calling Windows 8 the most massive redesign of Windows since Windows 95. The new operating system will incorporate the Live Tiles design from the Windows Phone 7, meaning various sections of your screen will receive rapid updates from your private message and social network feeds, as well as public sources.

Microsoft has yet to set a retail date for Windows 8’s release. The brain trust is giving current OS Windows 7, released in 2009, a bit more breathing room than the much-maligned Windows Vista, which first reared its glitchy head at retail in early 2007.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Date Confirmed [InformationWeek]

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  1. Don't Bother says:

    . For its interface, Windows 8 relies heavily on design elements taken from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 environment, including Metro themes and Live Tiles. Tiles are blocks of screen real-estate that feed real-time updates from social networks, messaging, e-mail, and other services to the home screen.

    So it’ll be more of the same widgets that I turned off the first time I booted up my pc? Because if so, that sounds awful.

    • rpm773 says:

      I know that’s what the kiddies want, but these live updates from social networks and IM would be the first things I turn off. I have enough trouble with distraction management as it is (says I, as I write this on Consumerist)

      • Don't Bother says:

        Exactly! And I’m a bit OCD with programs running in the background. If I want to check my Facebook, twitter, Google+, I’ll check it myself.

    • nicless says:

      It’s not that at all. It’s “Live Tiles” like the Windows Phone. See the screenshot http://newtech.aurum3.com/images/windows-8-metro.jpeg

      If you don’t like this view, you can go to a normal desktop.

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        Oh my god, that is one of the worst interfaces I have ever seen. What a mess of text and icons.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          Really? This is what I’ve been asking for since Windows 95 – a home workspace that is functional without layering other crap on top of it. I log in and it’s a computer that’s already doing computery things! It’s not waiting for me!

          • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

            To me it just looks like a normal desktop with obnoxiously large icons and TEXT EVERYWHERE.

        • Markitect says:

          I suppose you prefer to have a hundred icons littered about the Windows desktop. I detest that. The new metro interface is perfect for mobile devices.

      • DarthCoven says:

        That looks just like the new XBox 360 interface

    • incident_man says:

      I think it looks nice, but I really like my Windows Phone too. The important thing is that it allows users to use the new Metro interface or to use the classic Windows look, whichever the user prefers.

      • Kestris says:

        I really like my Windows phone too (HTC Arrive), but damn if the battery life isn’t crappy, even with nothing allowed to run in the background, very few apps (seriously, I think I installed a whopping 2 and don’t even allow them to run unless I’m using them), no emails and even turning off the social networking aspect.}:/

    • Coffee says:

      It actually sounds really interesting to me…I was listening to them talk about it on the cnet podcast, and they’re pretty excited about it. Evidently, it’s the first iteration of Windows that’s been designed to work seamlessly cross-platform between Windows phones and Windows computers. I don’t know exactly what that means, but the more organic-feeling everything is, the better.

  2. scoutermac says:

    From everything I have seen and read so far Windows 8 looks more of a tablet OS than a PC OS.

    • Markitect says:

      Haters gonna hate, but I for one am looking forward to it. Microsoft did a terrific job on Windows 7. Now 8 is going to add a great interface for tablets.

      • Markitect says:

        Sorry scoutermac, I was not replying to you. That was meant to post at top level. But while I’m here, Windows 8 will continue great support for desktops and notebooks, not just tablets.

  3. Hedgy2136 says:

    Every other release of Windows has historically stunk. There’s no reason to believe this one will be any different. I think I’ll wait for Windows 9.

    • RevancheRM says:

      Do you have reason to believe Windows 9 will be different?

      • rpm773 says:

        I think this is what Hedgy was saying

        98 – good
        ME – bad
        XP – good
        Vista – bad
        7 – good (by most accounts)
        8 – bad?
        9 – good?

        • caradrake says:

          I liked 95. Of course, I think that’s because a lot of my favorite games (Shivers I and II, Lighthouse, Amber…) were all Win 95 and now I can’t play them.

          • Hedgy2136 says:

            You can still play them. Just install Windows 95 in a virtual machine.

            http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

            • webweazel says:

              Might be better than using DOSBox. I’m running XP and have tried to use DOSBox a few times, but I just can’t get it to work. Tried it again a few weeks ago with the newest version to get a Lemmings game for the munchkin, and it’s still a no-go. This time, it basically ran it, but it kept pausing on and off every few seconds, had pixel debris over the game, and had no sound.

          • Driblis says:

            Amber: Journeys Beyond?

            That game was fun times. I miss old scary games that relied on atmosphere and not BLARGH I AM ZOMBIE

            • GoodBytes says:

              Check out GOG.com (Good Old Games). They make old game compatible with current technology and OS using a variety of tools, and they are just a few dollar (usually under 5$).
              DRM free. No special applications needs to be installed to play them.

              Games are coming in as they finish patching them and/or running under a pre-configured DOS Box (Virtual DOS machine) environment, and have the license. Like every about every week to 2 weeks they have new old games.

              The only modern game on GOG is The WItcher 2, because GOG is a decision of the small studio CDProject. also DRM free (the studio is anti-DRM), with all “exclusive content” of certain retailers all accessible, and free, with it. So really no reason to buy it another place.

              • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

                Very cool! I see that they have Masters of Orion and Police Quest. I’d kill to find a copy of Pirates! or Silent Service.

        • Hedgy2136 says:

          That’s what I was saying, but I’ll go a bit further back.

          WFW 3.11 – Good
          95 – Bad

        • GoodBytes says:

          Except it’s all wrong.
          Windows 95 and Vista are actually great OS, they were just ahead of it’s time. Baiscally Vista runs perfectly fine on a high end gaming machine at the time. It’s not the lack of optimization. Mainly it was the graphic card that OEM put. Most system that people got, OEM pace a crummy Intel graphic solution. So Vista, with it’s new graphic card exclusive rendering of the interface (XP and older Windows was using the CPU to draw everything (which sucks at it, but dedicated graphic cards were WAY too expensive, and low power to do this, so like all OS of it’s time, there was no choice). Also insufficient amount of RAM on the system, also played a part. XP memory management was designed for 128/256MB system. Not 2GB+ of RAM. It put everything on the page file (on your hard drive) as soon as it could, even if you had plenty of free space. That is one reason why XP consumed less memory than Vista.. most of the stuff was on your hard drive… the slowest storage system (ignoring optical drive, and diskette drive). Vista (Win7 and 8 also) memory management, while it was improved on later Windows, was optimized for 2GB of RAM+. 4GB was recommended (with Vista 64-bit, which most OEM’s never installed). Finally, Vista (and later Windows) was optimized for multi-core OS. Most people still had Pentium 4’s, which are single core processors, and this is where the OS experience fall out the most.

          Mix with that, with the fact that you had many manufacture that decided to try and make a quick buck on people. “Oh you want Vista drivers… Buy the new version of our product which has the exact same specs, and features as the old version. LOL what are you going to do now? You must buy it!”. I am happy that consumers didn’t buy in into that crap, and decided to switch to other manufacture, which made the manufacture trying to make a quick buck rethink their business strategy, and finally release the Vista drivers.

          Oh Big problem with XP also, is the lack of support of new technologies., While Vista drop support of old technologies, in order to support new technology and new security feature. So if your system had old tech inside… you had a bad experience, down to even BSOD’s. It sucks, but Microsoft did mention it several time before Vista was released. But the press never catch on, and Microosft didn’t push OEM’s. Now I am not saying Microsoft was perfect… they did play a role in it, which didn’t help. But I am just saying.

          I can assure you that if you put Vista on a Win7 machine of today, you’ll go “Hey, it’s not THAT bad as people were saying… it’s not Win7, obviously, but it’s better than XP”.

          That aside.
          The list should be:
          – Windows NT 3.1
          – Windows 95
          – Windows NT 4
          – Windows 98
          – Windows Me
          – Windows 2000
          – Windows XP
          – Windows Vista
          – Windows 7
          – Windows 8

          Your good and bad switch doesn’t work now.

          Also, When XP was out. i recall perfectly people complaining about it. Everyone HATED XP like no tomorrow. People did everything they can to stay with Win98. But people learned to grew to like it. And after 6 years or so, now they love it. It’s funny how it works… Oh yea.. every new Windows, INCLUDING Windows 7, was bashed to the ground. Even people saying that Microsoft lost it game, and calling Windows 7 the downfall of Microsoft. Oh well.

          Lessons:
          -> People want change, but like change
          -> People judge without taking a serious look, and have a direct experience with the product for a long period of time (Trial version of Windows exists). It’s not a 2 min look that you can decide on something. Spend 2-3 weeks on it, then we will talk.
          -> Microsoft wants to sale Windows… they listen, post your complain to Microosft Window s8 blog, and on the feedback system of Windows 8 public beta (like any other previous OS, starting with Vista inclusively). Complaining here is useless. Microsoft doesn’t/can’t monitor every site with a discussion system on the web.

          • Hedgy2136 says:

            Except for the fact that Windows NT and 2000 were never intended to be consumer (end user) products. My dood/bad switch still works.

          • kobresia says:

            No, actually, Vista was pretty bad. There were many exceedingly poor choices in the UI (most of which were corrected in 7), and the print spooler was a complete disaster. It also has some pretty serious problems when it comes to playing nice with Microsoft’s own antimalware programs (FEP/MSE and their predecessors), and the installer service is a wreck, often taking several hours, even on good hardware to eventually just fail to uninstall things like language packs. I’ve also seen it break horribly such that it just won’t install anything anymore, including service packs and other critical updates as well as new applications.

            This is my experience with the few remaining systems that are running Vista at work. I have yet to see a Win 7 machine get as wobbly and broken as the typical Vista box.

          • webweazel says:

            “…every new Windows, INCLUDING Windows 7, was bashed to the ground. Even people saying that Microsoft lost it game, and calling Windows 7 the downfall of Microsoft. Oh well.”

            No, sorry. I agree with kobresia here. Vista is a shit-smeared pig. I subscribe to many computer-tech sites and newsletters, and have since I started using Win98. After Vista came out, and for at least a year afterward, there was loud screaming from all over the web about how shitty it was, and how to fix this and that crap that wouldn’t work, why the computers were running so slow, this and that is moved all around, UAC, drivers that wouldn’t work with brand-new purchased equipment, eye-candy resource hogs, and the list goes on. So many sites were hollering for people to update to SP1 because it would fix all the crap. It was just a constant scream coming from the internet about how horrible it was for two years solid. Why do you think MS was offering a choice of XP on OEM computers for so long after Vista came out? They never did this before or since. Even THEY knew how much of a dog it was, they heard the screaming, and how people just didn’t want it at all.

            This didn’t happen for XP. Most of the info was about how to tweak it to maximize performance, or some driver issues, which was not many. Now, Win7 has been out for a while, and again, haven’t heard much of a peep about any major problems. In fact, my super-picky cantankerous loves-to-complain dad got a new computer with 7 (he WAS using XP) and he says it’s great. I’d sure hear an earful and a half about it if it wasn’t.

            My mom, who lives far away, has Vista on her computer, and she’s kind of a newbie, so I have to help her out a lot with different things. I have a remote connection to her machine, and I use it (quite often, unfortunately) to help her with various things, and all I seem to do the whole time is cuss like a sailor at the stupid shit in Vista and how freaking slow it is. She complains about how slow it is in doing anything. She says she just sits and watches the cursor thing spin and spin and spin. Her computer is somewhat old at this point, probably can’t handle 7 so I’m going to put XP on it in the future, and run over the Vista disk with my car just to make me feel better.

          • Kestris says:

            Uh, no. Vista was crap for gaming. My BiL and SiL had Vista and couldn’t game worth a darn while using it. They backed it down to XP and their new computers will have Win 7 on them.

            We, on the other hand, have never had any gaming issues with XP and very few with Win7 so far.

  4. gitmo234 says:

    Maybe I’m off base but it seems like MS is making a big push to make tiles popular. Personally, I hate it. This looks terrible.

  5. speaky2k says:

    So this is another step in the process of getting system that will need to be connected to the internet to do anything the way I see it. Over half the time when I am on my computer at home or work I am not doing anything online, so why should I need an internet connection? And what about those people who have only dial-up or nothing?
    These Tiles that have constant updating sound like they are going to be more annoying than useful. If I could remove facebook and email from my smart phone I would, but they were pre-installed apps on my Android phone and I can’t remove any pre-installed app. I also can’t stop them from running in the background, they keep re-starting every time I shut them down.

    • AllanG54 says:

      You can turn the email off in settings. Just change it to never update. I have done this with mine, running 2.1 and it’s never been a problem. Since I don’t use Facebook I don’t get any updates and don’t have a problem with that either.

  6. Mr Grey says:

    My boss will need to upgrade – regardless of its beta or pre release status –

    poor thing suffers from Early Adopters Disease.

  7. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Screw that. I only need Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Netscape. And my 2400 baud is more than enough speed for my BBS’s.

    • JusticeGustine says:

      Ever since I first looked at the Windows 8 screenshots I flashed back to Win3.1. Little groups of programs on the screen ala Program Manager.

  8. aleck says:

    I have a Win 8 beta from last November running on a tablet and even that version is already usable and looks great.

    I know some people are per-determined to dislike it. Earlier version of tablet variations were too “desktop oriented”. Now it is “too tablet-y”, not enough PC OS. If you actually take time to use it, it combines both rather well and will provide a viable alternative to IPad and Android tablets. For those who want a productive tablet that does more than play movies, Angry Birds and Facebook this will be the platform to get.

  9. esc27 says:

    The last version I tried looked great for tablets, but horrible for desktops. Mouse and touch interfaces just don’t mesh well together. Everything they have done to make touch controls better made mouse controls worse. E.g. giant buttons spread all over the screen. This works great for fingers that can instantly touch any part of the interface, but it greatly increases how far the mouse has to move and given a day of use this really adds up.

    I wish they had stuck with two separate UI’s with an easy way to toggle back and forth. The new Metro UI will be great for remoting into a desktop from a tablet, but horrible when actually at the desktop. Unless, hopefully, they have ironed out those problems in this preview.

  10. Snowblind says:

    I will stick with Linux…

  11. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    MS is presuming that *everybody* uses and wants “private messaging” and “social network” feeds on their desktops. And they have perpetually dumbed-down the interface for the mouth-breathing masses who want everything to look and work like a Fisher-Price toy.

    Whoever designed this atrocity needs to be punched in the face.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      No, they’re presuming that most people do. (And guess what…) If you don’t like it, turn it off or get used to a “No New Messages” tile.

      I’d have to imagine Windows 8 Enterprise (or whatever they’ll call it) will have some strong Exchange/Office/SkyDrive/SharePoint integration, so if that’s more your game, you might like that.

  12. nicless says:

    Having run the Developer Preview, I can say that the metro interface is REALLY designed for touch interfaces. They at least give you the option of going to the Windows 7 type desktop if you want to though.

  13. Daddy-o says:

    I really dislike when software companies do this. Originally, betas were intended for developers, who understand the limitations of unfinished software and know how to handle it properly. These days betas are marketing tools foisted on an unsuspecting public that is ill-equipped to deal with the problems the software can cause.

    • gman863 says:

      After the launch of Vista, Microsoft learned a valuable lesson: People aren’t going to buy a $100-$300 copy of a software upgrade or a new PC unless they had a chance to try out and test drive it first.

      I agree using a beta copy of any software is not a DIY project for noobs. The beta is aimed at experienced users and geeks – the ones that advise their ID10T friends on what (and what not) to buy. If geeks like us give it a thumbs up, we’ll end up as shills for upgrades and new PCs once Windows 8 hits retail.

  14. dolemite says:

    Meh, I feel like 7 just came out. I’m usually pretty quick to upgrade, but I can’t see dumping 7 already.

    • Cicadymn says:

      Same thing. I felt like as soon as 7 was released they announced 8. 7 is solid enough that I could go a few years without worrying about wanting to change it.

    • Kestris says:

      We JUST upgraded to Win 7 ourselves- bought new computers this year, from Win XP. So yeah, don’t see us upgrading anytime soon either.

  15. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Windows 8 is not dumbing it down – if you want to copy a folder’s pathname to the clipboard or do an advanced file search, simply double-right-click the taskbar between 170 and 175 pixels from the left side of the screen, click Unlock… Unprotect, now go into the directory C:/inaccessible/locked_files/10926589763874687368768376847628734.wd8/&1 and select “Advanced Users”, then wait while a 30-second ad plays, and then there is a button in the middle of the window – double-right-click the button to reveal a secret code. Write this down and return to the desktop, then type in the code using the touchscreen as if it were a telephone keypad.

    Repeat this every time you want to copy a pathname to the clipboard or search for a file. It’s easy. No point making this available to beginners since they would never use it.

  16. Firevine says:

    Windows 8 would have to be some serious awesome to pull me away from that sweet, sweet Windows 7 action.

  17. Mark702 says:

    I really like Windows 7, and plan to keep using it for a few years. I don’t like OSX at all, and Win8 looks stupid, so I’ll likely have 7 until 9 comes along, as long as it doesn’t suck or unless the Android OS becomes a full desktop OS.

  18. coffee100 says:

    Let’s take a look at the alternatives. Ubuntu Linux, Arch Linux and Linux Mint are solid, stable, top-quality operating systems which include, at no extra charge, an office suite, word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, database (UI and your choice of servers), two very popular desktop environments with the latest features and a complete selection of web software including IM clients, Skype and at least 15 web browsers.

    They also include an app store where everything is free, a complete web development environment, dozens of text editors, desktop publishing software (more powerful than any commercial product ever released), hundreds of games, security applications, educational programs, a very serviceable Photoshop alternative (GIMP), an Illustrator alternative (Inkscape), a 3D modeling and animation package (Blender), financial planning and record-keeping software (Gnucash), sound and video editing software, scientific applications, a full set of system administration tools (both command-line and UI-based) and it will run on nearly any hardware.

    If you’re a programmer, Linux also includes the industry standard C compiler and debugger, C++, Bash, Perl, Python, Java, Adobe Flex (AS3), an excellent assembler, Lisp, Ruby, BASIC, source control packages (several flavors), Awk, Ada, Fortran, Pascal and about eight different IDEs, including Emacs, which is likely the most complex and powerful single piece of software ever written.

    Oh, and if you need to run Windows applications, you can run almost anything (including games) on Wine. LInux is free, has regular updates, and you can share it with all your friends too.

    There are choices in operating systems. Why not give Linux a try?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Because your chances of installing it and having it recognize and install drivers for all your devices is close to zero, then you have to be a Linux expert to try to fix it. And it won’t run 99.999% of the software on the planet, which includes everything you’ve ever bought in the past.

      And no…it won’t run Crysis.

      Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to have Linux take over. But in order for that to happen, you’d have to have essentially all software companies port their products over…everything from MS Office to COD3 to Picassa. And you’d have to have all hardware companies provide drivers and support for it. You’d have to make finding and installing drivers and updates at least as easy as Microsoft Update. And that’s not even starting on the human element of trying to get people to use a different UI/programs anyway.

      Don’t see it happening.

      • coffee100 says:

        1997 called. They want their FUD back.

        Drivers? Really? Dude, drivers haven’t been an issue for like 12 years. lol

        MS Office, COD3 and Picasa already run on Linux. For that matter so does Windows (in fact, there are three ways to run any version of WIndows on Linux, and a fourth if you’re an “expert”)

        And then we’re back to drivers. sigh. One word: Intel.

        You don’t have to “find” updates. Installing updates on Linux is easier than on Windows. Why, it can even be automated. Linux also had a desktop app store two years before Microsoft even considered it.

        But hey, it’s the 90s man. What do you say? Clinton or Dole for President?

        • Lt. Coke says:

          I’ve tried Linux repeatedly over the last decade. Multiple flavors. The big issues have been ironed out, and driver issues are much less of a big deal if you don’t have anything super special.

          There are still lots of little problems that have existed since I got around to testing it. Keyboards don’t always work quite right – I use the caps lock key to type every capital letter, for instance. Some programs have problems with this, and every flavor of Linux I’ve ever tried just isn’t workable for me. There are no solutions I’m aware of. Every time I use a capital letter on Linux, it looks something like THis. Windows has never had this problem, wtf guys?

          I haven’t tested Linux at all since I got Windows 7. Why would I want Linux if 7 already does everything I want? It’s very reliable (poor XP users, still restarting every week, if it’s a new installation), ‘Windows Creep’ isn’t as pronounced an issue, and did I mention everything works all the time unless I break it being stupid? That too.

    • ugly says:

      I hope that most of the developers already know about the Linux IDEs and compilers! But bonus points for including emacs under IDE rather than text editors!

      Most developers I think use other flavours of Linux, not as a dig on ubuntu though, which is a solid recommendation.