My Windows 8 Developer Preview Installed

I downloaded the new Windows 8 Developer Preview today and wanted to see what is new. Much of the time, it was very similar to Windows 7. The new Metro interface is interesting. Metro reminds me of the Windows Media Center previously available for Windows Vista and 7. There is a definite shift towards tablet /touch computing and real-time Internet content. Performance was pretty quick for a developer build. When logging in it asks for your Windows Live/Hotmail email address and mobile cell phone number to provide this integration. This is where your info will be synched. This build did not recognize my video card on my Intel dual-core 6750 desktop. It was fully functional although not that different from Windows 7. And there are now 3rd party add-ins for Windows 7 to give you a Metro touch screen launcher. More on that on a another posting. But overall a nice and stable initial build. I was able to dual boot this Win8 and Fuduntu linux on the same box under different partitions.

Selecting Desktop from the above menu, brings you to the traditional Windows 8 desktop (below).

Below is Internet Explorer 10.

Below is Firefox 6.02

Below is Chrome 14.0

Windows Media Player looks the same.

Below is the Windows Personalization panel, which also looks the same.

Below is the Apps listing

Below are the feeds menu

Below is the Weather applet.

Below is the Stocks applet.

Below is the Socialite applet for Facebook and other sites.

The Control Panel applet is also available from the Metro touch screen page.

Windows 8 has the same basic programs like the Snipping Tool, Notepad, Wordpad, Photo Viewer, Fax & Scan, Paint. A new program called Journal works with touch screen handwriting or drawing (below).

You get the Windows 8 Developer Build ISO here:

50 Windows 8 Tips & Tricks from TechRadar

50 Windows 8 tips, tricks and secrets, Tutorial: Hints and tips to help you get more from Windows 8
OPERATING SYSTEMS NEWS By Mike Williams, Wednesday at 10:30 BST 

It's far from finished, but the Developer Preview edition ofWindows 8 is already packed with important additions, from the colourful Metro interface, to a revamped Explorer, appealingdesktop applets, useful system repair options, and more.
In places, though, Windows 8 is also very different to what's gone before. So if you've installed the new Windows 8 build, perhaps on avirtual machine but found yourself a little lost, don't worry - read our Windows 8 tips and tricks and you'll soon be back on track, and taking a close-up view at some of the best features Windows 8 has to offer.

Windows 8 tips: getting started

1. Lock screen
Launch Windows 8 and you'll first see the Lock screen, which appears whenever your system boots, resumes or you otherwise need to log on. If you have a touch screen, swipe up to clear it and enter your password; otherwise, drag up with the mouse, use the mouse scroll wheel, or just to tap the spacebar to clear it and move on.
2. The Metro home screen
Once you've logged on then the new Metro start screen will appear, packed with tiled apps. So packed you'll probably need to scroll horizontally to see them all (scrolling the mouse wheel, if you have one, will do this for you).
You don't have to put up with this arrangement, though. Click on individual apps to see what they do; press the Windows key at any time to return to the Metro screen; right-click (or swipe down on) apps you don't need and select Unpin to remove them; and drag and drop the other tiles around to organise them as you like.
3. Simplified Start menu
Metro has its own Start menu containing just a few simple options; Settings, Devices, Share and Search. Swipe from the right side of a touch screen, or move the mouse cursor to the bottom left of the screen to view and explore this.
4. Run anything
To run another app, just press the Windows key and start typing its name. The search window will appear (you can also launch this by press Win+F) with any hits, and clicking one will launch it.
Alternatively, hold down the Windows key and press R to open the old Run box, enter notepad.exe (or whatever) and launch it just as before.
5. Task switching
The Metro screen doesn't have a taskbar, so you'll soon lose track of the apps you've run. To see what's running, though, just press Alt+Tab. Pressing Win+Tab will switch from one running app to the next, and on a touch screen, swiping repeatedly from the left also cycles through running apps.
You could also simply launch an app again and, if there's another copy running, that one will be displayed.
If you have a keyboard, repeatedly pressing the Windows key will always toggle you between the Metro screen and the last app.
And if you have a mouse, move its cursor to the far left of the screen (roughly in the centre, vertically) and a thumbnail of the last app you used should appear. Click this to relaunch it.
6. Closing time
Metro apps don't have a "Close" button, and this is intentional: apps are suspended when you switch to something else, and are automatically closed anyway if you need the resources.
If you'd like to keep your system clean, though, you can always close them manually. Press Ctrl+Alt+Esc to launch Task Manager, right-click the surplus application and select End Task.
7. How to shut down
To shut down your system from Metro, call up the Settings dialog (move the mouse cursor to the bottom-left corner of the screen and click Settings, or just hold down the Windows key and press I), click the Power icon, then Shut Down.
Or, in the desktop, you can still press Alt+F4, and choose the Shut Down, Restart, Switch User or Log Off option.

Windows 8 tips: mastering Metro

8. Metro Internet Explorer
Click the Internet Explorer Metro pane and a full-screen version of the browser will appear. This is touch-friendly, and has some pluses for mouse users: right-clicking lets you pin a site to your Metro screen, for instance, or open a new browser tab or switch to an old one.
But if you prefer the old-style IE interface, that's available, too - open the desktop and launch it, or just hold down the Windows key and press 1.
9. See more apps
Metro apps normally run full-screen, but if you're using a touch interface it's possible to view two at once: just swipe from the left, drop the thumbnail onto the screen, and one app will display as a sidebar while the other takes the rest. (You can swap these by swiping again, but it's not possible to have each app take half the screen.)
Windows 8
10. Check the Weather
Many of the bundled Metro apps can be reconfigured, and this usually starts with a right-click.
By default the weather app will show the current conditions in Anaheim, California, for instance, but if you'd prefer to view conditions in your local city then click Weather to launch the app, right-click and select Add City, type the name of your nearest city, and choose it from the list, when it appears.
Windows 8 weather
11. Spell check
Metro apps all have spellcheck where relevant, which looks and works much as it does in Microsoft Office. Make a mistake and a wavy red line will appear below the offending word; tap or right-click this to see suggested alternative words, or add the word to your own dictionary if you prefer.
12. Run as Administrator
Some programs need you to run them with Administrator rights before they'll work properly. The old context menu isn't available for a pinned Metro app, but there's something similar not far away: just right-click one of your pinned apps, click Advanced, and if it's appropriate for this app, you'll see a Run As Administrator option.
13. Hibernate or Sleep
By default Hibernate or Sleep won't appear in the Windows 8 shutdown dialogs, however you may be able to restore them.
Launch the Power Options applet (powercfg.cpl) and click "Choose what the power buttons do" in the left-hand pane.
If you see a "Change settings that are current unavailable" link, then click it, check the Sleep and Hibernate options, click Save Changes, and the new options should now appear in your shutdown dialogs.

Windows 8 tips: productivity

14. Log in automatically
Tired of manually logging in every time Windows 8 launches?
Hold down the Windows key, press R, type netplwiz and press Enter to launch the User Accounts dialog.
Clear the "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer" box and click OK.
Enter the user name and password of the account that you'd like to be logged in automatically, click OK, reboot, and you shouldn't be prompted for your login details again.
Windows 8 login
15. Windows key shortcuts in Windows 8
The Windows Metro interface is primarily designed for touch screens, but it does also support most of the old Windows key shortcuts, many of which are now more useful than ever.
Win + C : displays the "Charms": the Settings, Devices, Share and Search options
Win + D : launches the desktop
Win + E : launches Explorer
Win + F : opens Search
Win + I : opens Settings
Win + L : locks your PC
Win + P : switch your display to a second display or projector
Win + R : opens the Run box
Win + U : open the Ease of Access Centre
Win + W : search your system settings (type POWER for links to all power-related options, say)
Win + Z : displays the right-click context menu when in a full-screen Metro app
Win + + : zoom in
Win + - : zoom out
Win + Tab : switch between running apps
16. Launch programs quickly
If you're working with a keyboard and don't want to have to scroll through Metro tiles to find the program you need, don't worry, Windows 8 still supports a useful old shortcut.
Open the desktop, launch Media Player, right-click its taskbar button and select Pin this program to Taskbar.
Close Media Player, and drag and drop its taskbar icon to the extreme left, so it's next to the taskbar button, then press the Windows key again to return to the Metro interface.
Now hold down the Windows key, press 1, and you'll see the desktop appear and Media Player launch. You can similarly press the Windows key and 2 to launch the second icon (IE, by default), or 3 to launch the third (Explorer), while adding as many others as will fit.
17. View all installed programs
Windows 8 no longer displays a Start menu, which means you can't easily see all the non-Metro programs on the system.
Unless, that is, you hold down the Windows key, and press F to see the Search dialog. Click Apps and you'll be left with an alphabetically-sorted list of installed apps and applications - just click one to launch it, or right-click one and select Pin to add it to the Metro screen for easier access later.
Windows 8 search
18. Shutdown shortcuts
The fastest way to shut down your PC is via a suitable shortcut.
Launch the desktop app, right-click an empty part of the desktop and click New > Shortcut.
shutdown.exe -s -t 00
to shut down your PC,
shutdown.exe -h -t 00
to hibernate it, and click Next.
Type a shortcut name - Hibernate, say - and click Finish.
Right-click the shortcut and select Pin to Taskbar, or copy the shortcut to the C:\Users\<AccountName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.
Hold down the Windows key and press F to open Search.
Type the name of the shortcut, click Apps beneath the search box, and it should appear on the left.
Finally, right-click the app, select Pin and it should appear on the far right of the Metro screen - just drag it wherever you like.
19. Restore the Start menu
If you've explored Metro but don't like it at all, there's a way to restore a more traditional look.
Launch REGEDIT and browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer.
Double-click RPEnabled, and change it from 1 to 0 to remove Metro, the new Task Manager, Start menu and more.
Alternatively, set RPEnabled to 2 to remove Metro, restore the Start menu but keep most of the other improvements.
Windows 8 start menu
20. Launch Metro apps from the desktop
Spending most of your time in the desktop doesn't have to mean abandoning Metro apps altogether.
Create a new folder on your desktop called:
Then open it and you'll see icons for every app on your Metro screen, along with other Windows applets. So if you need to open a particular Metro app, open this folder, double-click the icon, and you can launch it without having to switch back to Metro.

Windows 8 tips: new options and features

21. Install Windows 8 from a USB flash drive
If you'd like to install Windows 8 from a USB flash drive, rather than a DVD, then the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool has been reported to work. Just point the program at your Windows 8 ISO file and it'll create a bootable Windows 8 installer on the USB drive for you.
22. SmartScreen
Windows 8 now uses IE's SmartScreen system-wide, checking downloaded files to ensure they're safe. In general this is a good thing, but if you have any problems then it can be tweaked.
Hold down the Windows key, press R, type control.exe and press Enter to launch the old-style Control Panel.
Open the Action Centre applet, and click Change SmartScreen Settings. Here you can keep the warning, but avoid the requirement for administrator approval, or turn SmartScreen off altogether. Make your choice and click OK to finish.
Windows 8 smartscreen
23. 64-bit IE
If you have the 64-bit version of Windows 8 then its copy of Internet Explorer can also run in 64-bit mode - but only when manually enabled.
Click Tools > Internet Options > Security, choose the security zone you wish to tweak, and check Enable 64-bit Mode. Click OK, restart and you're done.
24. Virtual Machines
Install Windows 8 and you also get Microsoft's Hyper-V, allowing you to create and run virtual machines (as long as you're not running in a virtual machinealready). Launch OptionalFeatures.exe, check Hyper-V and click OK to enable the feature. Then switch back to Metro, scroll to the right, find and click on the Hyper-V Manager tile to begin exploring its capabilities.
25. Early Launch Anti-Malware
When your Windows 8 system launches it can now selectively decide which boot drivers to initialise, refusing to load dubious or unknown drivers and so protecting you from some infections.
You need to turn this feature on manually, though. Which may not be a good idea just yet, because if a legitimate driver is blocked then your system may crash, lock up or become unstable.
But if you'd like to try this anyway, launch GPEDIT.MSC, browser to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Early Launch Anti-Malware, double-click Boot-Start Driver Initialisation Policy on the right, and choose your preferred option.
26. Windows 8 File History
Windows 8 includes an excellent File History feature, which can back up your selected files whenever you like. To set this up, go to the desktop Control Panel, and open the File History applet. Click Exclude Folders to decide what you're saving, Advanced Settings to choose the backup frequency, Change Drive to choose the backup destination, and Turn On to enable the feature with your settings.
And once it's been running for a while, you can check on the history for any file in Explorer by selecting it, choosing the Home tab and clicking History.
Windows 8 file history
27. USB drives
You don't need a large external drive to use File History - a USB flash drive will do. Just connect it to your Windows 8 system, choose "Configure this drive for backup using File History" from the menu, and by default your libraries, contacts, favourites and desktop contents will immediately be backed up. (Use the settings options mentioned above to tweak how this works.)

Windows 8 tips: tweaks and customisations

28. Control Panel
The process of customising Windows 8 starts when you click the new Metro Control Panel tile.
Click Personalise, for instance, and you can change your lock screen image in a click or two. Click User Tile at the top of the screen, though, and you can also change the picture representing your account, including grabbing an image from your webcam, if you have one.
Personalise windows 8
29. Picture password
Windows 8 allows you to create a picture password, where you choose an image, then draw on it in a combination of taps, lines and circles - only someone who can reproduce this pattern will be able to log on. Click Control Panel > Users > Create a Picture Password to get started.
30. Simplify Search
By default Windows 8 includes every bundled app in its Search results. If you'll never want to use some of these - the Store app, say - then click Control Panel on the Metro screen, select Search, choose which apps you don't want included, and your search list will be more manageable in future.
Windows 8 search setup
31. Touch Keyboard
By default the Touch Keyboard will try to help you out by, for instance, playing sounds as you type, capitalising the first letter of each sentence, adding a period if you double-tap the spacebar, and more. If any of this gets in your way, though, you can turn the relevant feature off: just go to Control Panel > General and customise the keyboard to suit your needs.
Windows 8 touch keyboard
32. Sync selectively
Windows 8 can synchronise its settings across every system you have it installed, which sounds great - but can also lead to privacy problems. It will synchronise everything, including internet history and some passwords, for instance, maybe a problem if several people use your PCs. If this doesn't suit your needs then you can customise Sync from the Metro Control Panel: simply click Sync PC Settings and select your preferred options.
33. Full power
If these basic options aren't what you need, then you can scroll to the bottom of the new Control Panel and click More Settings to see all the old applets.
Or, if you're using a keyboard, just hold down the Windows key, press R, type Control.exe and press Enter to launch the full Control Panel directly.

Windows 8 tips: Explorer tricks

34. An Explorer secret
Windows Explorer now includes a Ribbon interface. This is context-sensitive, which means it displays different sections according to what you're doing - and so until you click on an executable file in Explorer, for instance, you'll never know that it has an Application section. Click this, though, and you'll find options to pin the file to the taskbar, run it as an Administrator, or another user, or troubleshoot compatibility issues if it won't run at all.
Similarly, there's a "Shortcut Tools" which appears when you select a shortcut, although this only has one option: to open whatever folder the shortcut is pointing at.
Windows 8 ribbon
35. Hiding the Ribbon
If you find the ribbon takes up too much space then there's an easy way to leave it hidden.
Hold down the Windows key, press R, type gpedit.msc and press Enter.
Expand the Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer section of the tree.
Double-click "Start Windows Explorer with the Ribbon minimised", set the value to Enabled and click OK.
And if you start Explorer, the ribbon won't be displayed by default. Click the Down arrow to the left of the Help icon if you'd like to see it.
36. Quick Access Toolbar
The latest Explorer features a Quick Access Toolbar immediately above the menu, providing easy access to options like "New Folder", "Minimise", "Undo" and more.
This is customisable, too - click the arrow to the right of the default buttons, in the Explorer window caption bar, and choose whatever options you need. And you can include add any other ribbon option on the Quick Access Toolbar by right-clicking it and selecting Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
Windows 8 quick access toolbar
37. Disk error checking
Windows 8 now offers an extra option when checking a drive for errors. Right-click the problem drive in Explorer, click Properties > Tools > Check Now and you'll have two choices.
The first is the regular "Scan drive" option, which conveniently allows you to work while it runs, but may not catch anything.
The second is a new "Scan and repair" option, though. This locks the drive so you can't use it while the operation is running, and may require a reboot, but is more likely to fix all your problems.
38. Improved file copying
Try copying files in Explorer and you'll see an enhanced dialog which provides more information about what's happening. If there's a problem, you can click the Pause button to stop the operation for a while. And, if there are conflicts, deciding which files to keep and which to drop is easier than ever.
Windows 8 copy dialog
39. Mount ISO files in Windows 8
Need to take a closer look at an ISO file? Right-click it in Explorer, click Mount and you can view it as a virtual drive, launch the files it contains, or add more if you like.
40. Windows 8 Folder Options
The Windows Explorer Folder Options has moved: again. There's no Tools menu any more, but if you click File > Change Folder and Search Options then the old dialog will appear.
Alternatively, you can still load it from the old Control Panel. Hold down the Windows key, press R, type Control.exe and press [Enter] to launch Control Panel, choose "Large icons" in the View By list, and click Folder Options to open the dialog.
41. Open in a New Process
Windows 8's Explorer seemed stable to us, but if you find one instance keeps crashing and taking down others then try opening them by clicking File > Open new window > Open new window in new process. Explorer will then run the new window in a separate Explorer.exe process, so if it fails then other Explorer.exe instances are less likely to be affected.
42. Restart Explorer
If Explorer locks up for some reason, then regaining control is now very easy. No need to close the process any more: simply press Ctrl+Alt+Esc, select Explorer in the list and click Restart.
Windows 8 explorer

Windows 8 tips: troubleshooting

43. Virtual installation issues
If you've tried installing Windows 8 in a virtual machine you may have come across some problems. VMware Workstation 7 isn't up to the task, and Microsoft's own Virtual PC and Virtual Server also fail.
The best free option is to use the latest version of VirtualBox, then. VMware Workstation 8 and Parallels 7 on the Mac are also reported to work.
44. Troubleshoot performance problems
If your Windows 8 system seems sluggish and you don't know why, the new Task Manager may be able to help you uncover the cause.
Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch it, or right-click the taskbar and select Start Task Manager,
The Processes tab then gives you a detailed view of what's currently using your CPU time, RAM, hard drive and network bandwidth. The Performance tab gives you a graphical view of resource use, and the App History dialog shows which app is the most resource-hungry.
Windows 8 task manager
45. Metro apps won't launch
You click a Metro app, and the time moves but nothing else happens? This may be a display issue. Metro apps don't currently support screen resolutions lower than 1024x768, so increase your resolution if possible (launch the desktop, right-click, select Screen Resolution).
If that's no help, update your video drivers. And user account issues also seem to be a common cause. Try creating a new user account with a different email address to the one you're currently using.
46. Old Task Manager
If the new Task Manager doesn't quite suit your needs, then the old one is still easily accessible. Hold down the Windows key, press R, type TaskMGR and press Enter to launch it. (Typing TM will launch the new version.)
47. 16-bit Applications
Having problems running some ancient 16-bit application? It might be a good time to ask if the program is really essential. But if the answer is "Yes", launch the regular desktop Control Panel, open the 16-bit Application Support applet and click Enable.
48. Windows 8 crashes
When Windows 8 has a blue-screen crash it displays a far less intimidating status message than previous versions of the operating system. It also has much less information about the cause of the problem, though if you look immediately below the "now it needs to restart" message you may see something helpful.
Windows 8 bsod
49. Device Manager Events
If you've a driver or hardware-related problem with Windows 8, launch Device Manager, browse to the relevant device, right-click it, select Properties and click the new Events tab. If Windows has installed drivers, related services or carried out other important actions on this device then you'll now see them here, very useful when troubleshooting.
50. Repairing Windows 8
If Windows 8 stops working at some point (quite likely - it's a very early version) then there are new ways to restore normal operations.
If Windows will start, select the Metro Control Panel app, and click "General". Choose the Refresh option to essentially reinstall Windows while keeping your data. Alternatively, choose the Reset option: this restores Windows but removes your data and applications as well.
Windows 8 won't start? Then boot from your original installation disc, instead; choose your language and keyboard; click "Repair your computer", then select "Troubleshoot". Again, you may refresh or reset your PC. Click Advanced Options, though, and you'll find tools to restore Windows from a previous restore point or system image file, as well as an Automatic Repair option which looks for and fixes some common startup issues.
Or, if you don't like Metro, open the new Recovery applet in the old Control Panel: it has all these options and everything else you need to get your system working again.
Repair windows 8
Liked this? Then check out our Hands on: Windows 8 review

Windows 8 Screenshot Tour from the HowToGeek


Yesterday Microsoft released the first preview release of Windows 8, and we spent all night testing it out and 
diving into how it all works. Here’s our review, and the normal How-To Geek style screenshot tour, with loads and 
loads of pictures.
Note: this article was so incredibly long that we broke it up into multiple pages, which isn’t something we do often.

So What’s New in Windows 8?

There’s a ton of new stuff in Windows 8, but the biggest change that you’ll notice right away is the addition of the 
new tile-based Metro interface, which you can see in the screenshot above. Keep in mind that this is the developer preview
release, which means it’s nowhere near finished, and you should definitely not install this on your primary 
We’ll go into loads of detail about everything as you read further, but first here’s a quick list of just some of the new 
  • Metro Interface – the new default interface in Windows 8, keep reading for everything about this.
  • Faster Boot Times – Windows 8 will boot much faster than Windows 7, thanks to a partial hibernation mode and a
    lot of improvements in the loading process. On my old Dell laptop, it boots in less than 10 seconds –     
    on new
    machines, it’s crazy fast.
  • Less Memory Usage than Windows 7. That’s right. Microsoft is saying that not only will this version use less RAM
    than Win7, it also uses less running processes.
  • Windows Explorer overhauled, now has the Ribbon UI, Revamped File Copying, and ISO mounting.
  • In-Place PC Refresh will reload Windows in just a couple of clicks, keeping your files intact.
  • ARM processors are now supported, which will lead to an entirely new class of low-power, battery-efficient tablets.
  • Hyper-V is now part of Windows – so now you can create virtual machines easily without installing anything extra.
  • Taskbar can now span multiple monitors – this very simple feature has finally made it into Windows.
  • Wallpaper can now span multiple monitors – yet another feature that should have been around 10 years 
  • ago.
  • Universal Spell Check across Metro applications.
  • Windows Live Integration for Sync, Mail, Skydrive lets you sync all your settings across your PCs, including your
    files, mail, and photos. The sync is available in the preview, but the Skydrive and Mail are not yet.
  • Windows Store will let you purchase Windows apps all in a single place.
  • New Task Manager is completely revamped with much better tools, including a way to disable startup applications,
    track application resource usage over time, and even easily restart Windows Explorer.
There’s way more changes all over the place, and we’ll try and cover as much as possible, but there’s no way we can get everything.
Not to mention the fact that this is a preview, so there’s probably a whole lot more coming in the beta.

How Can I Get Windows 8?

First, you’ll want to make sure that your PC can run Windows 8, and thankfully the Windows 8 system requirements are
basically the same as Windows 7. You can probably get away with installing this on a PC with lousy specs, but obviously
you’ll have a better experience on a faster machine. Here’s the specs:
  • 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
The key thing to note is that you don’t need a touch device to install Windows 8. Keyboard and mouse will work just fine.
Just head to and download the ISO images from the page. Then head to the Microsoft Store page 
and download the USB/DVD Download Tool, which can put the ISO image onto a bootable flash drive for installation
—all you have to do is choose the ISO, choose the drive, and wait for it to finish copying.

The setup process is nearly identical to Windows 7, so we’re not going to go into detail about it here. We’ll assume if
you’re installing Windows 8 that you’re not a newb, and as such you shouldn’t need any help clicking through a couple of installer screens.

Various Install Notes:

  • We were not able to get it working in VMware Workstation or Virtual PC.
  • If you do want to virtualize, try VirtualBox. Many readers reported luck with this.
  • You don’t need a product key or a login to download or install Windows 8.
  • The preview release is supposed to auto-update. There’s no word on when the Beta release will be out, or whether it
    will automatically upgrade.
  • The preview release does not have Media Center included. Microsoft says that it will be a part of Windows 8 though.
  • If you want to disable Metro UI entirely, you can open up the registry editor and change the value of RPEnabled to 0
    instead of 1 at the following key: (via NeoWin)
    Note that we’re not recommending this, because it makes installing Windows 8 fairly pointless.
  • If you’re using Internet Explorer from the Metro pane, you’ll notice that Flash doesn’t work. This is actually by design – no plugins in the Metro IE.
Good luck, and make sure to let us know in the comments how you fare.

What’s This Metro Interface All About?

Metro is a tile-based interface focused on being clean and simple, with simple icons and beautiful typography instead of the typical shadows and raised button interfaces that we’re used to. Many tiles are more than just an application launcher, they contain live data that updates automatically—a weather tile will automatically show the latest weather report, a news title
will scroll the latest from your feeds, the social widget will show the latest photos from Facebook, and your stock ticker will automatically show you what those greedy Wall Street people are up to.
This interface was first released on Windows Phone, and while it’s definitely ideal for a touchscreen environment, it’s also
quite usable with the keyboard and mouse—though you will find that scrolling multiple pages is much more tedious
using just the mouse than using a simple swipe on the screen.
Metro Features
  • Universal Sharing across applications allows applications to easily share files or text with cloud services (and each
    other). You can load a picture from Facebook into a photo editing app, then share it on Twitter once you’re done. And it’s all hooked into the common file open dialogs, and the new Share feature.
  • Universal Search allows applications to register with the global search in the Metro interface, so you can search
    across any application that supports it.
  • Hardware Acceleration – all Metro applications are automatically hardware accelerated, making the entire
    experience much more smooth.
  • Process Suspending – Windows can automatically suspend Metro applications for better battery life when they
    aren’t being used.
  • New WindowsRT runtime provides these features to any application in almost any language, with almost no extra
    code. That means existing applications can be easily modified to connect to social networks without writing any
    networking code.
To bring up the Metro Start screen when you’re in any other application, just hit the Windows button.

The main Start screen is also a complete replacement for the Windows 7 Taskbar—you can just start typing at any point
while viewing the main Metro Start screen and you’ll be able to quickly find any application on your system the same way
that you could on Windows 7.
Metro Keyboard Shortcuts
These are a few keyboard shortcuts that I’ve personally been using. There’s others, but I haven’t figured out whether they
work for mouse/keyboard mode or only if you’re using a touch screen with a keyboard also connected, so I won’t include
  • Windows+F – Opens File Search
  • Windows+C – Opens Charms Bar
  • Windows+I – Opens Settings
  • Windows+Q – Opens App Search pane
  • Windows+W – Opens Settings Search app
  • Windows+Z – Opens App Bar
If you aren’t at the Start screen, all you have to do is hit the Windows key to get back to the screen, and then start typing to
launch an application—it’s the same set of keystrokes you would use before, but a different interface.

Back on the main Metro screen, you can easily click and drag to move items around on the screen. If you’re using a touch interface, you can do the same thing with your fingers. You can even zoom out using a Pinch gesture to see all of the items
on the screen without having to scroll—as far as we can tell, there’s no way to do that in the mouse-only interface, but if
you know how to do that, please leave a comment and tell us how.

If you right-click on a tile you’ll see a check box—if you’re using the touch interface you can nudge the tile up or down…
Which will enable a menu at the bottom of the screen. Depending on what tile you’ve selected, you’ll either get items to
make it Larger, Smaller, Uninstall it, Pin it, or Unpin it.
If you were to click on a regular application like Task Manager or the command prompt, you’ also get some extra items like Run as Administrator, which is pretty useful for many system tasks.
Some of the tiles will open up a Metro-style application, which is always full screen. The Weather application can be
customized for your location, and you can even pin multiple weather tiles to the home screen for multiple locations.
You might notice the purple bar on the left hand side of the screen—that’s very important. Whenever you’re in a Metro application using a touch interface, you can swipe from the left side to flip between applications. Keep swiping left to cycle through all of the applications. This is roughly the same as using Win+Tab, which works differently in Windows 8 than it
did in Windows 7. You can, of course, still use Alt+Tab the way you always did.

If you swipe from the left and then drop the thumbnail into the screen, you can actually dock two separate full-screen
applications into the same screen—notice the green line in the middle of the two applications below. On the left is the news feed, and the right is a photo application. You can switch which side of the screen has the “sidebar” application, or switch which application is on either side. What you can’t do, however, is adjust them to be 50/50, it’s a fixed ratio

Swiping from the right side will pull up another menu, which they call the “Charms” menu. Yes, that’s a very silly name.
This allows you to get to various functions like Search, Share, or Settings, and this works across the board in Metro
applications. You’ll most likely use this feature most often to search and share from within applications—for instance, if
you were viewing a photo and wanted to share it on Facebook, or if you needed to do a search through an application for a

If you’re using the keyboard and mouse, you can use the Win+C menu to pull up the same menu, except in the lower
left-hand corner. Oddly, you can also move your mouse to the lower left corner of the screen, and the menu will show up
—in fact, this works whether you are in the Metro interface or back on the Windows 7 style Taskbar.

Here’s a closer view of the menu:

Keep reading for the rest of the review, including the new Windows 8 Explorer, Task Manager, the new Control Panel, and a bunch more.




Windows 8 Lock Screen

Windows 8 brings an entirely new lock screen experience. Not only does your desktop look beautiful when it first boots up, but it can actually display useful data on the screen when it’s locked—a count of emails, messages, and other interesting data. In
fact, you will be able to install applications that hook into the login screen and show whatever data you want there, as
long as it fits the Windows 8 UI specs.
From the lock screen, you can swipe the screen up with either the touch interface or the mouse to reveal the login screen,
which can be a standard password, a PIN code, or even a touch screen swipe password, where you touch the picture in
various places to unlock, instead of using a password.
Note: we grabbed these images from Microsoft since we weren’t able to get high-quality pictures of the lock screen.

It’s hard to see in this screenshot, but you might notice in the bottom right-hand corner, there’s a little notice from Windows Update saying that your PC will restart in 2 days to install security updates. That’s right, no more annoying Windows
Update popup.

Using Windows 7 Applications (and Taskbar) in Windows 8

My Twitter feed has been flooded with people asking about whether you can use Windows 7 applications in Windows 8,
and also if you can use the Windows 7 style Taskbar instead of the Metro interface. The answer is that yes, all applications
will continue to work perfectly, and the Windows 7 taskbar is still there—but sadly, as of right now, the Windows 7 Start
Menu is completely gone, replaced with Metro instead.
To reach the Windows 7 style desktop, you can either click the Desktop tile in the Metro interface, hit the Windows + M
shortcut key, or you can simply Alt+Tab or open a Windows 7 application some other way. You’ll immediately be taken to
a very familiar screen, albeit lacking the Start Orb. Everything else throughout Windows 8 works just about how you’d
expect it to, except clicking on the Start button will take you to the Metro screen.

Start at that screen long enough, and you’ll start to ask yourself the question I did… wait a second! Where’s the Shut Down Button! How do I restart?! And you’d be right to ask that question. The answer is that you need to use the Win + I shortcut
key combination to pull up the Metro settings menu (more useful for Metro applications, of course)…

And here’s a close-up of the bottom right-hand corner, where you’ll find the new Power options. From here, you can shut
down or restart your PC. You could also create a shortcut on the desktop to shut down or restart, but it’s nice to know how
the built-in method works.

Since we’re already looking at the Windows 7 style side of things, we should talk about Explorer.

Windows Explorer Updates in Windows 8

There’s been a lot of complaints about the new Ribbon interface in Windows 8, especially since it does take up a lot of
screen space—but after using it for a while, it’s actually quite natural to use, especially since you can keep the Ribbon
minimized most of the time. Update:turns out, you can force the Ribbon to stay minimized all the time.
For instance, here’s the default view with the Ribbon expanded:

And here’s what it looks like with the Ribbon minimized. So much simpler, even clean looking. All the functionality is
there, easily accessed from the Ribbon should you need it.

You can also use the Quick Access Toolbar, and add a couple of useful options on there. This ends up with an Explorer
window that’s actually a lot cleaner than before while giving you more functionality.

One of the nicer changes in Windows 8 is the new file copy dialogs, which came in really handy during a bunch of file copy jobs I was doing. The default view gives you way more information about your file transfer, and seems to be a lot more accurate
than all the other versions of Windows.
Where it gets really interesting is once you hit a few conflicts—you’ll see a dialog that’s somewhat similar to previous
versions, but cleaner. Click the “Choose” option, however…

And you’ll end up on a dialog that allows you to manually choose which files you want to keep, with a little preview of
each file. Double-click on any of the files, and you can open them up. It’s extremely useful.

Mounting ISO Images!

That’s right, you can finally mount an ISO image or VHD directly from Explorer. So useful.

Keep reading for more about the new Task Manager, more details about Metro-style data sharing, the new Control Panel,
and the new Refresh feature.




Metro Applications and Sharing

The Windows 8 release comes with a bunch of sample applications that really show off how interesting this new interface
can be. For instance, in the screenshot above we’re looking at the Picstream application, which pulls interesting images
from Flickr. You can use the universal Win+Q shortcut key to open up the search pane for this application, type in anything, and find some interesting images that people have posted on Flickr.
Drill down into one of those images, however, and you can use the Win+C shortcut key we talked about earlier to pull up
the Charms menu, and then use the Share option. On this PC running the preview, there’s two options for Facebook or
Twitter, but one can assume over time you’ll have options for Email, IM, and any number of other sharing services.

Choose the Tweet@rama option, and you’re immediately shown a Tweet window where you can share directly on Twitter,
without even leaving the application.

If you were to open up the Tweet@rama application and hit the Win+Q shortcut key, you’ll notice that just like in the
Photo application, you can use the same search sidebar to search through your tweets as well. In fact, you could search
through your photos just by clicking one of the other applications on the sidebar.

Want to read your Facebook feed directly from Metro? No problem, just open up the Socialize app, plug in your Facebook credentials, and start browsing through things like your News Feed…

But even more interesting is that you can easily browse through your photos. Here’s all my messy photo albums, for

Drill down into one of them, and you can view all the pictures, download them, or even share them through another
There’s also a Feed reader application, which is pretty simple to use. Select your feeds or add them using the 
text box…

And then you’ll get a headline view, which is fairly boring…

Once you click through, however, you’ll get a very pretty reader view that scrolls across the screen from right to left.
Assuming you’re looking at a full feed, of course.

Internet Explorer 10 and the Metro Interface

Launch Internet Explorer from the Metro screen, and you’ll be taken to a full-screen browser mode that’s quite unlike
anything you’re used to. If you use the Win+Z keyboard shortcut to bring up the App bar, you’ll see each tab, and the
address bar at the bottom.

You can use the Pin icon to create a new tile on the home screen for that web site, which is pretty useful for quickly launching your favorite sites.

Of course, if you were to launch Internet Explorer from the Taskbar, you’d get the regular desktop interface instead. After
taking a quick spin around the browser, it feels roughly the same as IE9, so there’s not much new there to report at this time.

Keep reading to learn about the Windows 8 Task Manager, the new Control Panel, and a few other odds and ends.




Task Manager

As you can see in the screenshot above, the new Task Manager is a lot different looking. Don’t freak out! There’s still loads
of power, it’s just hidden behind the More details button. Once you open up the detailed view, you’ll see a much cleaner
and useful dialog window showing CPU, RAM, Disk, and Network usage.
The first thing you might notice in this screenshot is that two of the processes have a Status of “Suspended”. This is because they are both running as Metro applications, and since they are running in the background they are suspended and won’t use up
any processor time.

Flip over to the Performance tab, and you’ll see an extremely slick dialog that lets you monitor all your CPU, RAM, Disk,
and network usage. Awesome.

Continuing on the improvements, there’s now an App History tab, which lets you track how much RAM or CPU an
application has been using over time—an extremely useful feature for figuring out what is slowing down your PC.

There’s a new Startup tab that lets you quickly find any startup items and disable them in one click. Done!

And here’s an interesting feature you might overlook otherwise—since you can’t kill Windows Explorer and still use the
interface, they now provide a Restart button.

Multi-Monitor Wallpaper and Taskbar!

We haven’t tested this yet, so this image is from Microsoft, but as you can see, it’s now possible to put both the Taskbar and wallpaper across both screens. There’s even a bunch of options that let you configure it.

New Toast Dialogs

When you insert a USB drive, you’ll see a new Metro-style interface asking what you want to do with this drive. Awesome.
Hmm, wait… what’s that File History thing? Sure enough, if you look through Control Panel, you’ll see a new File History
panel, where you can configure a backup drive to store a history of all your user files. It’s a backup solution.
You can backup to a network location as well…
And easily see the previous versions to restore.

New Control Panel

If you click on the Control Panel icon on the Metro screen, you’ll see a new full-screen dialog with loads of options. Most
of them are pretty self-explanatory, so we aren’t going to go into detail here.  You can use Personalize to easily change your lock screen picture, and change the applications that show notifications on the lock screen—though no applications are currently available to use.

Using the Search and Share sections, you can configure which applications are available to the search engine and sharing
features, how much history is kept, and a lot of other options.

Sync Settings

You can easily turn Windows Live sync on or off using this section. Very useful for the more paranoid among you.

PC Refresh and Reset

Some of you reload your PC on a very regular basis. Yes, you know who you are. Well now, Microsoft has built in an easy
way for you to either reload Windows or completely wipe and reload—all with just a couple of buttons.

The Refresh option is like doing a reload of Windows without getting rid of your user folder—Windows store apps will be
kept, Windows 7 style apps will be removed.

Reset will completely wipe the whole thing. Probably a last resort.

Last but Not Least – a New Aero Basic Theme

If you’re using a machine that can’t handle Aero, or you don’t like the shadows, here’s what the new Basic theme looks like.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed our extremely long review. Make sure to let us know how you fared with your own install in the comments.