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Taking the Windows 8 Plunge
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Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 12601
Location: Texas

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Taking the Windows 8 Plunge  

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has made available a consumer preview version of its upcoming Windows 8 operating system that you can try out. The OS caught my eye because the tile-like user interface appears radically different from the boring old reiterations of Windows 3.1 -- with minor tweaks that irritatingly require getting used to after every upgrade.

This looks like it's worth it. It incorporates a touch interface and striking colors, and it will be equally at home on tablets as on PCs. The app concept is included, as is immersive Web without grubby screen borders.

Installing this preview version involves identifying whether your computer can run the new OS, figuring how you're going to re-install your existing OS when Microsoft hits you up for a license down the road (which it undoubtedly will do in the future), and performing the installation.

Considerations include being aware that there's no support for this product yet, and that it's pre-release with possible bugs. I didn't find any though, and Microsoft has made a point of not referring to this as a "beta" product -- it's calling it a "consumer preview."

Recovery Media
Verify that you have the recovery media that came with your PC. The existing operating system is usually included on a disc that ships with the PC. Be aware that this Windows 8 install will wipe any recovery partition that you may have set up on your hard drive, so PCs without optical drives, like netbooks, may be a poor choice for this preview version if you anticipate stepping back later.

Browse to the Microsoft website and click on the "Get It Now" button. Enter your e-mail and region in the text boxes, and then click on the Download button. Run the file that downloads.

Click on the "See the Compatibility Report" and take a look at the list of items that will need your attention. If it's not onerous and only includes items such as printers and so on, go through the list clicking on the driver and software update opportunities.

Uninstall anything redundant using the Control Panel, or remove the device itself from Devices and Printers, rather than update -- it's easier.


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