A Quick Look at Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Rob Williams

Staff member
Microsoft this week released the first "Consumer Preview" of its upcoming Windows 8 OS, and despite being far from final launch, what's been delivered here is quite impressive. Join us as we take a quick look at the installation, Metro interface and apps, along with a couple of other notable features tweaked for Windows 8.

Take a look at our quick look at Windows 8's Consumer Preview and then discuss it here!


No ROM battery
Hmm... its just... i don't know what to say... I dislike change! :D

Well, how about that? My thoughts exactly. And Microsoft certainly hasn't been shy of introducing a whole new way of doing things with every freaking version since Windows 2000.

Eventually I adapted (except for Vista which never, ever, saw the interior of my hard drive). But this whole going mobile thing is just not what I want from a personal computer. And I look at Metro and see nothing else but plain and pure ugliness. My bad, I'm weird, I should come to my senses, I'm an idiot and all that. I know. Whatever.

Look, thing is, ever since Vista, I've been way-way-way distanced from Microsoft OS. I put up with Windows 7 because it's robust and Microsoft forced me into it over its strategy of purposely not support XP with the new versions of some of its technologies. But I no longer feel for this company OS the desire to remain a loyal user.

The only thing that really forces me today is Visual Studio, games, and the annoying general adoption of Microsoft operating systems by businesses everywhere. My work forces me to adopt this OS. But I'm very seriously contemplating an end to all that. The opportunity rose to spend the next 5 or 10 years developing for Unix systems and I can afford to keep Windows at home just as a gaming machine, and once and for all move completely into home Linux.

I don't identify with any of this stuff ever since Windows Vista. And it's just distancing itself ever more from my personal preferences of what I want from a home computer. To hell with it.


Tech Monkey
This article has piqued my interest. Not sure about Metro. But does it matter? Even if it's an utter failure and nobody adopted it, they'd just fix it and rebrand it as Windows 9. They're big enough they can afford complete and utter failure.


Personally I like the way things look in Windows 8. I really don't open the start menu that often, since my most used apps are pinned onto my task bar. So if it doesn't hinder what I normally do, is faster, and looks cooler, then I'm for it.


Techgage Staff
Staff member
I don't know.

On one hand, they needed to do exactly this to address the increasingly mobile-centric users out there. And there are a half-dozen fixes and optimizations done under the hood, such as the unloading and stopping of idling services instead of leaving them running in memory as 7 does, the upgraded copy/transfer/download dialog with pause, resume, and priority download support just to name two of my favorites. But on the flipside... there was no reason they had to go out of their way to disable the age-old interface design they've practically ensured most of the worldwide user base is familiar with. From what I've read previous registry hacks to bring back the 7-esque interface were permanently disabled in this release. Only a paltry tiny number of desktops have touchscreens and in many situations a desktop with a touchscreen isn't practical for use even if they have one.

have the feeling I'd be in a similar boat with this guy. Granted the author in this one article doesn't seem to know many of the gestures needed as apparent by the comments, but a desktop user shouldn't be forced to use an alien, woefully inadequate interface if the old one is better suited for the machine its running on. I'll install the OS native just to form my own opinions of it, but unless they fix this mobile-only, touch-only interface of theirs by allowing the 7 interface to be used I'm probably going to skip upgrading to Eight.

Opera uses a large number of mouse gestures and in general I dislike them, most commands are easier to just move and click or use keyboard shortcuts. Half the time it interprets normal movement as a gesture. Either way forcing regular desktop users to use mouse gestures is not the way to go.
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Partition Master
Personally, I really like it! It's different and quite original. However, I think Metro is more of a tablet thing than a desktop thing, but who knows, I think it might just grow on me.

Brett Thomas

Senior Editor
I'm quite a fan of the new styling, but partially simply because it's NEW.

We were talking about this the other day on IRC, actually, and I think that Marfig and I - though having similar goals - are oddly disparate on this.

I have wanted a reason to like Windows again ever since Windows 2000 died. XP was alright to me but as I grew more interested in security and operating efficiency, I grew to realize what a bloated monster it truly was and how little of a space it had in a security- or productivity-focused environment. I tried, first, to redesign my UI with programs like LiteStep and other shell replacements...but I just couldnt' get away from the overarching design. I grew to hate using it at home and work, and over time I gave every computer I had to Linux and MacOS.

Media Center Edition (both XP and Vista/7) was a disastrous attempt to slap an ugly 10' interface veneer over a desktop, and it felt just like what it was - an add-on that showed MS was not serious about the idea that people were using computers differently than a desktop. There was no true understanding that the data and its uses were changing.

MS has consistently stuck with the "desktop, startbar, icons" since Windows 95, and outside of the office, people don't use computers as a repository of editable documents anymore. Computers are instead portals to content - be that websites, social media, games, video, or music. We use computers now to consume much more than we do to produce, and the UI has not changed to catch up.

Given this, whether Metro is just what the doctor ordered or a complete and utter bollocks attempt to force a tablet interface on a desktop, I am for it. It's the first time I've looked at an MS operating system and said "Now THAT will allow me to interact differently with my system." It's designed for media consumption and it *could* work at 10', 2', tablet AND phone sized interfaces.

As far as a home-use OS goes, I'm excited to see whether this turns out well. And if it doesn't, I hope MS doesn't take the wrong message home that we need to go back to the desktop/startbar/icons. I personally want to see more of this "ditch the desktop", and hopefully they'll pair it with the Kinect SDK.

THAT would be something to see... :)
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Tech Monkey
I don't see how the Linux DEs were much better. Until Gnome 3, they were desktop, startbar, icons, etc. Gnome3 sort of crashed and burned, and KDE still uses the desktop paradigm.


No ROM battery
MS has consistently stuck with the "desktop, startbar, icons" since Windows 95, and outside of the office, people don't use computers as a repository of editable documents anymore.

Microsoft and everyone else.

Meanwhile, a sizable and important part of the Windows customer base is exactly businesses. You know, the ones that didn't adhere en masse to Windows Vista exactly because of the big changes to UI that invariably force companies to incur into training costs and temporary loss of productivity.

Nevertheless, the issue isn't so much whether I feel Metro looks nice or not. Instead I think the whole thing is just one big lie since there won't be any significant increase in user experience. We get this sort of talk every new version of the operating system, since Windows 95. Not to mention all sorts of third-party attempts, including full 3D desktops. And yet the real conundrum of computer interfaces is the tools that we use to command them; the mouse and the keyboard. As long as these remain de facto standards, any pretense Great UI(tm) is always be Just Another User Interface.

If it matters, these pad-like interfaces aren't even new. This thing has been around forever. Windows Blinds had some, for instance. But no one cared.

Now, what I do understand is the desire for some to have access to something new and exciting. I'm not an old crone bent on complaining against new things. What is unacceptable is forcing me into new usage paradigms with every freaking version, not allowing me to retain the former look, or feel, or usage patterns.

I feel this whole "now we got a great UI" fantasy is just a way to sell new versions of an operating system that hasn't seen any major technology enhancements for the past 10 years (with the exception perhaps of UAC). We get thrown into a spiral of fake improvements to an area of any operating system that can hardly be improved further. It's all just a lot of smoke and pretty lights.

Freeware operating systems have an easier time dealing with the problem of a current lack of OS technology drive. They don't have to justify to their users the need to sign a new check. But commercial operating systems like Windows, do need to throw in some sand, smoke and lights into their users eyes so they empty their pockets in the false belief things will get better or prettier. They won't. All that Metro is is another user Interface that will result in we doing with our computers what we have been doing all these years.

And Windows 9, we all know how it goes. Windows 9 will say Windows 8 great new UI is not that great anymore... yawn!
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No ROM battery
Recommended reading on this matter: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Mi...sumer-Preview-Mike-Bibik-Metro-Bar,15007.html

You should also visit the FixingWindows8 site this article refers too. As for Chris Pirillo, he may be a stranger to some of you, not sure. But he runs one of the oldest Windows advocacy and news websites in the internet. He changed the format of his websites during the years, but back in the mid 90s he was already there. I used to subscribe back when he also ran a usenet room.