Windows 8 RTM available...I like it!

Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing...let's take a look...

Windows 8 is finally here. I have been testing it out over the last few months and have been pleasantly surprised. Yes, it's different and takes some getting used to. Change is difficult. But I remember the same initial grumblings with Windows 95 and Windows XP. Gosh, I am old. The fact is, Windows 8 is really the robust foundation of Windows 7 with a cool finger-touch layer on top, nicknamed Metro. Now you can relax with your cup of coffee, surf the web, browse your email and zoom with a stroke of your fingers. Then when you need to get to work, push the desktop tile and access all your normal Windows apps using your physical keyboard and mouse. The finger-touch interface is still available on the desktop along with the stylus so you find yourself using a hybrid of all three. Whatever makes most sense. But the biggest thing for me is the future integration with Windows 8 Mobile and Windows Server 2012... I have been testing Windows 8 since the Consumer Preview in February and through the Release Preview (May) and now the RTM available through TechNet and MSDN. The public release is slated for October 26th 2012, 11 years and 1 day since the release of Windows XP. The best way to test a system, I find, is to use it for real tasks so I have been using it to teach my virtual classes using iLinc ( http://www.ilinc.com ). The finger-touch is helpful when presenting slides as is the stylus when using the electronic whiteboard for chalk-talks. Of course, for the demonstrations, I use Remote Desktop with the keyboard and mouse. However, the cool thing about Remote Desktop, is you can use the finger interface on the target machine regardless of the OS on the other side. For instance, moving a window or demonstrating a website with the finger. So I bounce from finger, to keyboard, to mouse, to stylus. Whatever makes sense. The biggest trouble I have found, is feeling you have to stick with using the Metro interface for everything. Well, you don't. You can actually switch it off if you wish. Where Metro excels is surfing the web with IE 10. It is very intuitive and relaxing to scroll and zoom through web sites using your fingers. The zoom is important, especially when a website has those tiny hyperlinks. Just zoom-in with a pinch of finger and thumb, then touch the hyperlink with the finger. If you prefer, you can use the mouse to be precise. Again whatever makes sense. Also, the flick operations takes some getting used to. Flick with the finger from the right of the screen produces the main menu and the Start button. Flick from the top gives you a context-sensitive menu. For fat-finger folks like me, I just remember that the Microsoft button on the keyboard (usually between the left Ctrl and left Alt keys - showing the MS Flag) brings up the Start menu. The Context-sensitive button (between the right Alt and right Ctrl keys) gives the Context-sensitive menu also available by a right-click on the mouse. Whatever makes sense. One point worth noting is that the Metro version of IE 10 does not support Adobe Flash and certain other plug-ins but the context-sensitive menu provides a "wrench" icon and an option to "View on desktop" which does work assuming the plug-in is installed. In the name of security, this may be a good thing but again takes getting used to. As a test, I installed SQL Server 2012 on Windows 8 RTM to provide a test environment for my database work. It installed smoothly and added the application tiles for SQL Server tools such as Management Studio to the Metro UI. I will use that in my demonstrations during training. Of course, we are looking forward to running SQL Server 2012 on Windows Server 2012 which will have the same Windows 8 UI. Windows Server 2012 will be released September 4th and will contain significant enhancements in Hyper-V v3. I have been testing Windows 8 64-bit Enterprise Edition using a Lenovo X201 Tablet PC with Multi-touch, Intel i7 CPU 2.13GHz and 6GB RAM. The first Tablet edition of Windows XP was released in November 2002 but it took the success of the iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook and similar devices to push Microsoft from a purely stylus based UI to the finger-touch display of Windows 8. Of course, running Windows 8 on a new ARM-based tablet without physical keyboard will be more for the surfing-for-pleasure market. However, what I am looking forward to is the release of Windows 8 Mobile which will synchronise with the parent OS. Same UI, same apps, on your phone. That's the big attraction of the Windows 8 strategy. Consistency and flexibility. In the very near future, we will all have a work machine, a tablet and a phone. Many people have that already. Imagine all running with the same OS, same UI and synchronized locally and via the cloud. It makes sense and I like it. cheers Brian Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation (90 days) Download: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/jj554510.aspx First and Foremost: Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012: http://www.globalknowledge.com/training/course.asp?pageid=9&courseid=17560&catid=184

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Take IDG’s 2020 IT Salary Survey: You’ll provide important data and have a chance to win $500.