As in previous updates on Windows 8, we have shared that Windows 8 is expected to release on 29th of this February. Most of newcomers has a lot of questions about this release.
After getting many emails on this topic, I have finally decided to write a solution article. I have tried to answer the essential queries in simple way without using complicated technical definitions. So read it out and get answered…
Why Consumer Preview?
We all know about that Microsoft (MS) has released Developer Preview (DP) last September to give an early taste of Windows 8 to the developers. At that time they fixed its expiry date to March 2012 and the DP includes very low features.
Now the time has passed and there are a lot of new functionality additions in past months to Windows 8. But since the final/stable version is not ready yet, hence MS is going to release Consumer Preview (CP). The main goal behind CP is to get feedback from public for stable release.
NOTE : You can now extend the expiry date of Windows 8 DP by installing latest updates provided MS. More on this can be found here.
What is Consumer Preview?
To test out the latest features of Windows 8, MS is going to release a beta build which is named as Consumer Preview (CP). MS is claiming that CP is more stable than that they released last year i.e. DP. CP is expected to have less bugs and will majorly concentrating on interface improvements that MS has added to Windows 8 in recent five months.
As the name suggests, Consumer Preview is build to get feedback from consumers who are the actual audience which will use the stable one. So it is obvious that you may get some issues on CP about performance which MS would remove in the stable version delivered in second half of 2012.
What is inside Consumer Preview?
Till at the time of writing this article, MS has not talked much more about the ingredients of CP, except one that it will be released on last day of February 2012 and one more thing that some of free apps will arrive via Windows Store. The official Windows 8 blog also have not detailed much about ingredients of CP, instead it informs us only about core concepts.
After discussions in many forums, it is now confirmed that Windows 8 is mainly focused on Metro. That’s why MS has assigned Metro to Windows 8 logo too. However this logo is contradicted by most of the Windows 8 geeks.
We have also get a lot of leaked screenshots, news from various websites which led us to following conclusions:
1. Start button removed in Windows 8 : According the leaked screenshots of CP, it is found that MS has removed the popular Start Button from Windows. It is worth noticeable that they removed Start Menu already. So to access the start menu, you will now have to click on Start thumbnail instead of button.
However the Windows key given on your computer / notebook will still work on. Now the news is that MS is going to instruct the manufacturing companies to make PC’s / laptops compatible to Windows 8. You can read complete story on removal of Start Button using following link:
2. Streamlined setup process : MS has already shrink-ed the setup process for Windows 8. This means that Windows 8 will take the shortest time to make a setup to start. This section has received improvements OS by OS and Windows 8 is successor of this series.
This will not only improved the setup process but also the speed of system. It will provide a great excitement to users while installing.
3. Introducing Metro Apps and Start Screen: In DP, users were able to switch between apps when the press Alt+Tab combination. But this becomes tedious when more than a couple of apps were opened. In that case, users lose the control over apps. Hope that CP will have a safe removal on this.
Now taking account of Start Screen, it shows the thumbnails of installed programs on system. The Start Screen is very good to point out and access the programs in quick way. Start Screen has become a popular symbol for Windows 8 and expected in final RTM also.
Some of the things contradicting with Start Screen is lose of all the features that Windows has gained in its journey in recent 15 years. With both of these components MS has made a great attempt to make Windows 8 as pretty as possible.
Here, I would like to conclude something about the drivers. If you concerned with the programs compatibility in CP, you will certainly have a question that programs which run flawlessly on Windows 7 will do same on Windows 8? The answer is yes, because when we tested the programs (in DP), they counter no issues on Windows 8. So same has to be carried out by CP.
Now lets talk about the UI, the current UI is still accessible for Windows 8 as far as the DP is concerned. This has to be followed by CP as well. But it becomes thinkable point if the software companies would start using new UI. It would be glad to know that Internet Explorer is now loaded with UI and CGA resolution.
4. Windows 8 CP Games, Apps : According to the leaked news, the metro style apps that MS would give us with CP are as follows:
This apps, and possibly more, will come pre-installed with CP and will be update-able from Windows Store. Some another sources has revealed that MS is working on to enable the SMS support for messaging apps but there is no confirmation about it yet.
The music and video apps in CP has been branded as Zune but the guys behind them is the Xbox team. Another news is replace of Outlook express (built-in) mail client in Windows 7 with Windows Live Mail application. So there are lots of other news are floating in the air of Windows but the confirmation will be received after release of CP.
What my system needs to run Consumer Preview?
Now lets talk straightforward about the basic requirements which your system will need to run smoothly using CP. MS has already confirmed that any Windows 7 running machine will be able to run CP or stable RTM build.
Specially, the minimum system requirements calls for 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM for 32-bit and 2 GB RAM for 64-bit configurations, DirectX 9 graphics, screen resolution of at least 1024 by 768 pixels for running metro apps. To run the metro apps side by side, we’ll need resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels.
As for the installment instructions and storage, nothing has revealed yet. Talking about flashback, users with Windows 7 Beta were able to install Vista SP1 without creating enough partition. Same we are now expecting with Windows 8 CP. I think that users will still able to perform clean install or use a virtual machine, provided both options were able in DP.
That’s it for now guys… We’ll post more on Windows 8 as soon as we receive the updates. So stay tuned and don’t forgot to use the comment box given below!
This article was posted in "Windows 8'' section by Kapil Arya.
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