Sunday, 18 September 2011

Windows 8 developer preview - first impressions

Now I know why I bought a quad core CPU and 8 GB of RAM - to play around with fun new things, using the fantastic VirtualBox.

So I started downloading the Windows 8 Developer Preview from Microsoft onto my NAS box, and several hours later (yes, my broadband is rubbish), it had finished.  I gave my VM a couple of CPU cores, 3.5 GB of RAM and a 30GB hard disk, but you could get away with much less than that.

My first attempt to start the VM gave me a "failed to start 0xc0000225" error, so after a bit of searching I found I needed the "Enable IO APIC" Virtualbox option turned on.  I also needed to change the default network card emulation to an Intel Pro/1000 card as Windows didn't detect the default one VirtualBox chooses.

First impressions are quite good, although some screens seem to give you no obvious way of getting back to where you came from (until you realise you can move your mouse to the bottom left corner to get a menu).  Apart from the new Metro UI it looks very much like Windows 7 underneath, and the new Visual Studio looks identical to 2010 except for a new project types.  I look forward to playing with .NET 4.5 at work though, as the change list looks interesting.

I like the new settings pane which pops out on the right hand side and gives you context aware settings, and overall it seems quite smooth in operation, although some things didn't work on my machines, like the news app, and the designer for a new Metro Visual Studio application wouldn't load - but overall not bad for a developer preview.

I can't see it tempting me away from my GNU/Linux system though, due to the breadth of choice that a Linux system gives you, my idealistic views on software freedoms and because Microsoft will expect you to pay for it :-)