As many of you may have heard Microsoft’s next operating system (Windows 8 ) is nearly ready for release. As I have a keen interest in IT I very much look forward to looking at the latest technology this being hardware and software.

Jim asked me to do some research on Windows 8, I found out some facts and also that a release preview is available for download through the Microsoft’s website.  Jim said go ahead and see if we can get it working on the server in the office. I downloaded the ISO image of the preview of Windows 8 and installed it using Hyper V which is a virtualization system.

I created a new virtual machine; this included setting a set amount of disk space for Windows 8 to use on the server. I named this ‘Win 8 Test’. After selecting the ISO from the server , Windows 8 set up screen appeared.

If you do not have a virtual machine to test different opearating systems, Microsoft offer a Windows Disk Image Burner that allows the ISO to be converted, this will then act as a bootable disk that can be saved on to a memory stick and allow installation that way.

Windows 8 – Setup

Windows 8 Set

A personalise screen appears allowing the user to set up a colour scheme for that paticular user.

Personalise Computer

The setups basically the same as previous Windows operating systems. A screen appears during setup asking for you to assign an email address to the computer. I’d imagine this is used for syncing documents, calendars an emails to different Windows devices.

Sign in to PC screen

An express setup screen appears allowing the user to choose the express settings for setup, this makes it easier for the user to setup Windows 8.

Settings for Windows 8

After Windows 8 is setup it asks for a username and password for the user, this is very similar to previous operating systems from Microsoft.

Last step! – User account setup

Windows 8 will then configure the user account and a screen will appear which will be known as Windows 8.

Start Screen

Start Screen – All Apps

This is Windows 8, it looks very different from previous versions of the operating system but not to worry as a tool can be installed to allow it to look similar to Windows 7.

The blocks you can see are known as applications, these are also referred to as tiles. The main tiles you can see allow the user to have full screen applications running. The weather tile will be able to be used as a live tile when Windows 8 is ready for public release, this means that the tile you will see on the display will show weather conditions for the location that has been set by the user, this can also be set by using location services.

Internet Explorer – Full screen application

Weather – Full screen application

As you can see from the start menu, you have the choice of viewing the desktop, this looks the same as Windows 7 except it has no start button!

Windows 8 Desktop – No Start Button!

As the above image shows Windows 8 desktop screen doesnt show a start button, Microsoft would like users to use the new screen to select applications by using the different tiles.

As many users of Windows dont like change an application has been developed by Stardock called Stardock Start8. This application is free to download and can be installed on Windows 8 this will show a start button.

Windows 8 Desktop – Start button thanks to Stardock

Windows 8 looks different from previous operating systems, I think that Windows 8 will perform well on touch screen devices for example Microsofts tablet computers. The new Windows 8 screen will be easier to use with hand gestures rather than an input device such as a mouse.

Many users won’t like the new layout of the operating system, thanks to Stardock Windows 8 can easilly look like previous Windows opearing systems (Vista & 7). I think getting use to the new menu won’t take long and I look forward to eventually using it on a tablet PC.

When I look into Windows 8 further I will add more screen shots of what it is capable of doing and what cool features are hidden away.