As most of the IT people already know, Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been released which can be used until January 15, 2013. More information and download links can be found here: http://preview.windows.com/
Even though there are a lot of changes as shown in this article, the main areas I’m interested in are:
- Metro interface
- Powershell 3.0
- Hyper-V 3.0 on the client
As a side note, the Pinball FX2 game has been included, which is one of my favourite pinball games. The Sorcerer’s Lair Table will be free for all Windows 8 users and more pinball tables are expected in the future.
Besides the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, a beta for the Windows 8 Server has also been released, which I will cover at another time.
Since I don’t own a Windows Phone 7, the Metro interface is new to me. I have to say it did not take that much time getting used to, but I did find this video invaluable to getting started:
My first impression about the Metro interface is that it looks nice. I’m still in doubt about how useful it will be, but this all depends on the applications being created so it’s a bit early to tell.
Also as a long time Windows user I often find myself reverting to desktop mode. In desktop mode another thing to get used to, is that there is no start menu. By creating desktop shortcuts or pinning documents to the taskbar this works fine, but it still feels strange.
With Powershell 3.0 some of the major improvements include:
- Much improved Integrated Script Editor (ISE)
- More cmdlets (pre-defined commands)
- Simplified use
For some more information about some of the new or improved feature you can also check:
Windows 8 will be the first client OS where you can install Hyper-V. This is great, because as a Microsoft administrator I want to test new operating systems and applications using a virtual testing environment for that. I could of course dual-boot my PC with both a client OS and a server OS, but this is inconvenient. I could also use VMware workstation or any other virtualization solutions, but this causes additional overhead since it is not a type 1 hypervisor. Also Microsoft provides pre-configured environments in the VHD format, which would require additional effort to get them to work correctly in other virtualization solutions.
One of the downsides of the new Hyper-V 3.0 however is that you need a 64-bit processor with Second Level Address Translation (SLAT). With Intel support for this is through a technology called Extended Page Tables (EPT) while with AMD it’s called Nested Page tables (NP). For intel it requires you to have an Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or newer. You can also check with coreinfo if your CPU is supported.
Since my current pc does not meet this requirement, I have not been able to check Hyper-V 3.0 yet. Due to a misstake by Dell however, I expect to be able to test it on my new laptop next week.
For more information regarding new and improved Hyper-V features, please check this article at WindowsITPro.com.