Should you Install the Windows 8 Developer Preview?

Mike Halsey MVP
Sep 16, 2011
Microsoft, Windows 8

I've been using the Windows 8 Developer Preview now for a few days on three different machines, a desktop, a laptop and a tablet, to get a good overall view of how this beta (early beta) operating system runs on these different devices.  Now I feel I'm ready to let you know what I think of this release and if you should install it on your own computer(s).

Let's get a few things out of the way right from the start as these are things you need to know.  While this release might stable, being built on Windows 7 Sp1, you should not be using it as your main operating system.  It is far from finished and some behaviours can be unpredictable.  For example it encountered a problem starting on my laptop this afternoon and declared that Startup Repair was trying to find a solution to the problem.  It did, but this involved Windows 8 resetting itself to it's factory default configuration, a new option in the OS, which deleted all the drivers and software I had installed and wiped all the files contained on that partition.  In doing this it gave me no feedback at all as to what it was doing.  Like I said, it's far from finished!

So let me detail my experiences for each device and you can decide for yourself whether installing it is for you.

Desktop PC

Windows 8 needs a lot of work to work effectively on a PC.  The best example I can give you is that it's difficult to switch off.  On a touch screen you can swipe your finger from the right of the screen inwards and it will bring up the charms menu.  Here you click settings, then Shutdown to turn the PC off.  Swiping in from the right with your mouse however won't bring up this menu.  From the desktop, hovering over the Start Button can bring up the charms menu, but this behaviour entirely depends on what windows are currently taking the focus on your screen, and what mood the OS is in.  Suffice to say that the only sure-fire way shut down Windows 8 with a mouse is to first log out and then shut it down at the log in screen, which is a faff.

There's also the issue of how Windows 8 looks on large screens.  My desktop has a 23 inch monitor on which the Metro interface, with its large icons, looks a bit ridiculous.


I'm lucky in that my laptop has a multi-touch screen so I don't have the problems with Windows 8 that I do on the desktop. However it still has a high resolution, full HD 17 inch monitor and while the new Metro interface and its icons don't look bad, it's still all abit big.  Suffice to say if you don't like people staring over your shoulder, stay well away.  If however you have a laptop, even without a touch screen, with a smaller display, perhaps a netbook, you might enjoy giving Windows 8 a try.


You might be unsurprised to hear that the best experience with Windows 8 is to be had on a tablet.  For the first time the installer fully supports touch, so there's no need to have a keyboard plugged in at all during the installation of Windows (except perhaps to start from the install DVD if your BIOS doesn't also support touch as mine does).  On the 11.6 inch screen of my tablet the new Metro interface is lovely.  Suffice to say if you have a Windows 7 tablet I'd urge you to install Windows 8 and try it out.

So mixed experiences then but I doubt any of you will be surprised by the experiences I've had on different types of device.  You might be interested in Windows and might just want to experience it in a virtual machine.  Well you almost certainly won't be able to use the touch features this way and other features also may not work either.  The only way to properly experience Windows 8 is through dual-booting into it.

One last word of advice however, if you use BitLocker to encrypt your hard disks, then a workaround is needed to also encrypt the Windows 8 drives as Bitlocker doesn't support dual-booting as standard.  This workaround is fiddly and I haven't got it working happily yet.  Should this happen I'll report back here on how to do this.


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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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