Musings on the Windows 8 Developer Preview

Mike Halsey MVP
Jan 7, 2012
Updated • Jan 7, 2012
Windows, Windows 8

As a Microsoft Windows MVP and a Windows author I've got a busy year ahead of me.  I've got several Windows 8 books to write for starters, all to be out during 2012 so I really do need to know Windows 8 backwards.  The Building Windows 8 blog has been extremely useful in this respect with the level of detail that the development teams at microsoft have gone into but then there's the first hands-on version, the Windows 8 Developer Preview.

This was released, as you'll remember, back in mid-September at Microsoft's BUILD developer conference.  The aim was to get people excited about writing apps for the new operating system's 'Metro' interface.  With the Developer Preview having been made publicly available at the time it was downloaded in huge numbers and it's been interesting reading blogs from tech journalists who have been using it in anger.

So, with Windows 8 books to write, webcasts to give on it and talks already underway you'd have thought that I too would have been using the Developer Preview in anger, right?  Actually I do still have a copy installed on my Windows tablet, but only because I use my HP TouchPad for day to day use.  I did have a copy installed in a dual-boot system on my main PC, but soon got rid of it as I never used it, and I did have a copy installed in a virtual machine on my laptop, but never used that either and so it too is now gone.

If I need to get right under the hood of Windows 8 then, why haven't I been using the Developer Preview?  There are several answers to this, the first is that the preview is, and many people have commented on this, pretty unusable for day to day work.  At the moment and especially without a working Windows app store there's not much you can do in Metro and, as such, you need to spend all your time on the desktop.  This causes problems too because many of the features that will make working on the desktop pleasurable weren't finished in time for the preview.

Then there's all the things under the hood of the operating system.  We've been reading a steady stream of articles from Microsoft since September on new and sometimes even cool features coming for the beta.  None of these exist within the Developer Preview and to assume that for features such as Hyper-V which can be unlocked in the preview already have their final interfaces is perhaps a little foolish.  There really isn't that much in the Developer Preview and it's quite devoid of anything new or changed outside of Metro.

I'm looking forward to downloading, installing and using the full Windows 8 beta in anger.  I have already decided that I will blow away the copy of Windows 7 on my work touch-enabled laptop and use exclusively Windows 8 on the device.  As for my desktop I'll see how things go.  With the beta however we can assume that Windows 8 will be feature-locked when the beta is released next month, and so this will be the time to start exploring the features and taking screenshots (though these might change slightly).

You might be of the same mind as myself regards the preview, in that you too might have tried it briefly, got bored of it and gone back to Windows 7 until something more stable and complete comes along.  For all the bloggers, writers and authors who say they've been using the Developer Preview in anger, I do wonder how productive they've been and how much they've actually been using it.

Suffice to say, the beta will be a very different beast and very complete.  I've been reserving judgement over Windows 8 until I see it, in the same way I have during the alpha and beta programmes for previous versions of Windows.  It might be genuinely exciting, it will certainly be extremely interesting but one thing is for sure...  It will for the very first time be properly usable.


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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