This week at the Build Conference, Microsoft released a freely downloadable developer preview of Windows 8 (you can download the ISOs here). If you’re an avid reader of this blog (and which of the five of you aren’t? ;-)) you know I like to jump on new technology early so of course I downloaded the 64-bit version and installed it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox.
I had a problem right off the bat in that the boot loader kept failing with a 0xC0000225 error, but after a quick Google search I enabled “IO APIC” in VirtualBox and the installer started from the DVD normally. For the most part, the install process looks just like Windows 7, but once the Start screen appears, it’s a whole new experience.
Yep, that’s the Windows 7 Phone Metro UI on your desktop. You can tell right off from the bigger “buttons” and tweaked interface elements it’s meant for a touchscreen, but it works with the mouse and keyboard as well.
Supposedly you can turn it off altogether and revert back to the Windows 7-style desktop as well (update: you can, but it involves some registry hacks or unsupported third-party software).
I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it yet but it’s definitely interesting. I may try to install it on an old PC at work so I can experience the alleged 10-second boot time (something not possible inside a VM). Check back here later for more details!