Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Hello from the future

Beginning February 29, all interested persons an opportunity to participate in the beta testing of Windows 8. Despite the fact that released on the last day of winter Windows 8 Consumer Preview and available before Windows 8 Developer Preview – the two assemblies of the same operating system, they are very different from each other. At the request of Microsoft, presented February 29 version contains over 100,000 (!) Improvements compared to released in September, a test release to developers. And if, by installing Windows 8 Developer Preview, we can only look with one eye to the future, Windows 8 Consumer Preview already allows to touch him.

Beta version of Windows 8 in the coming months will be even better, but, unlike the Developer Preview, already gives a fairly complete picture of what will be a new version of the operating system Microsoft. Since Windows 8 Consumer Preview is targeted primarily at users rather than developers, it contains a number of important improvements in functionality. In this review we will focus on these new developments:

  • Improved navigation through gestures, keyboard and mouse
  • App Store Windows Store
  • Integration with SkyDrive
  • Internet Explorer 10

Shortly before the release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the new version of Windows has a new logo, which is different from what we are used to in recent versions of the OS, just like the new Metro interface is different from the traditional desktop. It is ironic, but the logo Windows 8 is more like an emblem of Windows 1.0, in which, as in the new logo, well looked through the window. All of the following logos, especially since Windows XP, much more like the flag, rather than the window. New logo, according to Microsoft, is laquo; truly tsifrovymraquo, that is, does not look real, and therefore reflects the principle interface Metro.

Improved navigation

Recall that Windows 8 – is an attempt to make Microsoft’s operating system, which would be equally suitable for desktop computers and mobile devices with touch control. The new interface Metro – it is the most radical change in the appearance of the system since Windows 95, but to make it familiar to users of desktop computers, it will take time.

So Windows 8 two interface options, and along with the Metro, you can work with more familiar desktop, which has the task bar, basket, tray. To switch from the Metro to the desktop, you can use laquo; kirpichikraquo; Desktop.

Perhaps the most resounding innovation Windows 8 Consumer Preview – no buttons laquo; Puskraquo.; In the assembly, for developers, this button is on the desktop, but when you click on it the output is not the usual menu, and shows the list of new tools for system management charms. The latest beta release button laquo; Puskraquo;, first introduced in Windows 95 nearly 17 years ago, has disappeared. Its place was taken by the active area, by clicking on which you can switch to the main window interface Metro.

As for funds Charms, they are now delivered in the right side of the screen. By default, they are not visible, and to display the icons for search, data, system settings and devices to bring the cursor (or finger, in the case of the touch screen) to the screen. When using the tablet to select Charms tools much easier to use than the menu laquo; Puskraquo.; It must be noted also that exactly in the middle, between the four elements of Charms, there is a button with the logo Start Windows. When you hold the tablet, it is exactly opposite the thumb. This button returns to the start screen interface Metro.

Location of Charms on the right – not the only improvement that concerns usability Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Metro-applications use each pixel of the working space, so the controls are hidden and displayed when you click the mouse or touch your finger to the top or bottom of the screen. So, if you use Internet Explorer 10 at the top of the screen, you can display thumbnails of your open tabs, and at the bottom – the address bar, the button to call up the program, etc.

So we’ve seen, are utilized as a right, top and bottom of the screen. That leaves left. Move the cursor to the upper left corner or tap it with your finger, and Windows 8 will sketch an application that you have worked before. Clicking on it – and it appears on the screen. Another click on the same spot – and you go back to the previous screen. So you can quickly switch between the last two applications.

Thus they started Metro-interface or the desktop does not matter. If you move a little sketch of the application, it is located next to the current quarter, and take screen.


Drag sketch application down, you can see the windows of all running programs and select among them the right.

Manage application windows can be with the keyboard. Microsoft introduced in Windows 8 a set of key combinations, simplifying the work with the new interface. At the same time, work, and many of the old combination. For example, ALT + F4, as before, close the application, and the ALT + Tab allows you to switch between windows. And it is more than handy, because if there is no task bar and buttons to control the windows keyboard control is very important.

In Windows 8 over twenty new key combinations, and is engaged in all key Win. For example, pressing Win + C panel appears with tools Charms, with a combination Win + Space to change the keyboard layout, Win + W opens the search settings, and Win + F – file. It is also interesting that the combination Win + Tab, which in Windows 7 includes a three-dimensional switching between windows in Windows 8 is not so spectacular and opens a sidebar with a list of running applications. But if you press ALT + Tab you can see thumbnails of all open windows, then the combination Win + Tab displays as separate sketches Metro-only application. A desktop is generated only one sketch, regardless of the number of programs running on it.

Because Metro-interface includes access to all the major applications as well as files and other necessary elements of the user from the home page, it is possible that they will not fit on the screen. So between the added elements can move from side to side, as if flipping through the pages. Interestingly, the replacement screens available only in the horizontal plane – probably a function of vertical scrolling left Microsoft in the future.

To control screens can use the new Semantic Zoom, which allows you to reduce the size of the tiles so that they all fit on one screen. After that, you can organize them as desired, and then rename the group to increase. Used to scale the mouse wheel while pressing CTRL.

embedded and Windows Store

Windows 8 Developer Preview features a new interface, but almost do not reveal the Metro-applications. The new Windows 8 Consumer Preview contains a number of pre-installed software, but most importantly – provides access to just open Windows Store, where throughout the testing of Windows 8 can be downloaded free of charge, any programs.

All applications are available for ARM and X86, with the correct version to download automatically selected, depending on the device used. In the store I search, there ratings thematic categories, sorted by date. In the list of available applications is Evernote and Vimeo, and entertainment lovers can download Angry Birds and other popular games.

Installing apps from Windows Store has nothing to do with installing programs on Windows 7 and all earlier versions of Windows. No need to download anything, run the installer, press the laquo; Daleeraquo; hellip; All that’s required from the user,- click on the Install button on the application page. After a few seconds, the message about the successful installation and tile application is displayed on the home screen. In general, it is not unusual for those who once went into the Android Market or the App Store, but for users of Windows – a real breakthrough.

Names the applications in Windows 8 by default, are eloquent about their purpose: laquo; Kameraraquo;, laquo; Exchange soobscheniyamiraquo;, laquo; Pochtaraquo;, laquo; Kalendarraquo;, laquo; Newsroom PDF and XPSraquo;, SkyDrive , laquo; Lyudiraquo;, laquo; Fotografiiraquo;, laquo; Videoraquo;, laquo; Muzykaraquo.; All applications work as one. Add data to your Gmail account in the application for the mail, and all contacts will automatically appear in the program People.

Add an account on Facebook – and you can communicate with friends in a social network from the application Messenger, to quickly find contacts in the People application, and view photos stored in the social network from the application Photos.

account Windows Live

To download applications from Windows Store will need an account on Windows Live. When you try to go to the store, Windows prompts you to change the regular user account that you use to login to your account Windows Live. Once you pass the authorization procedure, Windows Store will be available.

Windows Live account has other advantages besides download applications from the Windows Store. For example, owners of smartphones based on Windows Phone, use your Windows Live account on a mobile device can detect that Windows 8 will automatically upload all contacts and accounts on social networking sites.

If you install Windows 8 on another computer and log into the same account, all the applications, contacts and system settings will also be synchronized. What exactly synchronized, and that – no, you can specify in the relevant section of the system settings.

Finally, another important feature of Windows 8, which is associated with an account Windows Live, is the integration with cloud storage service SkyDrive.

SkyDrive: everywhere

SkyDrive in Windows 8 can be found almost everywhere. First, the application of the same name in the new system is pre-installed and available right on the home screen. Run it – and you will see all the data stored in SkyDrive files and folders. And not only see, but also be able to work with them as if they were stored locally. For example, if you click the icon for the audio file, it is immediately downloaded and will be in the application vosproizvedn laquo; Muzykaraquo;.

SkyDrive service is also integrated into all Metro-applications, so any file that is stored on the service, you can open the appropriate program for editing, and then save a copy of the same place, in laquo; oblakeraquo.; Any new file, be it a text document or a picture in a photo editor, you can save to your hard drive does not, and once on SkyDrive. Free service provides each user with 25 GB storage space for personal files (maximum individual file size – 2 GB), so for most people place in laquo; oblakeraquo, should be enough.

Soon Microsoft also promises to provide SkyDrive app for your desktop, which will be integrated into Windows Explorer. This program will not only work in Windows 8, but in Windows 7 and Vista. Thus, it is possible without any problems to move data from one computer to another without the need for a USB-drives or third-party services.

Internet Explorer 10

Appearance preliminary version of Internet Explorer 10 was a surprise, because if other Windows 8 Beta announced in anticipation of the release, the browser developers are not talking about anything.

Meanwhile, Windows 8 can be found not one, but two versions of Internet Explorer. With the first you can work on the desktop, and the second is a full Metro-application. These programs are completely independent of each other and against the background of total synchronization advocated in the Windows 8 look aliens from another world. No cookies, and passwords or Bookmarks Do not Sync.

Why are already two of the same browser? The whole point is that they are not the same. Metro-version does not support many of the features to which users are accustomed. Here, for example, there laquo; Izbrannogoraquo, in the usual sense of the word. Users can either fix the links to the home screen Windows, or open a new tab that displays a list of frequently visited pages and fixed.

On the other hand, fixed sites in desktop version of Internet Explorer not displayed anywhere.

Second major difference between Metro-version of the browser – no support for Flash (and any other add-ons, users are accustomed to IE). Browser relies on the support of HTML5 and CSS3, including video playback, so if the user meets the web page where you will need to view the video, good old Flash, he predlagaetsyahellip, open Internet Explorer on the desktop. Of course, YouTube, and Vimeo, and many other sites already support HTML5, but Flash is not so out of date to completely abandon it on the desktop.

Fish, which by default is set as the wallpaper on your desktop seems to be for users switching to the normal version Internet Explorer, a reminder of the fact that Flash is passing. Recall that this fish is fully animated and created by means of CSS3 without using Flash and JavaScript. Watch as she swims, and to evaluate other interesting examples of the use of modern web technologies can demosayte for Internet Explorer 10.

However, despite the fact that HTML5 – one of the main features of the advertised Internet Explorer, support for new web standards implemented still worse than the competition. A simple comparison of alternative browsers on the site shows that scored 314 points to lead is not enough, though, of course, compared to IE9, the new browser is very steep.


Windows 8 does not leave such a feeling of depression, which occurred when meeting with Windows Vista. It is useful in its own way, visually, lightweight, but … it is very unusual. It is impossible to imagine that all desktop software, which people become accustomed over the years to the exit Windows 8 will acquire Metro-versions. Normal desktop in Windows 8 include improved is not possible. Even doing such simple actions as search installed program, raises many questions, and for a beginner can become unsolvable problem.

For convenience of working with Metro-applications is also not so easy. For example, to close the program with the mouse, will require considerable skill.

Seems the developers have chosen for a reason logo Windows 8 Consumer Preview angular figure fish. But, perhaps, before the final version they will be able to iron out all the angles and laquo; sherohovatostiraquo, and eventually we will see instead laquo; clumsy karasyaraquo; goldfish.

Discuss the material in the conference