Windows 8 is here, so we tested it blind
I downloaded Windows 8 and installed it on a second partition on my 1.5 year old laptop that came pre-installed with Windows 7. Yes, I repair computers but my computer was less than $1000 when I bought it so it isn’t anything super advanced. The install took a little longer than 1 hour total including setting up the user profile. The Windows 8 install looked different than installing Windows 7 at first because Microsoft changed the Windows logo again. Once it reached the install screen everything looked very similar to Windows 7. When it finished installing it was time to setup the user account. It asked if I have a Microsoft email account, formally Microsoft Live, that I want to use to sync with. If you don’t have one or if you don’t want to use it you have the option to set up a local account. Since I want to test Windows 8 to its fullest and I have a Microsoft account I signed in with my Microsoft account settings and it automatically synced all my contacts, email, calendar, and SkyDrive files. In fact, it uses my Microsoft account password to log into my computer.
When Windows 8 started for the first time it looked similar to my Windows phone. It had tiles that were different sizes almost filling up the entire screen. The tiles were live meaning they were consistently changing. The sport tile was showing different Bing sports feeds from their website. Same with news, weather etc. Then I noticed my own pictures rotating through the photo tile. They were the files I had on my SkyDrive. I looked in the calendar and it had all my appointments already there. My contacts, emails, word docs, everything was already there. I added in a test appointment in the calendar and then checked my Windows phone that also is synced with my Microsoft account and it was there. It was very cool. I still thought the tiles was a very different desktop until I saw the bottom left tile said Desktop. I clicked it and the tiles went away and I came to the desktop I saw everyday with Windows 7. OK, this isn’t that bad. The one thing that was different was there is no “Windows Start” button. I right clicked on the desktop to “Personalize” and everything looked relatively the same as Windows 7. I checked my device hardware, everything was installed. I didn’t need to go to my laptops manufacturer and download anything to update my hardware device drivers. I hit the windows key on my keyboard because that is how I use the “Start” button every day and immediately the tiles came back. I played around with it for about an hour trying to discover and find everything I could by myself because I didn’t read anything about Windows 8 before I installed it. Since I’m a techy I wasn’t lost but it was very different. I use keyboard shortcuts continuously every day, so I tried using Windows 8 like I use Windows 7 and I was able to get to everything almost just as fast. Once you see how the new “Start” menu is laid out you realize instead of it being small and vertical in the left corner of your screen, Microsoft laid it out horizontal and bigger across the whole screen. Once you see that, it isn’t much different from Windows 7, except that Windows 8 boots up and shuts down faster. It takes my computer about 5 seconds to completely turn off.