Early yesterday morning I downloaded the Windows Developer Preview edition with applications from the MSDN site provided to me by Microsoft. I downloaded both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions to try on my test computer. My test computer is a homebrew that I built myself featuring an AMD 3.0 GHz dual core and 4 GB of memory. I normally use Windows 7 on the machine, so as to not destroy my Windows 7 installation, I popped in a spare hard disk I had sitting around. I installed the Windows Developer Preview edition and let the setup program format and clean the disk before the install.
After going through some minor settings, I chose the customize option, and up popped Metro. Metro is what Microsoft calls its GUI that starts when Windows starts. The surprising fact is that the traditional desktop also starts and is now an application. But the real treat for me was finding that the majority of my hardware was installed and working automatically. Even my wireless printer worked without a problem. The only device that I was unable to get to work was my network wireless card. I used a cable to connect to my router and to obtain Internet access.
So how is it using Metro and having to access Windows as an application? I must admit it is not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The Windows desktop application icon can be conveniently placed anywhere for ease of access to the traditional Windows operating system. Another nice touch is that you can access Internet Explorer right from Metro without having to open Windows. I would hope that other browsers could also be added to Metro, which would make me a happy camper.
What is impressive is the fact that Windows Developer Preview actually works very well. I guess in my mind I thought of this release as more of an ‘alpha’ or very early ‘beta,’ and this is not the case. Microsoft appears to have spent some time trying to get this release as perfect as possible knowing how important it would be to get developers on board from the start. In addition, the company is taking a huge risk in trying to use one operating system to work on tablets, desktops, and laptop computers.
Can Microsoft bring it all together and make one operating system fit all?
Download your free copy of Windows Developer Preview from here.