Windows 8 Developer Preview

Following the //build/ conference in Anaheim, I downloaded a copy of Windows 8 developer preview (32 bit) to put on my Dell Mini 12, 1 GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, 40GB SSD drive.

A little history…I ended up having to put Windows 7 starter edition on it because it was running so horribly.  It came with Windows XP SP3, I installed Windows 7 Ultimate and it killed the performance.  I later changed it to Windows 7 Starter, and performance improved slightly, but applications were still taking forever to load.

I took a screenshot of Task Manager before upgrading:

As you can see, there was only 18% of the physical memory truly free….awful.  No wonder why everything crawls!  I tried running the installer from boot, and when choosing Upgrade, I had to run the installer from within Windows 7.  I chose this to see if it would preserve settings, profile info, etc.  During the Preparation process, it asked me if I wanted to preserve User Accounts or Do Nothing.  I chose User Accounts.  The Compatibility Checker was a lot nicer, it says “Let’s see if you have to do anything first” while checking.  The checker discovered that it needs 16GB of free space to run the upgrade.  With an existing OS on the drive and it only being 40GB, there’s no way I’m going to free up 16GB, so it’s a clean install for this machine.

So, the clean install worked well, it kept the previous OS in the typical .old path (which I had to later remove, because it was taking up over 12GB of space on my tiny HD).  After initial caching of services, properties, settings, etc., it does in fact boot in roughly 8 seconds!

Here’s the Task Manager screenshot after upgrading to Windows 8 Developer Preview:

MUCH better!  54% total memory free, and just look at the processor usage…awesome!

So far I’m pretty impressed.  I need to learn how to close running applications from the actual application, but otherwise it’s pretty intuitive.  I set up Picture Password for my authentication, everything seems to be running fairly quickly.  Now I just need to start writing some apps and deploying them here to see how it works and how I can leverage the new UI.

Overall, very cool, looking forward to running this on a tablet.  My laptop doesn’t have a touchscreen, and I know I’m losing a lot of functionality of this OS as a result.

Update: Metro-Style apps aren’t meant to be closed, they stay suspended in the UI, but don’t consume resources.  Nice touch, but in my humble opinion users are going to have a hard time with this going forward.

Eric

Eric Oszakiewski is a professional software developer based in Scottsdale, AZ with over 35 years of IT experience, and 19 years Native American Gaming experience. He is currently working as a Sr .Net/SharePoint Developer for General Motors, and also as a consultant.

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