Tag Archives: Windows 8 consumer preview

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Usage Twice Of Windows 7 Beta

Its been roughly around two months after the official launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview which has got a tremendous response and positive reviews all over the world.

On the first day of its launch it got over 1 million downloads,so it was a sign of good things to come for Windows 8 and as reported on their official BuildWindows8 twitter status update,the Windows 8 Consumer Preview usage has been over twice as its predecessor Windows 7 Beta in the same time period.Though they didn’t reveal the official numbers this time about the official stats for the usage number of Windows 8 consumer preview.

As we inch closer to the release of Windows 8 Release Candidate version which is expected to be released within a month’s time,it looks all is well as far as the upcoming version of Windows goes.It also means that though there was some criticism with the new Metro Ui,but it looks like Microsoft has got it all in control with the Desktop Version  option for those who doesn’t like the Metro version which is tailor  made for the TouchScreen based devices like the tablets and the hybrids(laptop+tablet).

As we have already reported about the biggies like acer,dell,asus,toshiba which are gearing up for as many as 32 tablets by the end of the year and with the new entrant ARM  will furer boost the numbers of Windows 8 sells.

Microsoft Guides Developers On Improving Their Metro Apps Performance

Microsoft knows it very well that for the success of its upcoming  Windows 8 operating system the Windows Store which consists of the Metro based apps is the key.So to get quality and high performance apps from the developers for the Windows Store they are taking every possible step guiding them to improve their apps performance.

Recently on their Official Windows 8 App developer blog gave some useful guidance to the Developers to improve their Metro apps performance for Windows 8.

Here are the Do’s and Don’ts For the Developers building their Metro Style apps for Windows 8:

The first Aspect is Perception:Users Perception  play’s an important role while using an app,So the app should be Fast and Fluid and more than that user should feel that way as well.Take the example of simple app installation,the more the questions are asked the more time it takes to be answered,so the number of steps for the app to be installed should be narrowed down as much as possible.

Do:

  • Reduce the amount of time between activities that the user needs to perform to accomplish their task
  • Make sure that anytime you need to ask the user questions or have them provide info that you are asking all of the questions up front.

Don’t:

  • Separate out user activities into multiple periods with some time in between.

 

The Second Aspect is the Tolerance:It basically refers to how much time does the user thinks is passable until he feels its intolerable.For application programs for which the waiting time for an action to be performed is unknown its quite intolerable for the user to use that app.

Do:

  • Take a moment to identify the areas of your app that may require a substantial (>= 1s) loading time.
  • Take steps to limit or eliminate user uncertainty during these scenarios.
  • Give users a visual indication of where they are in the process and how long it will take.
  • Use async APIs to avoid blocking the UI thread and making the app appear frozen.

Don’t:

  • Undergo long running actions without providing user feedback.

 

The Third Aspect is Responsiveness:It refers to what are the expectations of time are relative to the activity being performed.

Do:

  • Assign the important scenarios of your app to an interaction class representing the desired experience.
  • Identify if your scenarios are not meeting these goals and optimize them.
  • Identify if a scenario may require user feedback and provide it.

 

Checkout the Nice How to Article for detailed guide.

Microsoft Details Windows Home Server to Windows 8 Connectivity Issues and Workarounds

By this time almost all of us have installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on the PC’s.So if you have went on to connect the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to the Windows Home Server and are facing any issues doing so,Microsoft has posted a detailed blog post for the issues and the workarounds for the issues.

These are the known issues and workaround when connecting Windows 8 Consumer Preview to Windows Home Server,

1. Known issues with Windows Home Server 2011

o Issue 1

You need to enable .net 3.5 in windows 8 in order to join WHS 2011

o Issue 2
Power setting of Client backup doesn’t work.

o Issue 3
The thumbnail of picture folder is not displayed properly on Remote Web Access page.

o Issue 4
When you try to access the share folders from home group joined client computer, you are prompted for credential.

2. Known issues with Windows Home Server (2007 version)

o Issue 1

The Windows Live ID credential used in Windows 8 may not be recognized by Windows Home Server.

o Issue 2

Windows Home Server Client Connector setup may not install the OEM client software.

For the workarounds for the issues related to Windows Home Server 2011 checkout the Guidance for  connecting Windows 8 CP to Windows Small Business Server 2011 and for the workarounds for the issues related to Windows Home Server 2007 Checkout the  Guidance for Connecting  Windows 8 to Windows Server 2007.

If you find some new issues on your own then you can bug report on the Connect site as well as you can discuss with the community members for technical help.

[Rumor]Windows 8 Release Candidate Build To Be Released in May !

It was almost a month ago that Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview at the MWC 2012,which got a tremendous response from the users with over 1 million downloads on day one itself.It also got a lot of positive reviews.

Image Credits[Winunleaked.tk]

The Final release of Windows 8 is expected somewhere around the final quarter of the year,but in the meanwhile Microsoft is busy prepping the Release Candidate Build.Now WinUnleaked has leaked yet another rumor ,this time around for the tentative release date for the Windows 8 Release Candidate.According to them the Release Candidate is expected to go public in May or the early June.

The Release Candidate build has been labeled as HB1 in the ISO tag, So the actual builds are ” Post-BETA “.Some of the changes which can be noticed in the Release Candidates are Charm bar, Language input menu, Internet Explorer 10 (Desktop version), a bunch of color set etc.The Customer Experience Improvement Program has been disabled by default.

Though this is still a rumor but if we look at the history of leaks by the site ,this one looks quite a probable one.We’ll keep a watch on more news about the Windows 8 Release Candidate.

 

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Beats Windows 7 in Benchmarking Tests

All of us got a glimpse of Windows 8′s performance with the launch of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.It’s Fast and Fluid with a refreshingly new Metro UI and for what we all know its Faster than its predecessor Windows 7,thanks to improved memory management and other new improved features like Hardware Acceleration etc.

Recently PCWorld Tested the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 7 through the WorldBench 7 Tests.In all the tests performed comparing both the operating systems Windows 8 outperformed its predecessor by a good margin.In the worldbench 7 test Windows 8 fared 14% better than Windows 7 which is a huge margin.

The second test was for the Startup Time,the results are quite evident that Windows 8 is much more lighter and faster than Windows 7 when it comes to Starting up the system.The average start up time for Windows 8 consumer preview was around 37 seconds,while that of Windows 7 was around 56 seconds,while the actual startup time to reach the Start Screen of Windows 8 was around 24 seconds.These were the results for a normal Hard Disk Drive,so if you are going to use a Solid State Drive the startup time would improve drastically.

The next Test was the Web Performance Test, this test measures the system rendering performance for the  dynamic Web content, which includes JavaScript and HTML 5. Browsers used were  Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8, and IE 9 in Windows 7.The results clearly indicates the performance gain of Windows 8 courtesy hardware acceleration,with the Frame rate almost 40-50% better than Windows 7′s browser.

The only Test which Fared better for the Windows 7 operating system was the Office Productivity test,this time getting better of Windows 8,the test included tasks such as editing text, launching applications, and scanning for viruses. In this test Windows 8′s score was approximately 8% lower than its predecessor.

Image Credits[PCWorld]

So far so good for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview baring the lone Office Productivity test in which it was inferior to Windows 7,but considering that it’s not the final release of the upcoming operating system we can give that a benefit of the doubt and surely the performance would only get better in the final release.

Windows 8 is expected to hit the shores by the final quarter of the year with x86 as well as ARM architecture with devices slated to be released by multiple manufacturers in the holiday season.

Windows 8 :A Promising Prospect

Microsoft is aiming big with the upcoming launch of Windows 8 with all sorts of devices which can run the next windows operating systems,ranging from the conventional X86 based devices all the way to the WoA(ARM) based devices.

The Market

Many companies are pitching with both the flavors of devices for their next Windows 8 based laptop,desktop and tablets.Companies like Dell,HP,Samsung are gearing up for the occasion with a bunch of devices set to be released in the second half of this year.With not just conventional laptops,desktops or even tablets for that matter,but the hybrid devices which bring the hybrid devices like the Touch Screen based ultrabooks.

The changes

Microsoft has worked their hearts out for Windows 8 with a completely new approach than any of their previous Windows iterations.They have tried every possible trick in the hat to make Windows 8 reach the public in every aspect.So be it the Redesigned Metro UI or the Start Screen or the removal of the conventional Start Menu and Start Button or the introduction of a new store for Metro apps the “Windows Store”optimizing the Memory Management and Power Management features of Windows 8 which will enhance the battery life of the portable Windows 8 based devices.

With the Metro UI the major makeover of Windows operating system which makes the operating system more intuitive and useful on touch based device while keeping the Desktop version of the operating system intact for those who are familiar with the conventional UI.

With changes comes criticism,Many of the tech enthusiasts did like the Metro UI and the newly added features in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview which was recently released at the Mobile World Congress,but there were also some people who didn’t like the major redesign of the operating system and those who prefer the conventional operating system.That might be one of the reasons they didn’t completely rule out the desktop version and keeping it as an alternative to the Metro UI in Windows 8.

The challenges

Major challenge Microsoft could face is the acceptance of Windows 8 on tablet devices,by far their tablet strategy with the Slate PC’s which were introduced a couple of years ago wasn’t able to cope up with the competition of the Apple iPad.And as if that wasn’t enough the competition got even tougher with the introduction of Android based tablets in the market as well.

So at this moment what Microsoft needs to do is to make sure that they manage to gain their momentum in the tablet segment with the launch of Windows 8 tablets from various manufacturers like Samsung, Dell,HP and even Nokia for that matter.

One more thing that will play an important role in the success of the Windows 8 in the tablet market is the price range of the devices,so Microsoft has to choose a competitive price range to make a mark in the tablet market which is currently held by Apple iPad.

By far by the first impressions of consumer preview it looks quite an impressive product and by far the best product in terms of features and security.For this to convert into numbers Microsoft might also have to pull of a great marketing campaign and we will get to know by the end of the year that if Windows 8 will go the Windows 7 way or the Windows Vista way.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Web Browsing Experience Detailed

Today, Rob Mauceri, the group program manager for Internet Explorer, authored a post on Building Windows 8 blog describing the web browsing experience in Windows 8 Consumer Preview with Internet Explorer 10. In this post Rob explains how Microsoft has enhanced the user experience to suit the new metro style used in Windows 8.

The Metro style web browser

IE10’s user experience is exclusively built around all the Metro style design patterns which makes it to be fast and fluid for even the most intense everyday browsing. The interface and controls are designed to be there if and when required. Along-with this additional design improvements include: touch keyboard support for forms, integrated spell checking with AutoCorrect, finding text on the page, etc. The user experience follows Metro style patterns and conventions for personality, animations, and command activation and support for Windows 8 charms, snap, and more.

Navigation tiles are designed to help you find and navigate to sites immediately using the site’s icon and color while minimizing your typing. IE shows you frequently visited sites as well as sites that you’ve pinned to the Start screen. As you type in the address bar, the navigation tiles filter to show you sites from your history, favorites and even popular URLs. With Windows 8 roaming and connected accounts, your browsing history and favorites roam with you so that you can easily access recent webpages across all of your PCs.

Tabs: Browsing multiple web pages is core to any good web experience. The Metro style tab switcher appears when you swipe in from the bottom or top of the screen with touch, right-click with the mouse, or press Windows key+Z on the keyboard:

Connecting websites and apps in the Metro style

Snap makes it easy to use Windows 8 for more than one thing at a time. You can browse in IE10 and have side-by-side access to your mail, music, or any other application.

Charms provide a consistent way to perform common actions like searching and sharing in Windows 8. IE10 supports the Search, Share, Devices, and Settings charms.

With site pinning, you can personalize your Windows Start screen with the sites you use all the time. You can pin any website to the Start screen from IE10, so you have one place to access all the things you care about or need.

Protecting you from malicious web

IE10 offers the same industry leading security, privacy, and reliability features, building on IE9’s SmartScreen, XSS filtering, Application Reputation, InPrivate browsing, Tracking Protection, and hang detection and recovery. In addition, IE10 takes advantage of Windows 8 to provide “Enhanced Protected mode” for better isolation of website content in each tab.

Summary of changes from the Developer Preview

IE10 in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a more full-featured Metro style experience to your browsing. Here are just some of the improvements to IE10 for fast and fluid browsing:

  • Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
  • Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
  • Double-tap to zoom in on content
  • Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
  • Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
  • Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
  • Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
  • Search charm with visual search suggestions
  • Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
  • Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
  • Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
  • Jumplists for pinned sites
  • InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
  • Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab

We can expect more improvements by the time the operating system hits the final release in the last quarter.

Windows 8 Device Center Beta Released

Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released on 29th February at the Mobile World Congress 2012,with most  positive review around the blogger circuit with over 1 million download mark on the very first day.

Along with that release Microsoft also released the Device Center Beta for “Microsoft” Keyboard and Mouse to work on customized settings.So those who own a Microsoft mouse and keyboard on their Windows 8 Consumer Preview can take advantage of this software.Allowing the devices like the Touch Mouse with custom settings with basic settings like adjusting the  vertical  scrolling  speed and vertical Flick as well as it allows app specific settings.

Device Center helps you personalize and customize how you work on your PC

  • Tailor your mouse and keyboard to meet your unique needs and work style.
  • Modify your mouse and keyboard settings to make it easier to use the unique features of most PC apps.

Effortlessly transition to Device Center from existing device management apps

  • Launch the app from the Windows 8 Start screen.
  • View and change basic and application-specific settings for all connected devices in one place.
  • Explore features with pop-up descriptive and “how-to” InfoTips.
  • Includes access to an online How-To/Troubleshooting library.
  • Includes access to an online Healthy Computing Guide for tips on how to work more comfortably on your computer.

 

Currently the Beta version of this software is only available in English Language and since it is in the beta version,there might be a case of bugs in this version of release.You can download the Windows 8  Device Center  32 Bit Version and 64Bit Version according to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview flavor you have installed on your PC.

Windows 8 App Developers Blog Discusses Migration Of Apps On Consumer Preview

With the release of Windows 8 Developer Preview back in September, Microsoft asked developers across the globe to start creating metro style apps for the new OS. With that, Microsoft also launched Windows 8 App Developers blog for all the information that was required to develop apps.

However,with the release of Consumer Preview, Microsoft made a considerable amount of changes, which certainly affected the apps which were build for Developer Preview. A new post on the Windows 8 Apps Developer blog sheds some light on this issue of migrating your apps which were build for Developer Preview to Consumer Preview.  According to this post, by following some simple steps you can easily migrate your apps from Developer to Consumer Preview compatible.

John Sheehan, Partner Architect on the Windows Development team mentions these guidelines to follow:

  1. Create a new project in Visual Studio and pick the template that most closely resembles the UI of your existing app.
  2. If the new Item Templates support the contracts and features you need, like the File Picker contract or the Search contract, use them instead of trying to reuse your existing code.
  3. After you reconstruct the basic elements of your UI using the new templates, migrate your visual and audio assets from your old project into your new one. Limit the additional code you bring into the project to just be the custom business logic that was at the heart of your app.
  4. Finally, begin to stitch your new UI (structured with the new templates) to your visual and audio assets and to your back-end logic.

By following these steps, you’ll naturally incorporate many of the changes into your app’s code.

Lastly, he adds,

“This post is meant to get you started, but it only covers a small sample of the changes we’ve made to the development platform. As I suggested throughout the post take a look at //Build to Windows 8 Consumer Preview in the Dev Center to get detailed info on how to migrate your app to the Consumer Preview. “

Microsoft Explains Windows 8 Panoramic Themes

Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released a week ago which got a tremendous response by the users with over 1 million downloads on the first day itself.To go with it Microsoft also complemented with some Themes like the NightFall and Starlight Panoramic themes.

Detailing about the Panoramic Themes on Windows 8 on their Windows Experience Blog,Microsoft revealed the details of how Panoramic Themes work on Windows 8.Any theme which is running on Windows 7 can run perfectly well on Windows 8,but as far as the compatibility of Windows 8 Panoramic themes on Windows 7 goes that’s not possible.

As you can see from the above images,it shows how the Panoramic Themes work on a dual desktop Setup,with a single image stretched to work on both the monitors.For this to work perfectly one has to set both the monitors  with same display settings,so if the display resolution is dissimilar with the other or the screen size is different the Theme will not expand on both monitors as shown above,instead a different image will be displayed on both.

Those who don’t have a dual monitor setup can still enjoy the Panoramic Themes,On Single Monitor each image will be cropped to the center in order to allow the Panoramic Experience with Windows 8 Panoramic Themes.

 

Another Feature Of Panoramic Themes is the Autocolor feature.Themes on Windows 8 created with the auto color setting will smoothly and automatically shift the Windows desktop glass and taskbar color to match the dominant color in whichever background image is currently being displayed.So that whenever you apply a new theme you don’t have to search for a Glass Color to suit the theme,Windows 8 will do that work for you.

If you haven’t yet downloaded the Panoramic Theme you Can download  Nightfall and Starlight themes right away.