Microsoft fanatics, Windows 8 Release Preview is out now! This is now the second to the last, and third out of 4 releases of Microsoft latest Windows 8’s development releases. The first was the Developer Preview which was released September last year followed by the Consumer Previewon February and now, the Release Preview.
The following highlights should be observed in their latest development:
• Installation – We have significant telemetry in the setup process and also significant logging. Of course, if you can’t set up Windows 8 at all, that is something we are interested in, and the same holds for upgrades from Windows 7. Please note the specifics regarding installation requirements and cautions found on the download page.
• Security and privacy – Obviously, any vulnerability is a something we would want to address. We will use the same criteria to address these issues as we would for any in-market product.
• Reliability and responsiveness – We are monitoring the “crash” reports for issues that impact broad sets of people. These could be caused by Windows code, Microsoft or third-party drivers, or third-party apps. Information about crashes streams in “real time” to Microsoft, and we watch it very carefully. We also have a lot of new data coming on the hundreds of new apps in the Windows Store.
• Device installation and compatibility – When you download a driver from Windows Update or install a driver via a manufacturer’s setup program, we collect data about that download via the Plug and Play (PnP) ID program. We’ve seen millions of unique PnP IDs through the Consumer Preview. We also receive the IDs for devices that failed to locate drivers. We are constantly updating the Plug and Play web service with pointers to information about each device (driver availability, instructions, etc.) We actively monitor the use of the compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7 based product does not succeed.
• Software compatibility – Similar to device compatibility, we are also monitoring the installation process for software, and noting programs that do not install successfully. Again, we have the mechanism to help move that forward, and/or introduce compatibility work in the RTM milestone. Here too, we actively monitor the use of compatibility modes required when the first installation of a Windows 7-based product does not succeed. We have tested thousands of complex commercial products from around the world in preparation for the Release Preview.
• Servicing – We will continue to test the servicing of Windows 8 so everyone should expect updates to be made available via Windows Update. This will include new drivers and updates to Windows 8, some arriving very soon as part of a planned rollout. Test updates will be labeled as such. We might also fix any significant issue with new code. All of this effort serves to validate the servicing pipeline, and to maintain the quality of the Release Preview.
• New hardware – Perhaps the most important category for potential fixes comes from making sure that we work with all the new hardware being made as we all use build 8400. Our PC manufacturing partners and hardware partners are engineering new PCs, and these include hardware combinations that are new to the market and new to the OS. We’re working together to make sure Windows 8 has great support for these new PCs and hardware.
Microsoft stated that Windows 8 “is almost complete”. The latest preview now has integrated Adobe Flash, better Start Screen personalization, and improved multi-monitor support. The only issue now remaining is the consistency of the desktop parts and the Metro parts which is expected to be solved for the Final Release.
The changes in the latest preview are not in the core of the operating system but on the applications. Microsoft finally updated their Windows Store application. We can expect more applications, both first- and third-party. Applications concerning Mail, Photos and People were drastically improved and developed. Their IE 10 also experienced further improvements. It now features “Flip ahead” browser gesture for those touch-screen based PCs.
Microsoft is currently under the development of populating their Windows store with a range of touch-friendly Metro-style applications. But several developers seemed not interested in Microsoft’s plans. Developers such as Corel, Flipboard and Facebook don’t seem to share interest in what Microsoft is planning.
Windows next preview will be the RTM Release (Release to Manufacturing) and after that will be the Final Release. Let’s expect that the last development release of Windows 8 will solve the issues that are being attacked to them. Issues such as the consistency of the new Metro-interface, Windows 8 being clunky and problematic for basic users, and its touch-screen dominant feature.
Try it for yourself and see if it is already ready for release or not. Try it now here. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview