Windows 8 will officially go on sale this coming fall. Those interested in a sneak peek at the new operating system can download the public preview. The new system has a slick touchable tile interface which can be customized. The new OS is aimed at helping Microsoft compete in the fast growing mobile device market. So far, Apple has the lion’s share of the ever expanding tablet market. In its push to gain traction in the tablet market, Microsoft runs the real risk of possibly alienating its traditional base of users-laptop and desktop users. While the Metro interface does look “cool” – it is not very appealing without a touch screen.
According to some early tests, Windows 8 was loaded on several types of devices: all in one devices, convertible tablets, laptops, and desktops. According to these earlier tests, the OS was quite stable but, to be expected, it fell short on supporting drivers. One thing was clear though, it seemed quite awkward using the OS, meant for touch screens, with a keyboard and mouse. Still, there some way to open up the interface which make it produce a similar experience to Windows 7. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not make this way easy to find.
One troubling sign is that while the OS is still a few months way from being released, there is already a proliferation of online guides on how to open the start menu in the new OS. This is not exactly a vote of confidence nor is it a good sign. However, it may have more to do with unfamiliarity with the new system and might disappear as an issue as more and more users get used to the new OS. Still, this does highlight the issue that if your system doesn’t have a touch screen, Microsoft hopes that users will employ their laptop’s touchpad. This is a problem since there isn’t adequate driver support at this point in time. Also, if you are using the OS on your desktop and there is no touch pad device, you will have to navigate the OS with a keyboard and a mouse.