Can’t wait to try out Windows 8 for yourself after Microsoft’s big unveiling of the new OS at

Tuesday’s Build Conference? Well, you needn’t wait any longer as the developer preview version of the OS is now available for download.

You can install it on a x86-based 32-bit or a 64-bit machine. Activation is not required, but it’s far from a finalized version of the OS, so if you do install it, expect bugs and glitches. In any case, you should definitely check out Microsoft’sWindows 8 guide to get an idea of what you can expect from the next version of Windows.


Today, Microsoft has announced quite the milestone for Windows 7: since its launch in October 2009, a full 450 million licenses have been sold. The numbers are somehow more impressive when broken down; just a hair over 650,000 licenses are sold each day.

Sales of Windows 7 have been on the upswing over the past two months to boot; it seems all that back-to-school prep has given Windows 7 a kick in the pants. The folks in Redmond are fond of calling Windows 7 “the fastest selling version of Windows ever,” and it turns out the claim may not just be a load of marketing fluff.

Microsoft tends to keep unit sales figures quiet, save for big announcements and financial statements, but let’s try and put Microsoft’s achievement in a bit of perspective here. They announced in their Q4 2008 revenue report that they sold 180 million Vista licenses since launch. At this point in Vista’s life (just over a year and half after launch), that averages out to about 335,195 licenses per day. Seems respectable without context, but after the same amount of time, Windows 7 nearly doubles that figure with 632,911 licenses/day.

Vista, to be fair, was a bit of a flop, but 7 compares to its grandfather XP rather nicely too: Microsoft announced that they had sold 210 million copies of XP in May 2004, a window of just about two and a half years since launch. Meanwhile, Windows 7 managed to move 240 million licenses by the time it was a year old.

What does this mean? First, there’s a massive install base of Win7 machines out there and, more important, those same machines should be powerful enough to run Windows 8 when it arrives in the next year or so. In addition it means that more users are connecting to Windows live for SkyDrive sharing and other features – 542,000,000 people to be exact. These are wildly large and impressive numbers and it’s clear that Microsoft has a hit on its hands.

As seen on

Say hello to Windows 8, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system.

Microsoft is unveiling the new OS at its Build Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The OS, a complete rebuild of Microsoft’s flagship product, is designed to work with both tablets and PCs.

Gallery: Windows 8

Microsoft BUILD: what we expect to see about Windows 8 this week

After months of rumors, speculation, sneaky peeks, and anticipation, Windows 8 will have its first truly public outing this week at Microsoft’s BUILD conference in Anaheim, California.

BUILD replaces Microsoft’s previous PDC developer event. Though PDC was most often held in Los Angeles, the move to Anaheim is a historical reference to 1993’s PDC event: 18 years ago, Anaheim was where Microsoft first showed Windows 95 to the world. Windows 95, with its radical new UI, revolutionized Windows and became the product that enabled Microsoft to attain a nigh unassailable monopoly on desktop computing. Microsoft hopes that Windows 8, described by the company as its “riskiest” product yet, will be just as important a milestone. Windows 8 will be the platform used for desktops, tablets, TVs, and beyond.

So what can we expect to see out of BUILD?

Details so far are scarce. The company has kept very quiet about Windows 8, saying only that all will be revealed at BUILD, though we do know a few bits and pieces. The new, Metro-styled, touch-first, finger-friendly user interface is chief among those. It was briefly demonstrated earlier in the year at D9, but so far, that’s all we’ve seen of it. With BUILD, we should finally get the opportunity to see how it works not just in on-stage demos, but in practice.

Even further information has been published on Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog. The company has been careful not to talk about the “big picture,” instead focusing on individual features. These include improved boot times, the inclusion of Hyper-V in the desktop operating system, confirmation that the operating system willsupport USB3, native support for mounting VHD and ISO disc images, and a few looks at some changes made in Explorer: a new user interface for file copying and handling of name collisions, and a new ribbon toolbar.

The last of these was met with some amount of surprise and confusion. The ribbon interface is busy, perhaps even cluttered, with lots of buttons packed in. The contrast with the clean lines and square edges of the Metro touch interface is stark. But getting too hung up on aesthetics at this stage is unwise—the appearance may change before release—and while the ribbon certainly can’t be described as minimal, it makes features very easy to discover, which is arguably more useful.

Key to competing with other tablet platforms, Windows 8 will almost certainly include an App Store. The ability to run Windows Phone applications on Windows 8 would also give it a valuable leg up in the tablet space, and there’s speculation that this will be confirmed at BUILD.

We also know that not every part of Windows 8 will be shown off this week. Media Center will be missing; its absence had been noted by users of leaked builds, and was later confirmed by Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live at Microsoft. However, Sinofsky said that this absence was merely temporary; Media Center hasn’t been killed, it’s just not ready at this time.

Though the new interface is essential to Microsoft’s plans to bring Windows 8 to the tablet, BUILD is primarily a developer conference: attendees are here to learn how to write Windows 8 applications. After the D9 demo, many developers were concerned that Windows 8 would force them to discard their existing skills and knowledge in favor of a new HTML5-driven development model. We argued that this was not the case, and that Windows 8 would make software development for Microsoft’s ecosystem more streamlined than ever before. The full situation will be revealed in the next few days, but the banners that Microsoft has erected all over the Anaheim Convention Center should prove reassuring: the refrain found on every one of them is “Use what you know. Do what you’ve always imagined.” Clearly, throwing away existing skills isn’t on the agenda.

Still, HTML5 is sure to get a mention, and there’s an outside chance that we might see an updated version of Internet Explorer 10. Windows 8 will include Internet Explorer 10, and Platform Preview 2 of the browser was released at the end of June. Redmond has said that it plans to produce a new preview every 12 weeks or so, so a new preview this week would be a couple of weeks early—but if the company is going to continue to beat the HTML5 drum, this would certainly be a good time to release an update.

Some discussion of Visual Studio 2012 (or whatever the next version will be called) seems likely, as a natural counterpart to the operating system changes. A new focus on C++ development is also expected.

Server Windows will also receive a mention. New features, including Hyper-V live migration, were announcedearlier in the year, and we’ll learn more about what the new version has to offer this week. A new management interface, thousands of new PowerShell capabilities, and data deduplication are all likely.

Full agendas for BUILD are still unavailable. Microsoft may have more to announce—but BUILD is all about Windows, and non-Windows topics will play second fiddle, if they get a mention at all. And to be sure, one thing that won’t be talked about this week is Windows Phone. While an eventual unification of Microsoft’s phone and desktop platforms is likely, it’s not happening this week.

This is the week in which Microsoft stakes its claim on the future. It’s not make-or-break—the company’s server, office, and even desktop businesses will remain healthy and viable regardless of Windows 8’s reception—but it’s nonetheless essential to Microsoft’s desire to move beyond the conventional PC. If it gets Windows 8 right, the company’s “Windows Everywhere” will finally come to fruition. If it doesn’t, that dream will be dead for good.

As seen on

Although Windows 8 is not slated to hit the market before 2012, we’ve already begun to see glimpses of what we can expect from Microsoft’s next desktop operating system. The latest post on Microsoft’s blog demonstrates a dramatically improved boot time in the next iteration of the OS.

We’re talking about 8 seconds from the moment the machine is turned on until it’s fully booted — a vast improvement over most machines running earlier versions of Windows today.

Of course, the boot time won’t be this fast on all machines. Having a fast PC with a lot of RAM and an SSD instead of a HDD will help out tremendously.

Still, it’s nice to see that Microsoft is working to reduce long boot times, which is one of the most annoying aspects of computing for many users. Microsoft’s own data shows that 57% of desktop PC users and 45% of laptop users shut down their machines instead of putting them in sleep mode.

Microsoft provides a very detailed breakdown of how, exactly, the engineers did it — it’s a hybrid between traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate.

As seen on

This is a strange one: apparently, Microsoft is looking to hire “highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people” in order to build a “core location service platform”.

The timing is a little bit off: Microsoft has beenaccused of tracking location without the user’s permission and has issued a response. In the light of these events it is not really clever to look for people in order to facilitate and create a “service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot”.

Here’s the complete job description before it got pulled: “The team is looking for highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people to build the core location service platform. We are tasked with delivering a highly scalable service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot. You will work closely with MSR and other research groups to improve our algorithms for mining large amounts of data using Bayesian analysis and other machine learning techniques. We have incredibly hard problems to solve in the coming year such as solving the indoor positioning problem as well as motion detection and relevance based positioning.”

Needless to say that the job posting, which went up today, has been already pulled. Microsoft is already able to track the location of Windows Phones for its Find My Phone service which does, of course, need the users approval in order to collect data. Either Redmond is looking to improve the already existing service or is into something different which will probably make huge waves.

Source: Microsoft Careers (Pulled)
Via: Neowin

As seen on


%d bloggers like this: