Windows 8 Release Preview is here

After downloading the Windows 8 Release Preview I am ready for installation. First surprise though is that I can not run setup from my existing Windows 8 box – it comes back with an error message saying the sources are not compatible with my hardware.

Well, booted from external DVD works just fine.

Let’s see how long this takes this time.

Started at exactly 10.00am. First step choose language and Keyboard settings and Installation begins.

While I am waiting, here the Microsoft Video for the Release Preview, quite upbeat I might add.

Installation asks me for the Product Key and surprisingly now offers to update (why couldn’t it run from inside Windows 8 in the first place remains a mystery) . However, I like the clean install and opt for formatting my disk first.

10.05am – done with copying files, getting ready for installation

I am doing this on a Lenovo X201 Tablet by the way – the consumer preview worked just fine on this hardware so I assume this release will rock on here!

10.10am – done with installation, restarting

10.14am – customizing, WiFi, color scheme and automatic update settings

All settings for sending information back to Microsoft are off by default – nice.

10.16am – provide Microsoft Life account to login

Your PC will be ready in just a moment ….

10.17am – logged in and ready to go

First App to be tested Mail. It automatically recognizes that my Live ID is an Exchange account and connects to my Exchange Server, 30 seconds later I am in business:

Calendar and Contacts are automatically there from my Exchange account too.

The Messaging Client only supports Messenger (and connected accounts) as well as Facebook. I don’t use either one of them, it’s too bad they do not support Lync.

Skydrive connection including Office WebApps works fine and I have immediate access to all my documents stored in Skydrive. Unfortunately today I still store many of my documents in iCloud – I need to figure out a better way of organizing myself in the Cloud.

The weather App finally works with my location and the location services identify my location correctly, unfortunately the weather will be rainy for the next 5 days – no fault of Windows 8 though.

Music wants to create an XBOX Live account for me – I already have one (which is different from the one I used to login to this machine – I will figure that out later).

Overall so far I like the fact that there are only a few Metro Apps installed – everything fits on the first screen, no scrolling necessary. All Apps work very fluid, the configuration issues I encountered with some of them before are obviously gone.

The App store is still quite empty, a couple of Apps, not very many reviews. However this is a Preview version so I do not expect much more at this point.

I installed two Apps to be able to work (tweetro and RemoteDesktop) and tunein (Internet Radio). All three installed in a matter of seconds.

tunein was a disappointment, black screen and that was all. I am not sure who does the quality control for the App Store – it seems like there is none. This is a little disheartening considering that there are no more than maybe 150 Apps altogether: fail, uninstall.

Tweetro does its job, connection to Twitter works just fine. Functionality is limited though. No filter in Messages, Lists does not show the lists where I am a member of and overall everything is too big – not enough information o the screen (possibly one of the main problems of the “touch first” philosophy).

Remote Desktop just needed the Gateway Server configured and I have full access to my virtual client. This also didn’t work very well in the last version of Windows 8 so I am pleased that this seems to work just fine. Without a RDP connection to my virtual Client I would not be able to work at all.

Last step for now: automatic updates.

Windows Update found three important Updates which will be installed. What I am missing are the updates for my hardware – touch does not work yet. Wait a minute – it does. I didn’t even notice that the device drivers were installed and there was no message. I tried before and touch was not enabled yet. Well – if everything works this smooth with Windows 8 this will be clearly a huge success for Microsoft.