Windows 8 Road Test

I have Windows 8 installed in two locations, on my “lab” box at work, which is standard monitor/mouse/keyboard and on my Lenovo W510 laptop at home, which has a two-point touch screen.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I used Windows 8 back when it was in it’s Release Candidate days. I have an out of the box install as a Windows-To-Go stick that I played with from time to time.  But I really didn’t get down and dirty with it until I started using it as my main machine at home and have it in front of me all day at the office.

My “first” impressions?

It’s bigger. Visually bigger. Fluffy even. The tiles are great, I don’t mind that as my start screen. But the resolution on everything just seems big, even though I have it set to highest possible. The built-in mail application. The calendar.  My contact list.  I might be getting older, but I’m not THAT old yet. My vision is still hanging on, I swear. I just like to have more of my data visible. (And in a smaller font so that the people in the next cube can’t read what I’m typing.)

I don’t mind not having touch screen capabilities on my full sized monitor.  While I occasionally find myself about to tap the screen, I’m happy with the way the mouse and keyboard work.  I find myself using the keyboard to bring up menu options and to get back to the Start page quickly.

I’m annoyed that the “Messenging” application can’t connect to gChat, or any commonly used instant messaging service for that matter.  And the mail application is pretty bare bones, to put it nicely.

I miss having multiple applications “open” at the same time, unless I’m using the Desktop. I know they are running in the background, but sometimes its feels like they aren’t really there unless I can see them. Now only having one application active on your screen could be handy when you are trying to concentrate on that ONE thing, but when the computer is just there in the background with Rowi (for Twitter) going and IM+ (for connecting to Yahoo! and gChat) and my personal email, I feel like I want to see them all.

Right now, Windows 8 makes me wish I had a Surface or a laptop that converts to a tablet format, since I feel like it’s better for a device that’s more “private” than a desktop monitor.  I’d love some kind of feature or setting you could change that would make better use of the real estate provided by a regular monitor.

Meanwhile, I’ll stick with it – I know there’s more to love as I use it more and more.


Windows 8 with Stephen Rose at PacITPros!

Ah, 2012 is quickly drawing to a close and the Pacific IT Professionals are proud to have Stephen Rose presenting on Windows 8 at our December 4th meeting.

Stephen Rose is the Sr. Product Marketing and Community Manager for the Windows Commercial Team at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, WA. Before joining Microsoft, Stephen spent 15 years working as a network infrastructure design and virtualization consultant for many Fortune 500 companies. His current role includes managing the IT pro community for the Windows Commercial team overseeing the technical content on the Springboard Series on TechNet, managing the Windows7 Forums, the Springboard Insider Newsletter, and the Windows Team Blog.

According to a Gartner study, the average user carries 3 devices, a tablet, a smartphone and a PC every day. With the release of Windows 8 and Server 2012, how does this change how you manage your users while taking advantage of the many new ways to make your users productive? Stephen Rose, Sr Product Marketing Manager with the Windows team will discuss the impact  and opportunities that Windows 8 will have on users, IT pros and developers. From a new fast and fluid UI  to being able to manage and deploy custom Windows 8 applications,Windows 8 brings new opportunities to users and business.

RSVP here!

Also, since the first Tuesday in January 2013 happens to be New Years Day, there will be NO PacITPros meeting in January. 

Windows 8 – Any Size You Want It

Windows 8 has launched and Microsoft strived to make an OS that can give you a consistent experience as you move between the various devices you use during the day. Using SkyDrive, you can have access to all your important files and pictures from anywhere.

Windows Phone – I’ve loved my Windows Phone running 7.5, so I’m sure I’m going to love Windows 8.  Pin apps, pin people and customize your phone to meet your needs as often as they change.  I often create new groups of people using People Hub depending on events that I’m attending or what’s going on.  Just this week, I had a “Sandy” tile – keeping all the tweets and post from my east coast friends and family front and center.  I will admit I’m a bit of a diva regarding the form factor though, so that might be what holds me back. Most of the phones being offered right now with Windows 8 are too big for my taste.

Surface – Scale up a bit from your phone and grab a Microsoft Surface.  The RT version is available for ordering now and rumor has the Intel (Pro) version is due out in a few months.  I need some of the enterprise features that will be available with the Pro version for work, so I’ll likely be waiting a bit for that as well unless someone wants to send me a RT version to play with!

Desktop – Finally, meet Windows 8 on the desktop.  With or without a touch screen, Windows 8 brings you the same tiled experience as the phone and the Surface.  From now until January 31st, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $39.99.  Use the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to see if your existing computer can run it.

Finally, if you want to experience some additional buzz around Windows 8, Server 2012 and the newest version of Microsoft Office, check out The New Era of Work, Microsoft’s 2012 Launch Event.  Events are being held in various locations throughout the US from now until the end of the year.

So what’s been fun on the Internet lately?

First up, in case you missed out on some of the new things from Microsoft, Windows 8 and Server 2012 are coming soon!  When you have some free time, start learning more about Server 2012 or take a close up look at Windows 8. You can even download a 90-day trial of the new desktop client.

And here are some other links to some fun things I’ve seen online, mostly via Twitter:

For those of you who work on Exchange, don’t miss out on these:

This is Internet Explorer. This is Internet Explorer for the Desktop.

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is out, so you also have access to preview the next version of Internet Explorer – Internet Explorer 10!  The new Windows 8 operating system and Metro style interface brings new challenges as Microsoft strives to move forward while still supporting everything you can run on Windows 7, including everyone’s favorite application – the Internet browser.


Internet Explorer 10 supports modern standards like HTML5, CSS3 and SVG developers the ability to build more powerful web apps and continue to support the security enhancements brought to you with Internet Explorer 9.  

Metro style applications are the native type of application for Windows 8.  So it’s no surprise that Internet Explorer 10 completely embraces this with it’s Metro style “experience”.  (Special Note: The IE 10 experience presented to the user on Windows 8 shall hereby be referred to simply as “Internet Explorer”. Do not forget this. It is important.)

Internet Explorer is a touch-centric, add-in free, plug-in free browsing experience that doesn’t support ActiveX, Flash or Silverlight.  

But wait! What about existing websites and web apps that require those components? I can’t use these on Windows 8?

Windows 8 completely supports the full desktop “experience” that you know and love from Windows 7.  All of your current Windows applications can run using the desktop experience, including the Internet browsing you already do.

Oh cool.  So I can install Internet Explorer 9 and get my plug-ins?

No, Windows 8 doesn’t support IE 9.  But within the Windows 8 desktop, Internet Explorer 10 presents a different browsing experience.  Using the same engine, Internet Explorer for the Desktop supports the traditional browsing features, such as tabs and plug-ins as well as compatibility modes for IE 7 and 8.

So I get two versions of Internet Explorer 10?

Nope. Internet Explorer 10 is one application that provides two browsing experiences, depending on your needs and the feature requirements of the web page itself.

“Internet Explorer” is the touch-centric experience for the new Windows interface. “Internet Explorer for the Desktop” is the experience similar to Internet Explorer 9 – available on the desktop and uses a traditional tab layout and supports plug-ins.

It’s the same, but different!

Can’t I just call it all “Internet Explorer”?

You could. But that means you’ve already forgotten the special note from earlier in this post. The application is Internet Explorer 10 and your browsing experience will vary depending on if you launch the browser natively – Internet Explorer, or through the desktop – Internet Explorer for the Desktop.
Remember, you are already used to different browsing experiences, websites are often customized for different devices and display formats.  Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 allows you to get the full experience from websites designed with the most modern standards, while not having to abandon other sites that use plug-ins or older coding.

This is a win-win, no matter what you call it.

Check Out the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

This week, I’ve been busy at the Microsoft MVP Summit, of which most is covered under our NDA. If you are following me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I can talk the most about the food and the weather here in chilly Redmond and Bellevue, Washington!

However, the one thing I can share this morning is that Microsoft’s Windows 8 site went live. It has a direct download to the ISO bits for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and over 300 pieces of new content.

Windows 8 has some great new features that you can review and see how they can complement your exisiting Windows 7 desktops. Visit to see what all the fuss is about!