Windows 8 Release Preview is finally here, and so far it seems about the same as what we saw at the Consumer Preview stage. Is that a good or bad thing? That really will depend on what you thought of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
As for me, it’s a mixed thing.
Windows 8 Release Preview still doesn’t feel quite finished, but it’s getting close. While at first glance it may seem the exact same as the last preview, there have been some changes made along the way.
So what’s actually NEW in Windows 8 Release Preview?
Windows Store now has a much better look and feel, both desktop app and Metro apps now can appear in the Store, though clicking on a desktop app just brings you to a link to download directly from the publisher. I’m really glad for this change, it just didn’t seem right to have the store only focus on Metro, and leave the desktop out in the cold.
In Windows 8 Release Preview you can now pin individual elements of Metro apps to the Metro screen. This means specific parts of a Metro program, like an inbox or sub-section of a news browser (like pinning the Sports section). This is a great way to organize and customize your Metro experience in a much more meaningful way than in Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
I know that Onuora has already talked about this a bit, so I’ll keep it brief- in SOME sites you will have Flash working in Metro’s IE, though it certainly still favors HTML5 as the dominant format for most things.
Again, I know Windows 8 Update has mentioned this before. In Windows 8 Release Preview you can now have better use and management of multiple monitors.
Under The Hood Changes
I know, Windows 8 Release Preview looks the same, but there are some changes you can’t physically see with your eyes, or even changes you can see but might not notice right away. In Windows 8 Release Preview it only takes about 2 seconds to resume from sleep, a small but noticeable speed up from the roughly 5 second time it took for me with the Consumer Preview.
The lower left-corner of the desktop start button has shrunk down some, and snapping apps to one side to view two at a time is now a much smoother, less clunky looking process.
I also noticed that boot-up took slightly less for me, when I say slightly I mean REALLY slightly, like maybe a second, maybe two, but still it shows that Windows 8 Release Preview is a little more optimized and refined this time around.
Windows 8 Release Preview now has multitouch gestures, I’m not going to focus on this a lot, but it is something you will definitely use on the laptop if you don’t have touch and it can certainly make Windows 8 an easier experience.
These are just some of the changes that grace Windows 8 Release Preview and set it apart from Consumer Preview. Overall, yes, it has made some changes but I can’t help but feel like this doesn’t seem like a finished product. Usually by Release Preview you are presented with a very stable operating system that is basically like the final product.
One major change I’ve had with Windows 8 Release Preview versus Consumer is a negative one.The First time I tried installing Release Preview I ended up with an unstable build, but second time all was well.
I am waiting on a new desktop with touchscreen to arrive (or at least the parts for me to put it together) so installed on my work laptop as to not have to wait any longer. This machine is about one and a half years old (HP DM-3 laptop) and took to Windows 8 Consumer Preview perfectly.
With Release Preview though, it took much longer to install on the first try and after only 24 hours it crashed and wouldn’t boot up at all. I reinstalled and have had a much better experience with the second try, but the point is a Release Preview should be pretty close to final release in stability… so why did it take two times to get it right installing?
To be fair, it might be a very, very rare occurrence that had to do with minor conflicts with my laptop, but I find it out that I had much less trouble installing Consumer Preview. Odds are, my first install was a fluke and I could re-install a dozen times without running into the same unstable installation, but it’s still worth mentioning I thought.
My bottom-line verdict is, Windows 8 is going to be a good OS thanks to Metro and an overall push towards a less complicated desktop experience… I just have a feeling it might be a GREAT OS only after a Service Pack or two, of course that is exactly how many Windows operating systems have been so no real surprise there.
What do you think?
Have you had any issues installing Windows 8 Release Preview?
What do you think of the new changes to the Release Preview compared to the last release?
Share your thoughts below.