Get a Head Start on Windows 8 – Tips on How to Learn the New Environment
If you are a Windows user, you will be familiar with the usual routine of upgrading to a newer operating system when it is released. Windows 8, the newest operating system from Microsoft, introduces a significant change in its user interface by employing the Metro environment used in Windows Phone. This means that the interface will feature big icons on the screen and no “start” button. Windows 8 will work on both Intel-based and ARM-based processors, making it suitable for tablets too. However, it will retain a traditional desktop experience, making it easier to access familiar Office apps.
Learning a new operating system can be intimidating, but Microsoft has made it easier than ever for you to familiarize yourself with Windows 8 before its official release. Here are some tips on how to get a head start on learning the new environment.
Download the Consumer Preview
The consumer preview of Windows 8 is readily available for download from Microsoft’s website. You can choose between the 64-bit or 32-bit version depending on your preference. The download size is about 2GB, so it may take some time depending on your internet speed. The download is in ISO form, so if you are a Windows 7 user, you can burn the ISO file onto a DVD as a disk image.
Install in a Virtual Box
If you do not have a spare PC lying around, it is highly recommended to install the consumer preview of Windows 8 in a Virtual Box. The finished version of Windows 8 is almost complete, but as with any beta version, there may be bugs. Installing it on a production machine runs the risk of losing data, so using Virtual Box is the better option. Virtual Box is a free and easy-to-use software that creates a virtual environment on your computer. Although there may be some lag and graphics issues, using a Virtual Box provides the full effect of the new operating system. Also, if you have multiple monitors, you can run your Virtual Box Windows 8 on one screen and still use an older version of Windows on another screen.
Install on a Spare PC
If you have a spare PC lying around that will run Windows 7, you can back up your data and install Windows 8. This is the best way to experience the new operating system, but most people do not have a spare PC that is not mission-critical.
Windows 8 will change the way we think about operating systems. Therefore, it is wise to get a head start on learning it as soon as possible. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the best way to familiarize yourself with the new environment before its official release.
Windows 8 comes with an app store that is similar to the app store on Apple’s iOS. It is called Windows Store, and it is an excellent way to get new apps for your device. Unlike downloading apps from third-party websites where it may be hard to tell the authenticity of the app, the Windows Store is a vetted platform. Also, there are specific apps designed specifically for Windows 8, and these apps work seamlessly with the new user interface.
Use keyboard shortcuts
Windows 8 introduces a new set of keyboard shortcuts that can make your life easier by saving you time. Some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts include:
– Windows key: Switch between the metro interface and desktop mode
– Windows key + X: Access the power user menu, which displays shortcuts to several administrative tools
– Windows key + C: Open the Charms bar, which contains quick access to settings, search, and sharing options
– Windows key + I: Open the Settings menu, which contains quick access to various Windows settings
As with any new operating system, it takes time to familiarize yourself with Windows 8. However, Microsoft has made it easier than ever to get a head start on learning the new environment. By using the consumer preview, Virtual Box, or testing on a spare PC, you can get to grips with Windows 8’s new user interface and features. Additionally, using the app store and keyboard shortcuts can enhance your user experience and make navigating the new environment more efficient.