BUILD starts next week and everybody seems to wait for the Microsoft announcement on Windows 8, as we already know some features of the next operating system. BUILD is run and organized by the Windows Division of Microsoft and I’m sure we’ll get a lot of interesting news on the next OS.
Recently we’ve heard that the Hyper-V feature will be included in all versions of Windows 8, event in the client versions. According to the Windows 8 Blog, we’ll need CPUs that have the SLAT feature, and at least 4GB of RAM. The bad thing is that the SLAT feature is not available to older processors, meaning that if we need Hyper-V, we should get new hardware. The Hyper-V feature is installed to the client via the Windows Features, while on the server is installed through Server manager as usual. Take a moment to see the video on the Windows 8 Blog that describes how to install and configure Hyper-V on the client.
You can access a virtual machine through the VM Console or through Remote Desktop Connection. As the article describes, we finally can use a wireless network card on virtual machines, surely a great improvement for all of us that use Hyper-V on laptops.
We’ve seen also a lot of screenshots, for example this is the new welcome screen that displays the time and date, see it here: http://www.winsupersite.com/article/windows8/windows-8-secrets-welcome-screen-130065
There have been also a lot of leaked versions that gave us an idea of what to expect. Rumors say that we should expect a beta version by the end of 2011, or maybe January 2012. The General Availability version date remains and it should be in mid 2012.
Microsoft already revealed that Windows 8 will use a new full screen Start Screen, which confused a lot of people, believing that it could be used only with a touchscreen display, but actually it’s for all types of screen types and input devices: mouse, keyboard, etc. The new Start Screen will probably have a pattern-based password feature, more or less like in Android devices.
Internet Explorer 10 will be a part of the operating system and the basis for HTML 5. IE 10 will also have a new full screen appearance. Windows Explorer will have the ribbon, as many of you expect to happen . No traditional Start Menu any more and we’ll have automatic Aero colors, just to much the colors of the desktop wallpaper. Windows Explorer will also get the Smartscreen feature of IE, just to protect the entire OS.
There will be an incorporated PDF reader called Modern Reader and the ability to work with XPS files. Take a loom at Paul Thurrott’s excellent article here.
We’ve seen that Microsoft brings more or less the philosophy of Windows Phone 7, so we expect to see an App Store, similar to that of Windows Phone App Store. We’ll also have to ability of re-installing the OS without losing our data and customizations, a very interesting feature. We’ll like also the ability to natively mount ISO files, without the need of a third party application.
All these new features will need more or less the same hardware (except Hyper-V that will need SLAT), meaning that there is no reason to buy a new laptop if you’re running Windows 7 today.
I’m sure that during the next months we’ll get a lot of new information regarding Windows 8. There are a lot of under-the-hood features regarding the Server version, Active Directory, etc but unfortunately as MVPs we’re under NDA, so as soon we are allowed to share this info, we’ll let you know.