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  1. #1
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    Default Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    Windows 8.1 Preview is available since Jun. 26. Windows 8.1 brings users more features and improvements. Most notably, Windows 8.1 brings back the Start button as uers expect. Let's take a first look at the new features and improvements.



    Personalization:

    In Windows 8.1, you’ll be able to do more to personalize the experience on your device. As people started using Windows 8, people were using their Lock screens to show pictures of their families. So in Windows 8.1, you can turn your PC or tablet into a picture frame by making your Lock screen a slide show of your pictures – either locally on the device or photos from the cloud in SkyDrive. Also, Microsoft added the ability to take pictures with the built-in camera right from the Lock screen without having to log in.

    Search:

    In Windows 8.1, the Search charm will provide global search results powered by Bing in a rich, simple-to-read, aggregated view of many content sources (the web, apps, files, SkyDrive, actions you can take) to provide the best “answer” for your query. It is the modern version of the command line!

    Apps and Windows Store:

    Microsoft improves all our built in apps that come with Windows 8 for Windows 8.1. For example, the Photos app now has some new editing features that lets you quickly edit or adjust photos when you view them in the Photos app or open them from other places like the Mail, SkyDrive, and Camera apps. And our Music app has been completely redesigned to help pick and play music from your collection.

    PC Settings:

    The updated PC Settings in Windows 8.1 gives you access to all your settings on your device without having to go to the Control Panel on the desktop. You can do things like change your display resolution, set your power options, see the make and model of your PC, change the product key, let you run Windows Update, and even join a domain – all from PC Settings. You can even manage SkyDrive from PC Settings as well and see how much available storage you have (and buy more if needed).

    Internet Explorer:

    Web browsing continues to be one of the most popular activities on any device. That’s why with Windows 8.1, you also get Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). IE11 builds on the advancements in IE10 and is the only browser that is built for touch. IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy. For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.

    Better Mouse and Keyboard Options

    PCs today are evolving for a world of mobile computing where people interact with their devices through touch, and Microsoft designed Windows 8 for this. But they also recognize there are many non-touch devices in use today – especially in the commercial setting.

    More features can be read on Microsoft's blog post

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    loving 8.1 great job microsoft

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    I like it a lot more than Windows 8, it installed/updated faster & runs fast also. MS has been generous with the allowed time to run this preview, it's my hope that this upcoming release will cause more to buy Windows 8 computers, regardless of type.

    Cat

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    Hey Catilley, so did you clean install or upgrade through the store or are you dual booting it along side 8? I keep hearing to fully experience and test it properly, that one should clean install it and use it as your primary OS. I'm just using it in Hyper-V just to see how it looks and feels. I'll be waiting on the RTM before I take the plunge.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: resolution on 8.1 preview

    Well I went to my other newer computer( win 8 Visio laptop) and got the D/L to complete with 3.7 gigs or so. I burned it a USB stick and moved it back to my desktop (older computer running win 8) and it installed fine. For so reason my desktop would not allow the D/L from the store or the ISO. I've installed every version of win 8 on this desktop with no problems. The only difference is I tried to do it from Microsoft's website. I normally do a clean install from a ISO.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    I'm dual booting it on my M4 SSD beside of Windows 7. That was the best place available for it, I shrank Windows 7 to 72GB, using Mini Tool Partition Wizard (it has a SSD alignment tool). That freed a little over 32GB of space, which concerned me at first.

    To my surprise, even after installing Firefox 22 & Opera 15, as well as Google Earth & a few other extras (Adobe Air/Flash-non-IE/latest Java), also MBAM & SuperAntiSpyware (both freeware scanners), the install is still only a tab over 18GB in size. I didn't want to shave too much off of Windows 7, but could have went to 64GB & still been OK. As long as the preview doesn't grow past 25GB, it's OK. Turning off Hibernation helped save space also. I don't need all of that fast boot stuff on a SSD, that's why I have one. I'm not installing anymore outside apps, but may install a few things that MS offers from the store.

    On that notebook (the Toshiba), Windows 8 Pro is on the OEM Seagate HDD in a tri-boot. After the 350MB System partition, Vista Ultimate is first, then 8 Pro, then Linux Mint 15 (Mate x64 version). For all intents & purposes, it's a test machine. It has both the OEM HDD & the M4 SSD via an optical bay adapter.

    For the roughly $350 total that I have in it, it's a decent notebook. Couldn't buy a new one with equal specs today.

    You heard correctly, for most users, it's best to test a new OS in a native enviornment, for the full hardware experience. Some things doesn't work exactly the same in a VM.

    Good Luck!
    Cat

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    I now have Windows 8.1 running as a VM. A few of the changes people may find appealing.

    I am now running Windows 8.1 as a VM. No, nobody got the old (Windows 7) start menu (back). But, there are a few things people did want that they probably will like, well maybe they will... some are hard to please.

    1. Can be told to boot to Desktop.
    2. Can toggle between Start & All Applications screens
    3. Can make the Applications display by Name.
    4. Can have applications show (1st) instead of Start.
    5. Shutdown & Restart can be found on the Power Users menu
    6. Some of the navigation may be felt to be generally more appealing.
    7. Having consistent background across all screens is nice.
    8. A start button on the Taskbar.
    9. Not a slew of Tiles on Start; things, instead, can, still, be told to be there.
    10. 4 digit PIN to sign-in.
    11. Open APPs on the Switcher Bar are labeled


    No kidding IE11 is fast(er)!! I can notice it even though running the OS as a VM.


    Cheers,
    Drew

    PS: Written in Windows 8.1
    Last edited by Drew; 06-29-2013 at 02:41 AM.

  9. #8
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    Exclamation Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    Best Practice Reminder for Betas!!

    It seems, from some of what I read, this needs be mentioned, again...

    Right now we have Windows 8.1 Preview available. IT IS A BETA!

    Once it goes RTM, it will be pushed out to Users who, already, have Windows 8 via Windows Updates later this summer. Until then...

    DO NOT upgrade (or overwrite) your Windows 8 w/ the 8.1 Preview. DO NOT replace your Windows 8 w/ Windows 8.1 Preview.

    Only install Windows 8.1 Preview on a spare box, as a dual-boot or as a virtual machine in Hyper-V on your Windows 8 host machine.

    Cheers,
    Drew

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    Why is it that it never fails, going back as far as Windows 7, many users doesn't bother reading the instructions that's on the same page as the ISO links? I know for a fact, that beginning with Windows 8 RP, if not before, MS posted instructions for preview testers with warnings/cautions days in advance.

    Meaning that many has no way to recover their computer, because not only did these same users failed to read those pages, they also didn't read their computer manual. No recovery DVD sets made, no full disk images (backups) of the computer, torched the recovery partition either by wiping the drive, deleting the partition, or altering the MBR, which causes the recovery partition loader to fail on many computers.

    We have plenty of time to test Windows 8.1, until 01/15/2014. SLOW DOWN!

    Take your time, make it certain that in the worst case, that the prior OS can be recovered, with as many methods as possible. There are at least 3 ways on modern computers, all of which I mentioned above. Make certain that a recovery CD is made for the backup app, otherwise it's of no use.

    To be on the cautious side, as I first did with Windows 8 CP back in February 2012, install on a spare HDD alone. That way, nothing gets messed up. Those who has desktops likely has more than one drive bay, simply install it there. Before installing 8.1, after unplugging the computer, removing the ethernet cable & then press & hold the power button to release any residual power, unplug both the SATA power & data cables from the main (OEM) HDD or SSD. Don't replug that drive until the install is finished.

    This makes 100% certain that the data & OS(s) on your main drive is safe. Then plug the power & ethernet cables back in & install 8.1. Once the install is complete, again remove power & ethernet & reconnect the SATA power & data cables to the main drive, then power & ethernet. The removal of power may seem trivial to some, however it's an industry wide safety practice when removing the cover from the computer to do so, as well as ground one's self by either a wrist strap (instructions included) or by touching the metal casing prior to placing hands on any interior parts (to avoid static buildup from frying a component). Yes, these things happens to those who are careless.

    Many notebooks are now equipped with dual drives, or there's usually a way that another can be added. Some has an empty bay for a 2nd internal, others (like myself) used an optical bay HDD/SDD adapter to use that space in the most efficient way possible. There are $5 USB to notebook optical drive adapters that can be used for the few times that it's used.

    Or as Drew pointed out above, run 8.1 in a VM. Note that it won't run via Windows Virtual PC (Windows 7 users) & some users has reported issues installing 64 bit guest OS's (VirtualBox & VMWare Player). If this happens & can't understand what to do to fix it, load a 32 bit version.

    If one plans ahead of time, the install should go fine. Finally, be sure to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Advisor, to make sure that the preview will run OK.

    Cat

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

    Thank you, Cat; good info, good comments.

    I will say again, the 2 easiest, best ways to 'play' w/ the Windows 8.1 Preview are dual-boot (if a drive is available) OR a virual machine in Hyper-V.

    Just DO NOT replace your Windows 8 w/ it! OR your Windows 7, Vista or XP.

    This is stated on the Windows 8.1 Preview download site by Microsoft. If you don't read it there, read it here.

    AND HEED IT!

    Cheers,
    Drew

    Written in Windows 8.1

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