I took a cue from old +Mel Lota last night and had a go at installing the developer preview of Windows 8 on a VirtualBox instance. It's surprisingly easy to do and non-destructive. I installed it on a two year old Dell laptop - not very beefy, but no slouch either. Nevertheless, it was a virtual machine so performance wasn't expect to be great.

First up, it does seem to book quickly. And it flips around between screens pretty quickly, virtual machine and all.

Second - I don't get it. Everything about it is counter intuitive. Maybe this is the consequence of it being an early build, but nothing does what you would expect it to do. I spent around ten minutes looking for the power off button so I could reboot it. Turns out you need to click on the left hand side of the screen to make something appear on the right hand side of the screen.

Full screen apps are baffling. Again, there seems to be no ability to close them (no bad thing, right android?) but also no ability to flip between them other than going to the left side of the screen and clicking through a series of thumbnails.

The desktop loads quickly, thankfully, and works just like Windows 7, except when you click Start and you're back to the tile interface.

And the tile interface scrolls sideways, which just feels wrong using a mouse wheel. On top of that, it feels like a touchscreen interface, but doesn't carry across the swipe gestures to a mouse. So I felt compelled to drag the screen left and right, but couldn't. I could only move sideways by motioning up and down with the mouse wheel - which seems a little like rubbing your head while patting your belly. I feel as though they could gain a lot by making the tile interface move vertically as an option.

There's a couple of simple apps with it, a Facebook client, a Twitter client and a weather gadget for example. In each one, the method of configuring each app breaks every convention. There's no right click context menu for example. And I wonder about the sense of having fullscreen apps on a computer anyway... does anyone really maximise every window? Isn't the point of a Windows interface that you can keep an eye on a bunch of things at any one time? This seems like Atari ST computing.

It seems like a weird mishmash of paradigms. I found myself going to the desktop to do anything useful, but I couldn't imagine myself doing that on a tablet where the metro interface is probably perfect. Ultimately, I just don't see how I would use metro on a laptop (let alone a desktop). I hope they provide a means of getting to the desktop by default...
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