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Working With Windows Consumer Preview

Ross Pyka

Ross Pyka, Editor-in-Chief
March 21, 2012
Filed under News

Metro works well on a phone, not so well on a laptop.

Except for the loss of the Start button, the desktop environment hasn't changed much.

Remember the project that was supposed to take five minutes but ended up being a week long ordeal? That’s Windows Consumer Preview.
First, the good news: it runs on any computer that runs Windows 7, it consumes less, apps will be screened prior to being sold in the store, you can type to start a search and the desktop still has the shortcuts from 7.
Installing Consumer Preview was fairly easy and uneventful. Setting up an account was just like Windows 7 only it asks you to create a Microsoft Account. If you have an email account with Microsoft (hotmail, live, etc.) then you can use that account to sign-in. You would then sign-in to your Microsoft Account on any computer, phone or tablet that is running Consumer Preview and your settings would be the same.
Startup time feels about the same as Windows 7. Most of the apps work well. Shutdown seems quicker yet is somewhat difficult to get to. Your best bet is Alt+F4.
There is one major problem with Windows Consumer Preview and that’s Metro. Metro is the name given to the new interface. It replaces the start menu and is already used in Windows Phones. It works well on a touch screen; however, navigating Metro with a mouse and keyboard is nowhere near as intuitive.
One example is closing apps. The close button in the top right corner is gone, as is File>Close. Apparently, it takes more power to close and restart an app than it does to keep it running in a low power state in the background. If you don’t believe that, then click and drag from the top of the screen to the bottom to close it. Or use Alt+F4.
Internet Explorer 10 in Metro is even worse. Luckily a desktop environment is included and IE10 in the desktop is just like IE9. Shortcuts from Windows 7 work the same in the desktop in Consumer Preview.
For now there is no reason to upgrade to the next version of Windows. Consumer Preview feels like it was built for a tablet with the desktop tacked on for applications that can’t run in Metro. Although it might get better; after all, the week’s not over yet.

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