Windows 8 developer preview is available for free download. I installed the 64 bit version to give it a test run on a desktop. The first thing I noticed is how fast it starts up. The hardware I used for my benchmarking can be found at the bottom of this post article.
When I installed Windows 7 64 bit on the same hardware, Windows starts up in 31 seconds after the bios. When I installed Windows 8 64 bit on the same hardware Windows started up in 6 seconds after the bios. Now do keep in mind my Windows 7 does have programs installed that probably are slowing it down about 10 seconds or so. But I'd say we're looking at least a 2 times faster start-up time if you have a dual core processor. I would guess a 4x increase if you have a quad-core processor.
The major reason for this enhancement is Microsoft has improved Windows 8 load times by utilizing the power of all cores of multi-core processors for start-up, hibernation and shutdown.
So far I like the Windows 8 interface which will be great for tablets. I can see why a lot of Windows 7 tablets seem to have disappeared from the market as they are probably waiting for Windows 8 instead. What Microsoft has done is changed the start menu to be optimized for touchscreen rather than mouse. The start menu consists of larger buttons called tiles and an easy way to swipe between applications and so on.
Now do not worry, they have the original Windows desktop all in there as well which I would use more for desktops. You can even revert the start menu back to the old Windows 7 look by changing a registry key if you want. You can find this on the web if you search for how to do it.
I definitely see were the world is going as we move to a touch screen world. I think Microsoft made a smart move by combining a tablet touch screen interface into Windows itself rather than having two different versions of Windows.
The only issue I see so far is there is with IE10, it contains a bug that I found in IE9 that Microsoft has not fixed. It's an issue that occurs on sites that use Helvetica fonts. If you have Helvetica installed then the website's fonts do not show. I told Microsoft about it but have not heard anything back from them on the bug. Most people do not have Helvetica installed so maybe it's low priority for them but the fact some major shopping websites do not work in IE10 for users with Helvtica fonts should be a critical bug to fix. This would be mostly just developers so commons users should not have to fear this bug if they like IE.
I did benchmarking on the following PC:
Dell Vostro 200
– 74gb Western Digital Raptor hard drive (10000 rpm).
– Intel duo core 2 e8400 3.0 ghz.
– Nvidia gtx 480 video card
– 4 GB RAM