Windows 8.1 Preview

Microsoft has released a pre-release version of its next Windows operating system: Windows 8.1. Being a pre-release, it is of course not finished, and comes with all sorts of health warnings. Despite this, I, like thousands of others, am keen to take a look at it.

When the Customer Preview of Windows 8 came out in February 2012, I installed it as my main operating system on my desktop PC, overwriting the running Windows 7 OS. Microsoft gave similar health warnings back then about using the Customer Preview as the main operating system. Nevertheless, I felt confident enough to go ahead and do just that.

Fast forward 18 months or so, and I need to make a similar decision, by choosing between one of several options to installing the Windows 8.1 Preview:

  1. Installed as my main operating system on my Desktop PC.
  2. Installed alongside Windows 8 in dual boot mode on my Desktop PC.
  3. Installed in a Virtual Machine on my Desktop PC.
  4. Installed on my Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2.

Option 4 was in fact my first thought, but then when I went to Microsoft’s Download page, I noticed:

Important: Windows 8.1 Preview isn’t currently supported on some tablets and PCs with newer 32-bit Atom processors.

Sure enough, that includes the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. Oh well, that rules option 4 out. As an aside, it is clear that many people don’t bother to read before downloading and installing the 8.1 Preview – I’ve seen many posts from people complaining that the Preview is not working on their Atom-based machines…

Option 3 is doable, but I’m a simple soul, all this new-fangled stuff of Virtual Machines has never really appealed to me. Which leaves the safe, but boring, option 2 or the high wire act of option 1.

I know that if I choose option 1, then if anything goes wrong, I can restore my PC using the backups held on my Windows Home Server. However, I also know that when Windows 8.1 is finally released, I will have to do a complete fresh install of the operating system and all my applications and data.

I’ll think it over for a day or two, monitor the forums for any issues that are emerging and then make my decision.

Update 30 June 2013: Well, I tried option 3, but I found it a bit limiting. Too many hardware devices couldn’t be added, and the virtual PC could not see my home network, and therefore couldn’t access my home server.

I didn’t feel comfortable about the risks of option 1, and thus I’ve gone with option 2. I’ll report my findings in a day or two, but one thing stands out: the 8.1 version of the Photos App is an absolute fecking disaster.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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3 Responses to Windows 8.1 Preview

  1. Peter Ferguson says:

    I will go option 3 when I have read that others have gone down this path with ease. Hyper-V (Client Version) is easily started in Windows 8 and I use it to test programs in both W8 and W7 VM’s. Don’t see why it won’t run W8.1

  2. Ludwig says:

    As you have seen on my blog, my choice is option 3 – virtual machine. I have enough memory on my PC so I can run several VMs next to each other and compare, make screen captures, etc.

  3. Pingback: Windows 8.1 Preview – Part II | Geoff Coupe's Blog

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