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:
- Installed as my main operating system on my Desktop PC.
- Installed alongside Windows 8 in dual boot mode on my Desktop PC.
- Installed in a Virtual Machine on my Desktop PC.
- 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.