Window Consumer Preview is out
Got my copy today @ http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/consumer-preview
The fun ends on 13-Jan-2013. It's not yet clear on how this date will be enforced - iether only "legally" or blocking access to the system or parts of it's functionality.
Got it set up on a x220 laptop (not a touchscreen), reviewing the OS from a desktop user point of view.
Very raw, eats too much PC resources (think constant CPU/RAM usage). Solitaire running in the background ate up to 10% of CPU on i5. The built-in Windows Defender (new and improved microsoft security essentials?) service had a tendency to eat up 25% of CPU, disabled the poor thing.
Some UI features are forced on you - "selling" the metro style initial screen with the applist as an on-demand feature would seem to have satisfied a lot of customers (as would bringing the start button back), but would not allow Microsoft to test drive it's new intermediate cross-platform on end-users.
Working around not having a "Start" button available gets you a lot of headache - planning which items you need pinned to taskbar and which shortcuts to configure on the desktop. As a poweruser you can really on "windows run". Still searching for a hotkey shortcut for SEARCH functionality.
The new Powershell ISE UI makes script writing so much easier thanks to intellisense, I will now think twice before downloading and installing a 3rd party scripting editor.
Bitlocker now has key backup to SkyDrive, there's also an option only using "Used Disk Space Only" encryption for new pcs/hdds (encrypted my 128 GB SSD in 3 minutes, blazingly fast).
Think built-in functionality - hyper-v (so glad they moved away from the Windows XP mode concept into something more manageable), integration with lots of services, support for .iso and .pdf files, using microsoft account to log in and to keep data synced.
Thoughts and future trends
Although it did not revolutionize user experience, Windows 8 is a great product, you get a lot out of the box. I hope it gets more love and polishing before the final release.
Will it replace Windows 7 on enterprise market - no, I strongly believe it will not happen and it will see the same % of adaptation as Windows Vista or even lower. End-users in corporate environments will not forgive the lack of a start button. ;)
For now - I can see Windows 8 running on my laptop, I can't see it running on my desktop computer @ home.
As a long-term thought - could it sometimes be better in terms of productivity to have isolated task-oriented working environments (metro apps) with the option to fall back to the standard Windows 7 UI?
Tweaks and "good to know"
Get the list of open metro style apps - navigate the mouse from upper left corner downwards.
Search/Devices/Settings - navigate the mouse from lower right corner upwards.
Disable Windows Defender service.
Disable Disk Defragmentation and Optimization on SSDs.