Sneak preview of Windows 8 with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3

Here’s a sneak preview of Windows 8 evaluation version using VMWare’s Workstation 8.0.3. For those who read my earlier post “Experiences with VMWare Workstation 8.0.3 : The good, bad and the Ugly” the Windows 8 VM experience  must definitely rate as good. The setup and installation of Windows 8 in Workstation was a breeze. There was just one hiccup which is mentioned below.

The initial experience with Windows 8 is truly breath taking. The metro-style screen with its mosaic of tiles looks really great. Besides, Microsoft with Windows 8 is definitely taking the right path with a tile for the App Store and the SkyDrive. More on that later…

To get started download Windows 8 Release preview ISO image from Make a note of the Product key in the page.

Start your VMWare Workstation and choose “Create a new VM”. Browse to the directory which has the ISO image start the VM. Use the product key that you made a note of in the download page. While the installation will start you are bound to run into the error “Windows cannot read the product key from the unattend answer file”. To fix this issue power off the Windows 8 VM. Now select the “Settings” of the VM and remove floppy drive from the settings. Now Power on your VM. This time things should go smoothly and you installation process should begin.

Soon you should see Windows 8 installation screen

Choose the custom option as shown below

The installation should start and you should see

Follow the prompts and pretty soon you should see a really appealing Windows 8 metro style screen. The screen has a really cool tiled look. In fact with this look icons seem almost passe.

A quick look at this screen and you will see that Microsoft has now included the Store (App Store) and the SkyDrive. I am certain both of these will be put to great use in the future. Games and apps will be downloaded from the App Store. Play around the desktop.

Windows 8 is supposed to be based on touch where the user touches the screen to select an application. To navigate between applications or to get back to the metro-style screen move the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen and you should see a small metro-style screen. The top left corner has your current running applications.

I wanted to check out the Skydrive. So I created 2 text files in my Documents folder and selected Skydrive.

You can right click the files and select them. Go the bottom right corner and right click. You should see the task bar pop up. Click add and you will get a screen as shown below

Uploading files and folders to the cloud is bound to be commonly used in the not too distant future. The Skydrive right on your desktop will be a god send for users who want to keep a back up copy on the Cloud.

The App Store is another alluring addition.

If the boot  and load times of applications are fast in Windows 8 then Windows 8 looks to be a clear winner.

In fact with the stylish tiled look, touch interface, app store and Skydrive Windows 8 may actually give iPad a run for its money given the fact that Windows 8 provides actual computing capability in addition to consuming content.

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