Windows 8 launch: 20 days and counting

Invites to the ball have arrived. The 25 October will be a busy day for Microsoft watchers (as will the 26th, when launched products, including Surface RT devices, go on sale commercially).

Windows 8 approaches.
(Screenshot by CNET)

Drip, drip, drip.

The Redmondians are continuing to torture us Microsoft watchers with a slow flow of information about the company's bet-its-business launch.

We already knew Microsoft planned to launch Windows 8 and its ARM-based Surface RT devices in New York City on 25 October, thanks to a save-the-date invitation we got a while back. We knew those products would become available commercially the following day, and we found out this week that Microsoft would be opening 30-plus pop-up stores in the US and Canada on 26 October as well.

As of 4 October, we now know that the launch is going to be a lengthy affair — five hours, all up.

Here's what we just got in our inbox:

(Credit: Microsoft)

Will there also be, as some are reporting, some kind of "midnight madness" event in New York to coincide with its products, Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs, tablets — and Microsoft's own Surface RTs — going on sale as of 26 October? No word on that yet (I asked). But I'd be surprised if there wasn't. Microsoft officials have said that its Surface devices will be sold only through its own brick-and-mortar stores, as well as "select" Microsoft online stores. Those without a Microsoft store nearby will only be able to purchase online, unless Microsoft modifies its previously stated plan.

Microsoft still has not released pricing or a full and complete spec list for its Surface RT tablets/PCs. Nor has it made them available for pre-order yet. The Intel-based Surface Pro versions are not due out until three months (give or take) after the Windows RT launch.


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CampbellS posted a comment   

I'll wait to see how normal PC's are affected and as an avid PC gamer I'll wait to see how it will affect games. Valve and Blizzard have already come out guns blazing against Windows 8. From some of the reviews it seems that its designed for touch screen PC's so I am not sure why Microsoft is trying shoe horn everybody else to use it as well. Ive read that people with conventional PCs trialing Windows 8 say its useless on normal PCs and only really designed for touch screen PC. Im not into touch screen PC's , underpowered and useless for gaming. I like my screen back a but as well so constantly leaning forward to touch the screen would be horrible. I have a sweet mouse.


RobyS posted a reply   

Valve only attacked Windows 8 for its store, since they sell applications rather than just games now. They don't really like competition :P

Anyway, what could an OS update really do for hardcore gaming?
You'll get slightly better graphics performance, and Windows 8 already performs about the same as Windows 7, and that was with beta drivers over a month old.
Of more interest to gamers would be the lightning boot times and much better multi-monitor support. That's pretty general, though. I was saved by File History, which backs up all changes to your stuff every hour or so, and you can restore any individual file to any point in time. I nearly lost every single game save in my Documents, but I could end up restoring them.

For confident users, the new interface is great. It's much better than the start menu, which I know that myself and everyone else use only for search, and search only. The start menu became sort of useless after XP, due to the insta-search...

If someone is really that afraid of the new interface, I'd say other parts of Windows 8 make it easily worth the $40. Like being able to pause file copies (which now stack into one window), the brilliant new task manager, integrated social networks, file history, and because it's Pro rather than Home Premium. So you can use the max 192GB of RAM instead of 16GB, if that's your kind of thing.


thesorehead posted a reply   

I've been using Win8 CP daily on a regular PC and most of the time I'm in Desktop using it just like Win7. It's noticeably faster and I don't use any Metro apps except WordFeud. I hit "Windows" and start typing for something I need to find. It finds it, I hit enter - just like Win7 except faster. ^_^

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