As I write this, a Windows 8 "preview" edition has been made available for
people to see what's changing in the next version of Windows.
... running Windows 8 today puts everything on your
computer at risk of loss.
Microsoft's goal in releasing this edition is presumably to get early
feedback on proposed changes and there are many changes as Windows 8 appears to be improving its ability to target tablet computers.
I'm also sure that part of the reason for the release is to begin
generating buzz about the upcoming version. I'd expect to see more incremental
releases as Microsoft continues to ramp up to Windows 8's eventual release.
Why you should stay away from Windows 8 for now
A preview release isn't even a beta release.
In other words, it's going to have problems and it's going to change -
possibly in significant ways - before it's formally completed and released.
In other, other words: running Windows 8 today puts everything on your
computer at risk of loss. It could have serious security and privacy issues
and it could have bugs that would cause significant data loss.
That's not a reflection in any way on Windows 8's eventual quality
at release time.
It's the practical reality of one simple fact: Windows 8 isn't
It hasn't even reached a stage where Microsoft is comfortable labeling a
Beta version and I
strongly recommend that you avoid those as well.
Preview and Beta versions aren't meant for daily use and they aren't meant for
the average consumer.
Who should try Windows 8?
I believe that the Windows 8 preview release is aimed at two distinct audiences:
The press, technology pundits, and people that other people listen to. As
I mentioned above, it's about generating buzz for the next version of
Software developers who are working on software that will run on Windows 8
and possibly take advantage of some of its new features. They need to begin
writing and testing their applications to make sure that they work and testing
Windows 8 itself to make sure that it works.
If you're in one of those two categories - a) you probably wouldn't be
asking the question, hence the hard line that I'm taking in this article for everyone else, and b) you'll know how to work with it safely.
If you're not in one of those two categories, you shouldn't be thinking
about Windows 8 at this time.
If you can't resist
If you can't contain yourself and absolute must play with this latest
version of Windows before it's released, I have only one word of advice:
Assume that your machine will crash and that everything on it will be
That's the only safe way to play with pre-release versions of any software,
particularly operating systems.
As for me, I'm not going to try. There's enough to do supporting Windows 7
and previous versions that I won't be answering any Windows 8 related issues
until much closer to its release.
And I'm not even going to quote current estimates for when that'll be,
simply because much like the software itself, it'll change.