First impressions of Windows 8 and Office 365 Home Premium Preview

Published on 01 October 2012

Installing Windows 8

A couple of weeks ago, after purchasing a new 128GB SSD from Crucial, I decided to take the plunge and get Windows 8 installed. I have heard mixed feedback on Windows 8, but like most things, you have to take it with a pinch of salt, until you try it for yourself. The outcome? I have to say, I really like it! Those who think they know me, will likely look to accuse me of being "fanboi", but that is simply not the case. You can see immediately that a lot of thought has gone into the creation of Windows 8. Even if you are not a fan of the Windows 8 start screen, take a look at the Desktop of Windows 8 and I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

What is there to like?


  • Boot Time: The boot up time is amazing! Now, a lot of this can be put down to the new SSD, but I would guess that you will see an improvement on a normal hard drive as well.
  • Start Screen: Like it or hate it, the Start Screen is here, and I would encourage you to embrace it. Having had a Windows Phone for the last year and a half, I am very used to the live tile updates, and I now see it as a very useful feature. The immediate search for an application by simply typing the name at the start screen is very useful.
  • Integration with online services: As soon as I installed Windows 8, I immediately switched to a Windows Account, rather than a local account. As soon as I did this, my machine was immediately aware of all on online services, Hotmail, Facebook, etc, and the local applications immediately started using them. I personally really like how all these services are merged within Windows 8, but I can understand that some people may not like this.
  • New Task Manager: I am not going to say any more about this, just go and take a look. You'll like it! Especially interesting and useful is the "Start-up" tab.
  • File Copy/Move Dialog: Same as above, just go and take a look. Some really great improvements here, that the geek in you will love!
  • Windows + X: If you are struggling with the new interface, and just want to get back to basics, make sure that you take a look at the "Windows + X" shortcut. This will give you quick access to most of the things that you will need.

What do you need to install?

Once the base Operating System was installed, I immediately put out a question on Twitter asking what I need to get installed:

And I have to say I was surprised by some of the comments. Some people immediately said that I had to install things like this:

An application that makes Windows 8 look and feel and Windows 7. Personally, I am not going to install anything like this, I fully intend to embrace the paradigm that is Windows 8, and give it a try. I have to say that so far, I haven't found anything that I don't like. Granted, there has been a learning curve, but not a steep one, and there are plenty of resources out there to help you get up to speed.

Some of the first applications that I did install were Visual Studio 2012 and the Office 365 Home Premium Preview. More on Office 365 later. Normally, I go through a process of installing all the applications that I "think" I am going to use. However, this time around I am going to hold off on doing a bulk installation, and only install the packages that I need. On top of that, I am hoping to complete a chocolatey installation package that I can then re-use.

Installing Office 365 Home Premium Preview

The latest version of Microsoft Office has been given a completely new branding, and licensing; you are now able to install it onto 5 different computers.

There are some really nice touches in the new Office, and the SkyDrive integration is very good. One immediately noticeable improvement is best seen in PowerPoint. The presentation mode is VERY good, and will come in very useful in my upcoming presentations.

If you are interested in taking a look at the Office 365 Home Premium Preview, you can find it here.

Below you will see a number of screenshots that show both the installation process for Office 365 Home Premium Preview, as well as the look and feel of each application within the Suite.

I should point out that I did the installation across a lunch hour, using Internet Tethering on my Windows Phone 7. The idea of streaming the necessary functionality as and when required means that the initial installation package is far smaller than previous versions of Office, and installation over a 3G connection is certainly a possibility.

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