Windows 10 Preview: How To Try It, Safely - InformationWeek

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12/31/2014
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Windows 10 Preview: How To Try It, Safely

Want to test drive the Windows 10 Technical Preview without screwing up your computer? Windows 8.1's built-in virtualization technology makes it easy.

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If you got a laptop or other device for Christmas that came with Windows 8.1 installed, chances are you're still getting to know your gadget and the operating system, and Windows 10 is not even on your radar. Then again, it might be: More than 1.5 million people already have signed up to try Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview. That number is likely to rise in January, when Microsoft has promised to release a significant new Preview build.

If you're the type who does like to live on Microsoft's bleeding edge, you might already be scoping out how to install the Windows 10 Preview on your new device -- without hurting it. But is that even possible? Microsoft has cautioned from the start that users should not install the Preview on production machines. A handful of significant bugs, including one that nuked File Explorer functionality, have testified to the risks.

Luckily for Windows 8.1 users, Win 8.1 includes almost all of the same Hyper-V virtualization technology found in Windows Server. That means rather than simply installing Windows 10 Preview in place of Windows 8.1 -- and accepting the attendant dangers -- you can use a virtual machine (VM) to run it. With Windows Preview 10 running in a virtualized environment that's sandboxed from the core system, any problems should not propagate to the host OS.

Not every Windows 8.1 user can use Hyper-V, unfortunately. There are a lot of device requirements: a 64-bit version of the Pro or Enterprise versions of Windows 8.1; BIOS-level virtualization support; and a 64-bit processor with support for Second Level Address Translation (a.k.a. SLAT, a CPU-level enabler of hardware virtualization that's found in the majority of recent chips). You'll also need at least 20 GB of free disk space and at least 4 GB of RAM. In other words, if you're reading this on a Surface Pro 3 your hardware probably has the chops, but if your new rig is a $200 Windows 8.1 tablet, don't get your hopes up.

But if you have the necessary hardware and want to explore Windows 10 without living dangerously? Hyper-V is an outstanding, fairly straightforward option. Here's everything you need to know to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview using Windows 8.1's built-in virtualization.

Step 1: Ensure Hyper-V is enabled
Before you can install the Windows 10 Technical Preview, you have to create a VM to house it. Some manufacturers enable hardware virtualization by default in some devices. Microsoft does this with the Surface Pro 3, for example. If your device isn't pre-configured for Hyper-V, here's how to activate the feature.

1. Open the Charms menu by swiping from the right edge of the screen on touch devices, or by pressing the Windows key + C if you're using a machine with a physical keyboard.

2. From the Charms menu, select "Settings," then "Change PC Settings."

3. In the PC Settings menu, select "Update and recovery" from the left

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 3:46:52 PM
Re: More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
I'm not eager in getting or testing the new windows 10.  After they figure out all the bugs or at least once it goes to consumer market I will try it, it is that the purpose of Focus groups and usability test, to evaluate the tasks of a product.  Another interface fiasco won't help Microsoft gain more users. 
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 9:59:25 AM
Re: Feedback
@nommii,

I don't think it has to do with whatever version of Windows your upgrading from, since Windows 10 does a clean install (so you have to install all your software and settings from scratch)

One thing I did like, and maybe this is existing in windows 8 (which I haven't used heavily), when I reinstalled windows 10 in another machine and provided my credentials, it provided me the option to re-install all of the software that I had available, so it's actually pretty convenient.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 5:31:36 AM
Re: Feedback
@mejiac: that is in interesting and promising feedback on new windows. From the news I have heard from the people around me who have used windows 10, I think they have similar experiences on crashing. I am not sure who same build is reporting different behavior. Can it be because of the version you are upgrading from.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
1/27/2015 | 5:23:48 AM
Re: More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
@PedroGonalzes: By looking at my last experience with Microsoft windows 8 release, I was an early user of it. That experience was quite harsh because of not a stable early release with an equally bothering new UI. I am sure this release would have better UI but I still don't want to use an unstable version.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2015 | 10:11:12 PM
Re: More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
Agree with you, gentleman - I will sit with my finger crossed and wait for the commercial version is available. This post provides quite good hints/tips about trying out Windows 10. I do hope it can provide more exciting experience to the end user - the previous version, Windows 8 is just so so...
laredoflash
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laredoflash,
User Rank: Strategist
1/3/2015 | 9:45:39 PM
Re: More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
Not if you use Linux.......
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
1/2/2015 | 6:12:25 PM
Re: More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
I prefer to be on the safe side and wait until windows 10 hits the shelves.  I really hope Microsoft is listening to consumer feedback.  This way it will produce a much better user experience and win back some of its users it has lost because of their previous releases.
55Gibson
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55Gibson,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/1/2015 | 2:18:18 PM
Trying out Michael's Windows 10 preview advice
Would like to give this a try however the guidance doesn't quite line up with what I see.

I am on a Surface Pro 3, 8 GB Ram, 512 GB disk with Win 8.1.

1.  I do not see an option in bios to enable Virtual Machine. However it appears I can continue anyways.

2. I can enable Hyper-V in Windows features so I am assuming and I can carry on with the proceedure?

3. After Assign Memory I have another option to Configure Networking which is either Not Connected or name of newly cresated virtual machine. What should it be?

4. In the next panel Connect Virtual Hard Disk where we Create a virtual hard disk it defaults to C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks\. Is this ok?

Would be helpful to know how to remove this should it go wrong and lastly Michael doesn't say how to use it once it is configured.

Some clarity here is appreciated and I will give it a try.

Thanks
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 3:57:43 PM
Re: Feedback
@Laurianne,

I've been using Windows 10 since it was made available...and I have to say...I'm impressed.

Some main features really caught my attention:

- Boot Manager: Because I have a PC with multiple drives (one with Win 7, the other with Win 10), it asks me which to boot up, and I can set it up to time out in 5 seconds to a default option...very convenient when having to switch.

- Multiple Desktops: this is really handy, specially when on multiple streams of work, it has allowed me to be able to focus on a task, and then be able to switch very easilly.

- Running Windows Apps on Desktop: this is actually one of my favorites. My kids really like the new Paint app, but because it only ran on a windows 8 tablet, I really didn't wanted to get one just for them to be able to play with it. Now they can play any time they want

I haven't really notices and specific crashing issues... only Itunes has been the one to act up almost any time I try to sync and have other stuff running in the background.

Hope this helps
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 11:02:33 AM
More than 1.5 million already signed up to try Windows 10?
Good grief - my days of being an early adopter are long over.  Maybe I'm getting old, but my best approach to trying Windows 10 will be to leave it on the shelf for at least a year (although I will be force to look at it eventually for work, bah humbug...).
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