Do your applications play along with Windows 8?
As you probably know, Microsoft made big news last week showcasing the new Metro user interface to appear in the next major update to Windows. (We’ve discussed it in the ASP forum quite extensively.) When I heard the news, my first thought was, nice, but does it mean I’ll have to rewrite my existing applications? (I hate it when Microsoft makes changes that break my applications.) After watching the presentation, it looks like in addition to the Metro interface, Windows 8 will include the traditional desktop interface as well, and Steven Sinofsky mentioned that any application that runs well on Windows 7 should run on Windows 8 desktop just fine.
I decided to do a little test and see whether my applications would run on Windows 8. Since I’ve been using VMWare Player to test my products on many different version of Windows, I thought I would use it to create a new virtual machine for Windows 8. So I downloaded an ISO image of Windows 8, (I chose the 64-bit version with the developer tools included), created a fresh virtual machine, and started booting it with the Windows 8 ISO. However, after a few seconds I got an error: VMWare Player internal monitor error: vcpu-0: NOT_IMPLEMENTED… After searching the Internet for a solution, it turned out that the latest stand-alone version 3.1 of VMWare Player does not support all the futures required by Windows 8 preview! The solution was to upgrade to VMWare Player 4.0. However, it was not available for download from the VMWare web site. The only way to get version 4.0 was to download and install VMWare Workstation 8.0 that included not only the Workstation trial but also VMWare Player 4.0. So I did just that: downloaded VMWare Workstation 8.0 (it’s almost a half-gigabyte), installed it, and sure enough, it created a link to run not only VMWare Workstation, but also VMWare Player 4.0.
After that, I tried creating a Windows 8 virtual machine again. The first thing VMWare Player asked me was where to install the OS from:
It’s important NOT to provide the Windows 8 ISO image at this point, but select the 3rd option: I will install the operating system later. Why? Because VMWare player does not understand the Windows 8 ISO disc contents yet, and providing it at this stage will only confuse it.
When asked to choose a Guest Operating System on the next step, I selected Microsoft Windows, and in the Version list I selected Windows 7 x64, since it was the closest thing to the x64 version of Windows 8 that the Developer Preview ISO image had:
Finally, after specifying the name and location for the virtual machine, as well the size of the primary hard drive (I chose 40GB), I clicked on the Customize Hardware button on the last screen, and adjusted the memory size to 2GB (since that’s what listed as a requirement for the x64 version of Windows 8 Developer Preview on the Microsoft web site). I also changed the number of processors to 2 and removed the floppy drive (who uses it these days, anyway?)
One last step, after creating the virtual machine but before starting it for the first time, I’ve clicked on the Edit virtual machine settings link and changed the settings for the CD/DVD drive to use the ISO image file that contained the Windows 8 Developer Preview:
This step was needed to ensure that the installation of Windows 8 would begin as soon as I started the virtual machine. Finally, I started the virtual machine, and sure enough, the installation of Windows 8 started. It looked a lot like the installation of Windows 7, so I’m not including the screen shots here.
In the end, I was presented with the Metro interface, that I played a bit with. The best thing about it for me was that the usual desktop was just one click away. I clicked it, of course, and saw the regular Windows desktop, that looked almost exactly like Windows 7. (I missed the regular Start button though.) That’s what I used to install my applications and give them a try. I’m happy to report that the installations went smooth and my applications seem to like Windows 8:
Of course, it’s too early to do any real testing of Windows 8, it’s still a long time before it hits the shelves and there will be a lot of changes underneath. For now, it’s enough to see that my applications could work with Windows 8 and did not require major changes (at least that’s my hope at this point). How about yours?
[Update 09/20/2011] Another way to get VMWare Player 4.0 (until VMWare makes it available for a direct download) is to upgrade from VMWare Player 3.1, using the Software Update command on the Help menu. This way would wouldn’t need to install VMWare Workstation 8.0 just to get VMWare Player 4.0. [/Update]