Windows 8 Consumer Preview on Parallels Desktop 7

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By now, I’m sure you are already aware that Microsoft has released the consumer preview of Windows 8 recently and the Internet has been a-buzzed with the initial reaction of the new OS from Microsoft, both positive and negative.

If you’re like me, running a Mac, you probably would be wondering how you can test drive Windows 8. Well, if you’re like me, then you probably would try to install it on Parallels to give it a run. Unfortunately, (if you’ve not already updated to the latest version 7.0.15055 build of Parallels Desktop 7), you’d notice that it would not install right. Mouse clicks are not registered and if you attempt to install Parallels Tools in Windows 8, you’d immediately get the black screen.

Thankfully, an update was just released as of today (time of this post) here with the build number 7.0.15055.

A quick look at the knowledge base page shows a few updates, primarily around support for Windows 8 Consumer Preview and OS X Mountain Lion, both of which are noted as ‘experimental’. Another interesting point to note is also that you can now download and install Windows 8 Consumer Preview right from the Parallels Wizard! That makes the testing of Windows 8 a lot easier.

The following screenshots shows some of the screens

New entry in Convenience Store

Choose the edition of Windows 8, primarily the language

The serial code is inserted automatically

Downloading in progress

So, depending on your broadband speeds, the 3.3GB payload will take quite a while to download. So I suggest you to be prepared for a couple of hours of download time. Of course, you can also proceed to Microsoft’s landing page for the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and download the ISO from there but it’s essentially the same as the payload is also 3.3GB. But once the download is done, the installation process will automatically begin, so all you really need to do is just sit back and wait for it to be done.

Installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview

The cute Metro-styled fish

After a couple restarts, Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now installed! It’s as simple as that!

Windows 8 Consumer Preview installed!

In my short time with it, I seem to agree with some of the more positive reactions. It definitely is the most exciting PC OS out from Microsoft for a while now.  And the fact that they actually released a consumer preview shows how confident they are with it’s usability even at this infancy stage.

It’s a shame that the gestures of the MacBook Pro’s touchpad, and perhaps gestures’ mapping from OS X to the Windows 8 virtual machine via Parallels Desktop 7 isn’t quite as well as I’d expect it to be. Perhaps one really does need a touch screen capable PC or a tablet that supports Windows to truly experience the Metro UI. But even so, Parallels did a great job running Windows 8 as a virtual machine. Performance is pretty good in general, even with just 1GB of RAM allocated to the VM. It is basically good enough to allow you to preview the OS without frustrating you too much, unlike the experience I faced with the developer’s preview of WIndows 8 a while back. However, the games ran a little slow, perhaps the 3D acceleration of graphics drivers aren’t all that great yet. Well, it is an ‘experimental’ support after all I suppose.

All in all, it’s an interesting experience to get Windows 8 running on Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac and I do recommend that you try it yourself too! There’s no reason for you not to test it yourself even if you are all out to knock down Windows 8 in those vs OS X ‘discussions’. At least now you know for sure what you are knocking down. 🙂

Update: Also Check out the latest my usability and comparison report of VMware Fusion 5 and Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac here now!

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2 Responses

  1. Justin says:

    A few hours? FIOS in the house; 30 minutes 🙂

  2. Ken Ng says:

    Good for you! But unfortunately, not everyone else in the world has that fast of a broadband service. I live in the part of the world where 1Mbps ASDL connection is still very common. 🙂

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