A lot of people will be spending time today downloading the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 and setting it up. The process is fairly straightforward, but there are some traps you can fall into. Here are three things to watch out for.
Don’t choose all the Express Install settings. There are three reasons you shouldn’t do this. Firstly, it makes the US your default location, which affects your time zone and language. You can change this subsequently, but it’s a nuisance. Secondly, this leaves on the option to “let apps give you personalised content based on your PC’s location, time, and account picture”, which might give you privacy concerns. Thirdly, it’s never a good idea to just accept defaults: that’s how you end up not knowing what your privacy and system options are. Spend some time and read them.
Check your screen resolution. Of the various minimum specs required for Windows 8 (1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of drive space), the most notable is the screen resolution: 1024 by 768. You can install Windows 8 on a machine with a smaller screen (which is most netbooks), but you won’t be able to run any new Windows 8 ‘Metro’ style apps. That’s not a reason not to try it out — in reality, everyone will be using a mixture of Metro and older apps for some years to come — but it’s a restriction to be aware of.
Remember: you can’t keep this version. Because it’s a beta, the consumer preview is not going to remain around indefinitely. There’ll be an option to migrate your data and system settings to a full paid version, but this won’t be a way to get a free copy of Windows for life.