If the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is ‘Feature Complete’ Where are the Missing Features?
When Microsoft released the Windows 8 Consumer preview recently they described it as “feature complete”, which came as no surprise to anyone. The Windows 7 beta was also feature complete and indeed “feature locked”. Between the release of the beta in January 2009 and the final product that October absolutely nothing changed.
This won’t be the same for Windows 8 however where several features within the operating system are either unfinished or simply missing completely. One indication that this might happen was shortly after the Developer Preview was released which was missing Windows Media Centre, a perhaps little used feature that’s crucially important to those people, including myself, who do actually use it. I for instance have had a Media Centre PC as my main means of receiving and recording live TV in my living room since 2003.
Microsoft had to announce shortly after the DP was released that Media Centre was going to be in the final version of Windows 8, but that it simply wasn’t finished yet. It is in the Consumer Preview but it’s the earlier Windows 7 version and not a swanky new one. We know this because it doesn’t have a new Metro interface or the new Windows 8 logo.
Another feature that is missing is Windows To Go. We can imagine that this feature is actually very difficult to code and, like the Storage Spaces feature might be a bit late. Storage Spaces has been finished for the Consumer Preview however, primarily I think because it’s loosely based on a similar feature that’s been kicking around Windows Home Server for several years now. Windows To Go, where you can boot your entire copy of Windows 8 from a USB pen drive on any other computer, is completely absent from the Consumer Preview version however.
Some people have also said that the new Hyper-V virtualisation client in Windows 8 is also missing from the Consumer Preview. This actually isn’t the case, it is there but it’s just switched off. If you go into Programs and Features and then select Turn Windows Features on and off you will see it in the list. Ticking it will activate it though your computer might need to reboot.
What is unclear is if these missing features, and indeed any more that we may not yet know about, will be tricked down through Windows update or separate ISO installation files, or if we won’t get to see them until the RTM (Release to Manufacturing) version of the operating system?
As a Windows author this is personally very frustrating as it’s impossible to write about features that either don’t exist or that there is no information about, let alone the problems associated with getting screen grabs of them.
For everyone else though just these two missing features are ones that have got people very excited, and I’m sure many people hope that Microsoft do release or at least announce something soon.
Windows 8 is very different to the Windows 7 in that is certainly not “feature locked”. Despite being based on the already very stable Windows 7 code-base it is actually quite unstable at times with certain software elements prone to crashing. This will no doubt be the fault of the new WinRT run-time engine powering Metro which may also be unfinished.
It will be great to see a final and complete Windows 8 however, especially as an author, and I’m sure the world can’t get access to these features soon enough. What do you think about the incomplete or missing features in Windows 8? Why not tell us in the comments below.
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