Review – Windows 8 Consumer Preview

The new Windows 8 Control Panel app is the only Metro App that will run on a display under 1024×768 resolution. In order to get to it, you can press Windows-C or move your mouse cursor to the upper right corner of the screen to display Windows Charms.

Once the Charms display, move the mouse cursor down the screen so that the Charms’ background turn’s black, then click the Gear Icon. The Windows 8 Settings Panel displays.

Personalize Your PC – Settings for the Lock Screen, the Start Screen and your Account Picture can be found here. Windows may initially choose any of the default screens for your Lock Screen.  You can customize that to your liking here or use your own wallpaper if you like.

Users – You can change or add user accounts here. With Windows 8’s sign-in options, once you connect items to your Windows Live Account, they remain linked on every Windows 8 PC you sign into, including your own if you have to wipe and rebuild your PC from scratch. When you recreate your account on your PC, you don’t have to relink everything together.

Notifications – Windows 8 will allow you to control the notifications that show on your Live Tiles and on your Lock Screen.  Here you can turn them on or off for any or all supported applications.

Search – Desktop search options can be configured here. You can include or exclude applications, as well as their data. Here, Windows 8 lets you turn that or or off at the application level.

Share – Windows 8 will allow you to share apps and data. Here you can configure that for your PC and turn the feature on or off at the application level.

General – There are a number of different general settings for Windows 8. This particular screen is quite long. In this screen, you can see settings for Time, App Switching and the Touch (on-screen) keyboard.  These options are most helpful for on screen typing or thumbing, and will generally speed up the text input process, especially on a tablet or TabletPC that’s small enough to use with a thumb-board.

General – Windows 8 now includes spelling support at the OS level and gives you the ability to add language packs. If your PC starts acting up you can refresh your system files through this screen as well.

General – If your PC is giving you problems that cannot be solved with a system file refresh, Windows offers you an easy way of blowing and rebuilding your PC from scratch.  If you’ve upgraded from Windows 7 and have legacy applications on your PC, you’re going to have to be careful of this option, as it will result in a clean install of Windows 8 (i.e. without those, or any other, legacy applications or your data).

Privacy – Windows 8 now consolidates its privacy settings in one spot.  It will also give you quick and easy access to Microsoft’s Privacy Policy.

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