By all accounts the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is proving very popular, and it’s a good way to get a feel for the new operating system – due out later this year. You won’t need fancy hardware either, just a reasonably recent Vista/W7 machine with a minimum 1GHz processor – faster is better, at least 1Gb of RAM and at least 20Gb free drive space.
Many newcomers to W8 are complaining that there’s no obvious way to shut down the machine. The familiar Start button is no more, and there’s no power-off function. It probably wasn’t an oversight by Microsoft, they’re quite keen to get us to learn new habits and don’t forget this OS was designed for touch-screens and tablet PCs, which have a dedicated on/off button, but on desktops and laptops it’s not clear what you have to do. Well, there are a number of ways to shut down W8. The simplest method is to press Alt + F4, which brings up the Shutdown dialogue, alternatively set Shut Down as your preference for the Power Button or when you close the lid. Another option is the new Charms Bar – the new take on the old Start menu -- which you can open with the shortcut Winkey + C, or go directly to the Charms Bar shutdown options by pressing Winkey+I. Another common concern is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to close down apps on the Metro interface. You can, but there’s actually no need as Windows automatically suspends apps when they’re not being used, so they consume no system resources. However, if you want to make certain you have to think touch screen, and the way to do it is to click on an app icon and drag it quickly it to the bottom of the screen. The other method is to press Alt + tab to display the Switch List and right click on the app you want to close.