Although most people are still struggling to get used to Windows 8, more than 1.5 million technology fans have signed up to test drive Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview. This early version of Microsoft's newest operating system has significant bugs that can play havoc with users' computers, however, so it is a good idea to take some precautions if you want to get a sneak preview of how Windows is evolving.
Windows 8.1 users can safely test drive Windows 10 by running the new operating system inside a virtual machine on their computer or tablet. Virtualization restricts the effects of any bugs to the virtual machine, allowing users to avoid the risk of losing data or rendering their device unusable.
Many Windows 8.1 devices include Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is the ideal environment in which to test drive Windows 10. However, Hyper-V is only included in the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise. It also requires at least 4 GB of RAM and 20 GB of free desk space to run. As a result, not all Windows users can take advantage of this opportunity to try out Windows 10; the Surface Pro 3 can cope with running Hyper-V, but more basic Windows 8.1 tablets are unlikely to manage it.
To safely test drive Windows 10, first enable Hyper-V on your device. On a touchscreen device, access the Charms menu by swiping from the right edge of the screen. On a device without a touchscreen, press the Windows key + C to bring up this menu. Select "Settings," followed by "Change PC Settings" to bring up a menu from which you can choose "Update and Recovery," then "Restart Now." When your machine loads the boot menu, choose "Troubleshoot," "Advanced Options" and then "UEFI Firmware Settings." Restart again and enable hardware virtualization support in the BIOS settings.
Having ensured that hardware virtualization support is enabled, you can then reboot the machine and open the Windows Features menu. Make sure the option "Hyper-V" is enabled. Next, you'll need to configure the Hyper-V virtual environment.
To configure Hyper-V, bring up the Hyper-V Manager using the Search Charm. Using the Actions panel on the right, select "Virtual Switch Manager," then choose "External" in the window that opens, then select "Create Virtual Switch" to create your virtual machine.
After creating your virtual machine, you can install Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview inside it. This gives you the exciting opportunity to try out the new Windows 10 features ahead of its general release.
The Technical Preview of Windows 10 will end on April 15, which is around the time that Microsoft is expected to announce the general release date. That means users have only a couple of months to get a sneak preview of Windows 10.
Photo courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot at FreeDigitalPhotos.net