I don’t think a week has gone by this summer where we haven’t had major Microsoft news. The latest example of this is Windows 8′s release to manufacturing (RTM), which marks the end of the operating system’s development cycle and the beginning of its rollout to OEMs, enterprises, and finally consumers on October 26 – the same day that the Microsoft Surface tablet is released.
As a TechNet/MSDN subscriber, I had hoped that I’d be able to install the final version of Windows 8 on my primary PC, but that won’t be possible until August 15. At that point, this Living with Windows 8 series will transition from a weekly rundown of my pre-release OS experience to a look at what’s included in the final version of the OS, my usage habits, great apps, etc.
In preparation for Windows 8, I started backing up my computer this week. I back up my computer on a regular basis, but this was a special one to ensure that everything was ready to go for my transition from the Release Preview to the RTM version. Thankfully, between SkyDrive for Windows desktop and Windows 8′s new synced settings feature, I only had to back up two folders: my videos folder (which isn’t synced to SkyDrive) and my LiveScribe Smartpen notes, which are stored in the appdata folder. Everything else – like my documents, music, pictures, downloads, favorites, personalization settings, and more – are already synced to SkyDrive using the aforementioned technologies.
Over the last few days, I’ve found myself splitting my time fairly evenly between three different Microsoft-branded email applications: the pre-release Windows 8 Mail app, Office 2013′s Outlook desktop application, and the brand new Outlook.com web app. Outlook.com works great and looks even better, especially in the Metro-style Internet Explorer 10 app on Windows 8, which presents webpages in a full-screen view. In this case, Outlook.com feels almost exactly like a Windows 8 app, drop-down app bar and everything. I’m not sure which client I’ll settle on for my daily driver, but I suspect it will be a combination of Outlook.com and Outlook 2013 on the desktop and the Mail app on tablets.