I have downloaded and installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Benq JoyBook Lite U102 Netbook. The installation process was simple and Windows 8 works amazingly well on the Netbook. Though I did had some issues with the display driver and the screen resolution but was able to fix it.
You can install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on your netbook provided the netbook is powered by a 1 GHz processor or higher, comes with 1 GB RAM or higher and supports screen resolution of minimum 1024 by 768. You can run windows 8 on low resolution system but most of the features will be disabled.
My BenQ JoyBook is powered by Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.6 GHz and houses 1 GB RAM. There is plenty of storage space – 160 GB drive (I am using the whole drive for testing windows 8 / No partitions / dual OS etc.). The display resolution however is limited to 1024 by 600 which actually fail’s the minimum windows 8 requirement, but again there is a way to bypass it (I have given the details below).
Upon installing the windows 8 OS from the bootable USB drive the Wi-Fi got successfully detected. When the system rebooted I was greeted by the Metro user interface. The display resolution however was too low at 800 pixels. I faced the same issue with Windows 8 Developer Preview and had to manually install the display driver. But in consumer preview I could update by selecting the update driver option from the display adapter settings.
With the updated drivers the screen resolution increased to 1024 by 600 but still many applications failed because of low resolution. When I tried to change the resolution the max option that I got was 1024 by 600. The next step was getting a 1024 by 768 resolution on the BenQ.
How to get 1024 by 768 pixel resolution on unsupported Netbooks
- Run regedit.
- Press CTRL + F and search for Display1_DownScalingSupported.
- Double click the entry and change the value data from 0 to 1.
- Reboot the system.
Now with this small hack you will be able to change the resolution to a higher value. I got two more options 1024 by 768 and 1152 by 864. I selected the 1024 x 768 and all of the apps are now working. This hack just tricks the OS into believing that the system supports the selected resolution even though it may not. The side effects are that the display quality is not too perfect; it looks stretched or cramped.
The other option you can try is downloading GMA 950 drivers for Windows 7 with 1024 by 768 resolution support from here.
Windows 8 on BenQ
The Metro UI looks cools and works perfectly well. The interface is different and it will take some time to get used to it. The OS is made for touchscreen display but work equally well using the mouse and keyboard. The Metro UI is something new with live tiles concept. For example the weather tile, messaging tile, mail tile they keep updating, automatically synchronising at intervals and keeping you updated from the start screen itself. You can add your Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, MSN accounts to the messaging tile which will keep you updated from home screen. And then there is the MSN store from where you can download apps.
How to use Windows 8 Consumer preview
- Move the mouse pointer to the bottom left and you will be able to switch to desktop or metro UI mode. You can also use the special windows button to do the same.
- Alt + T as you all know is for switching between applications, you can do the same by moving the mouse pointer to the top left screen.
- Move the mouse pointer to the bottom right screen and you will get additional options. The same can be activated by pressing the special windows key + c.
- In Metro UI mode simply start typing to view the apps list and to quickly find the one you are looking for.
- For closing apps use ALT + F4.
- To shut down windows 8 sign-out and then from the login screen look for the power icon located at the right bottom of the screen or press CTRL+ALT+DEL.
- Press special windows key + D for desktop view, + L to lock screen, +Q to search for apps and +R to launch run box in desktop view.
The OS is pretty neat and fast even on my Netbook, I guess it will take me sometime before I get used to it.