Test Driving Windows 8.1

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.50.53 PM
Here goes nothing!

So the past few weeks have given us a ton of new announcements Windows 2012R2, SQL Server 2014, and Windows 8.1 to name a few. I’ve already spun up a SQL 2014 image in Azure, but I wanted to play with the new SSMS and see if there were any changes. So, as many people have said before me, I spun up a new VM, just for this test.

I’ll be honest, I tried Windows 8 just after the public release. I wasn’t impressed. It felt like I needed a touch screen to make it really shine. It was ok without that. I got a little more used to the UI with Server 2012, but I made a very radical change in my OS. I went mac, more specifically I went mac book pro retina.

I bought mac for several reasons:

It was light, even for a laptop.  I was actually afraid of how light it was at first.  I was convinced I’d drop it and not realize it was gone.  My laptop bag is freakishly light now, even with the plug, a note pad, and some accessories.

It came with 16gb ram.  Given that most of my work has me carrying around at least 2 VMs at a time, Having the ram is very nice.

It runs on flakes?
It runs on flakes?

The resolution is ridiculous, I can’t even run the maximum resolution, I can’t read the text at 10pt font without squinting.  So I run about 1920×1200 lines.  Even with the extra space, I do still plug in an external display in the office.

I love my mac, but I’m willing to test Windows 8.1 in my new VM.  I want to give it a chance.  So I jumped right in and saw…a fish.

The install was nothing. It took more time to log back in to the msdn site for the license key than to actually complete the install.

After a couple reboots, I’m asked to customize this new vm.

windows 8.1 personalization

Not bad.

Next I was asked if I wanted the new VM to go searching for devices on my network, turn on do not track and protection from unsafe files and apps. OK, let’s go with defaults.

Then it wants me to connect to my live account. Let’s throw it a curveball, let’s go with my corporate live account. After a couple minutes, I received my code, plugged it in and we were on to connecting up my skydrive.

I’d already been using skydrive with my mac (natively believe it or not!) for a few months. So I’m good to go!.

Windows 8 VM Up and running!
Windows 8 VM Up and running!

Now for the meat and potatoes. Let’s spin up SQL 2014! I hit search for my d drive,and look at what I saw:
windows 8 start button

That looks like a start button to me!

So I run through the SQL installer. Everything looks just like 2012. I throw on the engine, some SQL Reporting, Client Backwards Compatibility and the Management Tools.

On SSDs, it spins through the setup in just a few minutes. Now that I have my environment… It’s time to put it through it’s paces. Has anyone else installed 8.1 and SQL 2014? What are your thoughts?

By Shannon Lowder

Shannon Lowder is the Database Engineer you've been looking for! Look no further for expertise in: Business Analysis to gather the business requirements for the database; Database Architecting to design the logical design of the database; Database Development to actually build the objects needed by the business logic; finally, Database Administration to keep the database running in top form, and making sure there is a disaster recovery plan.


  1. I can share your excitement! I’ve never been so relieved to see a start button!

    I’ve been running SQL 2014 and 2012 R2 on the cloud for a couple of weeks now, it’s a great way to test out the new features without having to download ISOs and perform the installations! 🙂

    1. The only reason I built out the on-prem copy was to test a hybrid availability group. I really need to make time to finish that this week so I can put out a blog entry on that this week!

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