My take: No doubt, Microsoft radically improved boot up times and even cold booting is an almost iPad-like experience. Unfortunately, on systems that are not BIOS based you will see the BIOS POST screen for a long time before Windows 8 moves on (though it'll still be faster than Windows 7) -- but that's not Windows 8's fault. What struck me, however, is the fact that Windows 8 still gets stuck when a bunch of USB devices are plugged in. I've been using the Release Preview productively and there will be delays of at least 60 seconds when phones, external hard disks, Wi-Fi adapters and external sound cards are plugged in. Windows 8 should be capable of booting without getting stuck waiting for non-critical hardware accessories.
Always On, Always Connected
The demo moved on to a specialty of Windows RT devices. These slim and power-efficient ARM machines can be shut down like regular machines, but Windows encourages you to put them in sleep mode, giving you essentially an iPad-like boot-up and shutdown experience. Pushing the power button will put Windows RT tablets into an extreme standby mode that consumes a fraction of a watt and will last for days. In these states, Windows RT will frequently poll the network adapter to check for notifications (received mails, messages, social media updates) and informs you if there's something important going on.
My take: Excellent! Finally I can use a Windows device like an iPad.
Microsoft took a huge step in security by including Microsoft Security Essentials in Windows 8, though it has yet to be tested how good the essentials actually are. What is good, however, is the early launch antimalware driver, which prevents malware from tampering with boot files. The moment Windows 8 detects a problem with the boot files, Windows will stop the boot procedure, launch Automatic Repair, remove the malware and restore the boot files.
My take: I still wonder how antimalware vendors and the EU (think monopoly) will react to this step. But it's nice that Microsoft finally thought about its users first and its partners second, and everyone should appreciate their stance on it.
Brand new Task Manager