Since I heard that Microsoft Windows 8 Developer Preview became available for anyone to download (and given the fact it was catered to developers!), I felt I had no reason not to download it. I've had VMware Workstation installed for quite some time and was totally worth the price I paid for it, even if my employer didn't provide it. I figured I'd fire it up and mount the ISO in a new 64-bit virtual machine.
What I very quickly got was a "HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED" error. Is this the new style for the blue screen of death?
Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, VMware just today released version 8.0.0 build 471780, so I tried installing that on top of my older version 7.1, and it worked. If you're getting the HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED error message when booting up on a virtual PC, I'd recommend updating your VMware Workstation, since this worked for me.
Windows 8 setup began in much the same way that Windows 7 installed, which makes sense since Windows 8 is built off the 7 code base. In fact, as far as system requirements go, it's supposed to work on anything that can run Windows 7. Obviously there'd be some functionality that may not work on older hardware, but I appreciate the prospect of not having to buy a new PC.
It's also got Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview for the more visually-inclined developers and designers. Again it has the Metro Style layouts such as "Fixed Layout Application", "Grid Application", "Navigation Application", and "Split Application". I can't wait to get into each of those.
Windows 8 Developer Preview already looks quite polished and I'm getting anxious to start digging into the various new capabilities. And did I mention the new Task Manager?