I've been struggling to get the W8 Consumer Preview on my second drive, but after erasing everything on it in the hopes that it would be worth my time, I lost all that shit for nothing because it came up with an error saying I was missing or had corrupt setup files. So yeah, that didn't work. So I'm thinking of just doing it on my main HDD without resorting to weird install media and all that. But I'm curious, what is kept exactly? I know the files in your libraries are kept, and that's good because it's where I keep everything on my machine, but what about programs? For example, I have a huge number of Steam games installed, and want to know if A) Steam/gaming will work on W8 and B) if I'll have to move my steamapps to one of my libraries or if I can just leave it and it'll stay when I through W8 on there. I also have Photoshop CS5, Blender, things of that nature with plenty of plugins, do I need to back that stuff up?
Does skype work ok on W8? I use it a lot for voice and video and text chat so it's important to be able to continue using it.
I am going to try once more to make a USB key to install on my second drive, but after issues with the bootmgr I don't want to poke at it too much more.
Unless your a crazy person like myself, using the Windows 8 Consumer Preview as your only OS is inadvisable at this point. Like Will said on the podcast, wait until summer for the RC update.
I am a crazy person.
@MordeaniisChaos: Just be sure to back everything up first. Skype was broken in the Developer Preview, haven't had to chance to test it in the Consumer Preview. All Win32 apps will transfer over if you choose the upgrade option. Games should technically work, but that might depend on video drivers. I get the occasional graphical twitch on my screen, so that could be annoying during games if it happens to you.
Never use a beta/preview as your primary OS.
Just VMware/Virtual Box it, that's what I'm doing, most modern PCs shouldn't have any difficulty running it alongside Windows 7.
I'm just using one of my laptops for it, all my personal data gets stored on a 32GB SD card which is in the memory card slot.
I've been enjoying using it, few things that annoy me but overall it's been fun to use.
@Falcon: Crazy person reporting in and it is working great so far I even kind of like the metro stuff.
@MordeaniisChaos: Running the installer on windows 7 is the easiest option and gives you all the same customisation options as a USB/boot disk without the hassel. When you run the installer in windows 7 it will do a scan and give you a report on what programs it can instantly transfer over and which it can't. From what i remember it said it could do all the steam games for mine. That is your first option.
The second option just keeps all your user files and then gives you a clean install of windows 8 but you data is already populating the relevant areas. I did this and it worked great.
The third and final option is a complete clean install which sounds like something you don't want to do but if you have already made a complete backup of all your files it is still a valid option.
NB: I recommend you make a full backup of any essential files before you do this process. It worked fine for me but there is no guarantee you will have the same results.