Windows 8 is coming soon. You need Visual Studio 11 beta to develop Windows 8 applications. That said, Visual Studio 11 also offers many new features even if you do not specifically program for Windows 8:
- .NET Framework 4.5
- ASP.NET 4.5
- ASP.NET MVC 4
What is the best way to start experimenting with Visual Studio 11 Beta? .Net Framework 4.5 is a highly compatible in-place update of .Net Framework 4.0. If you uninstall .Net Framework 4.5 beta, you will have to reinstall .Net Framework 4.0. For this reason, I would suggest you not to experiment with Visual Studio 11 beta on your main work machine. Fortunately, there is a way that allows you to experiment with Visual Studio 11 with satisfactory performance without a spare machine.
If your operating system is Windows 7, you can dual-boot your machine off a VHD. You secondary OS will resides in a VHD so it will not mess up your primary OS, yet your machine will boot from the VHD natively so the performance is much better than running a virtual machine. In my case, I installed a copy of Windows 8 consumer preview on VHD by following this blog. I then install Visual Studio 11 Beta on top of it. I then get a Windows 8 Preview/Visual Studio 11 Beta combo that I can experiment with. The performance is only slightly (let’s say 10%) worse than a dedicated machine. I can still access the files in my native file system. Is there inconvenience in dual boot? The inconvenience can be managed if you rearrange your data to live in the cloud.