Running Windows 8 on a Lenovo X220 Laptop for Real Work

I have been running Windows 8 Consumer Preview on my Lenovo X220 Laptop. It installed quickly without any problems. All devices installed without any manual intervention.

On the road, it works as a conventional Laptop without a touch screen. In the office, I drop it onto a Lenovo cradle and drive two 32 inch HD monitors. One monitor is driven from the Display Port interface on the Laptop and one display is driven from the VGA port on the Lenovo X220 Base. Using utilities built into Windows, I configured the two monitors to come up as shown in the picture below with the Metro screen (Primary) on the left side and the second screen on the right. 


The Start function is different with Windows 8 since it is oriented around the new Metro interface. However, once you get used to the change, it is actually just as efficient on a desktop using a keyboard and mouse and without a touchscreen as the Start Orb is on Windows 7. Typing any keys anywhere on the Metro desktop instantly launches an application search and brings up a list of results that narrow with each additional keystroke. Hit Enter and the application launches. Alternatively, Windows Key + “Q” brings up a list of applications to pick from. If the application selected is a conventional Windows application like Office Word or Outlook, the screens change to the configuration below.


On Windows 7 I had been running UltraMon for its additional capability to manage multiple monitors, task bar functionality, and ability to save different configurations. When first installed on Windows 8, I ran into one problem. I took the problem to the vendor, Realtime Software ( They immediately responded with a fix. 

“The window buttons won't work on Windows 8, support for this is planned for the next release, which should be ready around end of March. As a workaround, you can disable the window buttons in the registry. To do this, run regedit.exe, then go to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Realtime Soft\UltraMon\<version>\Window Buttons and set 'Maximize to Desktop Button' and 'Move Window Button' to zero.” 

UltraMon now works with a few features missing. I expect they may reappear with the pending update. I am also running Office Professional Plus 2010. Lync and Skype work perfectly. Visual Studio and Expression Blend seem fine although some SDKs are not available yet on this version. Other programs being used include MindManager and SnagIt.

So…. I am running all my normal day to day apps on Windows 8. I have encountered no irregular behaviors and I have no reason to go back.