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Windows 8, the soon to be released operating system from Microsoft is now expected to be released by the second quarter of this yr. The entire windows user community is waiting eagerly as to what to expect from this new operating. In the past, Win XP came and conquered our heart and made us trust and respect Microsoft. This was followed by the flop Windows Vista, which I consider the worst OS released by Microsoft after Windows ME. But Microsoft soon shot back with the release of Windows 7 and it is better and popular than Windows XP. Looking at Microsoft history, every alternate OS they release is a flop and only time will tell us if history repeats again.
One thing we need to agree for sure. Windows 8 is a major leap from the previous versions because of the major changes in OS functions and interface. The last time Microsoft did it was when it released Win 95, 15yrs back where it jumped to graphical user interface which made the operating system user friendly and thus became popular.
In this article, we will go through the new functions and improvements in Windows 8.
New features of Windows 8
Windows 8 will allow you to install the operating system completely in a USB storage device. Don’t get it wrong, this is about installing windows 8 from a USB device. But you will be able to install windows 8 on a USB device and use the portable operating system, with documents, configurations and softwares installed in it and use it on aher computer. This feature will be available in enterprise edition of windows 8. The requirements for this feature are
- The device should be a fixed storage media
- The device should have a recommended 16 GB of storage space
A practical application of this tool will be to diagnose problems in a computer by booting OS from the USB device. Aher is you can have the windows 8 OS, application and documents saved inside a USB device, take it to a client and use their computer to show a presentation or do whatever you are supposed to do using your applications.
Windows 8 displays in a new interface in called the Metro interface. In this interface, all the apps and computer options are arranged in tile like structure. It is very easy to navigate both by using a mouse or a touch screen device. To be more clear, this is just like working on a touch screen smartphone. Metro interface is so far the major change that is implemented in Windows 8 and may be the toughest for computer users who don’t want to move away from the traditional way of handling a windows operating system. In other words, if you hate the changes in office 2007 compared to office 2003 software, you may like this. The interface is similar to what you see in a windows 7 smartphone. Good news is that it is very easy to switch between the Metro interface and the traditional windows interface, just by pressing the windows key on the keyboard. For more info on the metro interface, watch the video below.
Windows store is a new function incorporated in Windows 8. Windows store allows you to visit and acquire programs from windows official store. This is similar to the function that we see in smartphones where in we visit the app stores for buying applications. Windows store will support free, trial and paid version of apps. Based on the type of apps, it can be a onetime payment or based on subscriptions as in app related to a weekly or monthly magazine. Windows store is the only way by which you can get apps for windows 8, the official reason being it will allow Microsoft to have a firm grip on checking the security flaws and malware attack that can happen through the apps. Since the store is open to external app developers, there is a big scope for app developers in the future.
Internet Explorer 10
I was and still am a diehard fan of the Microsoft brand. But if anybody asks me what I hate about Microsoft, without any hesitation my answer is internet explorer. Website programming has undergone lots of positive changes recently and Microsoft seems to be reluctant in catching up with these changes. For instance, this website of mine looks different and better in google chrome or firefox when compared to IE. The reason, for highlighting and designing layout of my site, I use CSS3 which is supported by IE. So that explains why it looks different and sometimes ugly in IE. This led to many users like me shifting to other browsers other than IE. Microsoft seems to have learnt its lesson after being defeated continuously by Google chrome and Firefox in the browser war. Better be late than never. The new version IE supports CSS3 and flexible gradients which is good news for all web developers and will help Microsoft get back in the browser war. Internet Explorer 10 appears with a design cleaner and compact, similar to the one of Google Chrome or Firefox. Surprisingly in the tests done so far, it worked better than IE9 and even chrome 10 which is considered the best browser so far. Still there are lots of errors, but Microsoft will definitely get it fixed before the official release of this version.
Reset and Refresh
Let’s assume that your computer seems to be very slow or you suspect something buggy inside which is slowing down your computer. In this case, you can do a refresh. Refresh option will reset your PC to default settings and also correct if any files are corrupted. This includes re-installing the corrupted windows apps as well. But it will touch any of your personal data, settings or properly working windows apps.
In case of reset, it will allow you to completely wipe out everything in your computer and start from scratch. The reset also comes with a thorough function which will randomly stores information inside the sectors making it impossible for data recovery softwares to retrieve data. This can be useful when you are giving away your used computer to someone.
Security in Windows 8 is stronger but gentler. Lot of features are added to the operating system security. One of which is smartscreen which was first introduced for IE8 for checking malicious files from getting downloaded. Now it is designed for the operating system, so that the system ify the user in case some suspicious application is executed. Windows defender is made smarter in windows 8. It provides a more improved and stronger baseline security to the operating system even when security software is installed or working properly. Also windows 8 comes with UEFI secure boot which basically verify the integrity of the booting files, thus preventing any malicious software from getting executed before the computer boots to the desktop. This feature is hardware dependant as it use trusted platform module which is shipped with the hardware.
Windows 8 boot speed and performance
The speed and stability is the most interesting feature to know about in windows 8. Windows 8 is much faster that all the other versions. In the benchmarking tests, it booted faster than windows 7. However consistency was there which hopefully Microsoft will take care of before releasing the full version. Windows 8 also did a great job in support for touch screens, as well as functions of synchronization, search and connectivity.
Well, are you wondering about the configuration to go with such a high performance? Here comes the minimum requirement.
- For 32 bits: 1 GHz, 1 GB of ram and 16 GB in hard disk
- For 64 bits: 1 GHz, 2 GB of ram and 20 GB in hard disk
Hope you enjoyed the article on windows 8 new features. Feel free to send comments or give feedback. If I missed something and you would like to add anything, feel free to contact me.