Windows 8 is the latest incarnation of the Windows software from Microsoft. It has many similar features to those of Windows 7, however Windows 8 has much more of a tablet/mobile feel. It has a new home screen (the Metro interface) that overlays the desktop on which you can place your apps for launching in much the same way you would from an iPhone or Android smartphone. However, the Metro interface is not where the mobile-based inspiration stops with Windows 8. Similarly to the App Store on iPhone and Google Play on Android, you can download new apps and games at the touch of a button straight from the Windows store. This store has the potential to increase Microsoft’s revenue for each app you purchase and download.
The following are a few new features you might like in Windows 8.
Faster Boot up Time
Windows 8 now boots up a lot faster than any previous version of Windows. Since Windows 8 was designed to be a portable operating system, Microsoft needed to improve boot times to compete with instant-on operating systems from its competitors. Microsoft now offers a much improved load time with new resource management, although their software’s load time is still not instant.
New App Store
The Windows app store is a convenient place where you can check out the reviews of apps and try them before you decide to buy. It makes installing new programs and games a complete breeze – especially to those new to using computers but familiar with having a smartphone.
New “Metro” UI Splash Screen
The new desktop overlay is referred to as the Metro screen. You can now install your favourite apps and widgets similarly to how you would install such apps and widgets on a smartphone. Not only can you launch your apps at the touch of a button, but you can see live information straight on your home screen such as the five-day weather forecast or your latest emails, tweets, or Facebook messages.
The Charms Bar
The new charms bar is Microsoft’s replacement for the start button which is no longer a feature in Windows 8. The charms bar appears when you start typing and searches your apps and files in a similar way to the search in Windows 7 start menu does with the added feature of also being able to search within an app. You can also use the charms bar to place your computer into standby or to shut it down.
The New Task Manager
The new task manager makes it a lot easier to see which of your applications are using your system’s resources. With the ability to monitor each program’s usage over time, you can really find out and deal with the rogue apps slowing your computer down.
There are plenty of other little changes too such as the “up one folder” button making a re-appearance in the file browser. There is also a pause feature when copying a file, so if you have multiple files in the process of copying, you can prioritise which one gets done faster.
Windows 8 is a step towards standardising Windows across all platforms with a more smartphone and tablet feel overlaying a tweaked Windows 7.
Give it a Try
If you want to try Windows 8, you can download the preview release for a sneak peek.