It is going to be a revolutionary improvement. Merely 6 days are left in Windows 8 release date. Here we discuss its top features
Windows 8 is a major transition for Microsoft. It is, in some ways, a rethinking of the Windows platform. But before diving into individual features one must keep in mind the overarching arc through which Windows 8 has come to be the thing it is.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 for the first time, the tech press rightly said that it was basically introducing the touch paradigm and the design language of ‘Metro’ interface to the Windows 8 platform, and that remains the single biggest distinction of the Windows 8 platform. Windows 8 it incorporates touch functionality that had been hitherto lacking on Windows devices, and a new design language till recently called ‘Metro’ into the Windows platform.
But because of these changes there are many smaller changes that Microsoft has made to make Windows 8 feel more natural as a touch interface, and it has added many other improvements besides.
Metro start screen
Depending on your preference you will love or hate the new interface that comes with Windows 8. You might like it for the ease of use, easy accessibility to your apps – which will be where your desktop used to be – improved multitasking and the sheer gorgeousness of the look. The tiles, like the ones on the phones will also display live information as they come in. If you are fond of the desktop, Microsoft does give you to the option to switch to the traditional desktop mode, but it is not really Windows 8, and you might dislike what Microsoft did with the start screen.
You also will have to log into a Windows account when you install Windows 8, a requirement not present with earlier versions of Windows. Again you might like the functionality it enables. Through LiveSync, you will now be able to log into your account from any computer and see your desktop wallpaper and essential preferences as they are on your own computer, and start with applications where you left them provided they are installed on the other computer you are logging from.
Or you might cringe at the requirement to log in before you can use your machine.
Restart and Reset
The new Windows is much better at utilizing hardware, so the boot time improves markedly. And if you have had to do a hard reset on a Windows PC you know what a hairy thing it is. On Windows 8 Microsoft makes it easier. With restart, it cleans up your computer while preserving all your files. The Reset is more drastic as it completely reverses any changes you made and removes all software you installed. It basically reverses your system to the factory build.
This is basically a system to recover earlier versions of whatever files you have saved. Windows 8 makes it very simple. You simply store documents in the documents folder, music in music, videos in videos, and then voila, Windows 8 automatically starts saving versions of these files. Now, you might not want a backup for some of your files. So go to ‘Exclude’, and mention those files and it is done.
Apple has iCloud, and Google has Google Drive, and Microsoft has a refurbished SkyDrive. The SkyDrive used to have the biggest free storage of all cloud solutions 25 GB, no questions asked. Now, Microsoft has scaled the storage part but it has made it considerably more useful. You can sync all your documents and folders with SkyDrive, and have it accessible wherever you go. The ability to log into any computer and find your own start screen – that is part of what SkyDrive does.
While Microsoft has done away with the Explorer, which searched within your computer for matching files, in Windows 8 the search function is still better. You start typing and matching files and folders appear, instantly.
Windows To Go
You can now take your entire system with you, on a thumb drive. Yes, it means you get the Windows 8 storage, your files, apps, everything. Then you go to another computer plug it in and start using it as if it was your computer. Of course that computer needs to have Windows installed.
Run ISOs natively
Previously you needed to mount an ISO on either a thumb drive or a disk before you can run it. Now you can just download it double click on it and run it.
Built in antivirus
Microsoft has been giving away a free version of Microsoft security essentials for years. Now, the antivirus is going to be built into Windows 8. So no more expenditure on antivirus.
It goes without saying that the full Windows 8 runs legacy software. It will have Office, and it is also compatible with existing hardware, and for the time being at least it is cheap.