Windows 8 is the next version of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, Microsoft Tablet PCs, and Home theater PCs. According to unofficial sources, the release date for Windows 8 has been set for October 2012, three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows 7. Windows 8’s server counterpart, Windows Server 2012, is in development concurrently with Windows 8. The most recent official pre-release version of Windows 8 is the Release Preview, which was released on May 31, 2012. Unlike Windows 7, which was intended to be a more focused, incremental upgrade to the Windows line, Windows 8 has been “reimagined from the chipset to the user experience” to connect more with the user.
The company said that tens of thousands of improvements have been made to what it calls the most important redesign of its interface since Windows 95. Consumers can now download the release preview of Windows 8, a system which Microsoft says is its most tested operating system ever. The new operating system is designed to bring Windows into the touchscreen, smartphone era. It adopts the Metro interface of the company’s mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7. Windows, which still dominates the desktop PC software market, has been much slower to make an impact on mobile phones and tablet computers. The release preview has features not available in the last version, the consumer preview, launched in February. There will be new apps for the Bing search engine, news and sports, and improvements to the mail and photo applications unveiled previously. Microsoft said manufacturers and developers were at work on new devices and apps designed to make the most of Windows 8’s features.
Microsoft Windows 8 New Features and Charms
Windows 8 is the latest Microsoft offering and will sport plenty of new features to convince you to make the switch from your current OS. Microsoft confirmed that it would be releasing a beta of the Windows 8 operating system in February next year, a month behind the rumored January launch. Here’s a rundown of its main features:
Microsoft Windows 8 Metro UI:
Windows 8 will sport a brand new interface. Forget the menus, windows, frames and everything else. Now the screen only has content in a tile based format. It’s geared towards touch based hardware like tablets and smartphones but you can switch to a traditional desktop with one key press if you are using it with a keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft Windows 8 Backwards Compatibility:
Everything that runs on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8. But for that you will have to switch to a different in-built UI. The backwards compatibility will probably be available for all editions of Windows 8.
Microsoft Windows 8 Charms:
It could be viewed as a replacement to the traditional start menu bar in Windows 7 and earlier versions. It provides a quick way to access important parts of the operating system. By default, the sidebar has five charms. Search, Share (quick access to social networking sharing apps), Start (lets you return to the start screen), Devices (displays connected hardware) and settings.
Microsoft Windows 8 Security Features:
Windows 8 will be more secure than previous versions of Windows. The native Windows Defender solution will be upgraded to include protection against malware and viruses, and according to tests by security experts, it works. Login systems have been updated as well. Users can select a picture and access will be granted only if the image is tapped or touched in the right order. This combination of pictures and gestures will work alongside text passwords.
Microsoft Windows 8 Faster Boot-Times:
Windows 8 will use a fast startup mode which is a combination of traditional booting and resuming from hibernation. What that means is Windows 8 can boot-up in 8 – 9 seconds, compared to start-up times of 45 seconds to several minutes in previous versions.
Microsoft Windows 8 System Requirements:
Microsoft surprised everyone when they announced that the Windows 8 system requirements will be even lower than Windows 7. Exact minimum specs are:
- 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
- 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
- Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
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