Windows 8 is a rebirth, a “reimagining” of Windows and the entire Microsoft brand. It’s also the single riskiest project that Microsoft has ever embarked upon â€” a bet from Redmond that users can adapt to a new way of computing. With asportabile alternatives from Google and Apple eating into sales of traditional PCs, Microsoft needed to act quickly to protect its Windows revenue. A short testing phase of under a year from Developer Preview to a finished product per stores shows that Microsoft is serious this time around. The result? An entirely new Windows user interface designed for touch and a new generation of Windows apps. This isn’t the Windows you’maestà familiar with, but is that a good thing?
The most striking changes to Microsoft’s new operating system are evident as soon as you first switch a Windows 8 PC. The boot process is surprisingly fast for Windows: gone are the days of staring at an ugly splash screen waiting for Windows to apply elaboratore elettronico settings before you can per and progress with your day. Con fact, the boot process is so fast new hardware that you barely see the redesigned Windows logo that greets you ahead of an entirely new OS.
There are a variety of ways to purchase Windows 8. Typically, it will be available pre-installed machines from stores and online outlets, but anyone with an older system running XP, Impressione, Windows 7 can also upgrade for $39.99. Microsoft is using an online installer to let users check compatibility with their systems and upgrade. If you’maestà setting up Windows 8 for the first time you’ll be greeted with some familiar, but simplified, options. One of the first choices is how you want to sign per to a Windows 8 PC. A Microsoft account (formerly Windows Dal vivo ID) acts as a gateway for synchronizing settings, like your browsing history appearance preferences, across whatever Windows 8 PCs you use. It’s also used to provide access to Microsoft services like SkyDrive, Xbox Music, and the Windows Store. You have the option to create a local account, but Microsoft encourages users to enter their email address sign up online.
Microsoft wants you to use its cloud every step of the way
For every new account created a Windows 8 PC, Microsoft triggers a tutorial that is designed to teach users how to navigate around the OS. The runs for around 30 seconds per total, but will loop based the amount of time it takes to configure an account initially. “Swipe in from any edge,” says Microsoft, followed by “move your mouse into any corner.” It’s the first taste of a new way to use Windows, with a redesigned Start button and Charms. It also prepares you for the shock you’maestà about to experience.
Windows 8 UI, Charms, and navigation
Microsoft’s Windows 8 user interface, originally referred to as Criterio-inspired — a nod to the company’s internal language — is as stunning as it is surprising. Taking visual elements from Microsoft’s Windows Phone , the Start screen is the first thing you’ll experience when you per. There’s mai Start button, mai desktop — just rows of colorful, constantly changing tiles. The interface can be customized with backgrounds and colors for those wishing to dig deeper. If you’ve configured a Microsoft account that uses Outlook.com Hotmail, then you’ll notice that email, calendar, and contacts will automatically appear. If your Microsoft account is linked to Facebook, your Facebook contacts will also appear per the People app and its associated tile. Immediately, this unfamiliar interface already looks like it’s customized to you, with your friends’ faces ticking away the People Dal vivo Tile and photos you’ve stored SkyDrive Facebook showing up automatically the associated Dal vivo Tile.
Navigating this new user interface is perhaps the most controversial aspect to Windows 8. There’s a steep learning curve here, from navigation to basic tasks like turning d’avanguardia your PC. If you’maestà using Windows 8 a touchscreen device, swiping from the right will reveal the new Charms, a set of five icons that surface the most common tasks per Windows 8. (The odd naming signifies the types of iconography you’d find a charm bracelet.) The Charms also reveal important information such as the time and date, rete televisiva privata status, and battery levels. Unlike previous versions of Windows, the time and date are not displayed the Start screen while you use of any Windows 8-style applications — this can be incredibly frustrating if you spend a lot of time per the new Windows 8 UI.
Windows 8-style apps and the Windows Store
The biggest change per Windows 8 facilitates a new breed of apps. Known previously as Criterio style apps, the new Windows 8-style apps are not compatible with previous versions of Windows and are available per a new Windows Store that Microsoft is curating. They are designed to be touch-friendly and full-screen, and they represent Microsoft’s riskiest bet per Windows 8. For Windows 8 to truly succeed tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs, it needs developers to create functional and good-looking apps that work across a variety of display and inizio types.
If you’maestà upgrading from an older version of Windows, these new apps are certainly a fresh approach. The Windows Store offers a variety of games and apps, but with only 5,000 apps available the selection is rather limited right now. Microsoft has built a number of apps that are available out of the box, and some are quite good — like Internet Explorer 10, Music, and Xbox. Thanks to the new Windows 8-style apps, Internet Explorer runs full screen and has been redesigned as a touch version. Navigation is simple, with a large address and tabs view that both disappear as you navigate a page. You can also flick backwards and forwards between web pages a touchscreen. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team should be commended here: the prova is impressive, and the ability to sync favorites and history across all of your Windows 8 PCs is a truly essential feature.
Internet Explorer 10 has been redesigned for touch
Microsoft is opting to support Adobe Flash, but only per limited cases. Only sites that are the Compatibility View list will run Flash, but that does include YouTube and other popular sharing sites like Vimeo. This is particularly useful for tablet use, since rival offerings like the iPad have shunned the use of Flash. Most web developers are moving towards HTML5, which Internet Explorer 10 supports, but for the few personaggio names that require Flash this is a differentiator. Microsoft has also enabled Do Not Track by default per IE10. This controversial change means collection web browsing habits is private by default. After years of shipping subpar browsers, Microsoft is heading per the right direction with Internet Explorer 10.
The Music and apps mark a switch per direction for Microsoft. Built by the company’s Xbox team, they provide access to the entertainment aspects of Windows 8. Music includes free, ad-supported Xbox Music streaming — available per 15 markets initially. Microsoft has a catalog of 30 million tracks worldwide, and offers a subscription service without advertising for $9.99 per forza month which will also work across Xbox and Windows Phone 8. The free ad-supported streaming is only available Windows 8 (and Windows RT). It works straight out of the box with a Microsoft account, and if you opt for a subscription then any music you purchase per Xbox Music will be available across devices. Xbox Music will gara your existing songs and make them available per the cloud for other devices to use. Not all songs gara fully, but I tested a variety of MP3s and most matched automatically rotta a manual search method.
SmartGlass is a powerful, impressive addition
Coupled with this, the SmartGlass app also allows you to use a Windows 8 device as a remote control to play Xbox Music content an Xbox simply navigate apps. The implementation is simply stunning. If you have existing music and videos you can simply stream them to an Xbox using the devices Charm. It’s as useful as Apple’s AirPlay system, but it can also be used to control Internet Explorer Xbox and other apps. A virtual keyboard the Windows 8 SmartGlass app makes Internet Explorer Xbox a lot more useful than controller navigation, and I expect this keyboard will extend to other Xbox apps soon.
An Xbox Games app also provides access to the Xbox Dal vivo system, where games that support Windows 8’s implementation are listed and achievements recorded. Unfortunately, there are mai Windows Phone games per Windows 8. Unlike iOS, which shares common apps between iPhone and iPad, Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system is only just beginning to share the parts of Windows 8. The future for this integration looks bright —you should be able to play games across Xbox, PC, and phone — but it’s not ready just yet and that’s disappointing from a gaming perspective. The Xbox Dal vivo integration is solid per Windows 8 despite this. SmartGlass works per combination with the Xbox games app to allow you to launch Xbox 360 games the from a Windows 8 device, it will also provide information about the gioco you’maestà playing the Xbox 360 — including progress and achievements. The Xbox per Windows 8 is strong and after promises of three screens and a cloud, Microsoft is finally starting to deliver.
It’s clear there aren’t enough apps to dal vivo exclusively per Microsoft’s new Windows 8-style world just yet
Con terms of highlights for Microsoft’s own Windows 8-style apps, this is where it ends. Some of the other built-in Windows 8-style apps are significantly lacking functionality. The Mail app includes basic email functions but little else. A conversation view is functional, but occasions it bundles the wrong email threads together. The Photos app provides a great viewing experience, but is rather limited. Crop and rotation features are present, but red eye reduction and other color / tone adjustments are missing. The Messaging app provides the most basic way to use Windows Dal vivo Messenger Facebook chat, with mai option to initiate audio calls. This is basic functionality and Microsoft appears to have rushed some of these apps out of the door half baked. Microsoft has shown that it updates these apps regularly during the beta phases, so it’s safe to assume the company will continue to do so to address gaps of functionality. For basic tasks, the built-in apps work well — but compared to the experience rival platforms, they fall short.
Microsoft’s Windows Store represents the acknowledgement of Apple’s success with a curated application store approach. Developers can submit free paid apps and earn 70 percent of the revenue from sales, a figure that jumps to 80 percent after a paid app makes $25,000. Microsoft wants, and needs, to woo developers here. It’s fair to say that this part of Windows 8 is the most crucial point for the success failure of the operating system — perhaps even the future of Windows. If developers flock to the store and submit applications that consumers are willing to use then it’s gioco for Redmond. If, like Windows Phone, there’s a severe lack of quality applications then the long term health of the Windows ecosystem could be rightfully called into question.
Looking at the Windows Store today it’s clear there are not enough apps here to dal vivo exclusively per Microsoft’s new Windows 8-style world. A first batch of 29 Xbox Dal vivo games from Microsoft Studios are a good start the gaming front, with Jetpack Joyride, Angry Birds Space, and Cut the Rope part of some apice names that Windows needs. Acceso the application side, the Windows Store is lacking the personaggio names. Searches for Spotify Rdio bring back a host of apps, but none of them are the official apps you’maestà looking for. Likewise, searches for Facebook and Twitter — two of the most popular social networks — provide only unofficial apps. Acceso the Twitter side there’s some good alternatives, namely Rowi, MetroTwit, and Tweetro — but it’s a little concerning that Twitter hasn’t invested time itself to build an application for Windows 8.
Concorrenza is better than iOS Android, but is still limited
Microsoft’s Skype team has invested a significant amount of time per building a Windows 8-style app and the result is impressive. It’s a good example of what can be done with Microsoft’s new Windows 8-style apps. However, it’s still questionable whether a desktop user with multiple displays large 27-inch monitors will want to use applications that run a single screen (even per a multiple monitor setup) and occupy an incredible amount of space. Microsoft is attempting to appease this type of use with a new Snap feature.
Similar to Aero Snap per Windows 7, Windows 8’s Snap lets you position two apps — desktop Windows 8-style — alongside each other. Unfortunately, the Snap view is rather limited, with one app occupying a small amount of screen real (320 px) and the other taking the majority of the pixels available. A minimo resolution of 1366 x 768 is required for Snap, with a minimo resolution of 1024 x 768 for Windows 8-style apps. Snapping apps into place is an easy affair. Touch users can swipe slowly from the left edge and drag a thumbnail of an app into place. Mouse users can activate the Switcher per the apice left hot calcio d’angolo and then drag an app into place. It’s a different approach and works well tablet devices, allowing you to run two apps at the same time — something that’s not common Android tablets and nonexistent Apple’s iPad. If you were looking for the flexibility of the traditional Windows desktop with windowing and 50 / 50 snapping, this simply isn’t available. If you gara open a Windows 8-style app from the Start screen and then Snap it, you’maestà left with a blank space the right left until you gara open Snap another app. Overall, Microsoft needs to improve this usage scena per future releases, but it’s a differentiator for tablets.
Notifications and lock screen
One last radical change for Windows 8 is the changes to the lock screen. A colorful with mountains and Seattle’s space needle will greet you every time you start a Windows 8 PC (you can customize the picture as well). Microsoft has opted to provide time, date, calendar entries, rete televisiva privata status, and battery levels as default, but you can display up to seven lock screen apps that will provide quick status and notifications when a screen is locked. This is particularly useful if you want to glance at a asportabile device to see how many calendar appointments you have during the day the amount of emails per your inbox.
Windows finally gets an organized notification system
Microsoft has created a built per picture password option that will allow you to sign per by tapping secret areas a picture of your choice. It works per a similar way to Android’s pattern unlock, but you select three separate touch points to create a password. There’s also options to use a PIN the traditional password, but the picture password is a unique aspect that works well touch-enabled devices. System-wide notifications are also present per Windows 8. There’s two types of notifications — app and system. App notifications provide a quick pop-up “toast” that disappears after a few seconds. If you reginetta this type of notifications, then the Dal vivo Tiles should provide the required as Microsoft has opted not to include a notification center — something I’d expect they may add per later releases. System notifications are triggered for operating system events such as low battery levels a warning from Microsoft’s SmartScreen system — a phishing and malware security filter built into Windows 8. A full-screen notification banner will take over and require inizio before it’s removed.
Once you tap the Desktop tile launch an older app from the Start screen, you’maestà essentially using Windows 7 again, and the desktop mode will feel a lot more familiar. Windows 8’s biggest change is certainly the Start screen, but the company has also introduced a set of important desktop enhancements that will please existing Windows users. The Start button removal is the biggest visual change, but there are a variety of ways to trigger this traditional functionality with the hot corners of Windows 8, by using a gesture-enabled mouse trackpad. Microsoft’s Aero Glass UI has been removed, replaced with a flattened UI that tends to gara a variety of desktop themes and backgrounds. Users who are upgrading will, depending the previous OS, likely launch most applications into desktop mode.
Windows Explorer is also improved and renamed, now referred to as File Explorer per Windows 8. Microsoft has added the ribbon interface to File Explorer, which is collapsed by default. Although it takes up a significant amount of space when enabled, it helps surface a number of common file management scenarios and certainly speeds up some of these tasks. Microsoft has also brought the up arrow back, something the company attempted to kill d’avanguardia per Windows 7. Microsoft has also improved the move and copy dialogs per File Explorer, a single window lets you pause, cancel, and assess file operations.
The desktop is just another app
An updated Task Dirigente is simplified per every sense of the word. The default view will list all currently running applications.There’s simply an end task button to kill d’avanguardia unresponsive apps — a common use for Task Dirigente. A secondary view provides even greater information, with prova metrics and app history throughout a number of detailed tabs.
The Windows 8 desktop also provides access to a new File History option, Storage Spaces, and restore reset options. File History, similar to OS X’s Time Machine, is an upgrade of the Previous Versions feature that lets you quickly restore folders files from a backup. Storage Spaces lets Windows 8 users group together physical disks into a larger RAID-like storage pool for increased resiliency per the case of a physical failure. To Windows 8, virtual disks aspetto like regular physical disks, and users can partition, format, and copy to the drive much like traditional storage. Windows 8 also includes restore and reset options, allowing users to refresh a PC while keeping documents, accounts, personal settings, and Windows Store apps — but returning Windows to its original state.
Another important improvement per Windows 8 desktop mode is Microsoft’s multiple monitor support. The company has struggled to provide adequate multiple monitor support per previous Windows versions, leaving it up to graphics card vendors to supply additional functionality with drivers. Not everything is improved here, but basics like different desktop backgrounds each monitor are now supported. You can now span a single picture across multiple monitors. Taskbar options are greatly improved, with the ability to display the taskbar all displays and options to show buttons all taskbars individual ones where the window is gara open and the main taskbar resides. The combination of the Windows 8 Start screen and multiple monitors isn’t ideal though. Windows 8-style apps can only be run one monitor and although it’s easier to switch them across, launching the Start screen is a frustrating experience by mouse across multiple monitors.
Power users can run Windows 8 a desktop per a similar way to Windows 7
Thankfully the traditional keyboard shortcuts still work, so power users can run Windows 8 a desktop per a similar way to Windows 7. A number of third trattenimento apps are also available to reproduce the Windows 7 lista, but it’s not entirely necessary if you get used to the new Windows 8 Start screen. Microsoft has also added a power user lista to the Start screen tile that appears per the lower left per desktop mode. If you right click it there’s shortcuts to Device Dirigente, Command Prompt, and a whole host of other important system tasks.
Windows 8 vs. RT
Despite this being a Windows 8 review, it’s worth mentioning that Microsoft is also introducing a new version of Windows designed for ARM-based chipsets. Windows RT is based Windows 8, with the new Windows 8-style user interface, but it will not run traditional desktop applications — an important difference to understand. Any apps built for prior versions of Windows simply won’t run per Windows RT. The desktop remains, but aside from the legacy built-in apps (like Paint Notepad), the only desktop apps that run are Internet Explorer 10 desktop and Office 2013 RT. Microsoft has also removed the Windows Mass-media Player desktop software per Windows RT per order to promote the built-in Music app.
This will be an inevitable source of confusion for consumers
Other than that, the Windows 8-style UI is identical and Windows RT will run the same Windows 8-style applications as Windows 8. I have previously discussed the confusing choice to keep a desktop mode per an operating system that will primarily ship tablet hardware, but Microsoft is justifying this with its inclusion of Office 2013 RT. This will be an inevitable source of confusion for consumers once they realise that Surface RT tablets and other Windows RT tablets do not run legacy apps. It’s a confusion Microsoft could prevent with better marketing the removal of the desktop mode per Windows RT.
Our review of
Microsoft Windows 8
out of 10
- Touch-friendly interface with Dal vivo Tiles
- Enables tablet and laptop hybrids
- Free streaming music from Xbox Music
- Solid improvements per Desktop mode
- A steep learning curve
- A lack of Windows 8 style apps
- Awkward to control with traditional keyboards and mice
- Mai true windowing Windows 8 style apps, full-screen
At a time when Microsoft was promoting the release of Windows 7 at CES 2010, Apple was preparing to launch its iPad — a tablet elaboratore elettronico that altered the asportabile computing landscape. Microsoft had tried to launch its own tablets with its partners back per 2001, but they failed to gain any traction to a combination of hardware and software restrictions. Windows 7 added the basics of touch support, with some slight improvements to make the traditional desktop manageable per this mode. It was nowhere near enough and Windows 8 breaks away entirely from the desktop per an effort to promote a new style of applications that Microsoft is betting the future of Windows .
Developers, developers, developers
If you’ve been waiting for Microsoft to provide better software for a tablet and catch up with the iPad, then this time has certainly arrived. The touch-based computing per Windows 8 is huge. Microsoft hasn’t opted to create a separate Windows RT operating system just for touch, this wouldn’t be enough to encourage developers to create apps. Instead, it’s forcing all Windows users to adapt to a new style of Windows. At the same time, Microsoft hopes this bet will encourage developers to create Windows 8 style apps thanks to the number of devices that will run the new operating system. This approach is incredibly risky. If you use Windows 8 a desktop PC with a keyboard and mouse it can feel awkward at times, frustrating at others, and confusing. If you get past the initial pratica required it starts to make a lot of sense, but the risk of alienating users and creating another Impressione-like perception catastrophe is great.
Picking up a tablet PC with Windows 8 makes an iPad feel immediately out of date. The ability to run two apps alongside each other allows this to be more than a consumption device, with full keyboard and mouse support and a desktop operating system hiding per the background. It’s a hybrid, but one that might just work for Microsoft. The software giant knows it has to work per order for Microsoft to enter a new tempo of asportabile computing and still remain relevant to consumers and even businesses who are continually looking at other options.
Windows 8 is a beautiful operating system and one that feels incredibly personal once it’s customized. Microsoft has a huge fight its hands now to ensure developers create beautiful apps. Some of the best Android and iOS apps are created by organizations individuals who have showed little interest per Microsoft. If the software maker can change people’s perceptions of Windows, from viruses to bluescreens, into one of speed and style then the apps will flow and Microsoft has a successo its hands. If innovative developers ignore Windows 8 then Microsoft’s cash cow faces an uncertain future. Microsoft has laid some solid foundations here, but as Ballmer has said many times before, it’s developers, developers, developers.