What is Windows 8?
You may be wondering about Windows 8 or asking – what is Windows 8?
Microsoft are developing a new Operating System that will eventually replace Windows 7 and of course as you know by now, it’s called Windows 8.
Windows 8 is the most radical, risky, innovative and original re-imagining of the Windows franchise that Microsoft have ever done.
They have taken every piece of the traditional Windows Operating System apart and put it back together in a very creative package. You, the public will tell Microsoft whether this experiment has been successful when it is released.
If you want to know what’s coming in Windows 8, these are the cliff notes on this page.
Here are some of the features that are coming in the next version of Microsoft Windows – Windows 8.
Microsoft have introduced a snazzy new tile based user interface for this new Operating System. You can see an example of it in the graphic above. It’s like a hybrid of the traditional Windows OS and an Ipad all kinda mixed into one.
Oh don’t worry, the traditional Windows interface will still be available. At this point, it’s looking like you will be able to switch back and forth between the two.
Faster Boot Up
Microsoft have optimized the startup sequence in Windows 8. You should be able to start up your device faster in this version of Windows.
Unified user interface for multiple platforms
The Metro interface being introduced in Windows 8 will be used on multiple Microsoft products. Microsoft have made a big gamble on this new interface and are using it for their search engine Bing, their Server (Windows Server 8), Windows Phones, Xbox as well as Windows 8 Desktops and tablets.
Better Pre-OS Security
Microsoft are planning to protect every aspect of the Operating System – even the phase before you boot into Windows. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) will make your start-up experience more secure by protecting your BIOS.
Better OS Security
Microsoft are planning to provide better protection from viruses and malware with new features like Smart screen, Defender and smarter OS design.
Improvements in Windows Explorer
Windows Explorer is the heart of the traditional Windows file management experience. Microsoft have added several graphical and logical changes to improve the file browsing experience in Explorer.
Internet Explorer 10
The newest browser in the IE family ushers in HTML 5 browsing in a metro style client. Microsoft’s premium browser Internet Explorer has been upgraded to support the most current web standards.
Hyper-V for the Windows 8 PC
Virtualization is not just for servers anymore, now clients can host virtual environments too. Microsoft have added their premier virtualization solution to the Windows desktop. This is pretty exciting and has substantial implications for enterprise desktops.
Downloadable OS Install
Windows 8 will be the first Windows Client to be available for purchase and online download.
Windows to Go
Real simple – Windows 8 will be able to boot and install from a USB device.
Robust USB 3.0 support
The OS will support both USB 2 and USB 3.0 with advanced speeds. USB 3.0 has transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/s). USB 3.0 significantly reduces the time required for data transmission, reduces power consumption, and is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.
Advanced File Management
The copy, move, rename and delete user experience has been improved in this version of Windows. Microsoft have put a lot more thought into file management in this version than any other version of Windows. The screens are more descriptive and useful.
Searching across the Operating System will be much simpler. Just start typing the word and Windows will give you a bunch of options to help you narrow down what you are looking for.
User Profile Portability
This is a big one. If you decide to use a Windows Live ID, Windows 8 will be able to store your profile in the cloud. Finally you will be able to access your workspace from multiple devices.
Integration with Skydrive
Windows 8 will be loosely integrated with Microsoft’s cloud storage solution – Skydrive. With this Skydrive integration, It will be easier to store your files in the cloud with Windows 8. That way you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection.
Microsoft have come up with a new and novel way to protect access to your user session. With the new picture password functionality, you will be able to select a picture, make a series of gestures across that aimage and have Microsoft use that as your password. This is obviously exponentially more secure than a regular password and almost impossible for a hacker to guess.
Now you can buy applications created by the developer community right from your Windows 8 device. The Windows Store will enable users to buy fun, interesting and useful games and applications right from their computer and download them straight to the desktop.
Support for Large Disks
Windows 8 will support multi-terrabyte drives now. This is going to be great for users and sysadmins who have to manage large amounts of data as they will not face the previous size limitations that Windows had.
Easier Access to ISO and VHD files
No need to use third party applications to open and expand these formats anymore – Windows 8 will now allow you to manipulate these formats from your desktop.
With this new OS, there should be less and more predictable system restarts after updates. Microsoft have heard a lot of feedback about how disruptive the restarts have been for users. Restarts will now be scheduled and as infrequent as possible.
Advanced Battery Management
This new OS is designed from the ground up to more effienciently use system resources. Applications will use less resources to run and to hibernate in the background. Microsoft have paid a lot of attention to making sure that Windows 8 runs as efficiently as possible.
Windows 8 will be able to support hundreds of logical processors and help you manage the system resources. For admins who are using virtualization, it was really hard to manage the use of hundreds of logical processors. Microsoft have enhanced the GUI to help admins identify bottlenecks and more effectively manage to scale.
Windows 8 Release Date
The OS should be available by the late summer or early fall of 2012.
This page will be continuously updated as we learn more but feel free to share this with people who are wondering what changes Windows 8 will bring.
For more information about Windows 8, check out:
- What is Windows 8?
- New features in Windows 8.
- What’s different from Windows XP, Vista or 7?
- Upgrading to Windows 8 – the definitive guide.
- How much is Windows 8?