Windows 8

Since the launch of Windows 95, no major transformations have been made in windows OS, but Windows 8 is totally modernized and a game changing Windows OS from Microsoft.

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Windows 8 was officially launched on the 26th October 2012 and is available on latest PCs and laptops. It’s also available on various tablets, including Microsoft’s Surface and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

In spite of all the improvements in Windows OS over the years, XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are basically similar to Windows 95 and it’s easy to switch between these versions. But Windows 8 changed everything drastically. The desktop has been sidelined to make way for the Modern User Interface. This interface is intended for touch screens and a mouse and keyboard. These Windows apps can be downloaded via Windows Store, or from app developers’ websites.

History

Windows 8 development had started long before the windows7 release in 2009. Later in January 2011, Microsoft declared that the next Windows version would include support for ARM system-on-chips with x86 processors produced by vendors like AMD and Intel.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed that Windows is all set to be everywhere on every device without compromise. Information about a new application framework named “Jupiter” for Windows 8 started coming in, it was to be designed to build immersive applications using XAML that could be circulated via a new packaging system and an application store.

Three major releases of Windows 8 were leaked to the common public, build 7850, got leaked in April 2011. In this build, the text of a window was written centred instead of left aligned text. Build 7955, was leaked on April 25, 2011. A new Black screen took the place of traditional Blue Screen of Death .This build came up with a new ribbon in Windows Explorer. The first 64-bit version Build 7959 was leaked on May 1, 2011 with some small changes. The “Windows 7” logo was momentarily substituted with text showing “Microsoft Confidential”. On June 17, 2011, build 7989 64-bit edition was leaked with a new boot screen featuring the same fish and the text ‘Welcome’ as the default Windows 7 Beta wallpaper, although this build was also scrapped.

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On June 1, 2011, Microsoft made Windows 8’s new user interface and added features public. Microsoft started the advertisements with the promotion of Windows 8 and its Surface tablet in October 2012. Microsoft launched a television promotion for Windows 8 to exhibit the potential and cost of Windows 8 tablets in comparison to Apple’s iPad.

Hardware Requirements

Windows 8 works on same or sometimes even lesser hardware requirements than windows 7. Microsoft claimed that Windows 8 can run smoothly on an Intel Atom based device along with 1GB RAM , the company even stated that it will run better than Windows 7. That is really a good thing as people don’t need to ditch their old netpad to upgrade their OS.

Platforms Support

Starting from tablets by various vendors to netbooks, laptops, PCs and servers, Windows 8 can run on a big range of platforms. OS identifies the hardware abilities and then chooses the functionality that is supported by such hardware on the go. It keeps the confusion away about different OSs for diverse platforms and the compatibility concerns. Upgradation and maintenance becomes very simple as one OS fits all.

New User Interface

It has a customizable touch centric start screen which offers essential information as soon as you login such as weather and news, using ‘live tiles’. This interface is quite helpful for moving devices rather than a home laptop or a work PC. The age-old start menu of windows launched with Windows 95 has been substituted by a modern start screen. a lock screen with date, time and few notification icons appears as you boot the Windows 8 device.

Users can smoothly scroll the start screen left and right to scroll across tiles. In a touch screen device, swiping the right edge of the screen brings up a navigation bar called “Charms”. Swiping the left side lets users flip through the running applications. Swiping the top or bottom of the screen brings the navigation bar associated to the active application.

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Cloud Sync

Windows 8 users can easily configure their Windows live account and use it to login to the device. You can keep your settings synced to cloud by your live account. , cloud sync can be truly helpful if you are on the go and you have several devices running Windows 8. Windows 8 facilitates in managing all the OS settings like test bar settings and app settings themes. This feature is called as ‘Roaming Profile’ which employs user’s Windows live account.

Fast Booting

Windows 8 possess fast booting capability. Most of the users choose to hibernate their systems because it loads quicker the next time. All the running applications will be available the next time.

Boost in Performance

Windows 8 has better performance than Windows 7. This OS makes best possible use of multi-core processors and virtualization for excellent performance. Applications take bare minimum time to start and be ready for use. The redesigned test manager utility facilitates effortless access to basic and advanced functions. Instead of msconfig, you can fix start-up settings through task manager.

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Ribbon Interface

The ribbon interface has been introduced with Windows Explorer. This ribbon interface is soon going to be a standard across all the applications that come along with the OS.

Some keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8

  • Windows key + Q: Search. This opens the search charm, set to the app you’re presently using.
  • Windows+C: Open the Charms bar.
  • Windows+H: Share charm.
  • Windows+I: Settings charm.
  • Windows+Z: Shows the app bar. This provides contextual choices in each app.
  • Windows+X: opens the admin menu,
  • Windows+D: Shows the traditional desktop. Pressing again will minimise all desktop windows.
  • Windows+L: It locks your computer and shows the lock screen.
  • Alt+F4: Close current app. 

Windows 8 is a great operating system from Microsoft that feels extremely personal when you customize it properly. With the success of Windows8, Microsoft has certainly changed the users view on Windows. Although Microsoft has to face the next bigger challenge ahead, they have to make it certain that developers create amazing apps.