Windows 8 is the current release of the Windows operating system. It is produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers. The operating system was released for general availability in late October, 2012. Windows 8 has many needed changes and updates to the operating system’s platform. The primary focus is to improve the users overall experience using Windows 8 on mobile devices including tablets and smartphones. Windows 8 strives to utilize emerging technologies including security and performance improvements. Windows 8 development started before Windows 7 had shipped to retail stores in 2009. Microsoft’s advertising budget for the operating system is US $1.5–1.8 billion. Windows 8 has been the largest product launch to date in the operating system industry.
Windows 8 is compatible for most computers that have used previous versions of Windows, with the same restrictions as Windows 7: 64-bit Windows 8 runs 64-bit and 32-bit software while 32-bit Windows 8 will be able to run 32-bit and 16-bit software. Windows Store apps are cross-compatible between Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 is available in four editions; the most popular being Windows 8 for mainstream consumers. Windows 8 Pro is marketed to professional environments. Windows 8 Enterprise is marketed to large business environments and is available only through volume licensing. Windows Media Center is available for purchase as an add-on for Windows 8 Pro. Users of previous versions of Windows can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro online or at retail stores.
Major Software Suites That Run On Windows 8
Windows 8 introduces a new style of application called Windows Store apps. These apps are intended to be more suitable for touch screens and are smaller than other based applications. Apps can be made full-screen or can be pushed to the side of the screen. Apps can also integration with other services. Apps run using a sandboxed environment in order to provide security. Retail versions of Windows 8 will only be able to download these apps through the Windows Store. Chrome and Firefox developers are both committed to developing versions of their browsers that will allow the apps to run.
Security Features in Windows 8 include authentication methods are better suited towards touchscreens (PIN numbers or picture passwords). Windows Defender’s antivirus capabilities and SmartScreen Parental controls are also offered as part of the integrated Family Safety software. Windows 8 supports”Secure boot” which is a feature of UEFI. It uses public-key infrastructures to prevent unauthorized harmful programs from infecting the device.
Windows 8 new user interface is based on Microsoft’s “Metro” design language. It features a redesigned Start screen. It showcases a grid of square tiles to represent applications. It also features new app platform. The application platforms utilizes touchscreen input and displays a new Windows Store. At the Windows Store users can purchase apps for the system. There is a vertical toolbar that provide access to system and application related functions including search, device management, settings, sharing and the Start button. Windows 8 is better integrated with online services for Microsoft and more. Internet Explorer 10 comes included with Window 8. It has many great features including increased support for HTML5and acceleration for hardware. Support for mobile broadband has also been improved.
Windows 8 has many new features including faster startup using the new “Hybrid Boot” mode and the ability for enterprise users to create live USB versions of Windows. Windows 8 also adds support for USB 3.0 devices making uploading and saving large files a breeze. This provides seamless and quick date transfers as well as improved power management. Windows Explorer has been renamed to File Explorer and now includes a ribbon in lui of the command bar.Windows 8 also features the ability to pause file in the process of being transfered and to notify one of conflicts when copying over files. The Task Manager has also been redesigned with more display features and groupings by process type.
Microsoft states that over 4 million users have upgraded to Windows 8 over the weekend after its release. Since then sales numbers have been disappointing. Overall Windows 8 is a much edgier version than its predecessors, with a new interactive user interface with large icons. It is faster and simpler than many other operating systems once you have a bit of practice. Windows 8 is still in the early stages of review so there is sure to be more user reviews in the near future.