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The previous Windows 7 was great, although there was a feeling that it was developed to atone the sins of its predecessor, the operating system we all loved to hate, the infamous Windows Vista. Windows 7 wasn’t really new, but it was essentially what Windows Vista should have been. This time, however, thing are very different. Windows 8 is a completely new and redesigned operating system ready to take the challenge of the increasingly popular touchscreen devices, meaning that the more conservative users fond of the good old computer keyboard and mouse will be left somewhat confused.

Windows 8 Start Screen with the App Bar

Getting started

The first time you turn on a Windows 8 machine, you’ll notice that booting is really fast – it takes only about 20 seconds to start the system up, which is considerably less than on any previous version of Windows. Once the system is up, you will be asked to log on with your Microsoft account – if you are using any of the Microsoft services, Hotmail, SkyDrive or Xbox Live, you already have a Microsoft account, if that is not the case, you will be able to create one quickly.

The integration of Windows 8 and Microsoft online services means that your custom settings and tweaks will follow you whenever you log on a Windows 8 machine.

User interface

One of the most controversial aspects of Windows 8 has been its completely new user interface. It surely looks like nothing we have ever seen on any previous Windows version, or on a PC computer, for that matter.  The user interface with its Advanced Context Menu is clearly inspired by smartphone apps and the Android users will find it familiar.

While the subject of the ‘gone’ Start Button was widely talked about, the Start Button is still here – if you are using a conventional laptop or desktop computer, all you have to do is hover with your mouse in the lower left corner of the screen to make it appear. Of course, if you are using a touchscreen device, your gadget already has a dedicated system start button.

Windows 8 Start Button

By all odds, the new Windows 8 user interface provides an effortless and pleasant computer experience, but, as with all radically new changes, it will take time until majority of the users get used to it. Windows 8 represents the biggest change in Windows since Windows 95 replaced Windows 3.1 17 years ago, so it’s no wonder that the first reactions were mixed and stirred some controversy.

Charms Bar

Once you have got used to the new user interface of Windows 8, you will see many new cool features. Charms bar appears when you swipe in from the right side of the screen. It includes shortcuts to the Start Screen, Setting menu, connected devices and sharing button. This makes sharing of files on the social websites extremely easy, quite similar to sharing on mobile devices.

Windows 8 – Charms Bar

Desktop

Desktop is pretty similar to the Windows 7 desktop, but there are some notable differences. First and foremost, Aero is gone – windows are no longer semi-transparent as they used to be on Vista and 7. Everything is simple and two dimensional.

Windows Explorer is now called File Explorer, there is also a new feature called File History, similar to Apple’s Time Machine. Running processes and memory and CPU usage lists are gone from the Task Manager – all you get is a list of apps and an ‘end task’ button.

In addition, multi-monitor support is largely improved in comparison to the previous Windows version and now runs smoothly.

Windows 8 Desktop

Editions

Windows 8 is available in four editions; the two basic editions are called simply Windows 8 (which is intended for mainstream consumers) and Windows 8 Pro (which contains additional features aimed towards professional and power users)

Even the ‘Blue Screen of Death’ looks better

Wrap-up

Windows 8 is most definitely a new chapter in history of computers and it will take some time until it is fully accepted by the users and it has yet to stand a test of time. While you can install a copy of Windows 8 on a classic PC, it is created for touchscreen devices specifically and its pros and cons can be estimated only on such device.

 

 


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