New Features in Windows 8

Category: Windows-8

Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 at the D9 conference in early June, 2011. CEO Steve Ballmer hints that Windows 8 will be launched in late 2012. The next generation of Windows will be a radical departure from the past for users and software developers. Here is what we know about Windows 8 so far...

Windows 8 - Look For a New Interface

Goodbye, desktop. Windows 8's default user interface does away with the familiar icons on a desktop metaphor, replacing it with an all-tiles interface of apps and data items. Tiles are filled with app data - for example, a weather app's tile will display the temperature and forecast. The new UI borrows a lot from Windows Phone.

Indeed, Windows 8 is geared towards touch screens. Tiles can be slid around the screen with a fingertip. Swipes and pinches are used to open and close apps. But don't worry, you can still use a mouse and keyboard with Windows 8; you'll just have to switch to the "legacy" interface.

Microsoft seems to be betting the ranch on tablets and other mobile devices with Windows 8. In truth, sales of desktop computers have declined steadily in recent years. But laptops are still going strong, and they are where much of business computing happens.
Windows 8 Desktop

You have to wonder how Word, Excel, and other keyboard-centric applications are going to work with a touch screen. Microsoft says that most earlier applications and hardware will work with Windows 8, and it promises a "dual-input mode" for tasks that require precise control over cursor movement.

Microsoft says that "a Windows 8-based PC is really a new kind of device, one that scales from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse." So, it looks like we will have one Windows operating system running on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Windows 8 Software and Apps

Under the startling new UI, Windows 8 is packing a number of interesting features that were add-ons in the past. A native PDF reader is included. (Adobe and Foxit, you can officially start working on your new business plan, now.) Windows Explorer will get a new Ribbon-like interface similar to those found in MS Office apps. An app called History Vault will back up files on the fly and let users restore them from a specific date and time - a much more granular restore solution than the current System Restore.

Online storage will be integrated with Windows 8, and a Microsoft Windows 8 app store will be accessible directly from the operating system.

Software developers are dismayed to learn that Windows 8 applications will be based on HTML5, negating all the effort they've put into learning .NET, ActiveX, Silverlight, and other MS development platforms. Microsoft says the radical move will allow users "effortless movement between existing Windows programs and new Windows 8 apps."

Microsoft has yet to show all of its cards regarding Windows 8. But industry insiders are saying that we can expect a Windows 8 Beta release in September 2011. As the hype builds to Windows 8's launch, many more demos and new features will be unveiled. But it remains to be seen how compelling Windows 8 will be. Keeping in mind that about 60% of Windows users are still sticking with the 10-year-old XP, will users fling away their mice and keyboards, embracing Windows 8 with glee? Or will they recall the sting of Vista, and take a pass?

What do you think about Windows 8? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "New Features in Windows 8"

(See all 33 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Water Sound
23 Jun 2011

When Windows 8 is ten years old, I'll consider it 'stable' enough to use for my important documents and photos.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

I tried to use Windows 7 and did not like it at all. I see no reason to go to Windows 8 unless those money grabbers at Microsoft no longer support Windows professional.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

This change in format is inevitable based on the popularity of the screen use on the iPhone, iPad, etc., and computer presentations shown on television shows; e.g., NCIS, where data is "thrown" across and between screens, always without the use of the mouse or keyboard.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

So many people are using Smart phones, these days & are getting use to Touchscreen technology. Most all of them, LOVE the ease of Touchscreens. Eventually, all cell phone carriers will only offer Smart Phones, as their phones. I think, these people will embrace Windows 8, so they can have the same ease of operating their home computers, be they desktops or laptops.

Now, for those of us, who really feel comfortable with the 'tried & true' mouse, keyboard control, will probably be very leery of Windows 8. If, what you say comes to pass, that Windows 8 will offer a 'backwards legacy' aspect ... Then those of us, who are use to mouse, keyboard control, may feel comfortable with the new OS.

One thing that I worry about, Windows 7 has removed some of the things that I like most about Windows OS. For instance, Outlook Express. I really like this application & after 14 years of use, I don't think I would like not having it. How much more will Microsoft removed in Windows 8?

Now, Windows 7 seems to be the 'solid' OS, that Microsoft has been trying to achieve. Will Windows 8 be as solid or as you say, just another, fancier Vista? But, I am one of the 60% still using Windows XP & am very happy with it.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

I moved from XP a little over a year ago to W7 and I am very pleased with W7 giving me absolutely no reason to learn a totally new OS called W8!

Posted by:

Nancy Teppler
23 Jun 2011


Posted by:

Archie Bruce
23 Jun 2011

Good to hear of a new OS. Will it work as promised?
I can see two years of service packs and updates, Then an announcement of a new OS AGAIN!
I wonder how much microsoft is going to be whacking us for windows 9.
Ohhhh.... the price of life.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

Steve, you can have my keyboard when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

Vista was so bad that I will be hard to convince that I should change from 7. I have, so far, found 7 to be even more stable than XP, but I feel that Vista was even worse than Millennium.

Posted by:

24 Jun 2011

It sounds like one would have to buy new hardware to use Win8.

I have an old laptop which I upgraded (ram and hard disk) so I could dump XP and embrace Win7.

I am not going to invest in new hardware to use my fingertips instead of a mouse.

My first reaction is to stick with Win7.

Posted by:

24 Jun 2011

Time for a protective non scratch laptop screen!!
Like the one on my Zumo G.P.S.

Posted by:

24 Jun 2011

I'm perfectly happy with my nice stable WinXPSP3, thank you. I have 'downgraded' 4 systems that had Vista installed back to XP when I bought them. I see no reason to change any of the current systems I am running XP on to anything else.
I've worked with Win7 and it seems alright, I can do without the Aero effects and some of the other nonsense on it, which I turn off.
When I buy another system I will leave Win7 Pro on it. However, I dislike the Win7 Start Menu layout and the Desktop Taskbar doesn't work in the XP style which I prefer.
Since I minimize the silly Office Ribbon, I sure won't be all excited to see Win8, that's for sure. There's too much emphasis on eye candy and not enough on the technical side it appears. I also won't be doing touchscreen as the mouse and keyboard are much more accurate. Plus at what point do we stop with this continual insane OS updating? MS gets too much money already and there's no pressing reason to make a change for me and probably for 90%+ of the rest of the world; most update because they WANT to, not because they NEED to for technical reasons. They just want the newest eye candy for bragging rights to their friends.

Posted by:

24 Jun 2011

A little over a year ago I left XP and went with 7 and I'm happy with it. I'll pass on the 8 for now.

Posted by:

25 Jun 2011

I still use XP and am happy with it. Before I switch to another OS, I will wait for the inevitable bugs to be worked out before I will even consider it.

Posted by:

29 Jun 2011

I have a tablet and really don't care for it other than it's size fits in my purse. There is no way I want that type system on my LT. I love W7 and as others say will stick with it.

Posted by:

30 Jun 2011

I have Win 7 Prof./64 that I happily upgraded from XP/Sp3/32, and don't like the Win 8 desktop. Have my desktop with icons hidden and personal photography as wallpaper. Win8 looks like a cheap version of a highway billboard. It takes away any personalization that might be created.

Posted by:

Peter Ridgers
18 Apr 2012

I don't know anybody who ever bought Windows on its own because they needed (or wanted) the upgrade. All changes I have seen have been people buying a new computer and getting the OS that came with it.

Posted by:

22 Apr 2012

@MmeMoxie, since you asked, here's a list of removed features:

Posted by:

18 May 2012

I have a neurological disorder (dyskinesia is the overall term) that causes uncontrollable movements. There are millions of people just in the US with some type of dyskinesia that makes the use of touch screens difficult if not impossible to use. It gets very frustrating to deal with these new technologies. I can slow down a mouse and change the sensitivity of a keyboard, but I can't change the amplitude of my tremor or the unexpected movements of my hands and arms. Fortunately there is a backspace key on a keyboard.
This is just another screw the people moment for Microsoft. Doesn't mater what people want or need, they will just force feed it to you. Look at the "no longer support XP" proclamation even though 60% of users are still using XP. What a wonderful world MS is building!

Posted by:

19 Aug 2012

Will every body is going to love this just wait and see. To many people have cell phones now that almost replaces laptops and some day they will just like they turn off the signal to TV so you where forst to upgrade to the box or satellite .Just what and cell phones will take over every thing and those who says they wont switch you will when Microsoft don't support laptops and desktop anymore......IT'S COMING!!!!!!!!

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