Windows 8: Will You Be Pleasantly Surprised?

Category: Windows-8

The run-up to Windows 8's release (tentatively in October) has made everyone nervous -- or excited -- depending on how one feels about radical changes to the world's most popular operating system. As pundits probe the beta versions of Windows 8, surprise features and Microsoft policies are greeted with delight or dismay. Here are some of the current rumors surrounding Windows 8...

Surprises in Windows 8

When I first heard the "Windows 8 won't play DVDs" rumor a few days ago, I immediately assumed it was bogus. But actually, it's true, strictly speaking. In order to save on software licensing costs (about two bucks per copy), Microsoft has decided to eliminate DVD playback support on the basic version of Windows 8. The "codec" required to play a DVD movie is patented, and every device that wants to (legally) include DVD playback must pay a licensing fee. Windows Media Center won't be included, either. To get DVD support and Media Center, users will have to buy Windows 8 Pro or download Media Center Pack.

Microsoft's rationale is that more Ultrabooks and tablets are being made without optical drives, and it would be unfair to make everyone pay for things that only some can use. That does make sense, and it should be noted that Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic editions didn't support DVD playback, either. I wouldn't worry too much about this surprise; vendors will be sure to bundle Windows 8 Pro with any computers that feature optical drives. But I'm pretty sure the difference in cost will be a lot more than two bucks.
Windows 8 Surprises

One alternative is to download the free VLC Media Player, which offers DVD playback capability. VLC is a French company, and skirts the patent licensing issue by claiming that software patent licenses do not apply to them, since French law does not recognize software as patentable. So does that make it legal for citizens of other countries to download VLC? Hey look... a butterfly!

On the plus side, Windows 8 users will finally be able to capture a screenshot and save it to a file directly. In previous Windows versions, the PrtScn key would capture a screenshot to the Clipboard, and one would have open a graphics program such as Paint, then paste in the image in order to save it. But in Windows 8, just press Windows key + PrtScr to capture the shot and open a dialog that allows you to save the data in a PNG file.

Did you know... you can download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview for free, and try it out on your computer or tablet? Read more and get the Windows 8 free download link here...

Refresh and Reset

One really cool surprise is the Refresh function built into Windows 8, which restores your computer to a designated state of your choosing. The System Restore function in earlier versions does much the same, but System Restore Points may be lost if your machine runs out of space in which to store them. The Refresh function creates a permanent Restore point that mirrors your ideal system configuration. By default, it's the factory installation of Windows 8 and OEM software.

But you can also get your system just the way you like it -- remove crapware, install the apps you do want, make sure there's no malware, customize the settings, themes, wallpaper, etc. -- then create the restore point for the Refresh feature. So if ever find that your computer is bogged down with unwanted software, toolbars, or malware, just click Refresh and you're back to good in about 8 minutes. All of your documents and other personal files will be preserved in a Refresh operation.

A related new feature in Windows 8 is Reset, which will return your system to its "factory fresh" state. Unlike Refresh, a Reset will wipe out your files and any software you've installed. Reset is more drastic, but it's just the ticket if you want to wipe the proverbial slate clean, before selling or donating your computer. (You'll have to buy your own pine-scented dashboard hanger, though.)

More Surprises in Windows 8

Administrators, geeks and tweakers will be pleasantly surprised by the new, faster access to system management tools baked into Windows 8. A whole menu of system tools is just a right-click away from the main menu.

Mozilla and Google, however, are not so happy. They charge that Microsoft is trying to lock competing browsers out of Windows 8 and its table-focused derivative, Windows RT. Windows 8 will support three application types: Metro, classic desktop, and Metro-enabled desktop browsers (MEDB). A MEDB browser need only be installed once and it will run in Metro or traditional desktop mode. But Windows 8 will only allow your default browser to run in both modes, and of course the default browser will be Internet Explorer.

Yes, you can designate another default browser such as Firefox or Chrome, but we all know how lazy some users are. Furthermore, Windows RT will not give non-IE browsers access to APIs (software interfaces) that are necessary for optimal performance, placing them at a serious disadvantage compared to IE. There may be another anti-trust dustup in store on these issues.

Let's end on a happy, money-saving note. According to unnamed sources inside Microsoft, users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $15, if they buy a Windows 7 PC after June 2nd. And unlike discount offers in the past, this time the upgrade to the Pro version of Windows 8 is available no matter what version of Windows 7 you have.

We are still months away from the final release of Windows 8. More surprises are sure to come. If you have any Windows 8 rumors to share, or just want to sound off, post your comment below...

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Most recent comments on "Windows 8: Will You Be Pleasantly Surprised? "

Posted by:

18 May 2012

Why is it that everyone makes a big deal about Microsoft's browser policy, and yet no one seems to be pitching a fit about the fact that Safari is the only browser you can use on any iOS device?
If Microsoft does it, it's evil. If Apple does it, all of the sudden it's cool.
I cant wait for Windows 8. I have been messing around with the consumer preview and I think it's great. Plus the version of IE included (is it IE10?)
is slick and intuitive.

Posted by:

18 May 2012

I already have Windows 7 (Home Premium) . . . NEXT STOP - - LINUX - - ALL THE WAY, BABY!!!



[Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America]

Posted by:

18 May 2012

Printkey 2000 is a good free screen capture program. Works with all versions of Win 7 and has a rectangle option to capture a section of the screen. It also allows saving the image to desktop or other location.

Posted by:

18 May 2012

It seems that every other version of Windows was less than wonderful, starting with 3.0. My Windows 7 Pro works just fine, thank you very much (I skipped Vista), and I'll wait until Windows 9 before I switch. I await the reviews of version 8.

Posted by:

18 May 2012

face it window 8 is noting more then window 7- a few upgrade and metro touch screen

window 8 is build for tablet not desktop not laptop

MS is not the co it use to be---- any one who would make a computer OP system for touch screen-- when most people do not have one is gone over the water falls---- what the point of getting window 8 is you can not use most of the the so called new feature

in my view window 8 going to be a other ME and vista-- and i did try window 8-- did not like it-- for one no start bottom-- and the the new metro in face is hard to use with a mouse-- have to hit the right spot to change screen-- not easy-- good if you have a tablet-- not to good for a person that has a laptop or desktop

Posted by:

18 May 2012

Whoopee. Another new Windows. Another few million for Bill Gates. I use Ubuntu and love it.

Posted by:

19 May 2012

I will move to linux when win7 is no longer viable. This is as bad as the cult of apple

Posted by:

19 May 2012

XP is the ONLY OS worth using. The rest is bloated rubbish.

Posted by:

19 May 2012

You don't need to use PrtScn key in Win7; use the snipping tool to copy and paste what you want from any screen, document, picture, etc. It is super easy and handy.

Posted by:

Tony Okerson
19 May 2012

I will stay with Window 7 as long MS continues to support it. If Windows 8 becomes my only option, then Ubuntu here I come.

Posted by:

Baijnath Pandey
19 May 2012

Let's wait and watch! I just hope that the new OS will be faster. Features are something we all are waiting eagerly to see.

Posted by:

19 May 2012

I read that the version of Windows Media Center included with Windows 8 is essentially the same as that in Windows 7. If you "upgrade" from Win7 Home to Win8 Pro (so you can continue to use Media Center), you're essentially paying a second time for what you already have. More distressing to me is that I can find NO hope that the many bugs and poor design issues present in Media Center will have been repaired.

Posted by:

Ed Curtis
19 May 2012

No surprises for me. Me and my CD games, DVDs, wav and MP3 editors will be in ignorant bliss with Windows XP forever.

Posted by:

Ted Tabb
21 May 2012

Safari is not the only browser in iOS. You can download Dolphin HD from the Apple App Store.

Posted by:

22 May 2012

Microsoft is a monster and should be delt with such. The fact that they are trying to cut out Chrome and FireFox while forcing their horrible Internet Explorer on us is a prime example of Microsoft attempt to monopolize the market and give us no other choices. I will get it when it comes out so that I can stay up on the technology, but I won't be getting rid of Windows 7 anytime soon. And as a side note, most have probably noticed by now that there are some programs and apps that don't work on Chrome or Mozilla right now with Windows 7, so the browser issue is no big surprise.

Posted by:

19 Aug 2012

What is all the hype about? Windows always come out with new OS every few years. I will what till they work out all the bugs and upgrade then it will be all right. I personally try all the browsers out their and what i found is to many add ons for my likeing......Just me i guess

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