As Microsoft launches a beta release of its newest operating software, Windows 8, you may be wondering, “Why do we need another version of Windows so soon?” Windows 7 was released in late 2009, only three years after Vista. Windows 8 is on track to be released on the same timetable, with a date yet to be set but rumored to be sometime in late 2012.
Why, though, should we be excited for a new version of Windows? For starters, this new technology will connect the personal computer, tablets, and phones in a way that they’ve never been connected before.
Multi-Platform Operating System
Windows 8 will be the first version of the Windows OS that will be available on multiple devices. In the past, there have been different operating systems for each device: Windows 7 for PC and Windows Phone for mobile devices. While these two operating systems generally play together nicely, having one OS that expands beyond the boundaries of the PC is a big step in the direction of full interconnectivity.
Metro User Interface
When you compare Windows 7 to Windows 95 you’ll notice that the general user interface (taskbar, start menu, etc.) hasn’t changed much. What Windows 8 is going to do is give users the option to use the mobile Metro interface. This option will be available whether or not you’re running the operating system on a mobile platform. This will open up more opportunities for touchscreen desktop monitors to enter widespread use.
Metro is also a very clean and intuitive interface. The computer will boot up to a lock screen, much like the lock screen on a cell phone. After logging in, you’ll be taken to the home screen, which looks completely different from a Windows 7 desktop. Applications will now appear as a series of movable, resizable tiles on the desktop as opposed to icons or a list. Most interestingly, apps will behave differently in Windows 8. When you leave an app it will be suspended as opposed to minimized. Because of this, it will reduce the load on the CPU and will make the computer faster as a result.
Microsoft will have an equivalent to Apple’s app store that will be accessible from the home screen, making the purchase and installation of applications even easier.
Windows 8 machines will boot even faster than their predecessors. The boot process will also be more attractive to users. Gone will be the random boot text that we’ve become used to seeing. You will see a series of images instead.
Windows 8 will also be able to boot completely from a USB drive. This will make user programs, settings, and files completely portable.
This new version of Windows is also going to have advanced security capabilities. First, there will be updated versions of Windows Defender and Internet Explorer 10. Both of these programs have been upgraded to offer more internet protection than before. Also, Windows 8 is going to offer Secure Boot, a way for the system to automatically detect and remove malware before it is given a chance to corrupt system files.
These are just a few of the many changes we’re likely to see coming out of the Windows 8 operating system in the coming weeks. While they may take some getting used to, the new OS looks promising, offering better security and user functionality across all consumer platforms.