What to expect with Windows 8

Windows 7 was a welcome change after the not-so welcomed Windows Vista. Windows 8 promises even more and better. This article will not only talk about this much talked new version of Windows OS. Included here are requirements, updates and key features expcted to be added in the new version.

Windows 8 Timeline:

  1. May 23, 2011 – Informal declaration of launch of Windows 8
  2. June 1, 2011 – Officially unveiling of Windows 8 and some of its features
  3. August 15, 2011 – A new blog called "Building Windows 8" opened for users and developers
  4. September 13, 2011 – Microsoft unveiled new Windows 8 features and improvements
  5. Mid-late 2012 – Windows 8 expected to be launched

Windows 8 Hardware requirements:

It is reported that Windows 8 is expected to have the same system requirements as Windows 7 and therefore will run on existing PCs/laptops that run Windows 7. Here are the following minimum system requirements to run Windows 8:

  1. Processor: 1GHz or faster 32-bit or 64-bit processor
  2. RAM: 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)
  3. HD Space: 16GB for 32-bit (or 20GB for 64-bit) 

Key Improvements in the user experience:

The key aspect that has been kept in mind while designing the new Windows is that it should be a common platform that can scale from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse and Windows 8 does exactly the same. Few of the key changes over the previous versions of Windows are listed below:

  1. Fast launching of apps from a tile-based Start screen, which replaces the Windows Start menu with a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps. 
  2. Live tiles with notifications which updates information for the apps for the user.windows 8
  3. Ability to switch between running apps in a smooth and dynamic manner.
  4. Ability to resize an app to the side of the screen to multitask in the best possible manner.
  5. Microsoft claims that although the new user interface is designed and optimized for touch, it will work equally well with a mouse and keyboard and for all devices ranging from small slates to laptops, desktops, all-in-ones and even classroom-sized displays.
  6. The developers can use the power of JavaScript and HTML5 to make better applications and deliver new kinds of experiences. The new Windows 8 apps would be full-screen and touch-optimized and will easily integrate with the capabilities of the new Windows user interface. The developers will have a broad set of new libraries and controls, designed for fluid interaction and seamless connectivity for their help and they can use the file picker control to enable picking from their own app content or from within another Windows 8 app, in addition to the local file system and the network. 

Salient Features:

Windows 8 apart from the changes in the UI and promises to bring out a whole new experience for the users also has few other changes which ranges from the new way to boot to the way a user can buy an application. Following is a representative list of the same:

  1. Support for various Processors: Windows 8 is the first edition of Windows which will work on both ARM based tablets and traditional x86 (as well as x32 and x64) PCs based on ARM processors from Intel and AMD.
  2. Windows to Go: The “Windows To Go” feature allows Windows 8 to boot from a USB device (called the Live USB), including user’s programs, settings and files. Thus it will enable enterprise administrators to create USB drives containing complete, managed Windows images that users can use to boot and run Windows on any Windows 7 or Windows 8 capable computer. Windows To Go makes it possible for users to use a USP and work from home, a client office or in any other environment.
  3. Windows 8 User Interface: The new UI has been redesigned to a “Metro-style” design, which is designed to show the most important information to the user and in a simple and subtle way gives him/her the full control over it. The UI promises to provide a fluid and intuitive interaction and navigation with touch, or a mouse and keyboard.
  4. Windows Logon Screen: Unlike the traditional way of entering a password to unlock the screen, Windows 8 can be unlocked by just tapping on the pre-defined areas of the screen. 
  5. Windows Store: Windows Store is an introduction which is similar to Mac App Store, where users can browse through Windows applications, while developers can publish their Metro-style apps on Windows 8 devices. Hence, it will be a one-stop platform for the application domain and is all set to compete with Apple in their area of their monopoly.
  6. Windows Defender: Windows 8 will also come with a major security update in the form of an improved Defender which acts as a full-fledged anti-malware solution. This will include protection against all types of malware such as virus, worms, trojans and rootkits.In addition to that, Windows Defender will provide real-time detection and protection from malware threats using a file system filter and will interface with Windows secured boot, which is another security feature.
  7. Other features: Important features like an up graded version of the Windows browser – Internet Explorer 10 will feature with the Windows 8.

All the discussed improvements along with the positive momentum of the success of Windows 7 will definitely try and make Windows 8 a winner in the market. The biggest advantage that it might have is the integration of all the possible Smart Devices and to have them all work on the same operating system.