The next version of Microsoft’s popular operating system, Windows 8, is expected to be packed with a lot of new and helpful features. While the final release is expected by October, the beta version is out for developers and others who’d like to give it a spin. It’ll be interesting how various software development companies leverage this new platform from Microsoft to improve their own software applications.
Windows 8 is expected to be full of ground breaking features which could set the bar for operating systems of the future. While the fundamentals of Windows 8 are the same as those of soon to be predecessor Windows 7, the user experience is expected to be a lot better.
Windows 8 is not just an improved version of Windows 7. The unique concept and approach to computing combined with an excellent blend of input methodologies like keyboard and touch differentiates Windows 8 from most other operating systems. These features would allow Windows 8 to leverage the power of a variety of devices including touch screen hand held devices.
Apart from the looks and cool features, Windows 8 is expected to deliver significantly improved system performance and greater reliability. Other helpful features would include better security and a really fast startup experience. Let’s take a look at the five most important features of Windows 8 that provide a compelling reason to upgrade.
1. User Interface
Windows 8′s Metro style user interface makes for a quick gateway to your digital world. Your favorite and most commonly used applications, including those for weather, emails, photos, music, internet access, control panel, RSS, instant messaging, etc. are cascaded allowing you to access your desired service with a single touch (or click). This screen can be customized to remove the unwanted applications and replace them with applications that you’d use most frequently. This feature alone makes Windows 8 immeasurably more convenient than any of its predecessors and prevents users from doing repetitive work.
2. Windows Update
Windows 8 uses the old windows update mechanism but has implemented in a much improved form. Unlike in the earlier versions, Windows update in Windows 8 will not interrupt you while you are in the middle of any work. The current and past versions of Windows are notorious for requiring a restart after an automatic update. Thankfully, Microsoft has rectified this with Windows 8.
Windows 8 identifies when your machine is idle and uses that time to perform downloads, updates and any required restarts. You will be able to schedule downloads and time the updates and the restarts as per your convenience and not as per your operating system’s convenience, as used to be the case earlier.
3. Windows Task Manager
The only similarity between the Windows Task Manager in Windows 8 and those in the earlier versions of Windows is the name. The style, functionality and the usefulness of the Task Manager in Windows 8 make it a very handy utility. It employs colored tiles to instantly give you an idea of which software application or process is consuming the most CPU resources. The task manager improves the way you can monitor and control your computer making it easier for you to get a lot more information than earlier. You can check the history and other details of your computer usage and analyze which software applications have a history of consuming the most resources and slowing your machine down. This is very helpful when troubleshooting a poorly performing computer, as it helps identify the source of the problem and makes it simpler to fix it.
4. Hardware Requirements
Windows 8 doesn’t require you to use any special hardware and will happily work just fine on the same machines that Windows Vista and Windows 7 work on. This means that you don’t have to spend more money on upgrading your hardware—all you need to do is pop in the Windows 8 installation or upgrade disk and upgrade the OS. Although optional, the only thing you might want to upgrade to would be a touch screen monitor.
5. Virtual Keyboard
The virtual keyboard in Windows 8 is one of the most unique features. It wasn’t universally available in the earlier version of Windows. The operating system has two touch screen keyboards which only differ in size. One virtual keyboard is thumb sized one while the other is a full sized keyboard with large keys to improve convenience for users. These virtual keyboards are flexible and can adjust to multiple screen sizes. They are also compatible with many languages and include inbuilt suggestions that speed up your typing process to save you some time. The keyboards also have their own spell checks which means you don’t have to rely on other applications to correct your spelling mistakes.