Windows 8 New Features That Will Help You Make The Leap

With its fresh bold approach, Windows 8 has taken the technology world by storm as an innovative and genuinely different operating system.  It captures the best of previous versions of Windows while offering new ways of working.  This approach offers the best of both worlds.  For those who like the Windows 7 style interface, you’ll be happy to discover that you can keep working in that familiar interface in Windows 8.  And for those looking for what’s next in the evolution of Windows, you’ll find that in Windows 8 in the form of the Start Screen and its accompanying apps.

Looking a little deeper though, this new operating system is much more than eye candy.  In fact significant improvements have been made all over the operating system.  Understanding these important but perhaps less well known features might help you in your decision to choose Windows 8.  Taking the time to learn a little bit about Windows 8 new features can turn you from being an average user and into a power user.

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Have a look at some of the enhancements:

image02Touch screen ready:  When you think of operating systems built for touch, Windows hasn’t been a real consideration -until now.  Built from the ground up with a touch screen ready interface, Windows 8 is ready for the new breed of touch hardware storming the market.  From small tablet sized devices to touch screen laptops to oversized touch screens, Windows 8 is ready to scale up or down to the device size you need.

Watch Lesson 6 FREE to see the Touch Navigation Features in action

image00SkyDrive:  Having access to your content through the cloud offers tremendous advantages when working with your data.  Though available in other operating systems, SkyDrive really shines with Windows 8.  Connected to your Microsoft Account and offering 7 Gb of free storage, you can take advantage of roaming profiles and connect to your data from several different devices.  In Windows 8, SkyDrive is not an add on, it’s an integrated part of the system that works smoothly and effortlessly to keep you and your data connected.

Watch Lesson 36 FREE to see the SkyDrive App in action

Windows Store: Brand new feature in Windows 8 is the Windows 8 Store.  With its grand opening at the Windows 8 launch, the doors have just opened to developers to create a new style of apps built just for Windows 8 devices.  Full screen, immersive and easy-to-use, these apps offer an alternative to the millions of applications that have been developed for previous versions of Windows (which by the way, you can still run in Windows 8.)

Refresh: It’s no secret that Windows seems to slow down after using it for several months or even years.  Until now, the only solution has been to reinstall Windows to get that brand new operating system feel.  Windows 8 offers an innovative twist on reinstalling Windows called Refresh.  When selected, the entire operating system is quickly reloaded without losing your personal data and customizations.  Apps that you have downloaded from the Store are even reinstalled for you.  Gone are the days of reloading the entire operating system just to boost performance to when you first got Windows -now one click and the new Refresh feature can accomplish the same.

Secure Boot:  If you’re considering upgrading to Windows 8, look for machine that is Windows 8 certified.  In doing so, you’ll receive enhanced security before Windows even starts that will prevent unauthorized operating systems or even malware from running at startup.  This will protect your computer at boot up from malicious software and make it more difficult for unauthorized users to use bootable disks or flash drive to access your files.

Of course you may scan through these new Windows 8 features and still wonder if it’s worth making the move or if you would be better served staying in an older version of Windows such as XP, Vista or 7.  As stated at the outset, Windows 8 also retains the best features of previous operating systems so when you make the move to Windows 8, those features that you know and love not only are still there but they work better than ever.

**Learn Windows 8 from the basic to advanced features. Check out this on-demand, online course. FREE preview**

Consider a few features like:

  • File Explorer which now has an upgraded interface and improved navigation.

  • Or the improved file copying and moving dialog which lets you pause your file move or copy in mid-stream and lets you resume it when you are ready.

  • A new way to protect your files is found in the Control Panel called File History.  When turned on, you will have access to previous versions of your files without having to cull through backup files looking for the original.

  • The new Task Manager not only offers more information but also grants you new capabilities like modifying your startup programs from one easy location.

  • In addition, the new Windows Defender integrates virus protection and anti-spyware protection all in one free package.

WINDOWS 8- BLOG PICTURE

That’s a lot of new features to unleash at once but the result is a smoother, faster, easier to use operating system than ever before.

New and improved?

Innovative and different?

Fresh and Bold?

Yes, Windows 8 is all of that and more!

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About the Author

JPETER HeadshotJ. Peter Bruzzese (Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Trainer) has over a dozen published books sold internationally to his credit.  He is a technical author for various tech magazines and online publishing channels, as well as a technical speaker for Microsoft, 1105 Media, Pearson and others.  In addition, he is a technical journalist for InfoWorld and is their “Enterprise Windows” columnist. email: jpb@cliptraining.com | Twitter: @JPBruzzese | Google+: J. Peter Bruzzese

Office 2013 Review: Is it worth making the switch? Compelling Features You May Not Know About

As the most popular business software on the planet, Microsoft Office has been used by literally billions of users.  With any software, whenever a new version appears, the inevitable “Should I make the switch” questions appears and with good reason.  Some software updates seem like nothing more than superficial changes while others seem to take a step back.  Office 2013 does just the opposite by making real improvements while moving the Office suite forward.  When taken as a whole, the changes create a compelling argument for making the switch from previous versions of Office.

OFFICE 2013 BLOG PICTURE

**Learn the Office 2013 essentials. Check out this on-demand, online course.**

Here’s a look at some reasons why:

Word 2013 – Word 2013 extends the application’s ability in handling PDF documents by allowing you to open and edit them right from within Word and then save the changes as a PDF file. A wide range of graphic enhancements have been introduced like the new Insert Pictures dialog, Live Layout and the new Insert Video dialog that lets you quickly add videos into a Word document.

Excel 2013 –  Excel returns better than ever with several outstanding new features.  One of them called FlashFill is a new way to quickly fill data into columns.  Charts get a makeover with the features Recommended Charts along with new Chart Customizations.  These tools give Excel a more “intelligent” approach to working with our data.

Outlook 2013 – Contacting others with email still remains the focus of Outlook 2013, but now it benefits from several key upgrades.  Topping the list are a wealth of messaging enhancements. For example, you can now reply right from within the reading pane without ever opening the mail.  And for keeping track of our contacts, the new People Cards simplify the whole process. No need to switch between different views to see your Calendar, Tasks or Contacts in Outlook.  Now you can utilize Peeks to show you a quick glance at that info without changing your view.

PowerPoint 2013 – If you develop or show off presentations then the changes in PowerPoint 2013 will make you sit up and take notice.  For developing presentations, we now have SmartGuides that help us along the way and also an easy to use Eye Drop Color Tool.  When it comes time to present your masterpiece, you’ll be pleased to learn that an Enhanced Presenter View has a host of new features that can enhance your presentation to the delight of your audience.  For maximum compatibility, PowerPoint 2013 now lets you turn your presentations into MP4 videos as well.

Office 2013 PPT pic

**Learn the Office 2013 essentials. Check out this on-demand, online course.**

In addition to these application specific enhancements, there are also changes held in common to the entire Office 2013 suite. They are as follows:

  • For mobile device users, be sure to check out Touch/Mouse mode located on the Quick Access toolbar.

  • Backstage on the File tab are several upgrades in the layout and commands. Check out the Open command as an example.

  • Take better control of the Tab and Ribbon navigation through Ribbon Display Options.

  • Share and access  your work with integrated SkyDrive connectivity. Quickly access your data and edit it from a variety of devices.

  • Users authenticate just once per session for all Office 2013 apps including SkyDrive.

Of course Microsoft Office is much more than Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  Rounding out the suite are some other key applications that have received notable feature upgrades as well.  Check out the brand new ways to create and build Apps in Access 2013. Open OneNote 2013 to examine the brand new Full Page View and the brand new Send to OneNote dialog among other upgrades. In addition to the new Office 2013 interface, Project 2013, Visio 2013, Lync 2013 and Publisher 2013 all contain new commands, visual enhancements and interface improvements that improve on previous versions.

OneNote 2013 pic

**Learn the Office 2013 essentials. Check out this on-demand, online course.**

Finally, new security enhancements across the suite such as the new Office 2013 file encryption method can help admins decrypt Word, Excel and PowerPoint password-protected files where the password has been lost.  And enhancements to Office’s built in protective Preview mode provide greater security against exploits and blocking network access until the user deems the file safe.

Are you getting the feeling that there have been many changes? You are right! Are these changes worth making the switch? Are improvements that improve your workflow valuable to you? For many users the answer will be “Yes,” but with the provision that you learn not only what these features are but also how to get the most out of them.

JPETER HeadshotAbout the Author:

J. Peter Bruzzese (Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Certified Trainer) has over a dozen published books sold internationally to his credit. He is a technical author for various tech magazines and online publishing channels, as well as a technical speaker for Microsoft, 1105 Media, Pearson and others. In addition, he is a technical journalist for InfoWorld and is their “Enterprise Windows” columnist. Email: jpb@cliptraining.com | Twitter: @JPBruzzese | Google+: J. Peter Bruzzese

Also read Peter’s other post where he discusses Windows 8 New Features.