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.
Have a look at some of the enhancements:
Touch 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.
SkyDrive: 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.
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.
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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @JPBruzzese | Google+: J. Peter Bruzzese