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7 features to look forward to on Windows 8

No start menu, no “windows”, no fancy graphical flair. This is the world of Windows 8, welcome to it.

1. Metro Interface
Gloriously refurbished, the Metro interface is the top and best feature of Windows 8. If its interface confuses you, then a quick stab at the new minimalistic design will turn you into a fan in seconds flat. Windows 8 has been designed for touchscreen devices. It works well with laptops and desktop computers but practically flies on a tablet. Metro also means quick and easy application porting from mobile to “desktop” environment. The video below demos Metro in full.

2. Windows Store
Windows 8 is jumping onto the app store bandwagon and not a second too late or,depending on your point of view, five years too late. Any applications will have to be downloaded from the Metro store, as Microsoft refuses to allow third-party vendors to offer Metro downloads from external sites. Featured apps will be chosen by users, Microsoft will work with developers to fix buggy apps and the submission process is a simple click for approval.

3. Windows Live Skydrive Cloud
Loving the cloud means chucking your content into the SkyDrive, Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iCloud. Photos and documents will have an unlimited amount of storage space, but Microsoft will limit all other media to a 25GB maximum. Hotmail, Office365 and other Live products from the big “M” will now reside alongside the Skydrive Cloud systems.

4. Bye, bye start menu
The look of Windows 8 is pilfered from the Windows Phone 7 OS for a very good reason: Removing that extra layer of irritation associated with legacy operating systems. The start menu has been a great addition to our lives since Windows 95, but the time has come to move on. Metro will now feature the “charms” menu, a “start menu” of sorts which can be accessed from any page. We no longer need a home in the corner of our screens. Instead we have a living set of tiles which can be navigated in moments. Put simply, who has time for the start menu these days?

5. Reset/Refresh state
These are two life-saving features which will possibly end OS irritation, forever. Reset restores Windows 8 to the factory settings; Refresh does the same but keeps your documents intact. No more formats, no more hassling with buggy software which has corrupted your computer. Just hit “Refresh”.

6. Quick boot
From off to OS in eight seconds thanks to UEFI, the BIOS replacement – UEFI is Unified Extensible Firmware Interface which runs anti-malware software (Windows Defender) before each boot for that extra layer of protection, even going as far as to refuse to boot up in an infected flash disk is inserted into the USB. Phoenix Technologies, The makers of BIOS have been developing UEFI for over six years and have created an instant boot backend which is simply marvellous to behold.

7. From Tablet to PC to Smartphone
Windows 8 will look great on any device. The graphical flairs are resource-light and barring a screen transitions Windows 8 can run on even the most barebones computer. There are no 3D elements like with Honeycomb, no transparencies like Windows 7, even drop shadows are excluded. There is no wiggle room for error, with the Metro UI being custom-built for ARM processors, the majority of which are within tablet devices.
Windows 8, the developer build can be downloaded here. So grab it here, test it yourself and enjoy a different Windows experience.

Author | Steven Norris

Steven Norris
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Claremont, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of the worlds greatest authors. He has had many years of experience as an SEO copywriter, learning the ropes the hard way before... More
  • Downloaded the Developer’s Preview and tried it out for a whole 3 or 4 hours before trashing it. The interface is clumsy and not as intuitive as it could be on a non-touch screen device. The bundled apps rarely launched successfully and the upgrade process from Windows 7 64 Bit to Windows 8 completely eliminated any access to my installed applications. It didn’t support the native resolution of my Lenovo Thinkpad T510 and was dog-slow in switching between apps. So the review above is obviously based on a very different build or set of hardware. Accepted that this is still beta, but if they were bold enough to release it for general consumption and review, these basics should at least have been taken care of. I am not likely to try another build of Windows 8 anytime soon. Having looked through some forums and given the registry hacks already available to restore the Windows 7 UI as opposed to the Metro UI, it seems that I’m definitely not the only one that is not a fan of this new UI. Just because it works well on a touch screen device does not automatically imply that it will be user friendly on legacy interfaces. A definite thumbs-down for Windows 8 from my side. 

  • Anonymous

    You did what? Upgrade?!

    You did what? Installed it to test already installed applications.

    Why don’t you re download a new copy and try again. Albeit with a clean install

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