And Windows Pushes Into the Tablet Age – A Windows 8 Review

With Windows 8 just being released a few days ago, Microsoft has really revamped the whole operating system from ground-up. There have been quite a lot of mixed opinions regarding the newest version of Windows. While some people like it, others don’t, but whatever anyone has to say, the majority of people hates change. This is what Microsoft has done – Windows 8 feels and works in many ways differently as compared to its older predecessors. Despite all the harsh criticism, you should make no mistake. Microsoft has created a great product and it seems that Windows 8 is here to stay. We’ll show you why!

So what makes Windows 8 different?

What Microsoft has done with this version of Windows is a really radical overhaul. If you thought Windows XP was a major overhaul from Windows 98 or Windows 2000, or that Windows 7 was greatly redesigned as compared with Windows XP, you are highly mistaken. Windows 8 is practically and fundamentally the most significant change in Windows since Windows 95 – a span of over 17 years.

The New Windows 8 Logo

The New Metro UI – Start Screen

The greatest change in Windows 8 is the completely modern UI. While you can see the traditional desktop-screen in Windows 8 which we’re all familiar with from time to time, the new user interface is entirely targeted towards a touch screen market.

The New Lock Screen displays the time, day and date, as well as information from the special Metro apps, including the weather

To put it simply, the new modern UI is like the menu screen of a smartphone. There are large tiles instead of buttons and icons which you use to navigate through the new ‘desktop’. You can group together similar tiles in a group and label them for ease of access. Also, the menu slides sideways on the screen to reveal more tiles, which act as buttons and shortcuts to further programs.

Start Screen and the New Metro User Interface

Charms and Gestures

The Charms Bar Is Visible On The Right-Hand Side Of The Screen

In this new interface (including the Start screen as well as the desktop), there are simplified ways of getting to controls. So, if you swipe in via touch or use your mouse on the right side, you get a panel of what Microsoft has labeled as ‘Charms’. These are five simplified controls for things like settings, getting back to the start screen, searching and so forth. Similarly, if you swipe in from the bottom, you get another bunch of options the way you normally get if you right-clicked on your mouse.

Style Apps

These are the types of apps which you normally see on an iPad or an Android device. They are colorful, easy to both understand and use, and work quite quickly. Examples include the Photo-App which you can use to view photos either from your computer or from the internet, such as from Facebook. Other popular apps are the People App, which shows you your contacts list and their social status, the Netflix App, Radio App, games, as well as localized apps of many famous online websites.

Compatibility

Any current Windows user who is planning to upgrade to Windows 8 will be interested in knowing as to what versions of older software and programs they need to use are compatible with the newer operating system. So far, we can say that regular software like Microsoft Office run extremely smoothly, with quite possibly no problems at all. Third-Party web browsers like Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and Mozilla Firefox, software like iTunes, Adobe Reader and almost all other programs run just fine on the desktop.

The Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant helps determine the compatibility of your currently installed programs with Windows 8

However, there is a catch. There are two different kinds of Windows 8 – based on the platforms they are running on. If you are running Window 8 on a desktop computer, you should do just fine with little to no compatibility issues at all, but if you are using a tablet PC, such as Microsoft Surface, you are actually running a modified version of the operating system called Windows 8 RT. Here, you can face compatibility issues, and a number of your standard software programs may not run at all.

The Drawbacks

First of all, the new UI is designed for touch and it makes sense to use it with those hybrid touchscreen laptops. However, controlling it with a mouse is just pain, and it can take a long time to scroll sideways to access other tiles.

Other than the new user interface and some enhanced navigation controls in the Windows Explorer, Windows 8 primarily remains the same as its successful predecessor, Windows 7.

Secondly, Windows 8 can be referred to as the ‘dumbing down’ of the desktop operating systems. For serious software users such as CAD designers, Adobe experts, finance packages’ users, and many other professional people, this Windows will just not do. It tends to be too gimmicky and seems to be all geared around Facebookers and Tweeters.

The PC is the place that all other smart machines get their programming from. With Windows 8, the PC appears to act like a smartphone. Powers users, large businesses, corporations, and technical professionals will need a more powerful platform than the seemingly colorful, playful and non-serious eye-candy of Windows 8.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, what Windows 8 has to offer include better speed improvements, better battery life if you are using it on a portable device such as a tablet PC or a notebook, and an overall better experience to its end-user. It is kind of hard to dislike Window 8, especially when Microsoft has created a highly versatile product that unifies the tablet PC experience with your desktop.

Windows 8 is fully compatible with Tablet PCs such as Microsoft Surface, as well as desktops, and helps to unify the user experience on all types of platforms

For those who are geeks at heart, you will definitely be pleased with all that Windows 8 has to offer, given that you are willing to try out the new touch-centered user interface. However, power users may be disappointed as Windows 8 offers little to no power tools other than colorful gimmicks intended to please a non-technical (some may say teenage) audience.

Despite all flaws, it is safe to say that with Windows 8 Microsoft have done something really bold. They have jumped into the tablet PC, notebook and desktop arenas all at the same time with the intention of the unification of operating systems on all platforms. How good is this move? Only time will tell.

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