Windows 8 is going beta this month, February 2012 and we better get ready for it. Windows 8 will be bringing some truly noteworthy features to the table, for both consumers and the tech folk. Here are 13 ways that we predict Windows 8 will be different from the previous versions and from what we expect.
1. The Windows Goodie Store
Now any Windows user can search for, locate, buy and install Microsoft-approved apps for Windows 8, similar to the Apple Store for Macs. What’s more, there are several trial versions for great apps and games that you might enjoy.
2. Portability Via Windows-To-Go
With Windows-To-Go, you can now copy all your apps, data and OS settings on to a Windows-To-Go USB drive. This means that one can just plug in the Windows to Go USB drive into any computer and get to work. This is a great update for people who have to leave their desktops behind.
3. The Metro interface
This one may not really tickle your fancy if you’re a desktop user. However, if you’ve got a tablet, you can swipe to navigate pictures and live web information such as stocks and news. Works well with traditional apps as well.
4. The Ribbon Interface
The Ribbon first made its appearance on the Office 2007 interface, where it replaced the toolbar and menu system with collections of related grouped features. The Ribbon Interface now makes an advent into Windows 8. For example, checking file attributes and sorting files are made much easier. Not everyone will be happy with the Ribbon, so Microsoft has provided a toggle option; you can turn the Ribbon off if you don’t like it.
5. Easy To Use Wizards For OS Reset
Previous versions of Windows could be returned to default install, but not without major headaches. With Windows 8, we get two wizards:
Reset Wizard: Guides the user through a step-by-step default to original install. This process deletes user apps and data.
Refresh Wizard: Restores all default Windows settings while retaining apps and data. This process allows for greater operation reliability.
6. Quicker Boot And Resume
The developer preview build of Windows 8 OS boots in about six seconds. The full OS with all its extra weight might take longer, but the boot time will definitely be lesser than the 1 minute + of Windows 7. If you are a techie who needs to boot repeatedly to incorporate code changes, this sure is good news for you.
7. Integration With Windows Live SkyDrive
Windows 8 will be integrated with SkyDrive, which allows you to view pictures on it using the Metro interface without launching your browser. This is great for home users who love to collect and view pictures.
8. Support For Wi-Fi Direct
Windows 8 provides native support for Wi-Fi Direct, which means your Wi-Fi devices can communicate directly with each other without the need for a router. This opens up a plethora of possibilities; if you have multiple smart devices in your house, you can synch your data and schedules amongst them.
9. Support For Near Field Communication (NFC)
If you use Google Wallet, you know how Near Field Communication (NFC) works. You just tap your smartphone against an NFC terminal to complete store transactions. Now you’ll get this feature bundled with Windows 8, available for tablets and laptops. So if you’re sitting at a café house with your laptop, you can pay for your latte without moving from your table.
10. Support For ARM Processor
Windows 8 can run not just on the traditional x86-based processors from AMD and Intel, but also on Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) processors. ARM allows for longer battery life and faster processing on mobile devices. The ARM support, added to Metro UI’s finger-touch control indicates that Windows 8 will be great for tablets.
11. Availability Of Hyper-V
Windows 8 brings Hyper V, Microsoft’s enterprise virtualization tool to end users, not just to IT admin. This means users can use virtual machines to run other OS including previous Windows versions. Isn’t that great news if you’re still using legacy apps that need Windows 98?
12. Ability To Run Two Apps Side-By-Side
On a Windows 8 tablet, you can run two applications simultaneously, side by side, owing to the Metro interface. This is something that even Apple iPad 2 cannot do. For example, if you are budgeting your air travel while working out finances at the same time, having two apps open is a great option.
13. Advanced Task Manager
Windows 8 brings you a simplified Task Manager which displays the names of apps that are running instead of processes. It’s easy to quickly shut down apps that are stuck. Users who want to see more info such as memory and resource usage and CPU usage time for each app can click the ‘More details’ button.