Windows 8, for the computer of tomorrow
Windows 8 will be ideally suited for universal use of tablets, both in movement and in the office.
Faced with the inability of manufacturers of desktop computer to really evolve and provide smaller components, users, more and more accustomed to smartphone-sized machine will tend to use the tablets as a substitute, by connecting them to a keyboard and a monitor. And Windows 8 is perfect for that.
The Developer version is available since September 2011 and the final version since October 2012.
Microsoft builds its own Windows 8 computers, Surface, with a cover including a keyboard
The Metro interface
Lot of bad things have been said about the new interface including the difficulty of moving from Metro to the conventional desktop, but I have not experienced that. In fact I did not really feel homesick, even with Metro which appears as a new utility, no more.
Moving from Windows 7 to version 8 is like moving from one application to another: the interface can be different, but after a while we become familiar. You have just to know that we must move the mouse in the corners of the screen to get access to navigation panels.
The description of Metro is the second part of this article, click on the tile (it is relevant) at the bottom of the page.
It is primarily for developers that the difference will be significant.
Support for ARM processors
So far, Microsoft proposed a system for office, one for servers and Windows Mobile 7 Phone for smartphones. Conversely, Windows 8 will be universal, its weight will depend on the material, a lightweight version will run on a tablet or smartphone, and it will support ARM processors widespread on mobile devices.
According to Intel's vice-president, the ARM version (WOA) will not run applications designed for previous versions of Windows including Seven. But this was contradicted by Microsoft, the classical desktop works well on ARM processor and Microsoft applications like Office, Excel, Powerpoint work well on this platform. For older applications, they must be recompiled due to the lack of emulator.
The ARM version is called Windows RT (not to be confused with WinRT). It is only available to PC/tablet manufacturers and not on the shelves of shops.There is not Windows Media Player in this version.
Only versions for x86/64 processors, Windows 8 and Windows 8 pro, will be available in shops.
Unless a change, this version does not support code JIT (Just In Time), except for Internet Explorer. So other browsers will be slower than IE.
The management of multiple video monitors is now seriously supported woth a taskbar and wallpaper that are spread over multiple screens.
There may be Metro on a screen and the traditional office on another.
- History vault.
This security feature will automatically copies files as does Time Machine on Mac.
We will return to a previous version of a file at any time.
Applications can exchange data, text and images. An API, the DataTransferManager is made available to programmers for this purpose. The exchange can also be done with social networks.
It is possible with version 7 to restore the system to its initial state while keeping the files on the hard drive, but it clears the registry and we must reinstall the software. It is useless to version 8. The ability also to create and restore images provided by third party tools is also built into Windows.
- ReFS (Resilient File System) succeeds to NTFS. It features data self-correction and will support very large files and disks. Description.
- The start button is replaced by a movement of the mouse (or hotkeys). When the mouse is moved to the bottom left of the screen, Metro appears. On the right side, it's a panel of icons which replaces the traditional menu.
- Virtual DVD: ISO image can be run on the hard disk as if it had been engraved on an optical disc.
What we will miss
- The Media Center will not be built-tin. He was already an option in Europe, at the request of the authorities, but for free, while the Media Center Pack of Windows 8 will have a cost.
Therefore we can no longer play DVDs.
However, this absence is easily circumvented with VLC or XBMC.
The WPF runtine of Vista and Seven is replaced by WinRT, short for Windows Runtime, that runs on x86 and ARM.
Windows Store and other drawbacks
Everything does not look so rosy for the future system, as Microsoft seem to get inspiration from Apple, which is not ideal for programmers.
Apart from software used within the company, developers must go through the Windows Store to add an application to Metro.
Microsoft will charge a percentage of 30% of the amount of the sale of software (reduced to 20% once it has received 25,000 dollars). This is acceptable for new applications, but editors of leading products do not appreciate.
It can remotely remove software already installed on your machine.
For a computer to be permitted to use Windows 8, it must have a boot program certified by Microsoft. But Microsoft denies that this may prevent you install Linux and have a dual boot. The choice of activation will depend of the user.
The fake welcome screen
Not to miss the tradition of April 1 fools, a welcome screen of Windows 8 was leaked. Although it displays in great characters the date of April 1, and it seems fanciful to say the least, the information was picked up by several sites in all seriousness!
It's actually a wallpaper of Windows 7 to which was added some fanciful text.
|The Windows 8 welcome screen!|
|Or maybe this one?|
Three scenarios are possible for the new Metro platform:
- It is heavily adopted and sets a new standard for tablet and desktop computers.
- The majority of users prefer to return to the classic platform and in this case, this leads to the decline of Microsoft, as tablets are replacing desktop computers.
- It is adopted by users, but is in competition with equivalent platforms from other suppliers (iOS, Tizen, Chrome OS, ...). In this case Microsoft loses its leadership in the software.
The third scenario seems most likely.
About Windows 8, each announcement from Microsoft shows it more as a cash cow: After having paid the system, you will be charged to extensions like Media Center, then there is a percentage on Metro applications, paid by developers who will have to charge you.
- Building Windows 8. A blog from Microsoft.
- What is expected from it, infographics.
Users are excited, not by Metro, but by fast boot. Windows 8 is viewed as a tablet system, not for desktop.
- Classic Shell. Plugin to add a start menu.