Windows 8 is heavily integrated with Microsoft's web services. Users are provided with the ability to log on to their PCs with a Windows Live ID (instead of a more traditional local user account) for seamless functioning between various devices.
With Windows 8, launched on Friday, Microsoft wants to ensure that its new operating system runs on all form factors - desktops, notebooks and even tablets. The software giant foresees people using a common OS, seamlessly inter operating between different devices without any glitches. It also envisions hybrid gizmos that can function as a full fledged tablet or laptop depending on the user's requirements. Of course, to create an OS that would work just as well with touchscreens as it would with the keyboard and mouse, MS has had to make some big changes to Windows.
Windows 8 - Logging in
Windows 8 is heavily integrated with Microsoft's web services. Users are provided with the ability to log on to their PCs with a Windows Live ID (instead of a more traditional local user account) for seamless functioning between various devices. For example, if you're following certain news feeds in the Reader app on your tablet, the same content will also be available to you on your PC. Besides you are automatically logged-on to those Metro-style apps and services that use your Live ID for authentication.
Windows 8 - The modern UI
In one of the most radical changes to Windows in the last 28 years, MS has introduced a new tile-based user interface known as the Modern UI. First seen on Windows Phone (and called Metro UI), this interface lends itself to operations with a touchscreen.
Each app shows up as a tile on the 'Start Screen' . These app tiles are also capable of displaying dynamic updates. For example, the People app will display the latest updates from your social networks , while the News app will scroll through headlines. Even Control Panel settings and Network Connections are handled through this new interface.
Windows 8 - Gestures
Since this OS is supposed to run on tablets, the Modern UI is designed to work with gestures such as pinching in and out, or quickly scrolling through apps with a swipe of a finger.
Windows 8 - Desktop
There are two changes that MS made to the Desktop feature in Windows 8. First, it can now be accessed through a tile on the Modern UI. And second, the Start button is gone! (See box on how to bring it back.) Instead, users have to move the cursor to the bottom-left corner of the screen, or press the Windows key on the keyboard, to access the 'Start Screen' .
In the Desktop mode, users will be able to run all the software that they have always used in Windows. New programs will show up as a shortcut on the Start Screen.
Windows 8 - Apps
Like the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store, Windows 8 comes with its own store where you can download and install apps. Of course, the Store will be limited to Modern apps (other programs and software will have to be procured and installed like how it's always been done).
Windows 8 - File Copy
File copy now comes with buttons to pause, resume and stop each transfer, and provides details on copy speed too.
Windows 8 - Task Manager
Microsoft says that 85% of Windows users only bring up the 'applications' and 'processes' Task Manager to check which program is using up system resources and to close those that are 'Not Responding' . So MS decided to make this easier with a revamped Task Manager that displays a simple list of the programs that are running on your PC, with a handy 'End Task' button. Of course, more details like Services, App History, Startup, etc, are available, if needed.
Windows 8 - Refresh & Restore
If a PC seemed sluggish, the old solution was to format the C drive and reinstall the OS. But Windows 8 gives users the option to go back to default settings by merely clicking the 'Refresh' option in the Settings menu. You don't lose any of your personal data in this. And in case this doesn't work, consider the Restore option,which wipes the hard drive and reinstalls Windows 8.