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Windows 8 – how the new operating system works

When Microsoft presented Windows 8 in September of last year, it was clear that the company had put in a new gear and is now betting on an operating system that to some extent gets a completely new interface. Perhaps it is due to competition from, among others, Apple, but a lot also depends on the fact that computer use is generally changing from desktop computers to mobile devices. At least when it comes to consuming information.

The single biggest new feature in Windows 8 is the new Metro interface, which is primarily designed for touch-screen tablets. Although it will also work on standard desktop computers with a mouse and keyboard, the focus is on tablets.

However, the new interface has not only been met with roses. Since Windows 8 will use two interfaces, the classic and the new Metro interface, many users who have tested the operating system have found it confusing. Many standard features in the latest test version of Windows 8 have been lifted over to Metro. This throws you between two interfaces, even if you only want to run the classic interface.

However, there is room for changes before the finished version is launched. Microsoft has been early with its trial version because it wants to listen to users’ reactions.

Windows 8 means a major facelift, something that is a risky move on Microsoft’s part. On the next page, we list the eight biggest news.

1. Metro

The Metro interface is Windows 8’s most visual innovation, and it’s largely based on Windows Phone, which was released in late 2010. The interface is optimized for tablets, but will also work on regular PCs.

It is possible to use Metro with a mouse and keyboard, but it is with a touch screen that it comes into its own. Expect that desktop computers and laptops that have compatible touch screens will also be released. Several prototypes of new so-called hybrid computers, which are a combination of a notebook and a tablet, have already been shown. If you only want to use the computer as a tablet, you can detach the monitor and run it.

One of the most controversial news in Windows 8 is that the Start button is now gone and has been replaced with a link to Metro. It has received a lot of criticism from many users and it is uncertain whether Microsoft will keep that solution in the finished one
the version. Most people are used to clicking the start button to quickly access programs, documents and searches. Replacing it with Metro does not feel like a smooth solution and may confuse more than it improves.

2. Windows Explorer

The file manager Windows Explorer remains in the classic interface in Windows 8. However, it has been spruced up with a more modern look and now supports the so-called Ribbons interface previously introduced in Microsoft Office.

Opinions differ on whether the Ribbons are better than the traditional menus, but according to Microsoft, it offers a faster way to use Windows once you learn how it works. except
Ribbons have equipped Windows Explorer with a few more tools on the toolbar.

3. IE10

What would Windows 8 be without a new version of the IE browser. In Windows 8, you get not just one new version, but two versions of IE10. One version is adapted for Metro and the other is for the classic interface. Do you think that sounds confusing? It is, too, but perhaps not as dangerous as it seems. In normal use, you will only work with one of the versions. If you are sitting on your desktop computer, you will certainly be running the classic interface, and if you are using a tablet, you will be running the Metro version of IE10 instead.

Microsoft won’t allow any web browser other than IE on Windows RT for tablets, prompting rival Mozilla to roar. This means that Firefox, Chrome and the other web browsers will not be able to be installed on Windows RT, but only Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Here, too, nothing is written in stone. It is conceivable that Microsoft will have to bow to the pressure, so that the company is not once again accused of monopolistic behavior in connection with its browser.

4. Windows Store

The Windows Store is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s App Store. The Windows Store will only offer apps for the Metro interface in Windows 8. There will be free apps as well as paid apps. It will also be the only place users can download apps for the Metro interface.

The reason for that is that Microsoft wants to make Windows 8 more secure and gain more control over the programs that are distributed, to avoid malware and viruses on tablets.

However, common applications for the classic Windows interface will be distributed as before through a variety of resellers, both online and through traditional channels. The Windows Store will also advertise common applications, even if they can only be downloaded from another location.

5. Maps

Another novelty in Windows 8 is a program for maps that is integrated into the operating system. Not unexpectedly, the maps are based on Microsoft’s Bing and will certainly offer a lot of smart functions, not least for tablets.

Using the development kit for Windows 8, even third-party developers can integrate maps into their programs.

6. Toast Notifications

Toast Notifications is a new feature that should provide the user with information about various events in Windows. Among other things, Toast can give you information about when there is a new email message
or when someone sends you a message on, for example, Facebook. If you have used a Mac and the program Growl, you know how it works. The messages from Toast are displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.

7. Windows Reader

Fortunately for many, Windows 8 is finally coming
include a pdf reader integrated with the operating system. This means that you no longer need to download Adobe’s PDF reader Reader, which is cumbersome and comes with a number of security holes.

Windows Reader doesn’t offer all the features found in Adobe’s Reader, but it covers everything you need to read PDF files and make minor changes.

8. Photo Library

The new photo program Photo Library is well integrated with both Windows 8, Skydrive and social networks. With the help of the program, you can easily manage all your photos on your computer, smartphones and tablets. With one click, you can also share one or more images on, for example, Facebook or Flickr.

common questions and answers

When will it be released?

The big question is of course when we can get our hands on Windows 8. At the time of writing, Microsoft has not announced an official release date, the company has hinted that it will happen sometime in the fourth quarter. The first test version for private users, which goes by the name Consumer Preview, was released in February. Another test version named Release Preview was released at the end of May.

Without useful information from Microsoft, we can only speculate when Windows 8 will arrive. Traditionally, Christmas sales are important for Microsoft and PC manufacturers, so an October release is likely, such as Windows 7 was released in October 2009. That would give PC manufacturers and Microsoft time to sell both operating systems, PCs and tablets in time for Christmas.

If you want to try the latest test version of Windows 8 right now, you can download it from Microsoft’s website at: windows.microsoft.com/sv-se/windows-8/download

As always with trial versions, be careful and back up all your files if you install it on the computer you use everyday.

How much will it cost?

There is still no Swedish price information for Windows 8, but in the USA the price will be 39 dollars (about 260 kroner) for an upgrade from Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. Unlike before, however, we will see only three versions; Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT.

Windows 8 will be the default version and probably the version suitable for most private users. It replaces Windows 7 Home Premium and here the functions that are for business users have been stripped away.

Windows 8 Pro replaces Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate. Just like its predecessors, the Pro version includes features for business users and professional users.

Windows RT is the version of Windows 8 that is adapted for tablets powered by so-called Arm processors. Unlike the other two versions of Windows 8, Windows RT will not be sold separately. Instead, the operating system will only come pre-installed on tablets.

There is some confusion about which older versions of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 8. So far, Microsoft has stated that Windows 7 users will be able to upgrade without
problem, but haven’t mentioned anything about Vista. Users of Windows XP will probably not be able to upgrade, here you will have to do a new installation and manually copy documents, as well as reinstall the programs used.

There will also be a fourth version called Windows 8 Enterprise. However, that version is intended for larger companies and not interesting for most consumers.

Do I have to replace Windows 7?

Compared to Vista, Windows 7 has received a very good reception in both the media and among users. Windows 8 does offer a couple of improvements in the classic interface, but they are not life-changing news. If you are not interested in running the Metro interface in Windows, you can count on Windows 7 to work fine for several years to come and you do not need to
grade if you feel no need for it.

I am happy with my Windows Vista, should I upgrade to Windows 8…

Both me and no. Since its inception, Windows Vista has been labeled as Microsoft’s problem child and the company has admitted that it is not the most successful version of Windows. If everything works well for you today, you can continue to run on Vista.

However, sooner or later you will probably encounter various reasons that require you to upgrade to Windows 8.

… and how long does Windows XP last?

Windows XP is in its final chapter and newer programs from Microsoft will not support the operating system. IE9 which only works with Vista and Windows 7 is an example of that. Microsoft will continue to release security updates for Windows XP SP3 for another couple of years, but there is no longer any reason to hang onto a ten-year-old operating system if you don’t have to.

However, keep in mind that your computer must meet certain hardware requirements in order to run Windows 8. The hardware requirements are currently as follows, but may change in the final version:

Processor with 1 gigahertz clock frequency or faster
At least one gigabyte of working memory (two gigabytes for the 64-bit version)
16 gigabytes of hard disk space
Graphics card that supports Directx9 or higher.

Three likes

When are you switching to Windows 8 and why?

Magnus Hed, system developer
– I will test Windows 8 for development purposes, but as most of our customers have not started their rollouts of Windows 7 yet, it is difficult for me to completely switch to Windows 8 at the present time.

Margaret Rodas, supervisor
– I will immediately download the trial version of Windows 8 as I look forward to comparing it with Apple. I use my iPhone and computer for 90 percent of my work, so it would make things easier for me if it worked. Today I have a desktop Mac and a laptop so it will be exciting to see how they work in different ways.

Andreas Thors, online manager PC for All
– I will upgrade as soon as the finished version of Windows 8 is released. Not because I’m unhappy with Windows 7, on the contrary, but because I’m so curious about Windows 8
which is the biggest innovation from Microsoft in a very long time.

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