A Basic Guide to Windows 8 for Dummies

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Microsoft has finally released its game-changing operating system, Windows 8. This is the biggest change to the Windows OS since the launch of Windows 95. We’ve already spent a lot of time using Windows 8, and have also posted many articles related to Windows 8. Go through our articles to find out what Windows 8 have and have nots.

Related articles:

Download free Windows 8 eBook for IT Professionals from Microsoft Press

What is Windows 8?

Windows 8 is Microsoft’s latest operating system. It features touchscreen capabilities and a drastically different interface, and runs on tablets as well as PCs. It can be controlled entirely by touch (on compatible devices), with a mouse and keyboard, or by any combination of your preferred input options.

With Windows 8, Microsoft has made an effort to stay relevant, as with in last decades mobile and tablets are conquering there areas in market. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems are dominating the tablet and smartphone market, and Microsoft is attempting something big, different and risky to catch up.

As Windows 8 is now launched, people are about to discover a computing experience unlike anything they have seen before in windows or in other platforms. So, don’t remain unknown about windows 8, but use it as experts do.

Windows 8 Start Screen
Windows 8 Start Screen

What’s so different here in this Windows 8?

The main and the most, Windows 8 is designed especially for touch screen computers, and yes, to make desktop and laptops work more like tablets. Microsoft wants Windows to be hip and enjoyable to use, so it has come up with its own tablet-style interface and tried to make it work on tablets as well as PCs. Windows 8, is taken as Microsoft’s way of addressing the popularity of tablets, namely the iPad. Not to worry, Windows 8 also works fine in normal PCs and also supports mouse and keyboards. It may take time in getting used to, though.

Why two different Versions then?

Yes, as you said there are two versions of Windows 8, or more precisely, there’s Windows 8 and there’s Windows RT. They look the same, but they run on different processing chips. Windows 8 runs on standard chips from Intel and AMD and is the version you’d get if you’re upgrading your home desktop or notebook PC. Windows RT is the version for light, small tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids.

So, old programs don’t get entry here, right?

No, no, no, Windows 8 will run programs written for older versions of Windows too but Windows RT won’t. It’s limited to applications specifically written for it and available through Microsoft’s store. (As a consolation, a version of Microsoft Office is included free on Windows RT devices).

What features have Microsoft added to new Windows 8?

User Login

Windows 8 features a new lock screen, which contains a date and time display, along with the ability to display notifications from apps. Two new login methods optimized for touch screens are also presented, including a four-digit PIN, or a “picture password”; which users allow the use of certain gestures performed on a selected picture to login.

Windows 8 User Login Window
Windows 8 User Login Window

Microsoft account Integration

User accounts can be linked to a Microsoft account to provide additional functionality, such as the synchronization of user data, and integration with other Microsoft services such as Xbox Live (for gaming and multimedia) and SkyDrive online storage

Multi-monitor Support

Windows 8 also includes improved support for multi-monitor configurations; where taskbar and wallpaper can be spanned across multiple displays or each display can also show separate taskbar and wallpaper.

Windows 8 Multi Monitor Support
Windows 8 Multi Monitor Support

File Explorer

File Explorer is renamed form Windows Explorer, which now incorporates a ribbon toolbar, designed to bring forward the most commonly used commands for easy access. File Explorer also features a redesigned preview pane that takes advantage of widescreen layouts and at same time provides a built-in function for mounting ISO, IMG, and VHD files as virtual drives.

Windows 8 File Explorer
Windows 8 File Explorer

Internet Explorer 10

Windows 8 ships with Internet Explorer 10, which can run as either a desktop program (where it operates similarly to Internet Explorer 9), or as an app with a new full-screen interface optimized for use on touchscreens. Internet Explorer 10 also contains an integrated version of Flash Player, which will be available in full on the desktop, and in a limited form within the “Metro” app.

Windows 8 Internet Explorer
Windows 8 Internet Explorer

Task Manager

Windows 8 includes an overhauled version of Windows Task Manager with changes on appearance of tabs, heat map is used to show the resource utilization on Processes tab, further processes tab is divided into CPU, memory, disk, Ethernet, and wireless network, Startup tab is added and at the same time Processes tab now lists application names, application status, and overall usage data for CPU, memory, hard disk, and network resources for each process.

Windows 8 Task Manager
Windows 8 Task Manager

Family Safety

Family Safety will no longer be separate install via Windows Live; it will allow Administrators to monitor and restrict user activity via web filtering, application restriction, and computer usage time limits.

File History

File History, replaces the “Previous Versions” and Backup and Restore features on Windows 8. File History automatically creates incremental backups of files stored in Libraries and user-specified folders to an external storage device (such as a secondary hard drive, Storage Space, or network share).

Windows 8 File History
Windows 8 File History

Hardware Support

Windows 8 adds native support for USB 3.0, which allows for faster data transfers and improved power management with compatible devices.

Startup

Windows 8 defaults to a “hybrid boot” mode; when the operating system is shut down, it hibernates the kernel, allowing for a faster boot on the subsequent startup. This is further compounded with support for multiple cores during bootup. On compatible systems, a manufacturer’s splash can now be maintained on-screen following the Power-on self-test, allowing for a seamless transition between control from the firmware to Windows.

Repair and Recovery

Windows 8 can now detect when a system is experiencing issues that have been preventing the system from functioning correctly, and automatically launch the Advanced Startup menu to access diagnostic and repair functions. Windows 8 also adds Refresh and Reset options, which allow a user to re-install Windows without needing to use installation media; both of these options reboot the system into the Windows Recovery Environment to perform the requested operation.

Windows 8 Repair and Recovery
Windows 8 Repair and Recovery

Security

Windows 8 ships with an updated version of Windows Defender. Now based off Microsoft Security Essentials, it adds virus protection capabilities to the software alongside malware protection. Windows 8 also supports the secure boot mechanism on supported UEFI systems.

Windows To Go

Windows To Go is a Windows 8 Enterprise feature that allows users to create a bootable USB Flash drive (usually called a Live USB) with Windows 8 in it, including the user’s programs, settings, and files.

And, are there any Missing Features in Windows 8?

Obviously, there are several. We have already posted Top Lacking Features of Windows in our previous articles. So, you can read it here:

Top Lacking Features of Windows 8.

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  1. sadikshya gautam says

    awesome !!

  2. […] iPad. You’d be technically right, but to make the picture crystal clear, let’s also note that Windows 8 with Office would be nearly 12 times larger than iOS on the […]

  3. […] A Basic Guide to Windows 8 for Dummies […]

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