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Windows 8 is an Improvement on Windows 7

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Too much time is being spent trumpeting the new Metro interface for Windows 8. This will be cool for some tablet uses, but this isn't what interests me about Windows 8. Many of us are going to use Windows 8 just like we use Windows 7. I'm not interested in the Metro interface on my desktop computer; I'm happy with the classic view. Where the Metro interface does interest me is on a tablet that is also my desktop. The new Samsung tablet that was shown at BUILD is a great example. With the dock, you can put the tablet on your desk and use it as a traditional desktop with the normal Windows interface we're all familiar with. Unplug it and you can use the Metro interface to better take advantage of the tablet form factor. If you prefer, you can have the classic Windows interface on the tablet or the Metro interface on the desktop. There aren't any limits here, just more options. Since your desktop is your tablet, you don't have to worry about synching files and having your programs with you. You have your whole system with you all the time. This is how I want to use a tablet. The Metro interface is just an extra option. Here are some of the features that make Windows 8 and improvement over Windows 7 for most users.

All Your Applications Still Work

This isn't really a feature, but people seem confused about this. Windows 8 should run anything you can run on Windows 7. You can still host virtual systems, run Remote Desktop, edit photos with Photoshop, etc.

An Application Store

This sounds gimmicky on the surface, but as I think about it more, I like this. I already use Steam to buy all my games because I don't want physical media. If I get a new computer I want to just choose the games to install and have them install. I don't want to have to search for disks and key codes. Having this feature for more applications sounds good to me.

Improved Multi-Monitor Support in the Task Bar

You now have options for how the task bar works when using multiple monitors. You can stretch the task bar across the monitors or give each monitor its own task bar controlling just the apps on that screen.

More Password Options

You can use a pin, password, or most other traditional passwords. One new one that was interesting is clicking a few spots on a photo in sequence.

Improved On Screen Keyboard with Options

There's an actual tablet like keyboard with different layouts to choose from. This keyboard is also available when you Remote Desktop into another machine. This seems like a small feature, but is important when working in the tablet form factor.

Smaller Memory Footprint

The OS takes less system resources instead of more. For people with powerful systems, this isn't a highlight. However, for people who just need office applications and internet, this means not needing an upgrade or not needing as expensive of an upgrade. The ability for the OS to suspend applications is great, but really also means less resources used.

Fast Boot Times

Windows 8 loads really fast. When you're travelling with a laptop and might have a five minute window to get a few things done, this can make a big difference. If you're at your desktop computer all day, this probably isn't a huge deal for you.

Native ISO Support

You can right-click an ISO and mount it as a DVD. This is useful as we move away from physical media for installers. You could do this with 3rd party applications before, it's nice to have built in though.

Improves File Copy Status Bar

The status bar for copying files has finally been given some improvements. It seems to give a much more clear indication of the actual transfer status than previous incarnations.

Conclusion

As you can see, Windows 8 isn't huge leaps and bounds from Windows 7 unless you're using a tablet. That doesn't mean it's not a good OS. This looks like something most people could transition into easily, and paves the way for productive tablet computers. I just hope they have an option for the classic (Win7) start menu.

 

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