What to expect from Windows 8

Although Windows 8 has been centred around touch-based interactions, Microsoft has announced that the operating system will run on both x86 PCs and ARM-based tablets.

We’ve seen screenshots, heard the rumours from developer previews and now, when Windows 8 is all set for its first consumer preview, it seems like Microsoft has finally opened the curtains on what seems to be the most significant Windows overhaul yet – Windows 8.

Windows 8 has a completely reconfigured user interface from previous Windows operating systems, most significantly in its Metro-style UI. With Metro, consumers will have access to a complete touch-based operating system, complete with tiles – similar to what you may have seen on Windows Phone Mango.On the start screen, you will be able to see all your applications grouped together and you can simply drag to rearrange the layout. Users will also have access to a Windows App store, similar to Apple and Android’s app stores where users can download a variety of apps. Windows 8 will come packaged with Internet Explorer 10 as well.

A handy new feature of the operating system is called ‘Windows to Go’, which allows you to boot the OS from a USB drive, with all your programs, settings and files – so you can essentially access all your information on any given computer. The feature is compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.To combat privacy hacks, Microsoft has introduced a secure login system which will require users to tap three different areas of the screen to unlock it.

Although Windows 8 has been centred around touch-based interactions, Microsoft has announced that the operating system will run on both x86 PCs as well as ARM-based tablets. This means that if you have an x86 Windows 7 laptop or PC, you could upgrade to Windows 8. The operating system will thus be able to run on tablets, laptops as well as desktops for uniformity across devices – something Apple has perfected the art of.

Another big development is that Windows 8 will be tied up with Microsoft’s SkyDrive which will allow users to access their data via the cloud, another feature that Apple’s iCloud has already incorporated. Gaming fans should also be able to access Kinect from their laptops, although Microsoft is still working on the software.

Although Windows 8 does not have an official release date, it is speculated that it will be launched sometime in summer this year.With the consumer preview out on February 29 at this year’s Mobile World Congress, expect to hear about a host of other features that Microsoft will announce.

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