With the release of Microsoft Windows 8, a lot has changed for users to get used to. Most notably is the absence of the traditional Start Menu that has been a staple of the Windows operating system since its inception. A lot of behind the scenes work has gone into making Windows 8 operate better than its predecessors, including a complete reworking of performance, optimization and getting back to the basics of what makes Windows so great.
VikiTech’s guide will walk you through the biggest changes from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Stay tuned in the future as we cover these features in more depth and show you just how to get the most out of Windows 8.
Gone are the days where you had to purchase a hard copy of Windows to install it on your machine. Now, you can simply head to Microsoft’s website, purchase your copy of Windows 8 and install the entire operating system over a live Internet connection. While you can still obtain a hard copy of Windows 8, installing it over the web is quicker, more efficient and easier than anyone would think is possible.
Reset & Refresh
Have you ever been frustrated with Windows by how bloated and slow it feels? In Windows 8, you can “refresh” your PC to eliminate that frustration. Refreshing Windows 8 keeps your applications, documents, and basic system configuration intact while eliminating apps and other problem areas. This takes place in half the time an actual restore has ever taken on a Windows machine. You can also reset Windows 8, which is the new way to restore your computer to fresh out of the box.
The Task Manager used to be one of the areas of a Windows PC that users cringed to open. Bloated, confusing and disorganized, users would rather let their computer run slow than try to figure out what was eating memory. No more! Windows 8 introduces a cleaned up Task Manager that is more user-friendly to give a PC owner more control over just what runs in the background and foreground.
Large Disk Support
Windows 8 now supports partitions in excess of two terabytes. While most users will never come close to needing a partition that large, the option is there. Movies, music, pictures, whatever you need to separate, Windows 8 can make it happen.
Faster Boot Time
Remember how easy it used to be to hit F8 to enter advanced settings when booting Windows of the past? That time is indeed in the past. Windows 8 boots so quickly, you will never be able to change boot preferences via F8 as Microsoft has eliminated the feature from its new operating system. At the moment, on a fresh install, Windows 8 boots anywhere from eight to 10 seconds after turning on a PC.
The Hyper-V Client is how Microsoft virtualizes everything in Windows 8. While this will go unnoticed by most users, this allows you to take advantage of programs and apps that would have previously only worked in Windows 7, similar to how Windows XP Mode was used in the past.
Graphics Hardware Acceleration
Windows 8 offers a brand new way to process graphics acceleration. Since Windows 8 was reworked from the ground up, everything from how a program is presented to how the Start Screen interacts with your computer screen has changed. This has improved the overall graphics output regardless of the graphics card installed and has reduced the amount of battery life your notebook will eat up.
Modern is your new “Start Menu.” No longer do you click the familiar Start button on a Windows 8 machine. You open a bright, brilliant and interactive area that works similar to how a tablet utilizes its own start screen. Modern is fully interactive on tablets, desktops, and notebooks. Once you get the hang of how to interact with Modern on a computer, you might not even notice what you are missing by not using it on a Microsoft-based tablet.
Windows RT is the version of “Windows 8” specifically designed for Microsoft-based tablets. Since Windows 8 seeks to bring together Microsoft’s PC and tablet business, it makes sense that both operate about the same. Windows RT cannot run on the desktop Windows platform, nor can applications designed specifically for RT is compatible for it.
File History is Windows 8’s new backup feature. If you are still using Windows 7, its backup feature is now referred to by Microsoft as Windows 7 File Recovery. File History allows you to save information in a designated place or partition drive to recover it if you accidentally alter or delete it.
Security & Sync
Microsoft Accounts take a page from XBox Live Accounts and allow you to create a profile that you can access from multiple machines. Settings, system configurations and more can now be loaded onto any computer you are authorized to use utilizing Windows 8 simply by logging into your Microsoft Account.
Picture & Pin Password Support
Have you always wanted to create a password that had nothing to do with your mom’s middle name or your first pet? Windows 8 now lets you create a picture or PIN password to login to your computer. For picture passwords, you can use any sort of picture and “draw” a pattern on it to log in. For PIN passwords, you can use any combination similar to an ATM pin to log on.
With Windows 8, you should never, ever have to install printer drivers again. You do not have to install those random applications “required” to run a printer that you never actually use. If you have a printer, you can use it as soon as Windows recognizes it whether you plug and play or utilize your wireless connection at home or on the go.
The Windows Store is an all you can install an app store that works similar to the iTunes Store and Google Play. You open up Windows Store, you find an app you want, and you install it all with a few clicks of your mouse or keyboard. This allows you to add apps to Modern seamlessly.
Windows to Go
One of the more unique new features of Windows 8 allows users to boot the operating system from a flash drive. This allows a Windows 8 license holder to use the operating system, along with their synced settings through a Microsoft Account – on any PC capable of running Windows 8. While this feature is currently only available to Enterprise users, its popularity could find itself released to other versions of Windows 8 in the near future.
Should you upgrade to Windows 8?
Are you wondering if you should make the upgrade to Windows 8? A lot of Windows users often wait until they are forced to upgrade to actually make the jump to a new Microsoft operating system. The future of Windows, starting with 8, is going mobile for desktop, notebook and tablet users alike. Windows 8 has jumped leaps and bounds from even what Windows 7 offered users. Take a look through some of our guides and make the choice for yourself.