In the coming weeks Microsoft is going to release Windows 8. Microsoft is attempting to create and release an operating system that will run on desktops as well as laptops and tablets. The look and feel of Windows 8 is as different as the change from Windows 3.1 to Windows XP back in 2001. Unfortunately, a generation has grown up with Windows XP and people resist change, especially at first. So, I'm going to list and explain the huge differences that you will find in Windows 8 and how to work with those differences. For some Windows 8 may drive them to buy a Mac, while for others the changes will be welcomed as soon as they learn to get around the new operating system.

Here are the major changes and differences you will find in Windows 8.

  • The new Modern interface
    Windows 8 boots into a tiled interface that will be familiar to users of the Windows phone, but its unlike anything a normal Windows user has ever seen. There are tiles for Mail, Calendar, Weather, People, Photos, Apps, Messaging, etc. When you click on an app, the app opens full screen. No borders, toolbars or other items to get in the way. However, there is no X in the upper right hand corner to close the app either. We'll discuss more of this interface in other articles on the site. Its definitely gonna be a love it or hate it feature.

  • No Start Menu
    This will definitely be one of the hardest changes to adapt to. The normal Start menu in the bottom left corner of the screen is no longer there. If you move your mouse to the very far bottom left corner and box will appear to take you to the Modern UI, formally known as the Metro interface

  • Cloud Based
    When you setup Windows 8 for the first time, you are asked to register an email address instead of a username. This email address is synced with your Microsoft services that you may already have. Because its cloud based, if you setup your email address on another computer as a new user, a lot of settings including favorites, passwords and other information will be synced with second computer. This is handy in one way because your information travels with you, but there are privacy concerns if someone knows your password on the second computer.

  • Touch screen support
    Windows 8 will have touch screen support for Touchscreens and tablets, but these features won't be very useful for desktop users running desktops or laptops without a touchscreen.

  • Faster boot times
    Windows 8 will boot faster than any other previous operating system.

  • Internet Explorer 10 - two flavors
    Microsoft introduces two different versions of IE in Windows 8, one for the desktop environment and a different version in the Modern UI (Tiles) environment. The desktop version is similar to other versions of IE in look and feel, but the Modern UI  version is unlike anything you've seen. Very minimalist in nature, the URL field and back/forward button are on the bottom of the screen with the rest of the screen left to view the web page. No toolbars, borders, or anything else to get in the way.
There are tons of other changes and features that we will explore of the coming weeks. Getting used to these changes and staying productive will be a chore.

Starting Windows 8 in Safe Mode

Written by Mark Hasting

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