Microsoft Windows 8 is probably one of the biggest risk the software giant has taken in the history of computing. With the vision of unifying the experience on the desktop, tablet and phone, has the operating system lost its essence of desktop computing? Not really.
Windows 8 can be installed nearly on any device with the capability to run Windows 7. It requires a minimum of 1GHz processor supporting PAE, NX and SSE2, 2GB ram, 16GB hard disk space and a graphics card supporting DirectX 9.
Windows 8 supports all legacy softwares. 64-bit version supports 64 and 32-bit legacy applications while 32-bit support 32-bit and 16-bit applications.
Other than that, new applications can also harness the power of Modern UI (discussed further). There is also a Microsoft Store which will be the first attempt by Microsoft to create a unified marketplace where users can search and install applications of their interest.
From Windows 95 till Windows 7, Microsoft has barely changed the overall profile of the operating system, except modernizing the visuals and adding cutting edge animations and effects. However, Windows 8 separates the start menu from the desktop; giving the start menu its own space known as the Modern UI.
The Modern UI has been adopted from the Metro UI (introduced in Windows Phone 7) and displays all your favorite programs and shortcut links. The UI scrolls horizontally rather vertically, and displays the programs in big tiled fashion, instead of a list view.
The Desktop can be switched to with the Windows key. The only difference in the Desktop is that it is missing the Start button, since it has been replaced by the Modern UI. To access the Modern UI, one needs to glide the mouse in the lower left corner of the screen. Charms can be called by placing the cursor in the any right corner of the screen. The Charms bar has the following options: Search, Settings, Share, Devices and Start. This Charms bar shows different options when used with different softwares.
The Desktop loses all the aero effects introduced in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but the plain look of the desktop doesn’t look bad.
From performance point of view, the Windows 8 beats Windows 7 in every aspect. Web browsing on Internet Explorer 10 has been drastically improved and applications also start up quickly. The start up and shut down times have been reduced by a lot and even the operating system can read/write to hard disk quicker. The Windows 8 also comes with improved security and repair features.
All in all, Windows 8 is just Windows 7 with some new improvements. It seems pretty adaptable though it is the concept of Modern UI which is scaring off people as for now. However, people who have adapted the OS seem impressed by the new UI once they got a hang of it.