Microsoft’s Windows releases are increasing in frequency. It took close to six years for Vista to come along and try to replace XP and two more for Windows 7 to finish the job. Now Windows 8 approaches with an expected release in late 2012. Windows 8 looks to be the most ambitious release yet, with a total UI overhaul and lots of new features:
New file system: Under the hood, Microsoft is replacing to old NTFS file system that’s been around since the old days of Windows NT 3.1. Not much is known about this new way Windows will handle organization and manipulation of data except for its name, “Protogon.”
Desktop: Windows 8 will include a new desktop design concept called “Metro.” This interface is optimized for desktops and tablets and features stylized, blocky tiles of various sizes. These tiles correspond with applications, widgets, feeds, web shortcuts and more.
Screen real estate: This new version of Windows is optimized for widescreen displays with resolution settings of 1366×768 or greater. Applications can be “snapped” in place to run side by side in the same way users have utilized dual monitors in the past.
Windows App Store: Similar to its Apple counterpart, Windows 8 will feature a Microsoft application store so developers can publish Metro applications for download. Licensing, revenue sharing and application approval will likely work in a similar fashion to those of the Mac App Store.
Return of the Ribbon: Microsoft product users are already familiar with the “Ribbon” menu interface from Microsoft Office and Windows Live Essentials. The Ribbon will be integrated into Windows 8’s version of Windows Explorer, offering fast, optimized browsing of files, folders and documents.
Built in ISO mounting: Windows XP had a downloadable but unsupported application for mounting ISO files – downloadable disc images – in the OS. This is very helpful, since the alternative is using a third party app or burning an ISO to a CD or DVD before use. Windows 7 had no such feature, leaving ISO users in the cold. Windows 8 will bring this feature back, promising an easy-to-use method of mounting ISO files.
Windows to Go: Another feature of Windows 8 that could be very popular is Windows to Go. Users will be able to create a USB flash drive with their copy of Windows 8, files, apps and settings. This drive will be bootable for portable Windows use.
Bio: Richard is intrigued by computers, and often uses them at his work. He stays up to date with technology because he simply has a passion for it. When he’s not blogging about technology you can find him helping people obtain money for cars.