Where are we coming from?
Microsoft has always been a company trying to combine the classic with the future proof. With every new operating system they release, they manage to attract a lot of attention, although some of it is in the negative spectrum. Windows 98 was one of the company’s biggest successes, referred to by many as being the most stable pre-XP operating systems. It provided better hardware support than its predecessor and the USB support was considered a huge upgrade over Windows 95. Windows ME wasn’t really anything special and most people didn’t like it. It didn’t really introduce anything that much new and for most it looked like it was a lunch-break project. Taking a leap forward, we see the release of Windows XP which was another milestone in the company’s success, especially after the introduction of SP2. From 2001 to 2007 it was one of the most popular operating systems in the world, on both the home and business fronts. In 2007, however, it was succeeded by Windows Vista. Widely criticized, the new operating system was disliked by the general public. Lucky for Microsoft, they redeemed themselves with the introduction of Windows 7 two years later. It had many of the improvements Windows Vista had introduced but didn’t have all of its faults, such the bad performance and many bugs and crashes. The Aero GUI was also improved and the OS was much more warmly accepted than Vista, which brings us to present day, where most users still use Windows 7. Most Windows users usually skip a generation. I know many who went from 98 to XP, and then to 7. Will Windows 8 be another disappointment or will it be the operating system to finally break the cycle? Time to find out!
Where are we going?
It’s been almost a year since Microsoft released Windows 8 but somehow most people don’t seem very pleased with it. In fact, most people don’t see a reason to try it out at all. Did Microsoft make a mistake by focusing on touchscreen users? Or was it the right choice in the long run. I will present to you the facts and let Your Majesty – the consumer, decide.
One of the major improvements of Windows 8 over Windows 7 is in the performance department. Even though when it comes to performance most PC users don’t suffer from RAM deficiency; it’s always good for an operating system to perform as well as possible. This is especially true for Windows 8 considering the fact that the OS targets mostly notebook and tablet users. The less the resources and energy consumption – the better. If you are a tablet or a notebook user, then you will definitely see a major performance improvement over Windows 7 including a faster boot time, even with the new Metro interface.
Hate it or love it, Metro is the first real new feature of Windows 8 and it completely changes your windows experience. This was the new gem that was supposed to draw people to the new OS. But why hasn’t it? Metro is surrounded by controversy and one of the main reasons is the lack of a “start “button in the bottom left (by default) corner. That little start button we’ve been used to having ever since Windows 95 is now gone, replaced with the Metro desktop which you can launch by using the Windows key on your keyboard. Turns out most people hate the idea of parting with their “start” button.
Metro is an interesting new concept and has its own application. However, a study shows that about 60% of the people using Windows 8 are not launching even a single Metro application a day. In fact, so many people hate Metro that Windows 8.1 will be coming with the option to go directly to desktop and bypass it completely. This is one of the biggest changes in the interface Microsoft have done in a while and even though most people are not fond of it, it’s great those who actually use Windows 8 with mobile devices.
There has been a vast improvement in the account department as well. Now you can use your Microsoft account to sync between several devices if you wish to do so as well make use of cloud storage for your files. The access to the Windows Store and overall focus on online activity and availability is a significant and future-oriented improvement. These options allow you to do much more than you used to without leaving your room. Shopping for Apps has never been easier.
The Windows Explorer
One of the new features in the Windows Explorer is the so called “Ribbon” interface we’ve come to know and love from MS Office (Home, Share, View, Search). They look exactly the same as in your MS Office. What this does is make your file management much easier and focused. Another new feature is the “pause” option during file transfers. This is great when you have limited resources and you have started moving or copying a file but suddenly need to allocate your resources elsewhere. Another great feature for mobile device users. A new feature PC users might find useful is the ability to natively mount virtual drives (like ISO). This means that you no longer have to install programs like Deamon Tools which is a nice improvement.
A new security feature you will find in Windows 8 is Windows Defender. You may be familiar with it already since it has been around for a while. It was used in Vista and Windows 7 as an antispyware program but now it has been upgraded and integrated into Windows as a fully-fledged antivirus software. How effective it is only time will tell.
The new features Windows 8 brings to the board are certainly impressive, but most people don’t find them all that necessary, especially for your standard desktop user.
Microsoft has been known to listen to their customers from time to time so we expect to see improvements for desktop users in the future. But what do you think? Are you willing to give Windows 8 a chance or are you sticking with your current OS?
Morgan Johnes likes to write about business and technology. He is a windows user since 1995 and has a lot of knowledge to share with his readers. He is working for BinaryTribune and in his free time he loves to read the latest technology news.