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Eight Pretty Cool Things About Windows 8
Microsoft released a Consumer Preview of the highly anticipated Windows 8 at the end of February. This is an operating system in transition as it moves from the desktop to mobile devices as well as a transition to the new Metro UI. So far, the reviews are mixed. We’ve seen many complaints about the missing “Start” button in Win 8 desktop mode as well as less than ideal search ability from the desktop. In any case we thought it would be useful to highlight some of the cooler features that will be in the new OS and may help prevent reviewers from calling this another Windows Vista OS.
Lock Screen Alerts
Taking a page out of the smartphone playbook, Windows 8 will display useful information right away, without you having to do anything at all. That's because your lock screen can now be customized with apps which show you details on waiting emails, your schedule, RSS feeds - really whatever you like. This means that you won't have to turn on your computer, wait for it to load, and then wait to load an application to find out a small, basic piece of information.
Password Options
Everyone already has more than enough passwords to remember, so Windows 8 will offer an unusual alternative: the picture password. You'll be able to point Windows to a picture you'd like to use, which you then click, tap or draw on with your mouse, or using your finger on a touch screen. For example, say you choose a picture of your family - you might draw an outline around the tree in the background, then tap on your wife and then your daughter. Windows will remember this pattern and won't allow anyone to log in later unless they can repeat them.
But if that sounds ridiculous to you, no worries, you can continue to log in with a regular alphanumeric password if you prefer.
Better App Management
Traditionally Windows has left it up to you to manage the programs you run. So you can launch as many as you like, and the system won't interfere; it'll just get slower, and slower, and slower as you run out of RAM. Windows 8 is a bit different when running Metro apps. If you're running short of resources then it'll close down anything you've not used for a while, in an attempt to help out. The apps that get closed will be saved first however, so you don't lose anything: relaunch it to carry on exactly where you left off.
One-Click Sharing
Sharing something you've found online is an everyday experience for most web users, and so it's great to see Microsoft build that idea into Windows 8. If you've discovered a great photo or web page in Internet Explorer then simply hit the Share button and you'll be able to send its link via any compatible app you've installed - and they'll then update your Twitter, Facebook or other account right away.
Compatibility with Xbox, Windows Phone, Tablets
Perhaps the biggest difference between Windows 8 and its predecessors is that this OS is designed to work on not just laptops and desktops, but on tablets and mobile phones as well. Microsoft is introducing the Metro interface it popularized with Windows Phone into Windows 8. Users can access the Metro view or the familiar desktop view with a simple click or tap. The result is that Windows 8 will work on almost any device out there. It works with keyboards and touchscreens, and it doesn’t matter if a device has an Intel, AMD or ARM processor. This makes Windows 8 an extremely versatile OS in a world where mobile is beginning to dominate.
Easy Backup
Windows 8 includes a remarkably user friendly File History feature, which can automatically back up whatever folders you like, at the frequency that you specify. This could be a complete system backup to a network drive, or it could just save key folders to a flash drive. Once you've set up this feature there is nothing further required of you - plug in the drive whenever you want, File History will automatically detect it, and your preferred files will automatically be backed up.
Increased Download Protection
Internet Explorer's SmartScreen filter is a clever feature which can check downloads against a database of known malicious sites and dangerous programs, blocking the file if it finds a match. Previously this was only available within IE, but in Windows 8 SmartScreen will be used system-wide, so you'll have an extra layer of protection no matter which browser you're using.
Windows App Store
Windows 8 will have an app store. Yes, they are a bit late to the party, but it's better than not showing up at all. The inclusion of a Windows Store provides new business opportunities for developers. And keep in mind that Windows 8 will run on all devices, which gives the new developers a bit of a running start.

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Though Windows 8 promises so many features

Though Windows 8 promises so many features I don't really think many users would be rushing to update any time soon reason being so far the best platform is still Windows XP all because it did not share that many problems its predecessors started having. I'm currently using Windows 7 and I can point out many problems that have been surfacing lately such as Windows Explorer continuously crashing because for some reason it isn't able to support the thumbnail layout or view of videos. Does Microsoft have a solution for this? No, in fact on its own forums they simply only tell you to change the view of files to display icons to prevent continuous crashing. How does that eliminate the obvious bug when it's simply a work around and not focusing on the actual problem. I think Microsoft should really focus on fixing the current technological problems instead of making 'better' platforms that still carry the same old troubles.

Windows 8 not so good.

Windows 8 not so good.

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Windows 8

Windows XP is still the best OS out there!

windows8

I suppose this will be another attempt to take over our computers because we're too dumb to use them ourself. I'll decide what programs I want to run and when and I DON'T want my OS to shut them down. I thought 8 was going to be a big 'ta-da'? This company kills me. How it's stock price is selling for what it sells for is beyone my comprehension. The quality of software has gone down the tubes and we have microsoft and their get it out the door, we'll fix it later mentality to blame for it. Remember windows 3.0? Talk about fix it later. I use microsoft because I'm stuck with it and MS knows that. It's what business uses. Windows 8? No thanks, I don't see any improvements here; only annoyances.

I read the article about

I read the article about windows 8 and feel that while the mentioned features might suit some people, our family won't be rushing out to upgrade. We loved and still use windows XP. We do have two laptops that have windows 7 - but the kids still prefer windows XP and so do I. Maybe we're a weird family or something but we don't care about gimmicks like being able to link to facebook or touching a photo in a certain order to password protect our computer. Everyone shares the computers in our house - no ones files are password protected. We'll basically keep using the OS's in our house until the computers they are on fail, then we'll upgrade by default not choice.

What would cause us to upgrade our OS before a computer in our house failed?
An OS with inbuilt, ultra effective spyware, malware and virus protection is about the only carrot MS could dangle. Every time we've had to replace a computer it hasn't been because of hardware failure but because the paid virus protection we have hasn't done its job. this has happened three times now, and it's not like we're into surfing unsafe sites - unless sites like Wikipedia are unsafe (all our eleven year old did was look up historical facts on Wikipedia about nuclear bombs for a school project and our computer got a virus).

As for MS software, we haven't purchased any more of that since we got conned. It was only a small con on Microsoft's part, but we took it personally, because we feel Microsoft is a big enough company to honour pledges. We bought a copy of Microsoft Office and it came with a "Free offer", - a fuel card. But when we tried to redeem the offer, MS wouldn't cough up and never sent us the fuel card. We rang about it on their free call number. No answer. We wrote a letter of protest. No answer. Finally when we got through about a month later they said the offer was closed, even though catalogues were still advertising the offer. Since then we always look for an alternative to MS software and use it if we can. On principle.

Windows XP...You are not alone!

I too have had the opportunity to use other Microsoft os systems other than XP, and as you rightly say 'but the kids still prefer windows XP'. You (and your kids) are not alone and definately not weird. In fact the majority of geeks are still using XP and will do so until Microsoft put out a new os that trully surpasses it. It looks Like Windows 8 is not the one to do it. Keep trying Bill.

I share your sentiments exactly.

I had to buy a new PC, which came with Windows 7 (another piece of MS crapola IMO). I have a lap-top with XP and prefer it over Win. 7. I also use Ubuntu (Linux based). I am sticking with Ubuntu 10.04 (or 10.10). It runs a lot faster than Windows even using "virtual disks". The new Ubuntu releases also made changes (that Win. 8 is "copying"). They came out with a new GUI called Unity. It provides a common I/F for Android based tablets (and any future Ubuntu based tablets). I don't like the Unity I/F - while not exactly Win. 8 functionally, it has sufficient changes that I find unsatisfactory. I installed VirtualBox on my Win. 7 system and I can install one or more other op systems - although I never could get the preview version of Win. 8 to install. I have tried Linux Mint 12 (Ubuntu-based) after seeing a lot of recommendations by others on the internet. I can say I ended up disappointed. I did try different desk-tops (you can install them like any other application) - select the one you want when you log-on. A couple of them give a similar look and feel, but have some missing features that I liked - same holds true with Win. 7 vs XP. One Linux release that impresses me is Zorin_OS (also Ubuntu-based 10.04 or 10.10). Once installed, you can actually choose a GUI feel that looks a lot like Win. XP or Win. 7 (or classic Ubuntu). I recently downloaded "Classical Shell" for Win. 7 - I haven't installed it yet, but it says it makes the desktop look more like XP. I will find out. The basic problem is with these new I/Fs, some of the old applications don't work due to changes made. Another reason t use something like VirtualBox or VMWare - you can install XP (or older Ubuntu versions) and run your old apps. Another thing I use is DOSBox. It is free and I can run "old DOS" apps that may or may not have run on XP and won't run on Win. 7. It takes a little bit of set up (directories are renamed to "hard drives" and PATH may require extra entries).

BTW, if you are interested in Ubuntu, I'd suggest you download 10.04 (or 10.10) before the end of the month when they come out with 12.04. Every 2 years, they come out with a Long Term Release (LTR). Ubuntu 10.04 was a LTR and 12.04 will be the next LTR (then 10.04 will no longer be available from Canonical - although a Google search will probably find it on some other site). You can download it, burn it to a CD and actual run it from the CD (to try it - any updates would be lost and any of your data would have to be saved to a USB stick or the like). You can also do a Wubi install. I did that on my XP lap-top. You run the Wubi.exe file on the CD and it installs it into a Windows directory. It does add a line to the XP boot.ini file so when the Windows directory install is complete and you reboot, you will see a choice to boot into XP or Ubuntu. It also has an uninstall "exe" file like most Windows apps. I used that method initially as I found it a good way to learn more about Linux and still do my XP stuff without messing around with dual-booting and partitioning.

A lot of people who who tried the Ubuntu distro of Linux ended up switching to it permanently instead of putting up with all the MS changes. One final point, it also has an application called WINE (Windows Emulator). It will run a lot of Windows application (exceptions for now are Photoshop and a few others). WINE keeps improving over time.

Try a free OS

I share your sentiments exactly. I had to buy a new PC, which came with Windows 7 (another piece of MS crapola IMO). I have a lap-top with XP and prefer it over Win. 7. I also use Ubuntu (Linux based). I am sticking with Ubuntu 10.04 (or 10.10). It runs a lot faster than Windows even using "virtual disks". The new Ubuntu releases also made changes (that Win. 8 is "copying"). They came out with a new GUI called Unity. It provides a common I/F for Android based tablets (and any future Ubuntu based tablets). I don't like the Unity I/F - while not exactly Win. 8 functionally, it has sufficient changes that I find unsatisfactory. I installed VirtualBox on my Win. 7 system and I can install one or more other op systems - although I never could get the preview version of Win. 8 to install. I have tried Linux Mint 12 (Ubuntu-based) after seeing a lot of recommendations by others on the internet. I can say I ended up disappointed. I did try different desk-tops (you can install them like any other application) - select the one you want when you log-on. A couple of them give a similar look and feel, but have some missing features that I liked - same holds true with Win. 7 vs XP. One Linux release that impresses me is Zorin_OS (also Ubuntu-based 10.04 or 10.10). Once installed, you can actually choose a GUI feel that looks a lot like Win. XP or Win. 7 (or classic Ubuntu). I recently downloaded "Classical Shell" for Win. 7 - I haven't installed it yet, but it says it makes the desktop look more like XP. I will find out. The basic problem is with these new I/Fs, some of the old applications don't work due to changes made. Another reason t use something like VirtualBox or VMWare - you can install XP (or older Ubuntu versions) and run your old apps. Another thing I use is DOSBox. It is free and I can run "old DOS" apps that may or may not have run on XP and won't run on Win. 7. It takes a little bit of set up (directories are renamed to "hard drives" and PATH may require extra entries).

BTW, if you are interested in Ubuntu, I'd suggest you download 10.04 (or 10.10) before the end of the month when they come out with 12.04. Every 2 years, they come out with a Long Term Release (LTR). Ubuntu 10.04 was a LTR and 12.04 will be the next LTR (then 10.04 will no longer be available from Canonical - although a Google search will probably find it on some other site). You can download it, burn it to a CD and actual run it from the CD (to try it - any updates would be lost and any of your data would have to be saved to a USB stick or the like). You can also do a Wubi install. I did that on my XP lap-top. You run the Wubi.exe file on the CD and it installs it into a Windows directory. It does add a line to the XP boot.ini file so when the Windows directory install is complete and you reboot, you will see a choice to boot into XP or Ubuntu. It also has an uninstall "exe" file like most Windows apps. I used that method initially as I found it a good way to learn more about Linux and still do my XP stuff without messing around with dual-booting and partitioning.

A lot of people who who tried the Ubuntu distro of Linux ended up switching to it permanently instead of putting up with all the MS changes. One final point, it also has an application called WINE (Windows Emulator). It will run a lot of Windows application (exceptions for now are Photoshop and a few others). WINE keeps improving over time.

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"This means that you won't

"This means that you won't have to turn on your computer, wait for it to load, and then wait to load an application to find out a small, basic piece of information."
Newsflash. If your computer is turned off (which is implied if turning it on is necessary) , you most certainly DO have to do all these things. Having an informative lock screen notwithstanding.

"Users can access the Metro view or the familiar desktop view with a simple click or tap. The result is that Windows 8 will work on almost any device out there. It works with keyboards and touchscreens, and it doesn’t matter if a device has an Intel, AMD or ARM processor. "
This is certainly not true, at least if you take MS' own statements into account. The versions running on x86 and ARM will be distinctly different, and in particular, users on ARM will not necessarily be able to escape Metro to run legacy desktop apps on tablets and the like.

"Windows 8 includes a remarkably user friendly File History feature"
It might be remarkable, if Time Machine had not been out for years already.

"Internet Explorer's SmartScreen filter is a clever feature... ."
Likewise, this feature might be clever if various versions of Linux and OSX did not already have this feature.

The last two might not be an issue, except for the fact that you made sure to point out the fact that MS is late to the app store party. That same characterization is apt for these other points, if not more so. But instead of noting the fact that these features are derivative, they are called "remarkable" and "clever". This hardly seems justified.

Errata

"This means that you won't have to turn on your computer, wait for it to load, and then wait to load an application to find out a small, basic piece of information."
Newsflash. If your computer is turned off (which is implied if turning it on is necessary) , you most certainly DO have to do all these things. Having an informative lock screen notwithstanding.

"Users can access the Metro view or the familiar desktop view with a simple click or tap. The result is that Windows 8 will work on almost any device out there. It works with keyboards and touchscreens, and it doesn’t matter if a device has an Intel, AMD or ARM processor. "
This is certainly not true, at least if you take MS' own statements into account. The versions running on x86 and ARM will be distinctly different, and in particular, users on ARM will not necessarily be able to escape Metro to run legacy desktop apps on tablets and the like.

"Windows 8 includes a remarkably user friendly File History feature"
It might be remarkable, if Time Machine had not been out for years already.

"Internet Explorer's SmartScreen filter is a clever feature... ."
Likewise, this feature might be clever if various versions of Linux and OSX did not already have this feature.

The last two might not be an issue, except for the fact that you made sure to point out the fact that MS is late to the app store party. That same characterization is apt for these other points, if not more so. But instead of noting the fact that these features are derivative, they are called "remarkable" and "clever". This hardly seems justified.

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Errata

"This means that you won't have to turn on your computer, wait for it to load, and then wait to load an application to find out a small, basic piece of information."
Newsflash. If your computer is turned off (which is implied if turning it on is necessary) , you most certainly DO have to do all these things. Having an informative lock screen notwithstanding.

"Users can access the Metro view or the familiar desktop view with a simple click or tap. The result is that Windows 8 will work on almost any device out there. It works with keyboards and touchscreens, and it doesn’t matter if a device has an Intel, AMD or ARM processor. "
This is certainly not true, at least if you take MS' own statements into account. The versions running on x86 and ARM will be distinctly different, and in particular, users on ARM will not necessarily be able to escape Metro to run legacy desktop apps on tablets and the like.

"Windows 8 includes a remarkably user friendly File History feature"
It might be remarkable, if Time Machine had not been out for years already.

"Internet Explorer's SmartScreen filter is a clever feature... ."
Likewise, this feature might be clever if various versions of Linux and OSX did not already have this feature.

The last two might not be an issue, except for the fact that you made sure to point out the fact that MS is late to the app store party. That same characterization is apt for these other points, if not more so. But instead of noting the fact that these features are derivative, they are called "remarkable" and "clever". This hardly seems justified.

Too much!!!

I am really angry with Microsoft, they just keep selling operating systems with false promises. I purchased a computer in 2006 with Windows Vista home, Microsoft came out and said if you upgrade to Ultimate then there would be special programs available monthly to those users exclusively. That was a lie, there were only 2 programs that could be construed as available, but not worth the price of an upgrade. Then Windows 7 comes out and the Vista Ultimate users didn't even get a discount. The travesty is that the Vista Ultimate programs were not even usable on the Windows 7 interface. Microsoft isn't through with Windows 7 and they are about to come out with Windows 8 in October, many businesses that have been running Windows XP are now converting to Windows 7 because the support issue, now they will have to start over? I have Windows 7 Ultimate and there is nothing wrong so far, so I say to Microsoft if it ain't broke why fix it?

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