Windows 8

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Windows 8 Operating System (OS) has seen increased demand since its release and especially due to the need for cloud-driven applications in today’s business world. The market for OS is ever demanding and the trend has been shifted to multi-platform Operating Systems that can support a cross-family of devices; smartphones, tablets, desktops and network devices. This trend has gradually pushed single-platform Operating Systems out of OS market. The market leaders of OS products have taken this cue to reinvent an“ecosystem” model type of Operating Systems, Apple and Google have it and so is Microsoft.

Windows 8 was built to run alongside other Microsoft share of ecosystem including Windows Phone and Windows RT. Windows 8 Metro, now called Windows 8 interface, is the first interface that users boot into and has now become one of the noticeable features of Windows 8.  The Operating System boots straight into this interface rather than the traditional desktop screen that Windows users are familiar with in Windows 7 or previous versions. Windows 8 Metro interface serves as the Start menu, hosting users’ applications on Windows 8 Start screen as tiles.

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Windows 8 interface comes with slight changes in right-clicking functionality, unlike in previous Windows versions where right-clicking an object on the desktop activated a contextual menu of items, in Windows 8, the same procedure will produce a bar of assorted contextual items at the bottom of the screen. It is not uncommon for users to confuse Windows 8 interface with the desktop especially because the Start screen and Windows 8 apps occupies the entire desktop display although it is fairly simple to shift some of the programs to the Start screen by right-clicking and selecting Pin to Start.

Microsoft has made a deliberate effort to improve the normal non-live 150 x 150 pixels tiles and Windows 8 Start screen live tiles are mostly 310 x 150 pixels double-wide containing dynamic information. Windows 8 Start screen shows applications separated into Windows 8 apps and desktop applications and providing an intuitive launching of applications by simply clicking an application tile on the Start screen. Perhaps one similarity that users of Windows 8 can connect with Windows 7 is the bare desktop with capability to add applications and user files icons through Personalize menu on the desktop.

Tile size can be adjusted by shrinking or enlarging to make it easy and faster finding frequently used apps. If there are more tiles than the screen can display, scrolling to the right will reveal more hidden tiles or alternatively use the zoom in/out feature to get the tile you want.  If you prefer items to be arranged neatly or differently on the screen, tapping or clicking on a tile and dragging the item to a new position will complete the task and any other item will adjust accordingly.

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There are two versions of Windows 8 that Microsoft released in the market; Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro for Intel and AMD PCs. Most of machines will come with a pre-installed Windows 8 Pro which is also offered by Microsoft as an upgrade for retail stores. Users can download Windows apps from Windows Store similar to Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store. Windows 8 is greatly enhanced for networks and it provides an easy way to connect to networks once network drivers are installed. An active network connection will lists networked devices, network folders and basically any computer residing on the network.

It is possible to upgrade to Windows 8 for users currently running on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 but there is a limit of what you can bring aboard. Moreover, users need to check which patches are available for specific machines migration. Users of Windows XP Service Pack 3 can migrate with files, Windows Vista users can migrate with files and settings while those of Windows 7 can keep programs, settings and files. Take precaution before migrating as any incompatible programs must be uninstalled first although Windows 8 installer will guide you through the process.

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