Reviewing an operating system is an odd struggle, because people don’t really use operating systems; now they use applications. The OS should be as easy as possible, acting as a platform for applications. In today’s cloud-driven world, however, the notion that your application will run in a single OS is delicate at best. Toss in the increasing use of smart devices, whether phones or tablets, and the idea of a single-platform operating system is less relevant now than it was just a few years ago. These days we have “ecosystems”—Microsoft, Apple, or Google, take your pick.
That said, PC users still expect their Windows applications to run as before, and they want to have the same control over their laptop and desktop computers as they have always had. New software features should enable users to do more. And as the reaction to the late, unlamented Windows Vista illustrated, all the shiny new bells and whistles should not harm performance or require new hardware.
Can Windows 8 meet its goal of being one aspect of a new Microsoft ecosystem while maintaining its roots in the PC? Can existing computers run Windows 8 without the need for expensive new touch displays? Will the revamped Windows 8 user interface turn off existing Windows users or pull them into the ecosystem? I’ll try to answer those questions and others as I dive deeply into Windows 8.
This review is based on the Windows 8 final release—what Microsoft calls the “release to manufacturing,” or RTM, version. The final release is available to Microsoft TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Desktop PCs, laptops, and tablets ship with Windows 8 preinstalled on the official launch day, October 26.
We ran Windows 8 on a moderately high-end desktop system along with a standard (nontouch) monitor, mouse, and keyboard. We also used a Samsung Series 9 laptop with an Elan touchpad supporting full multitouch gestures.
User Interface of Windows 8
Windows 8 tries to get you to tie your Windows login to your Microsoft account; it’s optional, but if you do link the two, the Windows login and password serve as your Microsoft account login and password. Enabling this link allows tighter connection with the remote and cloud-based features of the new Windows 8.
As I said previously, Windows 8 is basically designed to be part of an ecosystem, alongside Windows Phone and Windows RT. Microsoft believes in this idea so strongly that it has made the Windows 8 User Interface (formerly called Metro) the primary interface for Windows users. PCs with the new Operating Systems installed will boot into the Windows 8 interface; the OS offers no built-in way to set it to boot to the traditional Windows desktop.
The Windows 8 interface acts as the Start menu now. Instead of appearing as small icons that open when you click the Start button, all your applications show up as tiles on the Windows 8 Start screen. You can also search for an application by typing its name when you’re in the Start screen; the results list autosorts as you type more characters.
( Via PC World )