More Windows 8 details revealed

We already know a few things about Windows 8 and have even seen it in action (kind of); and earlier today I posted about the imminent release of Windows 8 Developer Preview, a downloadable-installable-and-usable-by-all preview of Windows 8. If you have been waiting on a few more Windows 8 details before joining the masses, your wait may be over. At their Build 2011 event, Microsoft has released a few more details about Windows 8. Here it is, right from the mouth of the beast:

Touch-First User Interface

  • Metro style.
    • Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.
  • Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device.
    • Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.

More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps

  • Powered by apps.
    • Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.
  • Apps can work together.
    • Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.
  • Your experience syncs across your devices.
    • Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most — photos, email, calendar and contacts — keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.

Enhanced Fundamentals

  • The best of Windows 7, only better.
    • Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed — even on the lowest-end hardware — leaving more room for your apps.
  • Preserving power-user favorites and making them better.
    • For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.

New Developer Opportunities

  • Windows Store.
    • The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether they’re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.
  • Build using more languages.
    • Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.
  • Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences — particularly for games.
    • DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.

New Generation of Hardware

  • One Windows — many shapes and sizes.
    • Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.
  • Always connected.
    • With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.
  • Tap the full power of your PC.
    • Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.

If you are too lazy to read all the above, the main points are as follows. Windows 8 will

  • Have a completely redesigned interface dubbed “Metro style” that will be optimized for touch as well as traditional mouse and keyboard;
  • Have a “Windows Store”, Microsoft’s version of an app store for Windows;
  • Support all hardware and software that works with Windows 7;
  • Work on ARM (e.g. mobile devices) and x86/x86-64 (e.g. traditional desktops and laptops) architectures;
  • Be a “one-size-fits-all” — one version of Windows 8 for desktops, laptops, tablets, etc.;
  • Improve on pretty much every aspect of hardware and software you can think of.

After reading all of the above, the biggest question that comes to my mind is this: What, if anything, will happen with Windows Phone 7? Dum, dum, dum…

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9 comments

  1. uthea

    Dual boot like i did in 3 steps 32bit not done 64 bit yet heres how,
    Step One: Create a New Partition

    Full sizeBefore you start, make a backup of your data—you’re going to be formatting drives and installing OSes, so anything could go wrong, and you don’t want to lose your whole system. When you’re ready, we’ll need to create some space for Windows 8 on your hard drive. Assuming you have at least 20GB of space free on your drive, you’re going to use Windows’ Disk Management to set partition those 20GB for Windows 8. Open the Start Menu and right click on the “Computer” option. Click “Manage”, and in the window that appears, click on “Disk Management” in the left sidebar.

    Find your system hard disk in the graphical list that appears in the bottom pane. Right-click on it and then click “Shrink Volume”. Shrink it down so you have at least 20GB of space left on the end of the drive, and click OK. Then, click on the “Unallocated” block of that drive that appears and click “New Simple Volume”. Click Next on the next few windows until you get to the “Format Partition” window. Here, give it a volume label you’ll recognize (like “Windows 8″) and click Next. It should format the drive for you. Now you’re all set to install Windows 8.

    Step Two: Install Windows 8

    If you haven’t downloaded the Developer Preview ISO yet, head over to the Windows Developer Center and download it. Burn it onto a DVD using something like ImgBurn, or burn it to a thumb drive if you don’t have a DVD drive in your machine. Make sure your computer is set to boot from CD or USB, stick in your installation media, and reboot.

    Full sizeIf you get a prompt to “Press any key to boot from DVD”, then hit a key on your keyboard. You should boot right into the Windows 8 installer. It actually looks almost exactly like the Windows 7 installer, so it should seem a little familiar. Just pick your language, hit “Install Now”, and choose “Custom” when asked what type of install you’d like to perform.

    On the next screen, find your new partition on the list of drives. Make sure it’s the right one, because you’re about to write over whatever’s on it. Hit “Next” and let the installer do its thing. When you’re done, your computer should reboot into Windows 8. It’ll probably reboot one more time after it does, then you’ll be greeted with the Windows 8 Start screen. If you choose to enter a Windows Live ID here, make sure you have access to your email and can confirm your computer—otherwise it might not let you boot into it.

    Step Three: Make Windows 7 the Default (Optional)

    Full sizeYou’ll notice when you first boot up into Windows 8 that you’re presented with a new graphical boot menu that’ll let you choose between your Windows 7 and Windows 8 installations. Windows 8 will be the default, meaning if you don’t manually choose Windows 7 from the menu, your computer will boot into Windows 8 after three seconds of inactivity. Chances are, you don’t want to make Windows 8 the default quite yet, so here’s how to make Windows 7 the default.

    On the boot menu, click on the button at the bottom that says “Change Defaults or Choose Other Options”, and hit “Choose the Default Operating System”. From there, you can pick Windows 7 from the menu. From now on, your computer will boot into Windows 7 by default, but if you feel like playing around with Windows 8 that day, you can just pick it from the boot menu. Enjoy playing with the developer preview, and let us know what you think in the comments.

  2. Bob Mason

    I have a small extra drive that I’m not using. I think I would swap out the Win 7 boot disk and use the extra drive for Win 8. Physically changing drives is a pain, but I don’t want to mess with my existing setup. I suppose it’s too late to do a dual boot with an existing drive without reformatting it and creating two partitions?

  3. rch

    Although I have never been a fan of the ribbon bar, I think the new explorer one has some potential if they can trim it down and make look less ‘clunky’.

    My early impression of the Metro UI and new start menu is that it’s absolutely AWFUL!!! It just feels like MS have 2 different UI’s and is trying to mash them together when they don’t fit. I know it’s only a very early release but there’ll probably be more Metro stuff going in over time.

    I can see Metro being a love it or hate it addition and from reading blogs and forums it does seem to have split opinions.

  4. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Haakon Aas: You are welcome! I have not installed Windows 8, yet, so I didn’t know that. Thanks for letting us know!

    @Jyo: Haven’t looked at it. From past experience, though, many people hated the Office 2007 ribbon and now people can’t live without it…

  5. Haakon Aas

    THANKS :-) …. Just a notice for those downloading the Windows 8 Developer Preview.
    IF I got it right, when installed it can NOT be removed or uninstalled!!!
    IF you do not want to keep it you must do a complete reinstall of your OS
    Make a complete!!! backup of your OS first!!!
    I will try run it and install it, using a sandbox, and will post the results here .
    OR try install it as a second OS if the “sandbox” dont work (and I do not think it will :-))))