Windows 8: features, screenshots, and everything else you need to know

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Help and Support' started by Captain Jack, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Captain Jack

    Captain Jack Extraordinary Member

    Mar 6, 2010
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    It finally happened! On Wednesday, we finally got a glimpse at what Microsoft has in store for its next version of Windows and how it plans to compete in the tablet market. Yes, after months of some leaked screenshots and rumors, Redmond finally showed an early preview of what’s now codenamed Windows 8 — or what is perhaps better thought of as a mashup of Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7. While we expected to just get a brief glimpse of the OS, Vice President of Windows Steven Sinofsky demoed quite a bit of the interface at D9, and VP of Windows Planning Mike Angiulo showed off even more of the UI and some early hardware later on at Computex. We’ve taken a hard look at all the information that’s been released and come up with a primer on what we know so far about Redmond’s forthcoming operating system, so hit the break for a deeper look at what’s coming.

    Let’s talk for a second about this new version of Windows and what kind of devices it’s meant for. At the most basic level, the new OS consists of a homescreen with large Windows Phone 7-like live tiles, and underneath that you’ve got classic Windows — what more or less looks like Windows 7.
    We’re going to get into the specifics of that new “layer” or “shell” below, but Sinofsky and Angiulo stressed that while Windows 8 has been optimized for touch and tablets, it’s also meant for “hundreds of millions of computers.” According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will work well with touch-only tablets as well as traditional mouse / keyboard PCs. Angiulo said it loud and clear: “There are no different versions of Windows. There’s just one Windows. Windows runs everywhere.” That means there won’t be a distinct tablet version of Windows 8, like we thought early on.
    It’s a bit confusing since much of the new UI is meant for finger input, but Angiulo showed a brief demo of it working on some regular laptops and how you’d use a mouse and some keyboard shortcuts to navigate the touch interface. How do you switch between the regular Win 7 desktop and the new homescreen? It seems you’ll just select a tile with the desktop and then hit the circular Start button to return to the new UI. It seems rather clunky, but remember this was just a very early preview and things will likely change.
    Now that we’ve covered some of those basics, let’s dig into that new user interface!

    It all starts with a lock screen that’s very similar to Windows Phone 7. You will be able to change the background, and alongside the date and time you’ll get some basic alerts — including messages, emails, and your next calendar event. Swiping up will take you to the new homescreen, although you can see in all the videos that there’s a brief user account screen between the two. It seems a bit off that the account user screen pops up after the unlock, but again this isn’t even beta software yet.

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