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What's New About Windows 8? Free Public Preview Available Now.

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Having spent so many years in the computer field I still get excited about a new operating system.  I am not one to say that any particular operating systems is God's answer to the field, but, rather, they are all quite good and it's great to watch them develop.  As I use Windows on my laptops and desktop at home (we use Linux for some specialized applications) I am very curious about Windows 8 and have been reading what I can find. Here is a synopsis of what I have found.

Try it now for free
First, you can actually download, install, and use the Preview copy  for free.  It can be found here:  Free Public Preview .  If you upgrade a machine running Windows 7 you will retain all of your programs and data.  There is no need to wipe your hard drive and start from scratch.  You cannot uninstall Win8 so be sure you want to go ahead with the install before you commit.

Requirements to run Windows 8 
The requirements for Windows 8 are pretty minimal.   The Preview copy, for example, only requires a 1GHz processor, 1GB of memory (2GB for the 64-bit version), 16GB of free hard drive space and a graphics chip set or card able to support DirectX 9 graphics.  I doubt many people are using a computer with lesser basic specs.  It won't run very fast with the minimum specs but it will run.

"Apps" like mobile apps
Windows 8 runs "apps" much in the way that mobile phones do.  This is a big change in software.  There will be a Microsoft store where you can view and buy apps much as you use iTunes for iOS and Android Market for Android phones.  Apps are very cheap compared to traditional applications but they also do less.  Less turns out to usually be enough, though.

It's a true touch screen operating system
It's a touch screen operating system but it works just fine with a keyboard and a mouse.  The idea is that Windows 8 can be used on all kinds of hardware platforms from desktops to notebooks to tablets to smartphones.  Three out of four of those platform are touch screen platforms.

The new interface "Metro"
The new interface is called Metro and it favors touch screens.  The operating system is rich in touch screen features including simple to complex gestures.  You can pinch to zoom, etc. as you do now on your tablet or smartphone.

Windows 8 includes Microsoft's newest browser iteration, Internet Explorer 10.

Windows 8 is very, very customizeable.  There are a great many features and you can customize them to make your desktop (and under the 'top) unique to your own needs and tastes.

Passwords can be pictures instead of words.

And more
There is so much more - they really rebuilt Windows from the ground up and even changed the Logo to help make that point.  These are the features that seemed most prominent to me but do go read about Windows 8 to learn a great deal more.

erick99 posted Mar 01, 2012

Great article! I have just installed Windows 8 on my MBA and have yet to really play around with it. I hope I don't run into any problems with drivers, etc.

TOTOOO (rep: 50.8k) posted Mar 01, 2012


Thanks! I'm going to load Win8 on my laptop tonight. Win 7 had all of the drivers for my Dell Studio 17 so I would guess that Win does, too. But, you never know. You can't uninstall Win 8 so do be careful.

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Mar 01, 2012


Yeah. I'm going to run Windows 8 off boot camp. My Macbook Air has 3 partition (Mac osx lion, windows 7 and windows 8). :D

TOTOOO (rep: 50.8k) posted Mar 01, 2012


How many partitions does it support?

erick99 (rep: 432k) posted Mar 01, 2012