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Windows 8 is a planned release of Microsoft Windows, a series of operating systems being produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablets, and home theater PCs. The release to manufacturing (RTM) occurred August 1, 2012,and Windows 8 will be available to users starting October 26, 2012.Windows 8's server counterpart, Windows Server 2012, was developed concurrently with Windows 8. Windows 8 features a new user interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language, similar to that in Windows Phone. Microsoft says the new interface is designed to better suit touchscreen input, along with traditional mouse and keyboard input. A specialized version of Windows 8, called Windows RT, supports the ARM processor architecture instead of the x86 microprocessors from Intel, AMD, and VIA supported by standard editions of Windows.
Developer Preview Consumer Preview Release Preview Final version
Microsoft unveiled new Windows 8 features and improvements on the first day of the BUILD conference on September 13, 2011.Microsoft also released the Windows Developer Preview (build 8102) of Windows 8 the same day, which included SDKs and developer tools (such as Visual Studio Express and Expression Blend) for developing applications for Windows 8's new interface. According to Microsoft, there were more than 500,000 downloads of the developer preview within the first 12 hours of its release. The Developer Preview also introduced the Start screen. The Start button in the desktop opened the Start screen instead of the Start menu. On 16 February 2012, Microsoft postponed the expiration date of the developer preview. Originally set to expire on 11 March 2012, this release is now set to expire on 15 January 2013
On 29 February 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of Windows 8, build 8250. For the first time since Windows 95, the Start button is no longer present on the taskbar, though the Start screen is still triggered by clicking the bottom-left corner of the screen and by clicking Start on the Charm bar. Windows president Steven Sinofsky said more than 100,000 changes had been made since the developer version went public. The day after its release, Windows 8 Consumer Preview had been downloaded over one million times. Like the Developer Preview, the Consumer Preview is set to expire on January 15, 2013.
At Japan's Developers Day conference, Steven Sinofsky announced that the Windows 8 Release Preview (build 8400) would be released during the first week of June. On May 28, 2012, the Windows 8 Release Preview (Standard Simplified Chinese x64 edition, not China-specific version, build 8400) was leaked online on various Chinese and Bit Torrent websites. On May 31, 2012, the Windows 8 Release Preview was released to the public by Microsoft. Major items in the Release Preview included the addition of Sports, Travel, and News apps, along with an integrated version of Flash Player in Internet Explorer. Unlike the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview, the release preview is set to expire on January 16, 2013.
On August 1, 2012, Windows 8 (build 9200) was released to manufacturing. Microsoft announced its plan of general availability on October 26, 2012.However, only a day after its release to manufacturing, a copy of the final version of Windows 8 Enterprise N (produced for European markets) leaked to the web.
As of Windows 8 Release Preview, the minimum system requirements are the same as Windows 7 (except for CPU); these system requirements may change in the final release
To run Metro-style apps, a screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher is required to run one app at a time, and a resolution of 1366x768 is required to run two apps side-by-side using snap.
Windows 8 has four editions, each with varying feature sets. Windows 8 Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the x86 and x86-64 architectures. This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new, Windows 8 features including the Start screen with semantic zoom, live tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, connected standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop, and more.
Windows 8 Pro Windows 8 Pro succeeds Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include operating as a Remote Desktop server, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality will be available only for Windows 8 Pro, as a paid "Media Pack.
Windows 8 Enterprise Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below).This edition will only be available to Software Assurance customers. Windows RT Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs, and was named for the Windows Runtime (WinRT) development platform that Microsoft is introducing in Windows 8.It will include touchoptimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and support device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.
The following in-place upgrade paths are supported from Windows 7.Note that it is only possible to upgrade from a IA-32 version of Windows 7 to an IA-32 version of Windows 8; an x64 version of Windows 7 can only be upgraded to an x64 version of Windows 8. Windows RT cannot be installed on the same hardware that accepts Windows 7, for Windows RT is designed exclusively for ARM architecture which Windows 7 does not support. In addition, it is possible to upgrade Windows XP and Windows Vista to Windows 8 Pro.
Windows 8 employs a new user interface based on Microsoft's Metro design language. The Metro environment will feature a new tile-based Start screen similar to that of the Windows Phone operating system. Each tile will represent an application, and will be able to display relevant information such as the number of unread messages on the tile for an e-mail app or the current temperature on a
Windows 8 features a new lock screen, which includes a date and time display, along with the ability to display notifications from apps. Two new login methods optimized for touch screens are also available, including a fourdigit PIN, or a "picture password"; which uses allows the use of certain gestures performed on a selected picture to login. Wrong gestures will always deny a login, and it will lock out the PC after five unsuccessful attempts, until a text password is provided.
Windows 8 also includes improved support for multi-monitor configurations; the taskbar can now be shown on multiple displays, and each display can also show its own dedicated taskbar. Wallpapers can also be spanned across multiple displays, or each display can have its own separate wallpaper.
Similar to Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows Live Essentials, the re-designed File Explorer (re-named from Windows Explorer) uses the Ribbon interface to enhance discoverability of commands and bring relevant commands to users depending on their file selection. For example, selecting photos in a folder brings up tools to rotate the photos and to start a slide show. The interface was selected to bring forward the most commonly used commands for easy access. File Explorer can now mount ISO, IMG, and VHD files as virtual drives through simple right-clicks or the Explorer toolbar as compared to Windows 7 where VHDs could be mounted in a less-discoverable way, via the Disk Management section in the Computer Management MMC, or by using diskpart from the command line.
The tabs are hidden by default. This view only shows applications Resource utilization in the Processes tab is shown with various shades of yellow, with darker color representing heavier use. The Performance tab is split into CPU, memory, disk, Ethernet, and wireless network (if applicable) sections. There are overall graphs for each, and clicking on one reaches details for that particular
A new Startup tab has been added that lists startup applications The Processes tab now lists application names, application status, and overall usage data for CPU, memory, hard disk, and network resources for each process
New to Windows 8 are two new recovery functions, named Refresh and Reset, both of which make a complete restore easier than a re-installation. The former keeps all settings and files of the user intact and only reverses all changes to Windows files to its original state and removes all installed programs and apps.
Family Safety will allow Administrators to monitor and restrict user activity via web filtering, application restriction, and computer usage time limits. Web filtering Web filtering lists Activity reporting Requests Time limits Game restrictions App restrictions
User accounts do not have to be localonly anymore, but can be linked up to one's Microsoft account. This has the advantage that users will not lose their settings and files, as they move from their home computer to their work laptop or to any other computer also using Windows 8, and signing in via their Microsoft account.
Windows To Go is an upcoming Windows 8 Enterprise feature that will allow users to create a bootable USB Flash drive (usually called a Live USB) with Windows 8 in it, including the user's programs, settings, and files. It is planned to work on both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and both on legacy BIOS and UEFI firmware.
Storage Spaces is a storage virtualization technology which succeeds Logical Disk Manager and allows the organization of physical disks into logical volumes similar to Logical Volume Manager (Linux), RAID1 or RAID5, but on a higher level. A storage space will behave like a physical disk to the user, with thin provisioning of available disk space. The spaces are organized within a storage pool, i.e. a collection of physical disks, which can span multiple disks of different sizes and different interfaces (USB, SATA, SAS).
The process of adding new disks or replacing failed or older disks is fully automatic, but can be controlled with Power Shell commands. The same storage pool can host multiple storage spaces. Storage Spaces have built-in resiliency from disk failures, which is achieved by either mirroring or striping with parity across the physical disks. Each storage pool on the ReFS filesystem is limited to 4 PB (4096 TB), but there are no limits on the total number of storage pools or the number of storage spaces within a pool.
Windows 8 will have built-in support of USB 3.0 for better power management and longer battery life
Windows 8 will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems. On the x86 architecture, Intel Corporation and AMD continue their work on low-power SoC designs that support Windows.
Windows 8 will also include Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software. Previously only offered in Windows Server, Hyper-V will now be available in client versions of Windows for the first time The system requirements for Hyper-V are a 64-bit processor, a 64-bit version of Windows 8, and a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.
Microsoft announced that Windows 8 has short boot times, in part because it saves the kernel's memory to the hard disk on shutdown (similar to the existing hibernate option) and reloads it on start up. Also because of support for many cores during boot
Internet Explorer 10 is included as both desktop program and as a touch-optimized app. The latter does not support plugins or ActiveX components, but includes a version of Adobe Flash Player that is optimized for touch and low power usage and works only on sites included on a white list. Windows Store will be the only method of purchasing and downloading Metro-style apps, as well as advertising desktop apps. Metro-style apps are installed from the Windows Store, or in the form of a Line Of Business app on devices joined in a network domain.
Xbox Live integration (including Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Companion and Xbox Music) Windows Defender now has anti-virus capabilities, similar to those of Microsoft Security Essentials. It is intended to Essentials replace the Security Essentials package and function as the default anti-virus program.
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