Overview: New Windows 8 Features

Guy Thomas

Guy Thomas is a computer consultant and writer with attitude and a great sense of humor.

The new features in Windows 8 illustrate how much Microsoft’s perfected concepts introduced in Vista and improved in Windows 7.

Windows 8 Metro UI Start Screen

There is no doubt that the Metro UI will be the killer reason for early adopters to buy Windows 8.  I see lots of cheap tablet sales to people who can’t wait to get their thumbs on the apps in the new user interface.

Windows 8Windows 8

The first thing you notice after Windows 8 initializes is a new tiled Start screen, which replaces the Windows 7 desktop.  As you swipe the screen from right to left, a special overlay appears, which is rich in customizable apps.

Windows 8 UI is not so much “Touch-centric,” but “Touch-first.”

While this new display feature is ideal for horizontal screens such as tablets, the tiles do work well on bigger screens because they respond to a mouse click almost as easily as a finger.  Incidentally, the Metro UI also goes by the nickname MoSh (modern shell).

Windows 8 Metro UI Windows 8 Metro UI

Microsoft Windows 8 Requirements
No new features here. Windows 8 will need the same system requirements as it’s predecessors, namely, for a 64-bit system:

1GHz Processor, 2GB RAM, 20GB disk space, DirectX 9 graphics card.  You can get away with 1GB of RAM on 32-bit systems.

The only problem with Windows 8 requirements is that you really need a touch screen to benefit from the Apps in the Metro UI

Windows Explorer Ribbon
Another new feature for Windows 8 is a ribbon for Explorer (I am not talking about IE here).

Windows Explorer RibbonWindows Explorer Ribbon

Microsoft introduced the ribbon in Office 2007; at first many of us did not ‘get it.’  But now I think the ribbon has come of age and I am comfortable with the Windows 8 version because the menus are better designed and more intuitive.

‘Steadily improving and no longer a shock for we users.’ Mr Sinofsky.

The new Windows Explorer focuses on three tabs at the top: Home, Share and View.  (See screen shot).  Further down, on the left side is the File menu to cater for common operations such as ‘Copy’.  Incidentally, I find ‘Copy as path’ handy for pasting a file path into another Explorer window.

Aero Auto-Colorization
Auto-colorization is an example of a Windows 8 feature that you can customize more than the equivalent in Vista or Windows 7.  The idea is that you can change the appearance of Windows shell, menus and taskbar.  It’s worth seeing the extra Personalization options for example, Windows Color and Appearance.