5 Top New Features of Windows 8

Microsoft recently released a preview of Windows 8 features to the public, and we all got a glimpse of something truly new. Although the new system is built on the foundation of Windows 7, the overhaul has transformed it in fundamental ways. Here are the most notable new features:

1. Metro-Style User InterfaceWindows 8 Release Preview Start Screen

The first thing you notice when powering up Windows 8 is its new interface, which dispenses with the decades-old desktop metaphor in favor of customizable tiles.

Each tile represents a resource—items such as apps, contacts, calendars and so on—and you can group and organize them as you see fit. This design allows you to have all your information in one place, easily accessible. In addition, the information updates in real time, so you are always up-to-date.

2. Seamless Integration of Touch, Mouse and Keyboard.

Windows 8 allows you to work in the manner that best suits your task. So for example, if you’re using a touch-enabled PC, Windows 8 responds to your fingertips just as well as it would to a mouse or keyboard. The new system gives you the choice of a full QWERTY keyboard or a split “thumb” keyboard. What’s more, the layout of the keyboard automatically adjusts to the language you are using in Windows. And the language settings apply across your PC, not just per app.

3. New Login Methods

There are two new login methods available for Windows 8: you can set a PIN or a picture password. Using a PIN to login to your computer is just like using your debit card. Enter the 4-digit number and you’re ready to go. This is optimized for touch-enhanced PCs, but it will also work on desktops and laptops.

A picture password allows you to set up a set of gestures in a particular picture to login. These gestures take into account the shape, start and end points, as well as directionality. Five wrong gestures will lock you out of your computer, until you enter a text password.

4. Windows 8 is Cloud-Connected

Cloud computing solves so many syncing problems, it’s kind of crazy we’re just now getting the benefits of this superior method. With Windows 8, all your data and settings will reside in the cloud—so you can start a project on your desktop at work, pick it up again on your tablet at lunch, and finish it on your laptop at home. This also means things like your contacts, or your music files only need to be uploaded once, and they’ll be at your fingertips, no matter where you may be.

5. Internet Explorer 10

This version of IE shows more of the web and less of the browser; websites go clear to the edge of your screen. Surfing has also been taken to a new level, with every action only a swipe or tap away. It’s also great for web developers and designers who can now build web sites that run as fast as local apps.

We’ve only touched on a few of the features of this remarkable new operating system. If you’re interested in more, download the Release Preview here. Although there is no set date for the release it is expected to become available for purchase in September or October of this year.

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