For example, Microsoft is still yet to produce a proper, dedicated Windows 8. When the Office tile is tapped, the whole OS switches to Desktop mode, a jarring process that can be confusing and is in no way smooth. While legacy apps are still compatible, the process of using them is confusing and feels, above all else, unpolished. This is in part thanks to Microsoft's lack of a clear update mechanism and additionally because of the pig's ear that it made of things when Windows 8 was released.
Indeed the newest version Windows 8. Microsoft will remedy this with a brand spanking new update process when Windows 10 is released, but whether or not it comes close to the Apple Mac App Store's slick and easy OS X update process remains to be seen. The day when Windows 8. It's an even worse story for Windows 8. This comes from a lack of apps made specially for Windows 8.
Consumers, on the other hand, have a much tougher choice to make. If, like me, you prefer to keep your software up to date, then upgrading to Windows 8. If you've already invested in the Windows ecosystem — through Windows Phone, for example — then Windows 8.
Windows 8. If you're willing to put up with the awkward transition from the tile interface to the desktop one, then you are opening yourself up to a lot more apps. Microsoft is encouraging developers to create apps that work in full-screen in a similar fashion to how apps work on a Surface or iPad, meaning that tablet-style apps are possible on your desktop. This has obvious advantages, with casual games becoming a reality just as they are on tablets.
Microsoft is working on getting as many developers on board as they can, with some big name apps already appearing on the Store. Scrolling horizontally feels natural, though certain operations, such as removing a program from the Start screen, aren't intuitive enough and show the UI's tendency to favor touch. In this case, you have to right-click a tile and select an option from a menu that pops at the bottom of the screen. On a mouse-oriented interface, you would get a contextual menu where you clicked.
Software installed from the Windows Store is added to Start in a few clicks, showing how these new and often simpler apps have been optimized for Metro.
Conversely, traditional desktop programs get ugly shortcut tiles, and some applications that are unaware of Windows 8 can add many unnecessary tiles to the Start screen, like uninstallation or program help shortcuts.
This issue is replicated when you use the "All programs" menu. Until third-party software is updated, what you get is an alphabetical list of all possible shortcuts from software installed on your PC, not just programs. On the upside, for less demanding users who want to discover what the new OS and interface has to offer, Windows 8 enjoys of a healthy list of free software you can easily install from the Windows Store.
Think about the first time you used an iPhone or Android smartphone and downloaded something from their respective app stores. A few taps later and you can successfully download a handful of programs to try. It's the same here, and that's a first for Windows.
User Accounts, Getting Social and the Cloud Upon installation, Windows 8 prompts you to set a user account for the first time. As usual, you can get started with a local account and password, but now you also have the option to login with your Microsoft account Hotmail, Xbox, etc. One of the advantages of choosing the latter is that you can sync settings across Windows 8 devices, your lock screen, wallpaper, Internet Explorer open tabs and history, color scheme, among a few others, but not your tiles, which would have been ideal.
Using your Microsoft account to sign in will also get the Mail, Contacts and People apps filled with the appropriate information, which may be useful for some. If you have a Skydrive account, photos can be seamlessly backed up to the cloud, which is one of the ways Windows 8 leverages the cloud and makes Skydrive omnipresent.
The Calendar can add your Google Calendar data, too, and across these applications, it feels like Microsoft has done a great job to integrate popular services, even when each of the apps' options remain spartan. Metro Apps I spent little time using Metro-style apps because they are a bit gimmicky on the desktop. For example, the built in weather, news and stocks tiles can show usable and interesting information at a glance, but I rarely stop to see what's in there while I'm working.
The Mail app is nicely styled, but in terms of usability, the fonts are too big and on the desktop you don't really need a mail application to take over your whole screen, especially not on a big monitor. A beginner who needs simple mail access might find this convenient, but any standard email program works better on the desktop.
This last scenario plays out a lot with most of the "modern" Metro-styled apps. You get a bold interface that turns your PC into an appliance, and that can be a good thing if you want to perform one specific task at a time.
But if you want your PC to serve as a PC, you'll be going back to the desktop. And if you're going to live on the desktop, we must address the absence of the Start button. Note the difference between Start button and the Start menu. The former could have remained part of Windows, even if it was added as a shortcut to the Start screen.
You might recall a video from the first Windows 8 public preview where an average dad couldn't get around Windows without a Start menu for navigation. There's also a joke about how you can't turn off a Windows 8 PC it's hidden on the Charms bar, and it takes a few clicks to get there. I've been using Windows 8 for a few months counting the betas and I sometimes feel the same way.
Stardock and Pokki offer a Start menu add-on that work well, but that's beyond the point. For such a customizable operating system -- heck, it even has two Settings menus, one in Metro and the usual Control Panel -- it's missing the option to add a Start button if you don't like the lower left hot corner to access Start.
Hot corners work kind of ok if you are on a single screen. I imagine they also work well on touch screens, but they are clumsy to use when you are using two monitors or more. The Charms bar would have no room to exist if Windows remained a desktop operating system, but in slate mode, it works as a contextual menu for settings, searching within an app and for going back to Start.
You may recall how Windows 7 dropped most annoying balloon notifications by condensing them to a single configurable icon on the taskbar. Windows 8 notifications use a different approach because they are Metro-based, meaning they're a bit bolder and match your color theme.
I'm not particularly keen of them, so it's great there's still a way to manage them, but I feel I should mention this because it's the type of dialog that can pop up and somewhat disrupt the visual environment you're in. There are a few other instances when you will get "Metro" prompts on the desktop, such as when you try to open a file without a program association.
It's as if the developers wanted to force a merger of both sides of the OS, but the end result doesn't feel as natural or as polished as it could have been. To smooth the transition between the new UI and the old one, windows are now flat and no longer translucent, which does help a bit and gives the desktop a modern minimalist look.
Windows Explorer with the ribbon interface works well and for some reason does not feel as intrusive as it did when Office first implemented it. The ribbon is also context-aware so it will gray out the options that are not available for certain files or locations. The Windows 8 desktop experience has been polished over Windows 7.
Visually, the system appears more responsive than before. I say visually because in our formal testing we discovered that both operating systems tend to perform very closely for the most part. However, Windows 8's combination of sleeker transitions and no lag between actions make the system appear more responsive, and it does boot up and shut down faster.
It's also better optimized to wake up from sleep than its predecessor, and is meant to make your battery life last longer, though we didn't test this last part.
The Task Manager is hugely improved. You can manage running programs and services, and get very detailed data on what's going on your system at any given time. From the same window, you can configure startup programs and get information on whether a specific program or service is causing major delays at launch. In short, the Task Manager is way more powerful. Another valuable addition aimed at advanced users is the power user menu.
Right-click the lower left corner Start hot corner and you'll find a menu of system setting shortcuts, including Command Prompt with admin privileges , Device Manager, Event Viewer, System Properties and Network Connections. File copying has received a nice upgrade with a more detailed dialog box and a real-time throughput graph that shows the status of the transfer. And while on the subject of file management, Windows 8 has added a new capability called File History that helps you create automated backups of important files.
This feature is not enabled by default, but if you have a roomy secondary hard drive or external drive then this becomes a must-have. File History is easy to setup by picking the files you want Windows to backup can be entire directories or libraries , and the OS will monitor for changes and save copies of these files, including previous versions. Another new storage capability, albeit more advanced in nature is Storage Spaces.
In short what this provides is a way for you to mirror an entire drive RAID style using software, so you can have two or even three redundant copies of your files in case of drive failure.
Search functionality on Windows 8 works well. The OS should be able to discern that or at least try. Macs have a considerably better solution with universal search in OS X. Personally, I don't believe Internet Explorer is a factor to be considered.
It basically depends on your needs and what you are going to be using Windows for. The rank of functionality from highest to lowest of the three Windows versions is: Ultimate — Professional — Home Premium. Here are some things that you may want to consider when deciding on which version of Windows 7 to purchase.
Basically, it works like this: Windows 7 Home Premium gives you all of the essentials. From there, Windows 7 Professional adds a couple more features. One windows 7 vs windows 8 comparison free download step up gets you the top of the line Windows 7 Ultimate which has all the bells and whistles.
Here is a diagram, straight from Microsoft, that gives a good general overview of this:. Microsoft recommends Home Premium for the most basic computer users, who use their computers to do common things such as email, surf the web, edit documents, etc. The next step up from Home Premium is Windows 7 Professional, which adds three major features: XP ModeDomain Windows 7 vs windows 8 comparison free downloadand the ability to back up to a home or business network.
XP Mode is basically a way to allow people to run older software, that is not compatible with Windows 7. It allows you to join the computer to a Windows Server Active Directory domain. This is another feature that can be replaced using several of the great freeware apps out there.
If you are planning on using this a feature like this at the office, take into consideration that most businesses do not use Windows backup. The majority of the time, they use specialized solutions. Now, what features does Professional lack from Ultimate. Two main things: Bitlocker, and multilingual support.
As you may have guessed, there are plenty of freeware apps out there that could easily replace the functionality of Bitlocker. However, they may not be as convenient to use. Multilingual support is one difference, among many, that actually may be hard to replace effectively with a freeware app. There are freeware apps out there that specialize in translation; and you can download free Microsoft language packs.
However, this will not give the ease of the built-in language switching capabilities of Windows Ultimate. Worth the upgrade? If you are debating between Professional and Ultimate, you might as well swing the extra 20 bucks and go for Ultimate. If you are debating between Home Basic and Ultimate, you decide. Freeware apps are what they are and they are not built-in to Windows. If you believe that you will use several of the features that Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate offer, and want to use Microsoft programs, go for the upgrade.
Regular followers of Online-Tech-Tips? If you want to know the exact differences between each and every versions of Windows 7, check out this Wikipedia article. Founder of Help Desk Geek and managing editor. He began blogging in and quit his job in to blog full-time.
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