Microsoft has finally released its game-changing operating system, Windows 8. This is the biggest change to the Windows OS since the launch of Windows 95. We've already spent a lot of time using Windows 8, so keep reading to find out what we think of Microsoft's latest operating system in this Windows 8 review - it's the only Windows 8 review you need.
Windows 8 launched on the 26th October and, as usual with Microsoft operating systems - apart from a few exceptions - will be the operating system on all new PCs and laptops. It's also available on tablets, starting with Microsoft's own Surface and, Windows Phone 8 is now available smartphones. In this Windows 8 review we cover everything except Windows Phone 8, which isn't yet available to test.
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Windows 8: All change please
You're probably familiar with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 since you use at least one or more of them on a daily basis. Although improvements have been made over the years, they're fundamentally the same as Windows 95. It doesn't take too much effort to switch between any of these versions, even though options have moved around a little.
With Windows 8, things change radically. The desktop, as you know it, is relegated to the side-lines to make way for the new so-called Modern UI (User Interface). This interface is designed to be used with touchscreens as well as with a mouse and keyboard, and requires programs to be written specially for it.
These Windows apps are downloaded via the new Windows Store, or from app developers' websites. The Windows Store is similar to Apple's App Store and Google's Play store. As of the October 26 launch date, there will be relatively few apps there, but the number will grow quickly as more and more people begin using Windows 8. Currently, many are free, and a small number cost a couple of pounds. Again, this is likely to change, so don't expect programs which cost, say £100 now, to be any cheaper when the Windows 8 app is released. See also: Best Windows apps: Windows 8 app group test.
You can still run programs written for older versions of Windows, but this is possible only on PCs and laptops: Windows 8 tablets (at least those which have ARM processors and run Windows 8 RT) won't have the traditional Windows desktop at all.
Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8
Windows key + Q: Search. This opens the search charm, set to whichever app you're currently using. You can quickly switch to a files search with Windows+F, or settings with Windows+W.
Windows+C: Open the Charms bar
Windows+H: Share charm
Windows+I: Settings charm
Windows+Z: Displays the app bar. This gives contextual options in each app.
Windows+X: opens the admin menu, which appears where the Start menu used to be.
Windows+D: Shows the traditional desktop. Press again to minimise all desktop windows.
Windows+L: Locks your computer and displays the Lock screen.
Alt+F4: Close current app. Also, you can use your mouse to click at the top of an app and drag it to the bottom of the screen.
Windows 8: Charms bar
The Charms bar is another brand new feature. It appears when you swipe your finger in from the right-hand edge of the screen. Those with a mouse can point the cursor to the top- or bottom-right corner of the screen (these are two of the new 'hot' corners in Windows 8).
From the top, you have Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings. Search is a replacement for the search box in Windows 7 and Vista, but a more capable version. The Share charm allows you to share things with people, but the options will change depending on which app is running. Extra sharing options will appear when you install apps that can share content, such as Twitter clients.
Start takes you back to the Start screen if you're in another app, or switches to the most recent app if you're on the Start screen.
Click or tap the Devices icon to show relevant connected devices. Printers, speakers, screens and network devices will be shown in a list. You can click on one to change its settings, or use any of its capabilities.
Finally, Settings gives quick access to Wi-Fi settings, volume, screen brightness and notifications options. It also provides a link to the new, streamlined control panel, simply named Settings. Clicking on the Settings charm will also show settings specific to the current app, so you might see common Help and About links for most apps, but an extra Accounts option for Mail, say.
Windows 8: Searching
For a list of all installed apps, swipe up from the bottom, or right-click, to bring up the bottom options bar, then choose All apps. A neat shortcut, if you know what you're looking for, is simply to start typing on the Start screen. This opens the search box, and you can filter results by type: Apps, Settings or Files. You can also apply that search to a particular app (Internet Explorer, for example) by clicking or tapping on it in the search box.
Multiple windows, Modern UI-style
When you tap or click on an app it opens in full-screen mode. Most apps are designed to work this way, but you can drag down from the top, then drag either left or right to resize the app to occupy a small column at either side. Three-quarters of the screen is then left for a second app (or the desktop, if you like). You can flip apps between these two positions by grabbing the black bar which separates the apps and dragging it left or right.
Windows 8 has made a really large change both performance and graphics. Many don't like it but many loves it. It will properly not be a flop like vista. But trust me! No matter how windows 8 will be like. Apples "Mac" will never take over. Windows is setting them self of over 90& of the OS market. Then Mac have 8& and last linux have 1.5& and the last 0.5& is smaller personal systems.
But Apple will never take over windows now. They had their chance once and screwed it up, they will properly never get a chance like that again. I am talking about the early computer days. apple did own over 95& of the computer market in the early 80's. But then Microsofts "Bill Gates" launched windows. Then windows took over the market totally. Now windows is just too large to go under.
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