How Windows 8 Became a Part of My Life
The OS I gave a chance to
So I’m sure you’ve heard that Windows 8 came out recently. Sure, everyone’s talking about it and they keep telling me how much it sucks (people who haven’t actually bought it) and why I shouldn’t upgrade. Why all the hate? Should I upgrade, or should I wait? Well I gave it a chance, and here’s my letter of recommendation to all of you.
Dear curiously worried individuals,
The unveiling of Windows 8 definitely caused quite the stir at its launch as Microsoft, the Redmond giant went for the largest, most unexpected and daring move by changing the traditional Windows platform. People freaked, but that was only natural. Their resistance to change has made them leave out the most quintessential view: what Windows 8 is actually capable of. As a very careful and thorough techie, I do my research before I purchase anything and here are the highlights of what most people complain about.
The Big #1: Interface, innovation or death by regulation?
Let’s face it, the interface definitely looks like it was made for touch, and most likely for the Surface but ended up being the Windows successor. There is no Start menu, but rather a new full screen divisive menu with tiles (which is pretty much an ‘updated’ version of the start menu). A ballsy move by Microsoft and I’ll admit, I had some misgivings on this initially because I’m a diehard Start Menu-goer but did you think Microsoft was ready to be rid of their most prominent feature? I know it’s a big change all of a sudden but Microsoft definitely isn’t stupid. The new divisive menu simply replaces the Start Menu, and (here’s where you can relax) for those diehard Start Menu-goers, it’s really, really easy to get it back, if you right click the left corner, a simplified Start Menu will appear. BOOM, POW!
My thoughts: while it is not perfect from my very own experience, it gets the job done, and after 3 weeks, it pretty much became a part of me. Like when we all first started, the mouse, the start menu and the right click button, it was all confusing. You see, Microsoft had no room for improvement, and the most prominent features were acting like a barrier from innovation. Give them about 3 years, they came back with something new and ballsy and not just polished up aesthetics. By the way, apps run in two different ways, with the new Metro UI, apps can run as a desktop app or a full screen app (you can see that Internet Explorer runs differently on the desktop and when accessed through the start screen)
#2: Microsoft forgot about their Gamers
I was a bit shocked at first as I am quite the big gamer but I realised that there is absolutely nothing that would pull me back from gaming. You see, I was one of those readers who relied on comments made by the giants in the industry, one in particular relates to Gabe Newell, the head of Valve (people who brought you Steam), when he called Windows 8 a catastrophe, many others in the industry followed suit.
My thoughts: Despite my initial stance, gaming in Windows 8? No biggie, no biggie at all. You see, like Gabe Newell and others, we were all looking at the interface, therefore it has absolutely no effect on the Gamers whatsoever, it’s practically identical, if not even better. That’s from my own experience, I’ve played Skyrim on max graphical settings with mods, I haven’t spotted a single evident flaw that would support the claims that gamers complain about, and I’ve found launching to be a lot quicker and easier. By the way, Steam works great, and Valve never claimed to abandon the Windows platform, as many software companies would in every OS update, they adapt.
#3: Desktop - it lacks innovation, there aren’t new features
Second to the start menu, the Desktop is no doubt Windows’ next biggest feature. Complaints range from the lack of new desktop features and innovation. Before I begin, I’d like to say that these people have not done their research and innovation? The damn Start screen is more than enough.
My thoughts: I’m so surprised that the complainers missed out on some new and improved key features of the new Desktop. I’ve found that the desktop offers a big performance jump as everything boots fast, and I mean fast which has kept me in for the long run. The speed improvement isn’t exclusive to the Desktop either, I’ve found that its very quick in most aspects of Windows 8 and that includes the amazing boot time with an SSD (Solid State Drive). Along with speed, there’s always a manager, the Task Manager is polished up with tons of information about your computer’s usage and processes. Let’s not forget that the pesky Windows Explorer is also a part of the Desktop. It brings some new handy context-sensitive menus which offers better file handling algorithm (faster copy + paste).
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Store
Like your Mac App store or your Google Play store,this one’s for Windows 8. It is built within the full screen mode, I think this is an absolute necessity for the future of Windows as I believe all apps should be in one place since you can discover, review and preview apps easier that way.
Let’s get more technical: Under the hood
Speed: The above are merely eye candy, let’s get more technical. I have noticed that everything renders faster (texts, menus, windows) in terms of responsiveness. This is all thanks to the new graphics subsystem that uses DirectX. Using Internet Explorer 10 as an example, it feels so fast, it’s like that feeling when you use Google Chrome, that’s how good it is. If you’re planning to get a Microsoft Surface, the graphics subsystem also provides a framework for 3D acceleration on mobile devices.
Printing: the relationship between windows and printers used to work like this - it has to keep track of thousands of individual drivers. In Windows 8, it works significantly better because it uses an ‘extendable print-class driver’ framework. What in the hell does that mean? Basically, it uses a single class driver that supports multiple similar printers and it manages print jobs and features in a much simpler fashion.
File History: this tool replaces the Backup & Restore feature from Windows 7. It stores incremental backups of all the files in your libraries … by versions. That’s right, you can restore any version of a file when changed, which I think is awesome. Please note that it is however, not turned on by default. File History will definitely go in my top 5 features of Windows 8, master-class programming, in my opinion.
Refresh or Reset: This feature is an upgraded system refresh capability that allows you to restore the system with a clean-install. You may think that you’d never use it, but let’s face it, there are some poor programmed applications out there that can damage your computer, and perhaps killer viruses as well.
Security: while researching I've noticed many reviewers mention nothing of this, so this is where I come in. While I've found it hard to find the exact details of the Windows 8 kernel, I’ve found many changes that made me call it a “rugged and modern” operating system. So what’s new?
- Secure boot: designed to protect your computer from low-level exploits, root kits and boot loaders it is a security process that requires all apps to be pre-signed with a valid digital certificate before running. This allows the system to determine any files that have changed before it gets to the login screen.
- Windows Defender: this is a built-in antivirus that Microsoft integrated, it used to be available for older versions to download but it wasn't pre-loaded with Windows 7. While it is very well done, the only criticism I’d give is that it cannot be uninstalled, however, it can be disabled if you want to use third party antiviruses.
- SmartScreen: If you use WOT, Kaspersky Safesurf or any other website rating software, you’ll understand what SmartScreen is. For those who do not, website rating software allows you to rate websites you go to, and it will warn you if a site has very bad ratings before you enter it. SmartScreen began with that concept for Internet Explorer, but it became a Windows 8 feature with a different approach: it’s designed for downloaded files. when a user downloads a program or file from the Internet, it filter checks to if it is popular, safe and/or otherwise malicious.
- Picture Password: I find this very innovative and the idea of it is you use images for photos, where you perform three gestures using circles, lines or taps. Even enabled on desktop, I found this more suitable for tablets.
- AppContainer: Probably the biggest new feature, it is the full screen mode apps that run in the all new secure application-sandbox environment. It prevents apps from interrupting with processes and programs. This is what Microsoft intends to do, in the future of Windows, apps will most likely be developed in this fashion.
Those are some of the awesome features of the new Windows 8 which took me by the eye and there are tons more features that I haven’t mentioned. I find that the improvements are ridiculously ramped up and have certainly been underrated by the average and techie consumers.
The Big Question: Should I upgrade? Should I buy it?
So to answer your question, should I upgrade? Should I buy it?
Definitely! Even though I believe it is not a perfect system and that I've had my hate on a few things, I truly believe that you’ll benefit from using Windows 8. The best thing is, compared to older versions, Windows 8 is the cheapest thing to upgrade in operating system history. With a 8-15 second boot time, rugged security, somewhat visual eye-candy (compared to Windows 7) and its highly innovative and responsive features, what’s not worth the buy?
With kind regards,
Last updated on December 3, 2012
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