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Meet Microsoft's newest baby, Windows 8

Windows 7? That's so 2009
by Gelo Gonzales | Mar 2, 2012
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Our ears always pick up whenever we hear that Microsoft is about to release a new OS. It's always fun to pick apart the tech giant’s newest offerings. With Windows 8 about to make its public appearance in a small event in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress on February 29, we’re eager to pounce. In the event, Microsoft will be unveiling the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which will later be available for download for interested consumers to test.

Will this be a proper evolution of the generally solid Windows 7 or will this be a misstep such as the ill-fated Vista? We’ll find out soon enough, but for the meantime, we’ll get our geek on, and give you a rundown of some of the features of the Microsoft’s next big thing.

Windows has gone “metro”
Microsoft continues its quest to become even more hip than an Apple computer, and it all starts with its sleek, new “Metro-style” user interface. Its philosophy is to provide a clean, unobtrusive layout that will accommodate speedy access to content.

Pundits have been impressed with what they’ve seen so far, calling the tile-based interface (as opposed to the usual icon-based systems) sophisticated and neat, attractive and intuitive. Transitions and animations play a big part as well to make it seem like the interface is alive and responsive.

It’s got “charms”
”Charms” streamlines the way you use the traditional Windows start bar, and can be accessed by dragging the mouse to the usual spot where the start button is found. A sidebar then pops up offering five sets of options.

These are “Start,” “Search,” “Share,” “Devices,” and “Settings.” “Search” is self-explanatory, “Devices” shows you connected devices, and “Settings” allows you to quickly configure the current open application. “Start” takes you to the home screen—a hub where you can access programs and shortcuts. And under “Share,” you’ll see your social network sharing apps.

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Windows 8 boots up much faster. It does this by saving a little file of your session on your hard drive that essentially keeps drivers and other system processes “open.” Thus, booting up is faster than the traditional way where all those drivers and system files must be accessed and loaded up again once you’ve shut down.

NEXT PAGE: A new way to lock your computer

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