Windows 8: First Look and Feature Breakdown

Firstly, an apology:  It has been difficult for me to keep up with the rigors of the holidays, child supervision, employee management and friendship over the last several weeks.  I’ll attempt to post more regularly as this wonderful season winds down in the next two weeks.

And now, back to business!  Windows 8 is expected mid-to-late 2012, which puts us just before a beta version.  I don’t know about you, but I’m excited!  I’ve learned of several features that show great promise for those of us in the PC world and today I’ll endeavor to share the highlights with you.

Foremost on the list for me is the ability of a Windows 8 installation to run from a “live” disk.  As a Linux user, I’ve enjoyed this capability for years and it’s more than invigorating to see it finally coming to close-sourced computing.  Microsoft has made it known that they intend Windows 8 to be a multi-platform operating system, where you can use an array of tablets, laptops, mobile devices and desktops to perform your computing tasks, all within the same desktop environment–without the client-server model being necessary.  Previously, this was only possible through the use of desktop virtualization and terminal services, which was far too expensive and impractical for the home user to implement.  Taking a USB thumb drive on a keychain is quite an evolution from a 5lb laptop.

A close second on the list stems from my gaming roots:  Xbox Live is finally entering the cross-platform world!  PC gamers, cell phone gamers and console users will finally be able to play against and alongside of one another for multiplayer bliss.  I’m surprised it has taken this long but am very much welcoming this change and I know many of my friends share in my enthusiasm.

UEFI is another reason to look forward to Windows 8.  Basically, Windows will be secured (at least at first) against sophisticated malware such as TDL4, an iteration of malware that infects the firmware and boot records of current hardware.  It sounds like a good thing but only if hardware manufacturers allow consumers the ability to choose to use UEFI.  Mandated use will likely prevent the installation of secondary operating systems, such as Linux, from running alongside of Windows and could even prevent them from being installed at all.  This would be very constrictive indeed and would move this from a pro to a con.  Anyone care to raise a glass to the hope that they get it right?

An App Store could be a welcome addition as well, as long as they implement it properly.  How great would it be to have something similar to current app stores but for use within your desktop computing environment?  Microsoft is vigorously working on this feature and has released early software development kits to spur the production of these apps.

Windows Defender is getting a massive boost as well, which may even remove the need for people to purchase third-party anti-malware software.  It is about time!  Since its inception, there has been no operating system nearly as vulnerable to security threats–as Windows.  Hopefully, this will change with Windows 8.  Windows 7 made marked improvements, but still had fundamental architectural problems that allow for many holes for malicious programs to worm their way in.  Who knows–with a better architecture and better defense, maybe I’ll stop getting calls about malware and have to start making money some other way!  For your sake, I truly hope so.

At any rate, I’m off to install the Windows 8 pre-release Alpha on my system.  I’ll be posting my impressions over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.  In the mean time, Merry Christmas!  Jesus Christ is THE reason for the season, the reason I live, breath, and why I give away this information.  I hope you come to know Him.  In the end, He’s all that matters and the only real guarantee of a Happy New Year.

About hdantman

Jesus Christ died to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. Everything else is secondary. Husband, Father, Friend, trying to love and serve as best I can, seeking forgiveness from you when I fail. Principal of ComputeRx, LLC.
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