quote RedemptionMy Sis Says windows 8 is compicated.The past few days I've been researching more about Windows 8, and more and more I am convinced that it isn't as bad as people might think. I've compiled a list of items that I personally think are major Pros of the new OS.
Pros for Desktop and Hardcore users
These are improvements that have nothing to do whatsoever with Metro/Modern UI, and are instead core OS improvements. Keep in mind this is based on results of the RTM/Final, not on Consumer Preview or Developer Preview which were unpolished and might have had bugs/useability.
- Faster startup/shutdown performance
- faster startup times (more than 50% faster).
- faster shutdown, resume, and hibernate times (50% faster).
- Resume and hibernate are especially impressive. Faster shutdown is VERY impressive considering that shutdown has changed to be a hybrid hibernate.
- I've seen some systems startup from cold boot in 20 seconds - compared to 45 seconds on Windows 7. Don't forget Windows 7 is already much faster than XP.
- Faster disk performance
- copying, moving, deleting files are all faster, by up to 25%.
- copying/moving can be paused, and resumed later.
- Faster windows performance - because Aero is removed and much of the OS is streamlined for lower end CPUs, tests show that Windows in general performs faster by 10-20% in regular Windows operations (eg resizing windows, moving them around etc.).
- Faster performance on similar hardware: subjective tests show that Windows 8 is subjectively faster,smoother, and more responsive than every other Windows before it on similar hardware. In fact, on older hardware running XP that meet the Windows 8 min specs, we can see Windows 8 is significantly more enjoyable to use. This might give older machines a new lease on life (and at only $40 until Jan 2013, upgrading from XP is relatively cheaper than Windows upgrades have ever been that I can recall).
- Improved Multi-Monitor Support
- This is my personal MUST HAVE improvement. On Windows XP/Vista/7, if you run multiple monitors, the Startbar doesn't truly extend to other monitors. If you move an app to the other monitors the icon stays on the main monitor's taskbar. In Windows 8 they finally fix this natively. In Windows XP/Vista/7 you can always get a third party util to simulate the behaviour (I use DisplayFusion), but these are very laggy and slow down the PC because these utils are simulating behaviour. I'm guessing they hide the icon from one bar and write it on the other, and this is a constant CPU/Memory usage.
- Improved laptop battery life
- Windows 8 includes better idle controls of variousu components, meaning it idles hardware components like USB controllers more intelligently. Some tests show a 5-10% improvement in idle battery life (this could mean 10-40minutes extra of idle time on existing hardware). Some tests show Consumer Preview with worse battery performance but I think many of these were tuned for RTM.
- Removing Aero would affect battery life. This is because Aero makes use of GPU effects that ultimately draw more power.
- Better security:
- Modern UI apps are now run in their own sandbox. This is a very sophisticated technique that I'm very excited about.
- Windows 8 has improved kernel and memory security.
- Bitllocker is more a useable alternative because its performance has been improved by only encrypting used disk space, instead of the entire disk.
- Devices with TPMs (Trusted Platform Modules) now enable Windows 8 to directly use the TPM to sign more things. I actually thought Windows 7 could do this so I'm not sure if this is marketing, or just improved access to the TPM through native support. I like this because it might enable more seamless/secure usage of fingerprint readers or allow safer banking/site security.
- default support of UEFI secure boot to sign and validate boot components to reduce effectiveness of rootkits. I think this feature might only be usefulfor newer systems since many motherboards might not support UEFI to begin with.
- Superior system sync. MS has taken a book out of Apple and Google's book, and binds your system to your Microsoft account, to enable certain sync features. Most of us are already spoiled by Chrome sync (and the less impressive Firefox sync) that will keep bookmarks sync'd, but now MS is starting to play with things like App syncing. Currently only the default MS apps sync but I think the platform will enable other apps to easily sync. The most basic of example of this is that all your control panel settings, desktop backgrounds, icons, etc are sync'd across all your systems. To me this is the nice start to a major game changer.
- Bundled into superior system sync are Cloud tools that integrate better with cloud systems such as SkyDrive, Flickr, and Facebook. I'd have to see how well this works, but some people have found it pretty impressive.
Some Pros that might rely on the new Metro UI
- Achievements are now integrated into the OS. So Modern UI games can have Achievements and this can be explored right in the OS.
- Modern UI apps are built in a certain way that further increases security and battery life. They suspend when not in focus and use fewer resources when idle.
- Laptop manufacturers who update their touchpad drivers will allow laptops to use edge gestures and multi touch gestures natively in the OS. I've seen lots of laptops by Samsung and others who try to simulate what OSX supports and every time it looks painful. Now that Windows is natively supporting gestures and improved touch support, I suspect the overall user experience will improve from here on out. I'm especially intrigued by edge gestures, which RIM's Playbook uses to great effect.
Cons: Start button?
Let's examine whether the missing Start button is really as bad as it sounds. After reflecting on it more, and studying my own usage and the usage of those around me, I have come to the conclusion the Start button is antiquated and probably useless to a true power user who takes advantage of the power of Windows 7. The only reason I open the Start button today is to perform a search, go to Control Panel, or to start CMD. I rarely every go into All Programs and when I do its a nightmarein there. I rarely even go into Control panel ever since Windows 7 since I can always find what I want by searching. Eg, if you want to open up printers I type "printers" and press enter. I don't open up Control Panel and look for the printer icon. The only other time I use the Start Button is if I can't remember the name of an app, but I can remember where I put it (my utils folder for instance). Here I think the missing start button will be more painful.
Why is the missing Start button not a big deal in Windows 8? The way to get to search, control panel, and other commonly used items are now accessible using alternate means. Almost any app I use regularly are on my Desktop or pinned on my taskbar. I think Microsoft is onto something here by trying to move the world off of the Start Button and onto more semantic gestures and interactions. This will drive the future of interactive UI, and make possible things like touch screen laptops (which Steve Jobs thinks are a stupid idea, but which I really look forward to), and even more futuristic things.
Well anyway, I haven't used Windows 8 final, and I'm sure what I research is different than what a person can experience. I know many of you guys aren't interested in Windows 8, but I'm seriously considering getting the upgrade whilethe upgrade price is valid. The upgrade price is valid until Jan 2013 and is $40 for the download if you already own XP, Vista, or 7. I think in this area MS has really listened to customers. This is one of the most economical OS upgrades period.
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