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The Features

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On Tuesday Microsoft suffered its customary, nay weekly, security leak as confidential slides extensively detailing the company's plans for Windows 8 were splashed all over the Internet. We've taken some time to really dig deep into them, so let's take a closer look...

The Features

The main talking point up to now has been regarding what Windows 8 may or may not do. For me this isn't actually the most interesting aspect (more of later), but for now let's pick out the major talking points.

Windows Store - perhaps the most radical notion to come out of the slides, this marks a brave new dawn for Microsoft as it looks to create a safe haven where approved software can be browsed, downloaded and installed. It will all take place from a virtual store front built into Windows 8 with its content searchable from the Start Bar. Interestingly, user settings are held in the Cloud so - should serious system errors occur - Windows can be reinstalled and Windows Store software will reinstall automatically without any data loss.

Start Up Times - continuing a trend used to great effect in Windows 7, Windows 8 again places a huge focus on reduced boot times. It also looks to add a near instant resumption from standby capable of competing with typical smartphone platforms.

Facial Recognition - going where third party software has gone before, Microsoft appears keen to build facial recognition into Windows 8 in order to do away with password log-ins. The sounds good in theory, but it will have to be highly accurate so it isn't fooled by photos, or exploited by thieves who know a new and guaranteed way of getting access to your files.

Windows Identity - building on its use of the Cloud for Windows Store software, user identities can also be held online. These includes preferences, bookmarks and passwords so it is possible to log onto any Windows 8 machine and immediately find it setup to your liking. To quote the slides: "Windows Identity evolves from machine centric to user centric"

Software/Hardware Tie-in - looking to put the farce of 'Vista Ready' PCs behind it, Microsoft appears keen to push specific hardware guidelines for Windows 8 - much in the same way it now has strict minimum requirements for Windows Phone 7. The slides detail a futurist all-in-one PC which looks like it came from a Jonathan Ive doodle and references one hugely significant form factor focus: slates.

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