Microsoft Windows 8 Review - Compared to Windows 7, Installation, Look and Feel Review


Windows 8 Compared to Windows 7


Touch
is the single biggest difference between Windows 8 and its
predecessors. Unlike previous Windows generations, Win 8 has actually
been completely designed with touch in mind – hence the aforementioned
tile interface, formerly called Metro.




So
what if you don’t have touch? Well, nearly all of the touch-oriented
controls, functions and shortcuts can be manipulated with a mouse or
touchpad, and in Desktop mode navigation becomes almost familiar.



Windows 8 13

The
other big differences between Windows 8 and its predecessor are the new
Windows Store, Windows 8’s equivalent to Android’s Google Play or iOS’
App Store, the way these programs are managed, and lots of
under-the-hood tweaks.




Yes,
you will need to re-learn more than with previous Windows transitions
since Windows 95, but on the other hand there is much that is familiar
too, and, like Android, Windows allows apps that can alter its interface
and the ways you interact with it – unlike iOS, where you need to
jailbreak a device if you want to customise anything.





Windows 8 Installation


Installing
Windows 8 on a fresh machine is a very familiar process for anyone who
has tried installing Windows 7. Merely input your Region for Language,
Time and Keyboard settings, your license key, and whether you want to do
an automatic or manual install, and the rest practically handles
itself.




Once
the OS is installed but before the final setup, you can choose a colour
for your Windows 8 interface, hook up a network, and choose to log in
with a Windows Live ID from the likes of Hotmail. If you forgo the Live
ID, you’ll miss out on Windows 8 syncing settings and interface options
across your various Windows 8 devices. You also need to sign in with one
if you want to gain access to the Windows Store, but this is no
different to Android or iOS.



Windows 8 Install

Overall,
installation should take under half an hour, and under 20 minutes on a
fast machine. If you want to try Windows 8 without touching your Windows
7 install, just put it on its own partition and you’ll be offered the
choice of which OS to boot into, along with a customisable default, at
bootup.





Windows 8 Look and Feel


At
this stage, you have probably seen screenshots of Windows 8. If you’ve
experienced Windows 7 Phone, you’ll pretty much know what to expect from
the new tile interface.



Windows 8 10

Programs
and widgets are represented by various rectangular or square blocks
with bright, primary colours. Everything is sharp, flat edges and angles
with solid fills – don’t expect any curves or fades here. It’s
definitely distinct from other touch-based operating systems, cleaner
than some Android installs but not as regimented as iOS.




The
only playfulness in Windows 8’s touch interface comes either from
backgrounds, of which there is a wide selection with more undoubtedly on
the way, or from the images displayed in the tiles themselves.




In
a way, these tiles can be seen as ‘windows’ into your app, widget or
setting. Unfortunately, for now at least, the size of each tile seems to
be predetermined by either Microsoft or the developer.



Windows 8 9

The
disadvantage is that you can’t use existing wallpapers or pictures
(yet) for your background. However, you can do so for the lock
screen. Again similar to Android or other mobile OSes, the Windows 8 X86
lock screen doesn’t just show you your profile and lets you enter your
password, but it also gives you handy info like the date and time,
wireless signal strength, new appointments or emails and – if you’re
running it on a mobile device – remaining battery life.




Naturally,
many essential apps included with Windows 8 have also received a
complete make-over, and in many cases for the better. Take the new
Photos (equivalent to the previous Picture and Fax viewer default for
viewing pics of any kind). It makes full use of the screen without any
icons, menus or bars getting in the way – something that required you to
go into SlideShow mode in Windows 7.



Windows 8 7

As
you’d expect Photos is completely finger-friendly, letting you pinch to
zoom or swipe between pics smoothly. Exit your pictures library, and it
lets you pull up images from SkyDrive, Flickr, Facebook etc.
Essentially, it’s intuitive, pretty and comprehensive, more so than the
native app of any rival OS we can think of including previous Windows
versions.

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