Windows 8 Release Preview: Hits

Windows 8 Release Preview: Start Screen

Windows 8 Release Preview: Start Screen

Finally, after a couple of bumps and bruises, I downloaded and tested Windows 8 Release Preview (32-bit). It seems Microsoft has put up a really good work in it, although there a lot of hits and misses.

Today, I’d like to introduce what I liked most about Windows 8. I will probably post about the dark side of Windows 8 too, but that should remain for another day.

Performance on low-end hardware

Windows 8 Preview Release (32-bit) runs very smoothly on low-end hardware. My test machine, in this case, was an HP Mini 2140. This computers is equipped with an Intel Atom N270 running at 1.6 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and an integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics chip. Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not run pleasantly on this device and Windows XP is not the most elegant choice either. Windows 8 Preview Release, however, works admirably well. There is no need to install many of the HP drivers or utilities.

Smaller footprint (9 GB)

An installation of Windows 8 Preview Release (32-bit), along with its page file and hiberfil.sys file, occupies only 9 GBs of hard disk space. Windows 7 occupies 18 GB.

Action Center

Action Center has become a significant center of attention for system administrators on both home and business computers alike. Evolved out of the very simple Security Center introduced in Windows XP, Action Center has now become something on par with the utility hubs seen in utility suites such as TuneUp Utilities (TuneUp GmbH), System Mechanic (iolo technologies, LLC) or … the now discontinued Windows Live OneCare (Microsoft Corporation).

Windows Defender

Windows 8 comes with an antivirus component of its own. Windows Defender, previously an antispyware component, has now become a full-fledged antivirus component. It can detect and destroy all variants of malware, including viruses, spyware, adware, Trojan horses and worms.

Tahoma v5.24

Windows 8 now includes a new version of Tahoma font which is more beautiful than before. It has now become the default font of Windows 8, taking over the duty of Segoe UI. Its Arabic script has received significant improvements, which should make Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons users very happy.

Task Manager

Task Manager in Windows 8 is now better than ever. Its Processes tab now categorizes the running processes , making it easier for non-technical users to find their way amongst the mess of the many processes that run on Windows 8. (Still, if you prefer the bad old messy Processes tab, you’ll find under the new Details tab.) Also, it now sports a new Startup tab that takes over the duty of managing apps that start with Windows from the infamous msconfig.

Ribbons

Finally, Windows Explorer has deprecated toolbar and menu bar in favor of ribbons. Ribbons make working with software easier – if designed well.

File operation dialog box

The new file operation dialog box appears when user copies, moves or deletes a file. The new dialog box shows a speed graph that also acts a progress bar.
This new dialog box has a couple of cool features. First, when it finds file conflicts, (such as a file in the destination that has the same name as one of the files being copied there,) it continues to copy the rest of the files while user decides how to resolve the conflict; thus the operation completes faster. In addition, multiple file operations no longer generate multiple dialog boxes. Rather, the same dialog box shows the progress of all of them.

Easily uninstall apps

Windows 8 allows users to quickly uninstall an app by right-clicking on it in the Start Menu (or shall I say Start Screen) and select Uninstall. Metro-style apps go immediately. For traditional applications, Windows launches Unintall module of Control Panel. I have no statistics but I think Uninstall is probably the most visited part of Control Panel.

Weather App

Weather App is great. It is comprehensive and has everything one might need. The user interface is also amazingly beautiful. (Beauty is rare thing the ugly Windows 8.)

Programs may create Uninstall shortcuts...

While using the new Start Screen (the HD version of Start Menu), I noticed that although programs do make Uninstall shortcuts in the Start Screen folder, Windows does not display them. This behavior is not consistent, e.g. Windows 8 did hide the uninstall shortcut of QuickTime or Macrium Reflect but did not do so with Norton Antivirus or Outpost Internet Security. Never the less… (Continued.)

...but Windows 8 does not display them

(Continued from the previous image) This is good news indeed. Badly developed programs crowd the Start Menu with their redundant shortcuts that one never uses, including Uninstall, Readme, Help, Register, License Agreement, Website, etc. Uninstall shortcuts, however, are developers’ insult to themselves because they imply that their host program is so bad that users might want to uninstall them anytime and ask for a refund.

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Posted on 21 July 2012, in Software Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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