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Friday, June 21, 2013

Everything You Need to Know About Windows 8

Everything You Need to Know About
Windows 8
well not really all
Windows 8 is finally available to download, but is your PC ready for the new operating system? Want to know the best new features and how to get around? Need to get your Start menu back? We're here to help you learn all the new features, shortcuts, and apps so you can be fully prepared for the upgrade.


The Best New Features in Windows 8 | How to Not Get Lost in Windows 8: The Best Shortcuts and Tricks | How to Prepare Your Computer for Windows 8


Why Does Everyone Hate Windows 8? Should I Upgrade? How to Bring the Start Menu Back in Windows 8 The Best New Apps In the Windows 8 Store


Top 10 Secret Features in Windows 8 | Win+X Menu Editor Customizes One of The Most Important Features of Windows 8 | 10 Awesome Improvements For Desktop Users in Windows 8

Windows 8 editions

Windows 8
Windows 8 is the basic edition of Windows for the x86 and x86-64 architectures. This edition contains features aimed at the home market segment and provides all of the basic new, Windows 8 features including the Start screen with semantic zoom, live tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, connected standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop, and more.

Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro succeeds Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate and is targeted towards enthusiasts and business users; it includes all the features of Windows 8. Additional features include operating as a Remote Desktop server, the ability to participate in a Windows Server domain, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy as well as BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Windows Media Center functionality will be available only for Windows 8 Pro, as a free "add-on."

Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows 8 Enterprise provides all the features in Windows 8 Pro, with additional features to assist with IT organization (see table below). This edition is only available to Software Assurance customers and was released on August 16, 2012.

Windows RT
Windows RT will only be available pre-installed on ARM-based devices such as tablet PCs, and was named for the Windows Runtime (WinRT) development platform that Microsoft is introducing in Windows 8. It will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the basic set of Office 2013 applications to users—Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and support device encryption capabilities. Several business-focused features such as Group Policy and domain support are not included.

Windows 8 "N" Versions
The Windows 8 "N" version is an edition which does not include a bundled copy of Windows Media Player. Microsoft was forced to create the special "N" editions of Windows after the European Commission ruled in 2004 that it needed to provide a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player tied in.

Development history

Early announcements
Windows 8 development started before Windows 7 had shipped in 2009. In January 2011, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), that Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be adding support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the x86 microprocessors from Intel, AMD and VIA. On June 1, 2011, Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 8's new user interface as well as additional features at the Taipei Computex 2011 in Taipei (Taiwan) by Mike Angiulo and at the D9 conference in California (United States) by Julie Larson-Green and Microsoft's Windows President Steven Sinofsky. A month before the BUILD conference was held, Microsoft opened a new blog called "Building Windows 8" for users and developers on August 15, 2011.

Developer Preview
A screenshot of Windows 8 Developer Preview running on a multi-monitor system, showcasing many features
Microsoft unveiled new Windows 8 features and improvements on the first day of the BUILD conference on September 13, 2011. Microsoft also released the Windows Developer Preview (build 8102) of Windows 8 the same day, which included SDKs and developer tools (such as Visual Studio Express and Expression Blend) for developing applications for Windows 8's new interface. According to Microsoft, there were more than 500,000 downloads of the developer preview within the first 12 hours of its release. The Developer Preview also introduced the Start screen. The Start button in the desktop opened the Start screen instead of the Start menu.
On 16 February 2012, Microsoft postponed the expiration date of the developer preview. Originally set to expire on 11 March 2012, this release is now set to expire on 15 January 2013.

Consumer Preview
The new File Explorer interface in Windows 8
On 29 February 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of Windows 8, build 8250. For the first time since Windows 95, the Start button is no longer present on the taskbar, though the Start screen is still triggered by clicking the bottom-left corner of the screen and by clicking Start on the Charm bar. Windows president Steven Sinofsky said more than 100,000 changes had been made since the developer version went public. The day after its release, Windows 8 Consumer Preview had been downloaded over one million times. Like the Developer Preview, the Consumer Preview is set to expire on January 15, 2013.

Release Preview
At Japan's Developers Day conference, Steven Sinofsky announced that the Windows 8 Release Preview (build 8400) would be released during the first week of June. On May 28, 2012, the Windows 8 Release Preview (Standard Simplified Chinese x64 edition, not China-specific version, build 8400) was leaked online on various Chinese and BitTorrent websites. On May 31, 2012, the Windows 8 Release Preview was released to the public by Microsoft.
Major items in the Release Preview included the addition of Sports, Travel, and News apps, along with an integrated version of Flash Player in Internet Explorer. Unlike the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview, the release preview is set to expire on January 16, 2013.

Final version
On August 1, 2012, Windows 8 (build 9200) was released to manufacturing. Microsoft plans to release Windows 8 for general availability on October 26, 2012. However, only a day after its release to manufacturing, a copy of the final version of Windows 8 Enterprise N (produced for European markets) leaked to the web and several days later there were Professional and Enterprise leaks both x86 and x64. On August 15, 2012, Windows 8 was made available to download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Windows 8 was made available to Software Assurance customers on August 16, 2012.

Microsoft’s Windows 8 terminology

Windows 8 Pro – The professional retail channel version of the Windows 8 operating system. It ships with additional features, listed above, that especially businesses and It professionals need for work. This is the version that Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 users can upgrade to when the operating system comes out.

Windows 8 Enterprise – This edition is only available through volume licensing. It includes all features of Windows 8 Pro, and additional features exclusive to this edition. A Windows Team blog post highlights these additional features:
  • Windows To Go, a “ully manageable corporate Windows 8 desktop on a bootable external USB stick”.
  • DirectAccess, to access resources inside a network from a remote location without launching a separate VPN.
  • BranchCache, caching of files, websites and other data from servers to avoid repeated downloads.
  • AppLocker, restrict files and apps that individual users or groups are allowed to run
  • VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) Enhancements
  • App Deployment to side-load internal Modern UI apps
Windows 8 RT – This edition of Windows 8 is not available in retail. It ships preinstalled on ARM-based devices, and is in many regards fundamentally different from the desktop editions Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. Probably the biggest difference is that you can’t run desktop software on it. Microsoft will make available specialized versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer for the edition, but the remaining software will consist only of Modern UI apps.

Media Center

Windows 8 Media Center Pack – Windows 8 ships without Media Center, a full screen media player and digital video recorder. Windows 8 Pro edition users can purchase the Windows 8 Media Center Pack to upgrade their version of Windows to Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. It basically adds Media Center, and with it the ability to play DVD movies to the version of Windows.

Windows 8 Pro Pack – Windows 8 edition users need to purchase the Windows 8 Pro Pack to upgrade their operating system with the same Media Center components. What’s interesting in this regard is that Windows 8 edition users will at the same time upgrade their operating system to Windows 8 Pro as well which means that they do get all the benefits of the Pro edition after the upgrade. Since this means two upgrades in one, it is likely that this upgrade will be more expensive than the Windows 8 Media Center Pack upgrade.

Windows 8 Pro with Media Center – This is the resulting edition when Windows 8 Pro users buy the Windows 8 Media Center Pack upgrade, and Windows 8 users the Windows 8 Pro Pack upgrade.


Metro – Metro is a design language created by Microsoft for Windows Phone 7. It has since been used in other Microsoft products including the Windows 8 operating system.

In August 2012, Microsoft started to contact developers, customers and employees to stop using the Metro name. It is generally assumed that this had something to do with the Metro trademark of German company Metro AG. Microsoft has been tight lipped since, and rumors spread that Microsoft was planning to use Windows 8 or Modern UI as a replacement.

Metro apps – Metro-style apps or Metro apps are fundamentally different from desktop programs in many regards. They are available as free or commercial apps in the new Windows store and created with the new Windows Runtime platform using a variety of programming languages. These apps have limited access to the operating system which limits them in term of functionality but makes it less likely that they will be abused for malicious purposes. The name change affects the terms as well, and it is likely that we will refer to these apps either as Windows 8 apps or Modern UI apps in the future.

Metro interface – The Windows 8 start page is usually referred to as the Metro interface. When you boot Windows 8 you boot into that startpage that displays a selection of Metro apps on it. Some of the tiles here are static, while others dynamic.

Let's take a moment to enumerate what the new OS brings to the party for everyone:
  • Much faster startup. Let's be honest, there's no comparison with the time it takes to start using an iPad versus a Windows 7 laptop. Windows 8 makes great strides towards eliminating this difference.
  • New Start screen with live tiles that update with app info such as arriving emails, news items, weather, and stock tickers. Default apps are included that provide all this.
  • Syncing with all your PCs through Microsoft account sign in. This capability syncs personalization preferences, Internet Explorer favorites, backgrounds, WiFi passwords and more with cloud-connected accounts.
  • New App Store. The apps sold here will run on both Windows 8 tablets and full PCs. The apps will have to pass standards, and can be updated and installed on multiple PCs in your account (just as with the Mac App Store). They'll also get the ability to connect with other apps for services like email or social network updating.
  • Improved battery life for laptops as well as tablets.
  • Faster Wi-Fi reconnect times.
  • Faster graphics and text performance, thanks to hardware acceleration.
  • A much improved Internet Explorer 10, with far better support for the new HTML5 standards and faster performance.
  • New file folder window choices.
  • New Task Manager
  • Trusted Boot. This prevents malware from loading before the OS, on systems with UEFI boot. In general, security is much tighter in Windows 8 than in Windows 7 (though we've heard that song before).
  • Built in Consumer apps—People, for social network contacts; Photos, Mail, Messaging, Calendar, Video,
  • ISO mounting. The OS can now make a disc image file appear as a drive.




The term "release to manufacturing" or "release to marketing" is used when software is ready for or has been delivered or provided to the customer. It is typically used in certain retail mass-production software contexts—as opposed to a specialized software production or project in a commercial or government production and distribution—where the software is sold as part of a bundle in a related computer hardware sale and typically where the software and related hardware is ultimately to be available and sold on mass/public basis at retail stores to indicate that the software has met a defined quality level and is ready for mass retail distribution. 


Retail is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user. Retailers are part of an integrated system called the supply chain. A retailer purchases goods or products in large quantities from manufacturers or directly through a wholesaler, and then sells smaller quantities to the consumer for a profit. Retailing can be done in either fixed locations or online. Retailing includes subordinated services, such as delivery. The term "retailer" is also applied where a service provider services the needs of a large number of individuals, such as a public utility, like electric power.


An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name. OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product. When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a replacement part made by the manufacturer of the original part. In this usage, OEM means "original equipment from manufacturer".

Definitions for system volume and boot volume

System volume

The system volume refers to the disk volume that contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to start Windows, such as Ntldr, Boot.ini, and

On computers that are running the Intel x86 line of CPU processors and later versions, the system volume must be a primary volume that is marked as active. This requirement can be fulfilled on any drive on the computer that the system BIOS searches when the operating system starts.

The system volume can be the same volume as the boot volume. However, this configuration is not required.

Boot volume

The boot volume refers to the disk volume that contains the Windows operating system files and the supporting files. By default, the Windows operating system files are in the WINDOWS folder, and the supporting files are in the WINDOWS\System32 folder.

The boot volume can be the same volume as the system volume. However, this configuration is not required.

There is only one system volume. However, there is one boot volume for each operating system in a multiboot system.

hash function is any algorithm or subroutine that maps large data sets of variable length, called keys, to smaller data sets of a fixed length. For example, a person's name, having a variable length, could be hashed to a single integer. The values returned by a hash function are called hash values, hash codes, hash sums, checksums or simply hashes.

32-bit and 64-bit Windows: frequently asked questions

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows?
The terms 32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (also called a CPU), handles information. The 64-bit version of Windows handles large amounts of random access memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.

Can I run 32-bit programs on a 64-bit computer?
Most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows will work on the 64-bit version of Windows. Notable exceptions are many antivirus programs.

Device drivers designed for the 32-bit version of Windows don't work on computers running a 64-bit version of Windows. If you're trying to install a printer or other device that only has 32-bit drivers available, it won't work correctly on a 64-bit version of Windows.

Can I run 64-bit programs on a 32-bit computer?
If the program is specifically designed for the 64-bit version of Windows, it won't work on the 32-bit version of Windows. (However, most programs designed for the 32-bit version of Windows do work on the 64-bit version of Windows.)
Device drivers designed for the 64-bit version of Windows don't work on computers running a 32-bit version of Windows.

If I'm running a 64-bit version of Windows, do I need 64-bit drivers for my devices?
Yes. All hardware devices need 64-bit drivers to work on a 64-bit version of Windows. Drivers designed for 32-bit versions of Windows don't work on computers running 64-bit versions of Windows.

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