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What's New About Windows 8

Every three years or so, Microsoft will surprise users with a new version of their flagship Operating System. The time is once again drawing near, for a new version of Microsoft Windows - and developer's versions have already been leaked on the Internet. This is usually the last stage of development, and a proper Release Candidate should be ready soon, followed by a beta version and the actual commercial release.

Windows 8 is scheduled for launch somewhere in 2012, and at this point we already have a clear picture of the main features that will be included in it. For anyone who's curious to know what's new about the latest version of Microsoft Windows, this article will provide a quick round-up.

What you can expect from Windows 8

Multi-platform support: For the first time, Microsoft Windows will feature support for ARM processors, additionally to AMD and Intel machines. In simple terms, this means that Windows 8 will work with different new devices, such as smartphones and tablets in addition to your personal computer, of course.

Integrated touch input: even though Windows 7 already featured native support for touch input, it was clearly a bit of an afterthought. This time around, touch support was clearly refined as an integral part of the system, and Windows 8 was designed in a way that actually allows doing your everyday computing effortlessly via touch.

Redesigned user interface: As part of the evolution of touch support, Windows 8 features a completely redesigned user interface. Unlike previous versions, there are no icons on the desktop and even the Start menu is nowhere to be seen. Instead, a new tile-based interface is now in place, which is ideal for use with touchscreens.

Improved file explorer: As far as file management goes, you'll notice several improvements in the new version of Windows. The revamped file explorer now includes a ribbon-like display feature, which displays all the relevant information on your files (even metadata) without the need for right-clicking and editing the file properties as with previous versions.

Windows2Go: This is another innovative feature that allows you to store a working version of your Operating system in a thumb drive, which you can boot from any computer. This way, you can actually take your files, applications and documents with you anywhere you go, and keep working on any other machine as if you were using your own computer.

Integrated Virtual Machine: If you like using virtual machine software to run other operating systems along with your main OS, Windows 8 will make the process easier than ever before. With its native support for virtual machines, you will now be able to boot virtualized operating systems with no need to install third party software.

Improved Multiple Screen Support: From XP on, Windows already featured support for multiple screens. However, anyone who has actually tried using this feature knows it was often unresponsive. Not anymore! Microsoft has finally got this right, and using multiple screens with Windows 8 is guaranteed to be a pleasant experience.

File copy pause: Did you ever feel annoyed because you had to interrupt copying a huge set of files to your hard drive, because it was taking just too long and you had to stop it to make a download go faster or reboot the computer? Well, now the file copy dialog box features a much useful "pause" button, which allows putting file transfers on hold until the time is right.

Native ISO mount: Whereas Windows 7 already let you burn an ISO file to disk directly, Windows 8 takes it a step further and actually allows mounting your ISO file and accessing its contents with no need to burn it to a disk.

Improved Ease of Maintenance: If you've ever struggled with an installation of Windows that suddenly refused to work like it should, you know how frustrating it can get. With the newer Windows 8, a sophisticated "Refresh your PC" option is now available, that allows making a full reinstall with no need for a disc or even fiddling around with too many options. A matter of minutes is all it takes from when you activate this option until your Windows installation is good as new.

Get the most of your current computer: At this point you may be thinking "with so many bells and whistles, Windows 8 system requirements will likely be prohibitive". As matter of fact, they're not! According to Microsoft, the new version of Windows will run smoothly on any machine that already supports Windows Vista or 7.

With that in mind, one cannot help but to eagerly await for the new version, and wonder: did Microsoft finally get it right? Is this Operating System good enough to stand up to the latest Mac OS? It's only a matter of time before we know for sure, but so far it certainly looks like there's a good chance these possibilities will hold true.

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