Windows 8 is out: all the new features and versions
Microsoft launches its “most ambitious” operating system since the original Windows 95.
Microsoft Windows 8 went on sale to the public at midnight on the 26 October. After years of development, huge amounts of hype and a reinvigorated Microsoft, Windows 8 was released at a live event in New York.
From the 26 October everyone can go and buy Windows 8 and a host of Windows 8 devices, which range from desktops, all-in-one PCs, laptops to new low-profile tablets running the confusingly named Windows RT.
Windows 8 brings with it a whole new way of living with your devices. Using Live Tiles your new Windows 8 Start page displays a delightful, living, breathing array of tiles that you can move, configure and add to.
These bring your life to your desktop, showing updates from your friends on Twitter, Facebook and email, your favourite websites, weather updates, your latest photographs and a host of apps, music, films and media.
New technology in Windows 8 can help new systems start from cold in less than ten seconds. When powered down in sleep mode Windows 8 can spring back to life in under a second, so your PC is already ready to go when you are. No more long and tedious boot times.
The new Windows Store brings a world of cool, exciting and fun Windows apps to all of your devices. Download once and you can install your favourite apps across all of your Windows 8 devices with your settings and accounts transferring magically across all your devices.
At the heart of Windows 8 is a cloud system that will help take your account settings, documents and entire life with you, wherever you go. Moving from your home PC, to your living-room tablet, to your Windows phone and even to work, documents, films and music can be enjoyed and you can restart where you left off from.
If you own an Xbox 360 then SmartGlass ties your entertainment into Windows 8 too.
Windows 8 Versions
Two main versions will be available to buy or download, with a third coming pre-installed on low-power devices.
Aimed at most home users this offers all the main feature anyone could want for home use. It includes the Start screen, Live Tiles, Windows Store, Internet Explorer 10, connected standby, Microsoft account integration, the Windows desktop and more.
Windows 8 Pro
Everything in Windows 8 plus features for business and power users including: Remote Desktop server, Windows Server domain support, Encrypting File System, Hyper-V, and Virtual Hard Disk Booting, Group Policy, BitLocker, BitLocker To Go. With a free option for Windows Media Center as an additional download.
Only available pre-installed on new Windows 8 devices. This versions only runs on mobile processors used by Apple and Android devices and drops support for older Windows 7 software, so devices can be as thin, light and run for as long as possible. These versions will also ship with the mobile version for Office 2013.
You might also like to read:
- Top tips for using Windows 8
- What’s the difference between Windows 8 and Windows RT?
- Microsoft Surface tablets are released
- Add the classic Start Menu into Windows 8
- Xbox SmartGlass launches with Windows 8
- Xbox Music streaming comes to Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8