Windows 8 has been released. The new Windows 8 comes with brand new tablet interface and revamped traditional interface (Mouse and Keyboard). This redesigning is made possible with the help of Metro UI. Whatever Microsoft is claiming, the Metro UI is fantastic only on touch based gadgets or systems, it is not very convenient on traditional desktop/laptop with mouse and keyboard. But good thing is that you can switch anytime between Metro UI and Classic Windows desktop.
The new Metro UI is not resource hungry, it is not built as a layer on existing Windows system instead Metro UI is designed into core of Windows 8 which makes Metro UI as efficient as rest of Windows desktop. Windows 8 also have vast performance improvements, it is even lighter than Windows 7. Windows 8 uses less resources than Windows 7, which helps it to perform better in less powerful devices (tablets etc). These performance enhancements made Windows 8 perfect for Tablets.
Windows 8 new login screen is very beautiful with customizable image and little bits of useful information like time, battery etc. A real innovative functionality here is the “Picture Password” which actually lock pattern with different gestures which can be performed on Touch enabled devices and similar function can be done through mouse on traditional desktops.
The major change in Windows 8 design is definitely Metro UI. It is very similar to latest Windows Phone 7 UI. The main element of this UI is tiles which shows applications including its information and notifications. For example the weather tile will show current temperature and clouds it weather is cloudy or sun if its sunny day. It provides more functionality by letting users create tiles which can be of contacts, websites or traditional windows applications.
Metro apps are small yet functional applications, like mostly we use in iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. To launch Metro App you just have to tap/click its tile in Metro UI and it will go full-screen than, here touch plays important functions which are painful to do on mouse. The touch based functions are pinch to zoom, copy/paste etc. Some additional functions are done through charms bar like search, share and settings, you can get to charms bar by swiping right edge or by pressing Windows+C on keyboard
Classic Windows Desktop
Almost all of us are so familiar with classic Windows UI that it would be very difficult and painful for us to migrate to entirely new UI, Microsoft understands that and that is why traditional desktop is still there. The very major change you will see is that there is no START button and if you will press windows key or move your mouse to left bottom it will navigate you to Metro UI. Moreover, Windows 8 doesn’t have rounded corners like Windows 7 and Control Panel is slightly changed.
The Windows Explorer is now super cool with Ribbon UI we use in Office 2007+. It provides folder specific functionality, such as if you are exploring Pictures folders it will expose picture editing, sorting tools. Also it exposed some of the hidden features which were preciously available only through third-party add ons. Windows Explorer is more accessible with keyboard shortcuts of every item in the ribbon and UI customization with quick access keyboard.
Task Manager now look pretty good with total redesigning. Processes tab now looks pretty simple with task killing functionality. More functions include detailed CPU, RAM usage, Startup tweaking and Metro App history.
The Windows Store is available in Consumer Preview of Windows 8, it looks like home screen of Metro UI with different tiles for different categories, its much like Chrome Web Store. From it UI many of you may have assumed that it will only contain Metro Apps but it’s not the case, Windows Store is one place to find all Windows Applications. Right now Windows Store have all free applications from Microsoft and other partners but in future you can definitely expect paid applications to pop up.
The Cloud integration is really good in Microsoft Windows 8 which tightly integrates with skydive. It can synchronize all of your data including address book, photos, Windows preferences and 3rd party application data. You can get access to your data anytime with any Windows 8 device, all you have to do is to sign in. Address book is tightly integrated with cloud applications it is all in one place for your contacts including Facebook and Twitter contacts, you can also see status updates of contacts in address book.
Other very useful functions are system wide search, system wide spell checking and enhanced multi monitor support in which users can run Metro UI on one display and traditional desktop on other display. Another very useful feature is “refresh your PC” which can be used like restore points or to totally reset your Windows machine, it is very useful as you don’t have to install Windows 8 every time in case of some problem like you do in earlier versions of the Windows.
For more screenshots and download go to this page.