Windows 8 and the Changes That Will Change How You Compute
Windows 8 has not been experienced by many people, because the consumer preview did not have all of the features, and because the official launch has not happened yet. Many are interested not just in the new features, but what the paradigmatic change in the user experience will be, once there is no more Windows Start button. There are a lot of changes that make Windows 8 from just another Operating system roll-out. There are security and functionality enhancements, as well as a cleaner and less confusing interface. Previous functionality is missing, replaced with new functionality, and users are already beginning to wonder what the changes are going to do for them, and why these changes were important in the first place!
The first thing that is going to change is that more users will want to try to add touch-screen technology as an additional way to interface with their computer or other device besides the keyboard and mouse. Some worry that the keyboard and mouse will be phased out due to lack of demand, however the number of third-party keyboards being sold for the iPad and other tablets and even phones is evidence enough that the keyboard is here to stay. Less clear than that is the fate of the mouse, which can be easily replaced by touching and tapping on a screen. However I am sure that mice and trackballs in keyboards are here to stay: humanity stays with the familiar, and the QWERTY keyboard we all grew to know on the typewriter has finally made it to the PC, blackberry, and iPad.
Now that you know that you have either the choice to explore touch-screen or you can continue to use a traditional keyboard and mouse, as I do, you might worry about the lack of a start menu. This removal of the Windows Start Button and Start Menu is worrying so many people, and it will be hyped many more times in respectable journals from now through Christmas. It is nothing but hype. While it is true that the start key and start menu have been removed, they have been replaced with a tiles system that you can lay out in a convenient way. You will be using your entire desktop background as a giant start menu. Another improvement which is not immediately obvious but will prove very important is the removal of the application icons. The icons and font styling of many applications force you to re-focus to the style of each particular application. With Windows 8, the icon and most of the visual customizations are gone, giving you a consistent look and feel when looking at titles and statuses of applications, without the need to immerse oneself into the world of that application. Together this will mean that there is indeed a super-start menu instead of the one that was there before.
With Windows 7, users were generally using the Windows user interface on their desktops, possibly on their laptops, but they were unlikely to use it on their phones and tablets. With Windows 8, the phone, the desktop, the laptop, and the tablet will share the same style of desktop and operation. Many people will also be using SkyDrive or Office 365 SharePoint for storage, and this integration with the cloud will link their documents and settings across devices for a seamless user experience everywhere. This will be helpful at home, at work, and on-the-go.
Once people try out Windows 8, they will find that many of the things about Windows that were annoying, are now gone. They will see improvements that go beyond what they have imagined, and of course the same completely stable Windows core that we have all grown to know and love with Windows 7, with enhancements, will give us the reliability everybody has come to expect.