Windows 8: Definitely NOT the Same Old Remix!
Scheduled for release in October 2012, Windows 8 takes a giant leap in user experience with an all new touch interface. This is the most radical change in the operating system since the launch of Windows 95 seventeen years ago.
How different is it? Simply put, this version of Windows comes with a significant learning curve. For starters, the Windows 8 interface is a tile based environment. The desktop as we have come to know it, as well as the Start menu, has been replaced by a full-screen view of the tiles. Applications and functions are pinned to these tiles — to use the apps you simply tap the tiles. Figure 1 below provides a look at the new environment.
Previous versions of Windows offered visual clues for pretty much everything that needed clicking or attention—buttons were raised and window colors changed, but that is not the case with this version. Windows 8 offers a whole suite of gestures (special swipes and taps) that must be learned in order to navigate the operating system. There is a mouse equivalent and/or keyboard shortcut for each gesture for those who prefer to use them.
Navigating Windows 8 is accomplished via the Charms bar. Located at the right edge of the screen you can use the Charms bar to search apps and files, share content between applications, and configure external devices.
This version of Windows is completely new and different and will take some getting used to, especially for those who are upgrading from Windows XP and are unfamiliar with the concept of Gadgets or Apps.
One thing that has been made pretty painless though is upgrading! If you bought your computer after June 2, 2012, but before January 31, 2013, you’ll be able to purchase an upgrade for $14.99. People with older versions of Windows, i.e. Vista and XP, will be able to upgrade for around $40.00.