Windows 8 represents the next step for the Windows operating system. Rather than a lacklustre upgrade with few changes, Windows 8 represents a major change in direction and focus for its developer, Microsoft. While Microsoft is much maligned and in some corners generates a good deal of genuine hatred, this latest operating system made enough advanced to silence even some of their strongest critics.


Windows 8 Start Screen


The new Start screen is a change from the past as it is no longer hierarchical in nature. It is flat display which is simpler to use, with apps that can be grouped together, and it can be easily navigated via a touch pad, laptop touch- screen, Windows Phone or tablet.


Searching for installed apps is also made easier as you can just start typing the name of the app and it should come up on the screen.


Improved Graphics Performance


Unlike previous versions of Windows, this one uses DirectX to power its graphics, text and windows display. This makes windows open faster by using 3D acceleration to create smoother transitions and the colours really pop.


Clean Installs


To protect against Windows meltdowns caused by system bugs, virus intrusions and software that has damage the operating system, there is now a way to restore the system to either a clean-install state or a close to clean install-state prior to the problem appearing.


There is also the ability for administrators who are familiar with the command prompt to further customise just exactly what is restored and what is left untouched, which lends a granular level of control previously unseen.


Touchscreen Delight


Given that previous tablets for Windows were rather disappointing and resource hungry beasts, many people were sceptical when they first heard about touch-screens coming to Windows.


Despite this, touch is done beautifully done in Windows 8 and rivals anything Google or Apple has been able to create thus far. Windows has been re-conceived from the ground up with user touch computing, rather than it being an afterthought that was added last minute, and it shows in the classy, many thoughtful ways that it works.


That said, there are aspects of how one uses the operating system which will be very counterintuitive for users familiar with previous versions of Windows. This operating system will certainly have more of a learning curve for those looking to upgrade, but the curve is not that steep to climb. Once over that, using the touchscreen aspects will be very familiar to people using their tablet or a smart phone to get things done.


App Eco-System


Upon launch, Windows 8 lacked sufficient apps on the Start Screen that would run successfully; on the desktop screen Windows 7 apps run just fine. Following launch, app developers have had time to catch up and now there is no shortage of apps that will run from the Start Screen. The big name apps like Kindle, Skype, Evernote, Google Chrome, and much more are all available for installation.