Microsoft has multiple goals with Windows 8: Maintain its dominance of the traditional operating system market, convince users to upgrade from previous versions of Windows, and make inroads into the tablet market dominated by Apple's iPad.
In a blog posting, Sinofsky also assured users that Windows 8's desktop and tablet-centric interfaces would work in harmony. "Our goal was a no-compromise design," he wrote, with users able to switch between the two interfaces with little trouble.??Ã
Windows 8 will offer a host of new apps (along with an app store), but apparently will include backward compatibility with Windows 7 programs.
Finger-swiping through an app, as seen here in an early build of Windows 8.
Metro vs. Aero
With Windows 8, Microsoft is embracing a "Metro" design aesthetic, with emphasis on elements such as brightly colored tiles, over the "Aero" design that defined Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Windows 8 will feature easy access to contents of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) files without needing to burn a disc or the need to download and install additional software. ISO standards allow multimedia content to be transferred between systems such as a laptop and a DVD player.
Windows 8 will also streamline procedures related to VHD, or virtual hard disks, which appear as new hard drives that can be manipulated like other file storage on a user's system.
Microsoft's Windows teams are spending immense amounts of time and thought on Windows 8's Windows Explorer interface, according to Sinofsky.??Ã
Microsoft's tinkering with the details pane included optimizing it for widescreen formats and making the contents easier to read.
Microsoft also made the choice to integrate a revamped "ribbon" user interface into Windows Explorer, arguing it would streamline the navigation and control experience.??Ã
Windows 8's Windows Explorer includes a new Home tab, loaded with the vast majority of commands usually employed by users.
Windows teams are also working on improving Windows 8's file management system. That includes a redo of how Windows displays copy jobs in progress—with Windows 8, there's a unified pane for monitoring operations in progress, complete with real-time throughput graph.
File Conflict Resolution
Here is Windows 8's interface for resolving file conflicts.
With the Windows Explorer ribbon (and its associated tabs, such as the Disk Tools tab shown here), Microsoft is walking a tightrope between offering as many powerful features as possible, and keeping the overall interface streamlined.