Microsoft's Windows 8 Design Goals: 10 Important Features

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-11-17

Microsoft's Windows 8 Design Goals: 10 Important Features

For many IT managers the decisions they make depend upon the Microsoft's Windows launch cycle. It used to be that an upgrade to the next version of Windows was a given because the next version represented a huge advance from the earlier generation that took advantage equally massive improvements in the hardware.

These days, enterprises and IT managers can take more time deciding if they want to upgrade to the latest Windows generation. As a result there are still many companies still running Windows XP. Some are just starting to upgrade from XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Soon they will have to decide whether there is an urgent need to upgrade yet another new generation, Windows 8. On one hand, many are still considering whether they need to decide once and for all if Windows 7 is the operating system to replace Windows XP. On the other hand, they'll need to know all about Windows 8 and whether they should promptly upgrade to this new version.

The following points may provide some of the information IT decision makers and even consumers need to become more familiar with Windows 8 and what sets it apart from earlier currently deployed Windows versions.

So far, at least, Windows 8 looks to be a winner.

Read on to find out why:

1. Designed for Tablets

Arguably the most important new feature to come to Windows 8 is tablet support. Currently, Windows 7 just doesn't cut it on tablets and Microsoft, knowing that all too well, has decided to address that with Windows 8. Will Windows 8 be able to take on iOS and Android? Time will tell. But it's certainly possible.

2. A streamlined update process

If there's anything that annoys Windows users, it's the requirement to update the software often and then restart in order to apply those updates. Recently, however, Microsoft announced that it will change that by consolidating all restarts related to updates into a single, monthly reboot. The result, Microsoft says, is less "disruptiveness."

3. Major security enhancements

Unfortunately, Windows hasn't always been the most secure operating system. But with Windows 8, there's a strong possibility it could set a new security benchmark for the Windows platform. Much of that is due to how Microsoft reworked security features at the operating system's lowest level. The company has also been able to make the software more adept at finding malware and preventing it from running on the PC. Does this mean an end to third-party security software? Some are saying it's possible, as long as Microsoft's security features are installed and running.

4. An app store

When Apple brought the Mac App Store to Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion, it seemed only a matter of time before Microsoft would follow suit with its own application store. All those who thought that were right. In Windows 8, users will have an application store that will allow them to access digital copies of programs without needing to worry about a disc. It might not be unique in the wider OS space, but it's certainly a first for the Windows platform.

Microsoft Takes Risk With Major Interface Redesign


5. ARM processor support

Support for ARM processors in Windows 8 could be one of the most important additions Microsoft is bringing to the operating system. By supporting ARM processors, more companies should be able to build devices running Windows 8, including tablets and lightweight notebooks. Even better for customers, it could create a price war between ARM chip makers and Intel that could eventually bring computer prices down. It's a win-win.

6. Improved energy efficiency

Microsoft has said that it understands consumers and enterprise users are going mobile. So, to make it a bit easier on those folks, the company says that Windows 8 will come with improved energy efficiency features that should make notebook and tablet batteries last longer. Windows 7 can be a power hog because of its resource intensiveness. Microsoft is fixing that with Windows 8.

7. Improved memory usage

It seems that over the years, more and faster RAM has become a big concern for PC buyers. But Microsoft is trying to limit that with Windows 8 by making the operating system more capable of handling multiple applications and processes without using up too much RAM. Will it succeed? Time will tell. But it certainly sounds nice on paper.

8. Design, design, design

Those who haven't seen images of Windows 8 yet owe it to themselves to look it up. And when they do, they'll find a drastically altered operating system design that nixes the start button for the start screen, and drops the typical file layout with something more akin to Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is taking a big risk with its Windows 8 design tweaks. And it should be interesting to see if it pays off.

9. A nod to the cloud

Although Microsoft has several cloud-based applications, it has historically been loath to embrace that in Windows. In Windows 8, however, the company is doing just that by allowing the operating system to tap into Windows Live SkyDrive, a cloud data storage service. Windows is far from being cloud-based, but at least it's starting to rely somewhat on the cloud to extend its functionality.

10. Windows to Go is a biggie

Windows to Go could very well become the key reason enterprise users decide to deploy Windows 8. The feature allows the entire Windows 8 system to be run from a USB device and is designed with corporate customers in mind. There aren't too many details that have emerged on Windows to Go, but at least right now, it looks like it could push some IT decision-makers off the fence.

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