Microsoft's Windows 8 Design Goals: 10 Important Features

News Analysis: Microsoft Windows 8 is slated to be released next year. When it hits the market users will find a host of features that should set it apart from earlier versions of the operating system.

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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...