Multiple Goals

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Multiple Goals

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.

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No Compromises

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.??í

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Windows 8 will offer a host of new apps (along with an app store), but apparently will include backward compatibility with Windows 7 programs.

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Touch Friendly

Finger-swiping through an app, as seen here in an early build of Windows 8.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Windows Explorer

Microsoft's Windows teams are spending immense amounts of time and thought on Windows 8's Windows Explorer interface, according to Sinofsky.??í

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Details Pane

Microsoft's tinkering with the details pane included optimizing it for widescreen formats and making the contents easier to read.

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Microsoft also made the choice to integrate a revamped "ribbon" user interface into Windows Explorer, arguing it would streamline the navigation and control experience.??í

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Home Tab

Windows 8's Windows Explorer includes a new Home tab, loaded with the vast majority of commands usually employed by users.

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File Management

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.

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File Conflict Resolution

Here is Windows 8's interface for resolving file conflicts.

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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.

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