Windows 8 vs. Windows

Windows 8 vs. Windows 7

How do they compare?

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 
 

Very few people would argue that Windows 7 was a bad operating system. In fact, it is one of the nicest ways to interface with your computer and some go as far as declaring it the best that Microsoft has ever made. So there is little surprise that many users hold onto their copy of Windows 7 for dear life. But there is no need for that: believe it or not, Windows 8 is a huge improvement over its already-impressive predecessor...

Faster Boot Time

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 

Faster Boot Time

Windows 7 was known for being fast - outperforming past operating systems, even on much older machines. But Windows 8 raised that bar significantly - indeed, it is one of the first things new users of the system like to talk about! Benchmarks by independent tech publications revealed that Windows 8 not only boots faster than Windows 7, it even beats other new operating systems. And the speed difference isn’t just when you turn your machine on -  Windows 8 outpaces rivals in day-to-day use as well.

Improved Search

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 
 

Improved Search

When you first arrive onto your Windows 8 desktop, it seems a little strange. In particular, the search bar that has been such a big part of the Windows 7 experience is missing! Fear not: search is still part of the Windows experience. In fact, it is much, much better. In Windows 8 you do not need to access the search bar - while facing the start screen you can just begin to type. Your machine will automatically being a search - and one that is far deeper than previously possible. Results are not just drawn from the basic system, but from inside files, applications and even online. With Windows 8 nothing stays hidden.

Live Syncing

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 
 

Live Syncing

We no longer live in a single-device world. It’s not just that you may own more than one laptop or mix things up with a smartphone. There are times when you need to get something done, but you only have access to a friend’s PC - all your settings and files are back at your home! Today cloud technology allows us to save our settings and files online, easily accessed with an internet connection. But Windows 8 goes further: if you sync your account with its online servers, you will be able to log onto any Windows 8 machine with that account and immediately have your apps, files and settings at your fingertips. And once you log off, all that disappears from the machine, so your privacy is secure. Through live syncing you can also access files from other devices - such as your smartphone or PC running a different system.

Great For Touch

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 
 

Great For Touch

Even though Windows 8 works well with a mouse and keyboard (especially the free Windows 8.1 upgrade), it is a dream on anything with a touch interface. And this is not limited to tablets and smartphones - today’s top PCs and laptops increasingly ship with touch screens. Windows 8 blends perfectly with this and even provides a wide range of gesture commands to give you maximum control with just a few pokes or swipes. Not a fan of touch? Don’t panic: Windows 8 still works seamlessly as a traditional PC interface and it is simple to disable the touch-related features.

Refresh/Reset

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 

Refresh/Reset

Operating systems are not unlike your lounge: they are used often and over time can collect a lot of clutter. This is what starts slowing your PC down so much. In the past there was not an easy way around this problem - to get a fresh start you needed to reinstall Windows. But Windows 8 introduced a new set of features that can make your computer experience smooth and easy with a single click. PC Refresh will reinstall Windows 8 quickly and painlessly - without losing your files or settings. That’s right: with a few clicks your Windows is as good as new, without having to back up files or fret over arranging everything just how you want it. And what if you want a complete refresh? Maybe you plan to give your old machine to someone. Just use PC Reset - it does the same job as Refresh, but removes all files and settings. That ensures that your data isn’t going to your PC’s new owner.

Apps

 
Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 

Apps

Apps are essentially software packages that are very easy to install and straightforward to use. If you own a smartphone or tablet, you use apps all the time. But software on a PC or laptop can still be a cumbersome affair - and many of the apps on a phone do not exist for your PC. For example, if you want to access Facebook on your laptop, you need to do so through a browser. No more: Windows 8 not only supports apps, it already has thousands to choose from - including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many more. Apps can also be integrated with the Windows 8 dynamic tiles to give real time updates - for example, a finance app can display market details right on the desktop.

Better Task Manager


 
 

Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)
 
 

Better Task Manager

Ever sat there and waited while your hard drive keeps running like mad? Of course you have - and you probably thought: “What on earth is my machine doing?” Previous versions of Windows, including Windows 7, have never been very good at clarifying what is going on in the background - especially if you are not some super technology wizard. But in Windows 8 the Task Manager - the software that tells you what’s going on under the hood - has had its biggest revamp in twenty years. It not only tells you more, but the new layout is highly intuitive and easy to figure out. It’s not going to stop having to ask the local geek for help with your PC, but at least you’ll not have to bribe them as often!

Improved Explorer


Windows 8 (© Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports)

Improved Explorer

Windows Explorer has been one of the greatest features of the system’s bloodline - going back as far as the original Windows, it made navigation of your system’s files intuitive and simple. Yet it did not evolve a lot over the years - not until Windows 8 came along. Renamed File Explorer, your trusty navigator has become a lot more powerful and useful! Firstly, Microsoft finally returned the much-loved ‘Up’ button, making navigation of folders so much easier. File Explorer also introduces the ‘Ribbon’ top menu system that works so well with Microsoft Office, placing more tools at your fingertips. And even the file menu is vastly improved, taking the guess work out of many of the explorer’s features.

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 07:15:00 GMT | By James Francis
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