Windows 8

Windows 8
Windows 8
Part of the Microsoft Windows family
Windows 8 Developer Preview Start Screen.png
Screenshot of the Windows 8 Start screen in the Developer Preview (build 8102)[1]
Microsoft Corporation
Preview version Developer Preview (6.2.8102.0) (September 13, 2011; 2 months ago (2011-09-13))[info]
License Proprietary commercial software
Kernel type Hybrid
Platform support IA-32, x86-64, and ARM[2]
Preceded by Windows 7
Support status
In development
Further reading
  • Features new to Windows 8

Windows 8 is the version of the Microsoft Windows computer operating system following Windows 7.[3] It has many changes from previous versions. In particular it adds support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the previously supported x86 microprocessors from Intel and AMD. A new Start Screen interface has been added that was designed for touchscreen input in addition to mouse, keyboard, and pen input.


History and development

Early announcements

In January 2011, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be adding support for ARM microprocessors in addition to the x86 microprocessors from Intel and AMD.[4][5]

Milestone leaks

A 32-bit Milestone 1 build, build 7850, with a build date of September 22, 2010, was leaked to BetaArchive, an online beta community, which was soon leaked to P2P/torrent sharing networks on April 12, 2011.[6] Milestone 1 includes a ribbon interface for Windows Explorer,[7] a PDF reader called Modern Reader, an updated task manager called Modern Task Manager,[8] and native ISO image mounting.[9]

A 32-bit Milestone 2 build, build 7927, was leaked to The Pirate Bay on August 29, 2011 [10] right after many pictures leaked on BetaArchive the day before.[11] Features of this build are mostly the same as build 7955.[12]

A 32-bit Milestone 2 build, build 7955, was leaked to BetaArchive on April 25, 2011.[13] Features of this build included a new pattern login and a new file system known as Protogon.[14]

A 64-bit Milestone 3 build, build 7959, was leaked to BetaArchive on May 1, 2011.[15] This build is notable for being the first publicly leaked Windows Server 8 build, as well as the first leaked 64-bit build.

A Milestone 3 build, build 7971, was released to close partners of Microsoft on March 29, 2011[16] but was kept under heavy security. However, a few screenshots were leaked. The "Windows 7 Basic" theme now uses similar metrics to the Aero style, but maintains its non-hardware accelerated design, and also supports taskbar thumbnails. The boxes that encase the "close, maximize, and minimize" buttons have been removed, leaving just the signs.[17]

A 64-bit Milestone 3 build, build 7989, leaked to BetaArchive on June 18, 2011 after screenshots were revealed the previous day. An SMS feature, a new virtual keyboard, a new bootscreen, transparency in the basic theme, geo-location services, Hyper-V 3.0, and PowerShell 3.0 were revealed in this build.[18]

Official announcements

At the Microsoft Developer Forum in Tokyo on May 23, 2011, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the next version of Windows would be released the following year.[19]

"And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors."[19]

However, Microsoft quickly amended Ballmer's words in a statement issued that afternoon:

"It appears there was a misstatement. We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows."[20]

On June 1, 2011, Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 8 and some of its new features at the Taipei Computex 2011 in Taipei (Taiwan) by Mike Angiulo and at the D9 conference in California (United States) by Julie Larson-Green and Microsoft's Windows President Steven Sinofsky.[21][22] The main feature that was shown was the new user interface.

On August 15, 2011, Microsoft opened a new blog called "Building Windows 8" for users and developers.[23]

Build conference and developer preview

Microsoft unveiled new Windows 8 features and improvements on September 13, 2011, day one of the BUILD developer conference.[24] Microsoft also released a Developer Preview build (Build 8102) of Windows 8 for the developer community to download and start working with. This developer preview includes tools for building "metro style apps", such as Microsoft Windows SDK for Metro style apps, Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows 8 Developer Preview and Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview.[25]

Microsoft has shown a development roadmap at the BUILD conference stating that the coming milestones will be Beta, Release Candidate, RTM, and general availability.

According to Microsoft, there were more than 500,000 downloads of the Windows 8 Developer Preview within the first 12 hours of its release.[26]

New features

Bootable Windows To Go USB flash drive

Windows 8 will contain a new user interface based on Microsoft's design language named Metro. With the new change, the Start Menu was replaced in favor for the new Start Screen, where there are tiles that contain shortcuts to applications, Metro style applications, and updating tiles, similar to Windows Phone.

A new authentication method allows users to sketch in three different places over the picture to login, instead of typing a password.[27][28]

Windows Explorer now uses a ribbon interface, similar to those used in Microsoft Office applications.[29]

Another feature expected to be introduced in Windows 8 is native USB 3.0 support, without the need to load drivers[30]

Windows 8 will come with Windows Store, an online marketplace for buying, selling, and advertising applications.[31]

Windows 8 can be run from a USB-connected drive, such as a flash drive. This feature is called Windows To Go. It is intended for enterprise administrators to provide users with a Windows 8 image that reflects the corporate desktop; pricing and licensing details were not discussed when the feature was announced[32][33]. WTG is not included in Windows 8 previews.

Windows 8 will support multiple monitors with the new ability to natively display different background images on each display and customized taskbar(s) on each of the connected displays.

The Developer Preview comes with two new recovery functions.[34] Refresh and Reset, which both make a complete restore easier than a re-installation. The former keeps all the settings and files of the user intact and only reverses all changes to Windows files to its original state while removing all installed programs and apps. The latter deletes all files and effectively re-installs Windows, but without any additional user input such as agreeing to license agreements or selecting a hard disk required. After a reset completes, the user will be asked for the product key and will then proceed to account creation.[35]

One big change is that user accounts do not have to be local-only (or from an Active Directory domain) anymore but can be linked up to one's Windows Live ID. This has the advantage that users will not lose their settings and files as they move from their home computer to their work laptop or to any other computer also using Windows 8.[36]

Other new features include a new Welcome screen,[37] a new packaged application model called AppX that is based on Silverlight,[38] and Open Packaging Conventions,[39] as well as a setting to automatically adjust window color to fit the wallpaper.[40]

There is also a stripped down "Immersive" version of Internet Explorer, using the similar Metro-based user interface of the mobile version of Internet Explorer 9.[41] The Immersive Version of Internet Explorer 10 does not support ActiveX plugins, in order to be an HTML5-only browser. The Desktop version of IE10 does support ActiveX plugins.[42]

A new "Hybrid Boot" option that uses "advanced hibernation functionality" on shutdown to allow faster startup times.[43][44]

A new version of Task Manager with a redesigned user interface is also present in pre-release versions of Windows 8.

Hardware requirements

The system requirements for the Windows Developer Preview (a pre-release version of Windows 8) are similar to those of Windows 7.[45]

Minimum hardware requirements for Windows Developer Preview
Architecture 32-bit 64-bit
Processor 1 GHz x86 1 GHz x86-64
Memory (RAM) 1 GB 2 GB
Graphics Card DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0
(Required only for Aero hardware acceleration)
HDD free space 16 GB 20 GB

A multi-touch screen is required to use touch input. For Metro applications, a screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher is required.

Microsoft may also require new PCs to have the UEFI secure boot feature enabled by default to be given Windows 8 certification. There has been some concern about this, that it could lead to machines that do not support alternative operating systems.[46] The manufacturer is free to choose which signatures are accepted by the feature and to offer the ability to turn off the secure boot feature.[47] Microsoft has addressed the issue in a blog post.[48][49]

Microsoft has revealed the following maximum supported hardware specifications for Windows Server 8 at the BUILD conference.[50]

Logical processors 640 (as opposed to 256 in Windows Server 2008 R2)
Random-access memory 4 TB (as opposed to 2 TB in Windows Server 2008 R2)
Failover cluster nodes 63 (as opposed to 16 in Windows Server 2008 R2)


Windows 8 will run much software compatible with previous versions of Windows for x86-family processors, with the usual restrictions: 64-bit Windows will run also 32-bit but not 16-bit software; 32-bit Windows will optionally run 16-bit software if installed to do so, but will not run 64-bit software. Either 32- or 64-bit Windows can be installed on 64-bit x86-family processors. Some expertise in manipulating compatibility settings may be required to run, for example, 16-bit software for Windows 3 under 32-bit Windows 8, in cases where it is possible. In particular, applications compatible with 32- and 64-bit Windows 7 will run in the same way on Windows 8.[51] Although Windows 8 for ARM architecture is available, it will not run binary programs (executables) for x86; code will have to be ported by its developers to create ARM executables from source code.[52][53]

Windows 8 Developer Preview is incompatible with some virtualization platforms, such as Virtual PC. A blog post by Microsoft notes that the setup process is error-prone when installing in a virtual machine, and installing without hardware virtualization support can be particularly problematic.[54] It is reported to work under VMware Workstation and VMware Player—detailed instructions for installing in these environments have been published.[55]

See also


  1. ^ Download Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 M3 Free – The next generation of Windows, a re-imagining of the operating system from the chip to the experience. Softpedia (2011-09-14). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  2. ^ Microsoft Announces Support of System on a Chip Architectures From Intel, AMD, and ARM for Next Version of Windows: January 5, 2011. (2011-01-05). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  3. ^ "Sinofsky shows off Windows 8 at D9". CNET. Retrieved 2 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Microsoft Announces Support of System on a Chip Architectures From Intel, AMD, and ARM for Next Version of Windows". Microsoft. January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ Rosoff, Matt (January 5, 2011). "OK, So Windows Is Coming To ARM Tablets...Someday (MSFT)". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Leak: Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 Screenshots". 
  7. ^ Thurrott, Paul (April 4, 2011). "Windows 8 Secrets: Windows Explorer Ribbon". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Registry Hack Enables Windows 8 M1 Webcam, Modern Reader, Ribbon & Task UI". 
  9. ^ "Leaked Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 Screenshots". 
  10. ^ "Windows 8 Build 7927 x86 leak.". 
  11. ^ "Windows 8 6.2.7927.x86fre screenshots .". 
  12. ^ "Windows 8 (7927) –". 29 august 2011. 
  13. ^ "Windows 8 Build 7955 x86 leak.". 
  14. ^ "Windows 8 –". 15 juni 2011. 
  15. ^ "Windows Server 8 Build 7959 x64 leak.". 
  16. ^ "Microsoft begins shipping Windows 8 Build 7971 via Connect". Windows 8 Center. March 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Windows 8 Aero Light UI Revealed". Windows 8 News. 2011-03-16. Retrieved 2011-05-20. 
  18. ^ "Windows 8 Build 7989 Leaked, Features Many New Enhancements". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  19. ^ a b Ballmer, Steve. "Steve Ballmer: Microsoft Developer Forum". Microsoft News Center. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  20. ^ Keizer, Gregg. "Microsoft backpedals from Ballmer's Windows 8 comments". Computerworld Inc.. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  21. ^ "Microsoft Computex D9 Conference on". 
  22. ^ "Previewing 'Windows 8' at Microsoft Website". 
  23. ^ Steven Sinofsky (2011-08-15). "Welcome to Building Windows 8 – Building Windows 8 – Site Home – MSDN Blogs". Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  24. ^ "Windows 8 Developer Preview Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  25. ^ "Windows BUILD by Microsoft". 
  26. ^ "Steve Ballmer touts 500,000 Windows 8 downloads in less than 12 hours". Engadget. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  27. ^ Keynote #1 | BUILD2011 | Channel 9. (2011-09-13). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  28. ^ Windows 8 Picture Password Patent Filed by Microsoft. Windows 8 Beta (2011-09-21). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  29. ^ Mashable Tech – Spy Shots: Windows 8 With a Ribbon Interface?. (2011-04-03). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  30. ^ Native USB 3.0 Support Coming to Windows 8. AnandTech. Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  31. ^ Microsoft limits Windows 8 Metro apps to its own store. Electronista. Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  32. ^ Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine: Windows 8 Will Run On Thumb Drive, 16 September 2011
  33. ^
  34. ^ Windows Dev Center. Retrieved on 2011-10-14,
  35. ^ Bright, Peter. (2011-09-18) Making the lives of IT easier: Windows 8 Refresh, Reset, and Windows To Go. Ars Technica. Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  36. ^ Tweaking with Vishal – Windows 8 Live ID Integration. (2011-09-26). Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  37. ^ Thurrott, Paul. "Windows 8 Secrets: Welcome Screen". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  38. ^ Thurrott, Paul (April 5, 2011). "Windows 8 Secrets: Modern Reader". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  39. ^ App packages and deployment. Retrieved on 2011-10-14.
  40. ^ Thurrott, Paul (April 06, 2011). "Windows 8 Secrets: Aero Auto-Colorization". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  41. ^ Thurrott, Paul (April 5, 2011). "Windows 8 Secrets: Internet Explorer Immersive". SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Microsoft drops Flash from IE on Windows 8 tablets". BBC. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  43. ^ "Windows 8 "Hybrid Boot" discovered". 
  44. ^
  45. ^ "ewindows Metro Style Apps Developer Downloads". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  46. ^ "Blog post of Red Hat developer". Matthew Garrett. 2011-10-20. 
  47. ^ "Microsoft Attempt to Address Windows 8 ‘Linux Worries’". 2011-10-23. 
  48. ^ Tony Mangefeste (22 September 2011). "Protecting the pre-OS environment with UEFI". MSDN Blogs. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  49. ^ Lance Whitney (26 September 2011). "Microsoft addresses Windows 8 secure boot issue". Cnet. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  50. ^ "Q: What are Windows Server 8's Scalability Numbers?". Retrieved November 05, 2011. 
  51. ^ "Windows 8 on ARM won’t run x86 apps Microsoft admits". slashgear. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  52. ^ "Will Windows 8 have an ARM app gap?". betanews. September 19, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  53. ^ "Microsoft: No Windows 8 ARM support for x86 apps?". The Register. September 15, 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2011. 
  54. ^ "Running Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual environment". Microsoft. 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  55. ^ Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview in VMware

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