Coming Soon: Windows 8

Remember all those commercials for Windows 7? You know, the ones where everyone imagines himself more beautiful than he is in real life and takes credit for the ideas behind Windows 7? Well, Microsoft is fast approaching the day when it officially introduces the Windows 8 operating system to the general public. Let’s hope the commercials for Window 8 are as entertaining as those for Windows 7. More important, let’s hope that Windows 8 is the great improvement that Microsoft promises it will be.

While some companies are talking about upgrading to Windows 7, Microsoft has been beta testing Windows 8 with a Developer Preview version since September 2011. The guide for the Developer Preview can be downloaded from Microsoft’s website. Although the developer’s version is incomplete, the one that will be available for the public to test will be almost fully operational.

On Microsoft’s Windows 8 page, people can get a glimpse of what to expect once the operating system is ready to use. Apps and content will appear on the start screen. And each user can customize his start screen menu – if you will – so that only the things that are most important to him appear. So, someone could have news updates, the weather, email, even the top movie in his Netflix queue populated on his start screen. Other new features include two touch keyboards. One is a full size keyboard, and the other is a thumb keyboard.

Windows 8 allows users to access their Metro style apps wherever they go. “When you sign in with your connected Microsoft account to another PC running Windows 8, your Metro style apps and settings go with you, so it’s just like you’re using your own PC,” the Developer Preview guide explains. “You’ll also be signed in to all of the websites you were signed in to before. Your connected account is like a portable, personal PC that appears on any Windows 8-based PC you’re using. You’re always ready to pick back up where you left off no matter where you are.” With the Windows Store, users can choose from among thousands of apps to purchase and download to their devices.

Microsoft promises that the Windows 8 operating system will be more secure than previous operating systems. It will be better able to “resist malware because of a trusted boot-up process that automatically repairs drivers and reinforces policies with no action required from users.” This is an important feature for businesses. More and more employers are equipping their employees with laptops, tablets and smart phones. The promise that a new operating system will help business owners keep their company data safe is a strong selling point.

There’s a lot to look forward to with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. Apps and touch keyboards and personalized start screens are just a few of the things consumers can expect.  Anyone who’s interested in giving it try can expect the “customer preview” to be launched in late February 2012.

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