Windows 8 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. It is the ninth major release in the Windows NT operating system line, replacing Windows 7 and being later replaced by Windows 8.1. It reached RTM on 2012-08-01 and was released to general availability on 2012-10-26. Windows 8 was one of the most short-lived releases, and its support ended on 2016-01-12, as extended support was in favor of Windows 8.1.
This is the first version of Windows to drop support for processors without PAE, SSE2 and NX, as running on these processors will display a black screen with error prompts instead.
- 1 History/Features
- 2 New/Improved features
- 3 Features removed or degraded
- 4 Editions
- 5 Main changes
- 6 Builds
Development of Windows 8 started before the general availability of Windows 7.
A Microsoft employee stated in his blog that Windows 8 will have the NT version number 7.0 and that the OS won't be shipped in a x86 version, but only as x64. However, the April 2011 leaks and PR from Microsoft indicated that the 32-bit Windows would continue and that the Windows 8 kernel version would be 6.2.
Steve Ballmer calls Windows 8 his "riskiest product bet" due to the high success of Windows 7.
At the CES 2011 in January 2011, a computer with an ARM processor was pictured running the "Windows 8" build 6.2.7867 showing that the kernel version had only changed to 6.2, most likely to keep compatibility with old software. It was determined to be an M2 build.
Four builds of Windows 8 in its early Milestone stages have been leaked: 6.1.7850 (M1), 6.2.7927 (M2), 6.2.7955 (M2), 6.2.7959 (Post-M2/Pre-M3), and 6.2.7989 (M3). Rumors show that because of the leaks of 7850, 7955, and 7959, two Microsoft employees were terminated due to leaking confidential software.
- Immersive User Interface (referred to as Modern UI, codenamed Metro)
- Start screen which incorporates the Modern design language and replaces the Start menu of previous Windows versions , making it more touch-friendly.
- Internet Explorer 10 was introduced , which was also the first version to have a 'Metro' mode for touch-friendly usage. Adobe Flash was also bundled with Internet Explorer.
- Modern versions of Mail, Calendar, People and Reader were introduced , some replacing their Windows 7 desktop equivalents. A camera app was also introduced.
- Windows Explorer was renamed as File Explorer and the interface was changed to one based on the Ribbon system.
- New Desktop Window Manager features, such as support for software rendering, and performance improvements.
- File History , which automatically creates backups of files located across the system , was introduced.
- Reset and Refresh options were introduced(the former re-installs Windows, while the latter retains settings and removes desktop applications)
- Windows Store , which is a place where users can purchase and download Metro-based apps , was introduced.
- Windows to Go was introduced for the Enterprise edition , which allowed users to carry Windows in a flash drive or hard disk.
- Task Manager was redesigned , now showing startup programs , average program use , and improved graphs.
- File transfers were improved , now allowing users to pause a transfer. The file transfer would also be shown in a graph.
- A new feature to improve boot times called Fast Boot was introduced , which did significantly cut down on booting times.
- USB 3 is now fully natively supported.
- Snap was introduced , allowing 2 Metro apps to be on one screen together.
- Battery life was improved.
- Online integration was introduced in the form of Microsoft Account , allowing users to use that account to login in Windows.
- Improved support for cellular connectivity.
- Windows Defender was upgraded to support full antivirus protection , effectively replacing Microsoft Security Essentials.
- The lock screen was redesigned.
- Hyper-V is now available on 64-bit versions of Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise.
- The Windows Start orb was changed into a blue flatter trapezium based theme.
- Taskbar colors can now be selected automatically.
- A new installer was introduced , which reduced restart times and significantly quickened the installation time.
Features removed or degraded
- The Start Menu(and the button) was removed , which created a huge backlash and could well be the biggest reason for the eventual failure of Windows 8.
- Windows 8 can no longer use unified search as was possible with Windows 7 , instead you must search categorically.
- DWM is now on permanently and cannot be turned off , effectively removing themes such as the Classic and Aero Basic theme.
- Translucency and blurring was lost in the windows as a flatter theme was introduced instead.
- Metro apps require a minimum of 1024x768 and Snap required a minimum of 1366x768.
- Windows 8 now requires NX , SSE2 and PAE extensions on the processor and needs it to be enabled.
- Hyper-V requires SLAT for it to work on Windows 8.
It comes in four main editions: Core, RT, Pro, and Enterprise. All other editions are variations of those editions.
- Windows 8 (Core) is the most basic edition, intended for the average home user.
- Windows RT (CoreARM) is Core for the ARM architecture. It can only launch Windows Store apps and signed Microsoft desktop applications, but apart from the addition of device encryption, it has the same feature set as its base edition.
- Windows 8 Single Language (CoreSingleLanguage) is Core without the ability to install language packs.
- Windows 8 China (CoreCountrySpecific), as the name implies is intended for mainland China market. It only allows the Simplified Chinese language pack to be installed.
- Windows 8 Pro is meant for the enthusiast and business markets, and most notably supports running Hyper-V virtual machines, receiving RDP connections, and BitLocker.
- Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is exactly what the name implies. It can be upgraded to from Core and Pro with Windows Anytime Upgrade.
- Windows 8 Enterprise is designed for large organizations and can only be activated with a KMS server or MAK keys. It has the same feature set as Pro but additionally allows creating Windows to Go portable workspaces. It doesn't have Windows Media Center and it cannot be added with any officially sanctioned methods.
Windows 8 was largely designed for use on touchscreen devices such as tablets, and this can be seen all across the OS, with includes bigger buttons, more distinct colors, and a more modern interface with the removal of Aero transparency on open windows. The taskbar is still transparent, even though it doesn't blur anything behind it anymore. The renewal of the classic Windows shell was accompanied by the addition of the Metro interface, which includes a new Start menu (named Start screen), with a full-screen UI replacing the smaller Start menu first introduced in Windows 95. From the Start screen, Metro apps can be launched, which can take the entire screen, providing an immersive interface, or be snapped to a side of the screen alongside another application or the desktop. The File Explorer also got a renewal, with the introduction of the Ribbon UI first seen in Windows 7. The Up button, which was removed since Windows Longhorn Build 3670 (except for Builds 3790, 5000 and 5001), has been readded and the preview pane is now vertical.
The Metro UI is directly integrated with the desktop, which features hot corners: positioning the mouse in certain parts of the screen will reveal new functionality. The right side features the Charms Bar, a vertical bar that includes Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings as buttons. Right-clicking on the bottom left corner of the screen opens the Quick Link menu, which contains shortcuts to frequently used areas.
Windows 8 was the first Windows operating system ever since Windows NT 3.51 to have no Start button. Although the last build of Windows 8 to have the Start button by default was 8176, it is possible to remove the Start button from the taskbar, on builds 7899 to 8102. To accomplish this, you need to make a new DWORD in
YouBettaHideYoPearl, with its value set to 1. After doing so, log off and log back in. If done correctly, the Start button should be removed.
Desktop Window Manager now renders using a software-based 3D rasterizer when such an accelerator is unavailable. Additionally, the Windows Classic and Windows Basic themes have been removed.
Progress windows have been modified to remove the animation on the top and make it possible to view "more details", including a graph for tracking transfer speeds. It is also possible to pause file transfer operations.
Notifications have been updated to be more noticeable, as they appear on the right of the screen and are the same color as the current theme.
The Task Manager now opens up in a simple view which only displays a list of open programs and not processes. Expanding the view reveals a modernized and improved version of the classic Task Manager, featuring tabs and a bigger focus on memory usage.
Windows Store allows the consumer to distribute and download Metro apps or advertise desktop software. The Windows Store would later be redesigned in Windows 8.1. The Store was called "MSHelp" in builds before 8032. The Windows Store would later be rebranded as the Microsoft Store in September 2017 as an update for Windows 10.
Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Media Center is not included by default in any Windows 8 edition. Customers with existing Windows 8 users can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which includes Windows 8 Pro with Media Center. Customers with existing Windows 8 Pro licenses can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which was free previously under a promotional offer (until 2013-01-31).
Milestone 3/Developer Preview
These Updates are only for Windows 8, but not for 8.1. Although this is not confused to Post-RTM. Updates for Windows 8 while running Post-RTM will not work.