More Windows 8 features revealed
August 9, 2012 Leave a comment
In case you didn’t try the preview edition, there are a bunch more features in Windows 8 [some will also apply to Windows Server 2012] – some of which are in the “background”:
- Microsoft has announced a File History backup application for the desktop. For files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites and Contacts, the system will scan for changes every hour (or at other optional intervals). File History can store these changes to a dedicated, external storage device, so users can always revert to older versions of their files.
- Microsoft has also announced new versions of Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker for the desktop in both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Movie Maker has new features like video stabilization, audio waveforms and text effects, while Photo Gallery now has an “Auto Collage” feature and built-in sharing to Vimeo. The Windows 7 update is now available as part of Windows Essentials 2012 which also features a SkyDrive client and updates to Messenger and Live Mail.
- Though you can’t use a custom background image on the Windows 8 Start Screen, Microsoft is adding more built-in start screen patterns in the final version of the software. [Possible fix: If you can’t add a background image, maybe you can replace an existing one with one of your owm.]
- New is Reset and Refresh. Reset obliterates all data on your system and returns the computer to its out-of-the-box state in about 10 or 15 minutes. Refresh is even better, though–it preserves your user data (including the Metro apps you’ve downloaded from the online Windows Store) and clears out everything else. So you get a “fresh” PC, but you don’t have to copy your pictures, music, and documents to external storage and then back to your system. By default, Refresh won’t restore your standard desktop Win32 applications.
- Hyper-V virtualization will be built into the Windows client.
- Not only does Windows 8 support multiple screens but so does Windows 8 when using the updated remote desktop. Windows 8 will finally enable desktop backgrounds that properly span multiple monitors. You can also fine-tune how the taskbar behaves.
- You can directly mount ISO and VHD files from within Explorer, too. Double-clicking a virtual hard disk (VHD) file mounts it as a hard disk with a new drive letter, while doing the same to an ISO treats it as a new optical drive.
- Microsoft will require that new PCs bearing the Windows 8 logo use a new boot solution called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which will significantly improve the boot process and experience. It replaces the archaic Basic Input Output System (BIOS) that we’ve used for decades. Secure Boot prevents unauthorized operating systems from loading, and Early Launch Anti-Malware (ELAM) protects against boot loader attacks. UEFI will also allow remote diagnostics and repair of computers within the pre-OS environment.
- Microsoft added support for a several new network authentication types to Windows 8. The WISPr (Wireless Internet Services Provider roaming) protocol allows users to roam from one Wi-Fi hotspot connection to the next, regardless of which ISP is running the hotspot, much as a cell-phone user is able to roam between cellular carriers.