Century IT blog

Microsoft Windows 8 / 8.1 Review

January 18th, 2013

 

With the release of Microsoft Windows 8 in October 2012, the shops are filled with new laptops and desktop PC’s with this new operating system from Microsoft.

The upgrade to Microsoft Windows 8 is a big one, as many features have been changed and a whole new way of using Microsoft Windows has been introduced.

But what’s been changed, what should you expect of Microsoft Windows 8, and most importantly, how well does it work?

We installed the new version of Windows to a laptop with a dual core processor and 4GB of RAM and had a play to find out what’s new and how it performed.

If you are planning on installing the operating system yourself, then you may be glad to hear that it is both a very simple process and also a fairly quick one.

The initial installation stages are very much like those of Windows 7, but it moves into its new Metro interface for the latter stages when setting up the colour scheme and other personalized settings.

Once everything is set, Microsoft Windows 8 will present you with a few slides of text informing you of the new features and how the interface works before displaying the Start screen. This is all done in a very friendly manner and will probably sit at ease with home users.

The Metro interface is of course a brand new feature to windows and has taken the place of the traditional Start Menu that everyone is used to. It looks to be very touch screen orientated but is also very easily navigated with a mouse or even just the keyboard and although it is a little odd to begin with

 

It doesn’t take long to get used to the new way Windows is working.

 

The tiles on this new home screen can be moved around with a simple hold click and drag, just like shortcuts would be on the desktop.

 

The screenshot below gives you an idea of what you should expect from the new Microsoft Windows 8 Start screen.

 

Windows8HomeScreen

 

 

Once you begin to use Microsoft Windows 8, you immediately notice how fluidly and smoothly it works, and it’s quick to do things too the Start menu is very easy to use and the desktop function looks identical to that of Windows 7. The only difference now is that the start orb has disappeared, and if you go to the bottom left corner now it will show a small popup rectangle indicating a click will lead you to the start screen, just like in the image shown below

 

Windows8StartButton

 

For those that are worried that there isn’t an element of the Windows that you know remaining, there is no need to worry, because whilst most functions can be performed inside the new start screen, there is still the classic desktop you will be used to. Applications will open in windows like they always have done and you can use most of the computer from this screen, only using the Start screen if you need to open up a program.

One of the main features that’s immediately noticeable with Microsoft Windows 8 however is the speed at which it operates. The operating system is quick to load, quick to shut down and runs fast in between times too, with drivers for new devices installing at blazing speed and menus gliding smoothly, switching between windows with nice effects effortlessly, running far better than Windows 7 did previously on the same machine.

Following on from this, the search function built into the start screen is instantaneous, providing accurate results extremely quickly and devices that were plugged in via USB ports installed in an instant.

 

Windows8Apps

 

There are a few handy extra features built into Microsoft Windows 8 that I think are a real plus. One of these being that there is now a PDF reader built into the operating system. Up until Microsoft Windows 8, Adobe reader or a third party PDF reader had to be downloaded to view files in this format.

 

 

 

A further feature I found to be interesting was the new “Steps Recorder”. This is like a simplified screen recorder, but takes screen captures whenever you make a significant movement on the computer. For example, if you click on the start button, it will record that and if you further click on “Computer” it will also capture that. Once finished recording, the program also annotates your actions to further explain what is being done in the screen captures. This feature could be particularly useful if you wanted to show someone how to do something without having to manually screen-capture and write all of it down yourself.

 

 

 

The traditional Task Manager has also been in receipt of an upgrade, giving far more system information than it has previously ever done, though it is still easy to use. A quick example of some of the information it shows is below.

 

 

Windows8TaskManager

 

 

Overall the new Microsoft Windows 8 looks to be a very promising operating system and definitely a worthwhile upgrade from Windows 7 and could well be the next step forward in computing.

 

 

The interface is easy to get along with, the system runs quickly and smoothly and the operating system is overall very well rounded.

 

Century IT Services are based in Totton, Southampton. Hampshire and can help you with the installation or on going I.T support of your computer, server and network. We offer a broad range of I.T services covering, internet, email, anti-spam, anti-virus solutions, we are experts in virtually anything Microsoft Server based and have extensive troubleshooting skills.

 

If you have an ever growing list of I.T niggles or need a server, or network installed, you have come to the right place. You can contact us on Tel. 023 80 070101 or email us at sales@century-it.co.uk for a confidential, no obligation discussion of your requirements.