Microsoft Windows 8 In Review

Thursday, October 25, at New York City Pier 57 days before Sandy swept over the East Coast, Windows CEO Steve Ballmer led his crew with the formal release – next day – of the latest Windows 8 OS and the Surface RT tablet. By the following Monday, Ballmer would report that sales of the new OS were developing at a higher rate than the previous OS. Windows 7 came out in 2009 and had over 670 million licenses sold in three years.

Windows 8 is the new clothes of the technology emperor, slated to fit Microsoft concisely for some 20 years. The 1.0 version has been fully vetted through a rigorous schedule of pre-releases to developers and consumers and appears attractively functional. Most important is that Microsoft hopes its innovations prove to be the game changer needed for its OS to bring new parameters of connectivity into the mobile world.

The new OS is ‘concise.’ Windows 8 has been technically developed with a smaller footprint on the hardware and an even better operation of the computer’s memory. The OS sits upon the widely popular Windows 7, which is readily available in full operation in desktop view under the new tile-configured Modern UI. Without the signature Start button, many reviewers have been hesitant to accept the new configuration and have posed a rather high learning curve on getting use to it.

But, just as easily a large segment of society has adapted to moving icons swiftly about the small screen of a smartphone, it can be expected that the learning curve for Windows 8 will soon evaporate, and it will be as just as easily manipulative as a new phone. If the public grows to accept Microsoft’s integration of multi-touch functionality into the new OS, then the company’s innovative thrust could become the expected game-changer, standing on firm ground.

Users access information and open apps by tapping or clicking the tiles about the screen either by touch or by mouse. The same tiles can be seen across all devices within the company’s ecosystem. The methods for using and changing the Modern UI unify the tablet and phone mobile platforms to the PC in seamless style. Already with Windows OS on 92 percent of PCs around the world, adaptation of Windows 8 will certainly renew the company’s place again in the leading wings of technology.

Ballmer and his crew introduced the wares of partner companies carrying Windows 8 at the NYC event, looking forward to enlarge the territory of a bulging ecosystem. The different PC models included ultrabooks and all-in-one PCs made by Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung. Varieties of Windows 8 phones will be out before the holidays. At another event that day, the company’s Surface RT tablet was released. The Surface Windows 8 tablet with the full complement of Windows 8 is expected to come out in a few months.

The features of Windows 8 have been well-documented, from the lightweight magnesium frame to the packet of software running on it. The OS is in route to becoming the optimal system operating today. At Dolomite, we are prepared to show you how Windows 8 can be used to communicate with all your mobile devices across one platform. The opportunity awaits businesses, from the single entrepreneur to the small and large enterprises, to take advantage of Microsoft’s new platform and to grow with it into the new age of seamless mobile technology.

Microsoft Windows 2012 Server

How can the new Microsoft Windows Server 2012 packages help your business?  Whether yours is an office of 1-5, 10, 25 or 100 or more computers, Dolomite is prepared to help you get the right server software and hardware you need to streamline and optimize your business processes.

The new Windows Server 2012 is in line with Microsoft’s objective to consolidate its software under one backbone that can easily scale public and private cloud platforms. The face of that backbone is the Modern User Interface tiles that have been incorporated under Windows 8.

Simpler Consolidation

Under the Modern UI, the company has made its Server windows readily accessible to take advantage of a more powerful PowerShell command line face.  There is better management and quicker data transfer with the updated evolution of Microsoft’s Server Message Block (SMB) technologies.

The 12 versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 have been consolidated and simplified into the four versions of the Server 2012 package. Dolomite can show how your business could easily adapt to the smaller Server packages that could economically fit your business operations.

Windows Server 2012 packages are organized as:

  • Datacenter – unlimited virtual instances with full Server functionality,
  • Standard – two virtual instances with full Server functionality
  • Essentials  – no virtualization, pre-configured for cloud servers, 25 users
  • Foundation – no virtualization, general purpose OEM server, 15 users

Costs are estimated at $4,809 for Datacenter, $882 for Standard and $425 for Essentials (July, 2012). OEM manufacturers would offer server computers with bundled server software at different, lower prices.

Massive Scalability Design

Small businesses may not have to wield huge databases of customers and financials. In fact, many of these businesses may have been served by Microsoft’s less expensive Home Server packages. Dolomite can offer your business hosted server solutions that could fit your budget and prepare you to scale up to wider, future operations.

Big Data is the wave of the future and is used by larger corporations to mine Business Intelligence that could propel them into wider markets. Microsoft designed the Windows 2012 Server packages to have the ability to shift through and parse large information sets.

Whether large or small, all businesses have requirements to seamlessly parse data over servers without data loss. The massive scalability design of Windows Server 2012 was made to provide secure locking and transfer of large and small domain, email, web and virtualization platform data .

Command Line Data Transfers

Windows Server 2012 can now be scripted and controlled through the PowerShell command line across remote platforms. As easily as managing one server, up to 100 servers can be managed by through PowerShell by simply scripting processes and piping them from one to the other. Backup functions can be written as automatic scripts occurring weekly. Better control of software objects is allowed through command line scripts.

Microsoft has optimized its SMB protocols to handle faster and larger data transfers. The improved protocols have simplified former complex clustering architecture. Data is now processed by automatic cluster load balancing to scale and consistency through built-in arbitration that allows simultaneous and fault tolerance access by multiple cluster hosts over low CPU overhead.

Small Business Catapult

Whether you are updating your servers from Windows Server 2003 or 2008 to Windows Server 2012, or contracting for use of hosted services from our servers, Dolomite can advise and set up an outlay project planned for minimal interruption of your business.  We will make sure that you pay for what you need and that your small or large business is operating efficiently in the newly improved performance era.

Is Security Better in Windows 8?

Microsoft is receiving wide praise for the security features it has built in the upcoming Windows 8 OS.  Here are some of the major ones.

Windows Defender

Windows Defender has been improved as an antivirus software, replacing and incorporating the best features of Microsoft Security Essentials. Although Microsoft will continue to update the latter for versions of the OS, it will update Defender as well.

Defender will function as a standalone antivirus package, comfortable to the other major antivirus packages and able to protect computers against, viruses, spyware and malware. Users may use other antivirus software that OEMs have installed and will be given short time to do so or activate the powerful  Windows Defender.


Microsoft’s encryption software has proven to be essential for businesses by allowing protection of data from main drives to portable devices. Introduced in Vista, Windows 8 offers several improvements in BitLocker for the user and better and faster deployment in client and server scenarios.

Administrators can now pre-provision BitLocker encryption in drive volumes before the operating system is installed. This saves time from the previously required full-scale application of the program.

The software also has a new feature that allows encryption of only the used part of the drive’s volume. This procedure is especially fitting for new drives. Additionally, a user can now change passwords or initial PINs reducing administrative time. This can also be limited at the Group Policy level.

Secure Boot

In the late 1990s, Intel began working on a programmable shell that could code system protection procedures in the system processor as trusted platform modules (TPM). TPMs mechanisms create digital signing keys that could be fed into the BIOS firmware and recognize only legitimate executables and drivers to run, effectively keeping rootkits outside the booting process.

Intel soon joined an industry consortium that included AMD, ARM and Microsoft to produce Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Essentially, the kernel of the Windows 8 operating system protects and authenticates itself from instructions written in the CPU. The Secure Boot process in this way becomes a Trusted Boot process.

Under Microsoft’s UEFI, each component in the BIOS is digitally signed by the company and verified by a TPM key in the BIOS, allowing the main bus and peripherals to boot up and open the OS. This procedure is nearly ironclad in protecting the booting process from rootkits. As one industry pundit puts it, like Apple, Microsoft has practically married its operating system to its hardware.

UEFI also denies boot entrance of other operating systems such as the various varieties of Linux. These vendors must get digital signature keys, functioning basically as code certificates,that can be mapped in the firmware and authenticated as be part of the secure boot system. Several Linux vendors are in discussion with Microsoft regarding Windows 8 while several antivirus vendors are also adapting their platforms.

Other Features

There are many other features of the full Windows 8 security package.  Metro apps run in low-privilege AppContainers that don’t have deep access to the rest of the machine. This feature is also built in the Internet Explorer 10 browser as the SmartScreen filter improved from Internet Explorer 9. Each tab of the browser runs in a sandbox configuration that doesn’t affect the other tabs. SmartScreen has been proven to outperform other browsers in its ability to block malware.

If Windows 8 becomes corrupt, it can easily restore itself in two ways. Under the Refresh option, factory defaults of the operating system are restored and the user’s personal data are retained. The Reset option, erases all data and Windows 8 is effectively restored. Security is definitely stronger and better in Windows 8.

Microsoft Windows 8 SmartPhones

Microsoft has created Windows Phone 8 as a polished and versatile operating system for virtually any device, including smartphones. It represents a distinct departure from the previous Windows CE phone OS and shares components of the Windows Core architecture with Microsoft Windows 8 OS. Similar file system code has been adapted along with such code modules as graphics, networking stack, security models and device drives.

The shared codebase components allow developers to make apps that are consistent in design across various desktop and mobile platforms. Games and apps may be more readily developed and ported from one platform to the other.

Windows Phone 8 will be instantly recognized as using the Modern User Interface common to the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. It has the identifiable Start Screen format of resizable tiles that are powered by Microsoft Windows 8 OS in desktops and portables.

Users will be able to color customize and personalize the tiles – adjustable to three sizes – across the full screen. Early layouts of the screens shown in the June press conference had colorful Start Screen tiles indicating such apps as Phone, Calendar, Games, ESPAN, Facebook and Yelp.

Improved Performance

Several hardware improvements are intended to make the new smartphone cutting edge. It will be able to run on multi-core processors and will have better screen resolutions from 800 x 480 pixels to 1,280 x 768 pixels. MicroSD expansion slots will allow extra memory access and storage for 16GB and 32GB memory cards, with 64GB slated for the future.

Users will be able to enjoy near field communication (NFC) advances that allow them to use their smartphones as traveling wallets and make payments by tap-to-pay gestures. They will also be able to share files, pictures and document content by merely tapping their phones next to another.

The use of QR codes will allow the smartphones not only to get retail store information and flash retail coupons, but to also function as passports in the way of showing boarding pass information and paid tickets. Microsoft will be consolidating the NFC technologies increasingly used by Google and Apple and developed in Windows 7 phones.

The many additional features include the ability to place different imaging lenses over the camera for added effects and better VOIP integration that will allow any VOIP app, including Microsoft’s Skype, to run seamlessly on the hardware. Improved mapping will come from Nokia’s native Navteq map technologies allowing turn-by-turn navigation and offline use.

SkyDrive and Business Integration

Highlighting improved connectivity between devices, a registered Microsoft account will enable the user to access documents, pictures and OneNote notebooks stored in the SkyDrive cloud apparatus. Pictures taken on the smartphone will be immediately accessible on other platforms such as desktops and tablets via the user account.

On-device encryption will enable business enterprises to use 128-bit Bitlocker and Secure Boot features bringing the smartphone up to desktop-level security. Device management support will be an important feature as well as support for internal business software.

Preliminary Models

HTC, Samsung and Nokia have recently produced preliminary Windows Phone 8 models. Samsung introduced the 1.5GHz dual-core Ativ S – “vita” backwards. It has a 4.8-inch HD display, an 8-megapixel back camera and a 1.9-megapixel front camera. The HTC 8X Accord has a 4.3-inch 720p HD display and Beats Audio enhancements.

Nokia recently publicized its forthcoming Lumia 920 PureView. Following a wireless standard called Qi, the Lumia 920 can charge itself without plugs by being placed near or on top of third-party docks and charging devices. The phone has an 8.7-megapixel front camera and image stabilization. The 4.5-inch screen has 1,280 by 768 pixel resolution and runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. A smaller 4.3-inch display Lumia 820 Arrow has 800 by 480 pixel display.



Microsoft Windows 8: Operating Desktops, Laptops, and Tablets

How does Microsoft Windows 8 work on desktops, laptops and tablets? Are there any major differences? Windows 8 represents Microsoft’s latest operating system due to hit the public retail markets on October 26. It brings forth major innovations and a powerful paradigm change enabling one OS to be capable of running on desktops and tablets.

As a single package, Windows 8 consists of two operating modes, one for desktops and laptops accessible by mouse and keyboard and the other representing the touchscreen user interface for mobile tablets and smartphones. One interface, the Modern UI, lies on top of all platforms. These platforms can be group under three versions:

  • Windows 8 Home is an operating system on desktops and laptops fueled by Intel and AMD processors
  • Windows 8 Pro for business users and optimal power users, also for desktops and laptops
  • Windows RT for mobile devices, tablets and smartphones, running on ARM processors

The Modern UI has been designed clearly from the main graphic features of smartphone and tablet technologies. It uses large graphic rectangles, “tiles,” to represent software, the apps or applications that users touch or click.

On desktops, the tiles are manipulated with a mouse and keyboard. The same method holds for laptops with the additional use of multitouch gestures on the trackpad. Full touchscreen functionality is provided for tablets and smartphones. This includes the gestures of swiping, two-finger pinch to zoom and two-finger scrolling.

Differing from their other smaller tablet icons, the Modern UI tiles as symbols are themselves live and active with information. The weather tile shows updates on the weather, the email tail indicates the most recent email received. On desktops and laptops, the tiles can be manipulated by the mouse and keyboard. On tablets, they are manipulated by the contemporary mobile technologies of touch and gestures.


Running Microsoft Windows 8 on desktops provides the new experience of accessing commonly used programs through tiles of the Modern UI. A differentiation is made between legacy Windows programs and those created as apps to run on the Windows Run Time environment – the configuration of Window 8 for ARM-cpu tablets.

Desktops are able to provide more power from the Intel or AMD CPUs required to run such programs as Photoshop and the new Office 13 Suite. There is a version of the Office Suite for Window 8 RT tablet environment, it’s just not as feature-laden as the original.

The standard Desktop view from Windows 7 and its previous version is still available by clicking on the Desktop or Windows Explorer Tile in the Modern UI. It brings up the familiar Desktop and a new File Explorer window offering a ribbon menu and better organization of tools.

A major change is that there is no standard Start button available in the Desktop view. Microsoft felt that its redesign of accessing commonly used programs through the tiles on the Modern UI Start Screen and the Charms bar provides better solutions. The Control Panel and Task Manager appear in better formats by clicking the Computer graphic on the File Explorer ribbon.


Just as desktops can appear as Microsoft Windows 8 Home and Microsoft Windows 8 Pro, so will laptops. The enhanced Ultrabook laptop models with Windows Pro will be empowered with advanced Intel and AMD core processors to run Microsoft legacy software. The major accomplishment from Microsoft is that you will be able to use touchscreen gestures on the trackpad to operate app tiles on the Start Screen.


These mobile devices will not be able to run legacy programs. Operated entirely from Mobile UI touchscreens in the Windows RT environment, they will access apps that will come packaged with the devices. New apps will be available from the Microsoft Store.