Windows 8 Release Preview

As Microsoft’s newest operating system, the pre-release version of Microsoft Windows 8 has emerged from early vetting stages among developers and consumers, with satisfactory results. Several cosmetic changes are being made, but extensive changes appear to no longer be required, and on August 15, Windows 8 was released to OEM companies for fall production. Holding its breath, Microsoft stands behind a formal October 26th release date for a new OS that is poised to become a game-changer in today’s computer world.

‘Metro,’ was initially used to describe the innovative, tablet-friendly user interface. The word is being dropped because Microsoft couldn’t resolve a copyright conflict with a German company. Regardless of its name, this new interface, in combination with a refined Windows 7 engine, could once more propel Microsoft ahead in the area of technological innovation.

The user interface allows Windows 8 to bring the same, unifying multi-touch functionality to desktops, laptops and tablets. It will power desktops and laptops based on powerful Intel and other processers, and with the Windows 8 UI, it will splash and land firmly into the world of tablets based on the definitive mobile-tech, less power-hungry ARM processors.

Starting Up

Powering up their computers, Windows 8 users will now see a Lock screen that, by using their mouse or touchpad with an up-swiping gesture, will take them to a Login screen. You can either sign in or use a “password-touch” gesture to unlock this screen and enter the Start screen. All this is done pleasingly fast and smooth as Windows boots up.

The Start screen consists of graphic tiles representing apps and pictures. The tiles are arranged into groups that swiftly slide from one to the other using a similar gesture or movement on the touchpad or mouse. The Start screen of original tiles is always available through a mouse click at the lower left corner of the Windows screen.

Multi-Touch Functionality

These swiping, sliding and pinching in-and-out gestures are, of course, characteristics of tablet touch-screens functions. They are similar to the multi-touch smartphone technologies successfully innovated and sharpened by Apple, leading that company to the forefront of mobile technology with development of its iPhones and iPads.

Microsoft’s own Windows Surface tablets incorporating the multi-touch screens with Windows 8 UI are due to come out the same time as Window 8. The Surface represents another Microsoft milestone similar to Apple in that the tablet hardware is being produced in-house, wielded to the new OS. They are being produced as Surface Pro models based on Intel processors, and Surface RT – Run Time – models developed on ARM processors.


Clicking or swiping from window corners offers various controls. Swiping from the right side on the Windows 8 Start screen brings up the Charms bar that gives you icons for searches, sharing, and the start menu. In turn, the start menu brings you back to the Start screen titles, devices and settings control.

Swiping from top left, you can get a list of all the apps or recently used ones and can switch between them. App icons are dragged across the screen to open for use. Closing apps involves a simple down swipe to the bottom of the screen as the app disappears.

If Windows 8 demonstrates seamless adaptation across tablet, laptop and desktop platforms as it advertises, Microsoft could renew itself once again as a major leader of innovation. So far, in face of its distracters, many of whom are expectantly Apple-biased, the OS has generated plenty of support and praise with the ease, speed and fluidity of its UI. It’s still possible to access the old Explorer and Start screens, but starting tiles will certainly be the winner and a game-changer of the future.