Start using Windows 8 tomorrow morning = do you like change?
Windows 8 is the new platform operating system that Microsoft proposes to us.
This new platform is an operating system that converges the conventional computer with the world of tablets and smartphones.
The transition could be brutal for some users. Some examples of change:
- Let’s start with the beginning: the Start button at the bottom left that existed in the operating system since Windows 95, is no more. Microsoft informs us that we must stop thinking about the good old habit of finding all of your applications in the start menu and to work from the desktop. I do not seem to be the only one not liking this idea.
- The gadgets that were installed on your desktop, such as pictures, weather, markets, news, are discontinued. From now on, Microsoft strongly suggests you use the Metro interface that contains applications developed in a graphic concept only.
- When you need to configure your computer for the first time, you are recommended in many ways to use a Microsoft account such as Hotmail or Windows Live. Once you have selected this option, the system will populate the calendar, mail, and contact icons with information stored on the Microsoft servers. For users in a corporate world, this is where your problems starts. The calendar, contacts, messages and notifications will be those that are linked to your account from Microsoft, not those on your work! Will you start to use your Hotmail account to send emails from your company instead of the name of your business? I think not!
- When working in different applications and we request to save, the system offers to sort by name or date, but there is no ability to sort by file type or file size.
- If you’ve used in the past the concept of Windows Media Center, it will be possible to have an application similar to it that you can download from the Windows Store. However, this application will start to be charged according to Microsoft in February 2013.
- The new Office 2013 productivity suite had some enhancements to the aesthetic level, such as having emails that appear when replying in the same window as the application, and ribbons at the top, which are hidden by default. The biggest surprise for me was that when we click on Outlook, Word, Excel or any other software suite, oh! Surprise, we are not in the new metro forced interface, but rather we go back in the good old desktop that Microsoft is trying so hard to make us forget. According to an anonymous source at Microsoft, the vice president of the productivity suite was not ready to follow the vice president of operating system design. Will we know one day what happened behind the scenes at Microsoft, is it just a question of time to have the suite integrated as applications, who knows?
- Aside from the fact that Microsoft has decided to abandon Windows Home Server, we heard that the Messenger chat system is in danger of extinction, and instead Microsoft would only offer Lync or Skype.
Still, there are some new features and a long-term vision that will dramatically impact our interaction with computer devices thanks to this new operating system. Here are some things a little bit more on the technical side of new features which might interest you:
- The concept of your data in the cloud is not a bad thing, far from it. Instead, having a copy of our data outside the home or office, not only on my computer is reassuring. If a major problem occurs on my computer, and I have no concerns regarding the American authorities accessing all my data (incidentally, the same problem exists with those who use the service Gmail), then go ahead and use this system for your photos, music, documents and other personal information that are important to you.
- The system now comes with HyperV which permits to virtualize operating systems in native mode in Windows 8. This change means that you may have several « sub-virtual machine » running in the same computer, and the resources used in common of these machines can be pooled in the same section of memory.
- The new function WindowsToGo allows you to have a backup copy of your operating system on a USB stick. This means that if you have a hard drive failure, or you need to start your session literally on another station, all of your configuration, your settings, and your programs will follow you with this USB key.
- New small feature, you may now read ISO files natively, without installing additional software which simplifies the extraction of some images from DVD or CD.
- In the new software, PowerPoint 2013, a new feature is now available. It allows you to display on the screen to the public a particular slide, but to present on the screen of the host all of the slides in order to quickly go to a particular slide in the presentation without the audience seeing the transition.
- A new feature will permit you to reset your entire operating system as it was on the first day by erasing all the data, then the system will retrieve the operating system updates, and even when you reconnect to your Microsoft, the data will be on SkyDrive, or any other platform on the Internet cloud will be uploaded back into your computer.
- Finally, the data specific to your account users (the ntuser.dat file) will be copied into your Microsoft Online account, and so can be synchronized with all your computers. This will allow you to keep your Windows user profile updated, which represents a huge challenge even for the best technicians!
What I think
I believe Windows 8 is an operating system « in between » or « hybrid » for workstations, but a viable option for tablets and smartphones in the emerging markets such as India and China, which requires that the tools be at low cost while having the data stored in the Internet cloud.
I am disappointed that Microsoft has made no significant improvement since Windows 7 for the concepts of biometrics such as fingerprint reader, voice recognition, and handwriting recognition. These are three biometrics tools that are still under the same foundation as Windows Vista features more than five years ago. Why have they pushed it aside? When I think of my iPhone that allows me to dictate tasks such as calling people listed on my contact list, or use a Dragon Dictation application to convert voice to text, why is Microsoft stalled?
If you decide to buy a computer or update a computer or a tablet with Windows 8, here are my suggestions of things to think about:
- Make sure you have a computer with a touch screen on your laptop or your desktop computer to take full advantage of the Metro interface
- Confirm that for your needs, there is no concern that all your data is hosted in the United States, and that the law of the Patriot Act is not a factor problem for you or for your customers. So if you are a lawyer, a judge, a financial advisor or other specialists with sensitive confidential data that could be affected by this law, you will need to find solutions for encryption of all your data, or avoid the whole concept that SkyDrive offers by Microsoft.
- Despite the fact that Microsoft claims to have 100% compatibility to all programs, find a way to test your equipment and software before making the final transition. A simple way to perform this on your current equipment is to remove the current hard drive, and install a new hard drive temporarily to install the new operating system and attempt to install the various software’s you use.
- If the manufacturer offers a computer without a touchscreen, try to get a license of Windows 7 « downgrade » (http://tinyurl.com/bxd4e7s ) as long as your computer technician or the manufacturer (and most of the time, the technician is dependent on the manufacturer, so check before!) Is be able to find drivers for the new machine that will be compatible with the older operating system. For example, my « old » Fujitsu Q550 tablet that has a year of wear and tear which worked perfectly on Windows 7, guess what, no driver for the fingerprint reader or the Compact Flash card reader. The manufacturer has assured me that the drivers will be available soon (what is soon!).
- Also, I invite you to visualize the 15-minute video on the new features of Windows 8 by Michael Mace on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/a9jetbh
I always try to remind myself that the only constant in life is change. But being imposed a new way of working, while my current tools to communicate work well together, is painful. The race is on between Apple, Microsoft and Google in operating systems for smart phones and tablets. But unlike Apple which has separated the operating system of the tablets and the phones from its computer operating system, Microsoft’s mixture might mix up users more than anything else. I believe that application developers should start to offer metro applications, and the first official transition to cloud services Internet (or cloud), with products like Office 365, Lync and SkyDrive now need to be seriously evaluated by users. The Microsoft Surface tablet will be a real competitor to the iPad and other tablets manufacturers and be a nice option for the operating system.
I invite you to visit regularly ITRadio.ca, and additional information will be included regularly on Windows 8.
Thank you for your attention, talk to you soon.