As Windows 7 was for Windows XP (see our previous post on the differences between Windows XP and 7
It has been rewritten so that it can be run not only on desktops and laptops, but also on tablets in a much more intuitive way than before. We previously wrote that Windows 7 will be very different from Windows XP and that new users may need some time to adapt.
Well, Windows 8 is an even bigger change. For most people, this change was too much of a shock. The removal of the Start button drew too much criticism, and Microsoft finally gave in and brought it back to Windows 10.
Windows 10 isn’t a big leap over Windows 8, so I’m comparing Windows 8 and 10 to Windows 7.
1. No Start Button – Metro UI
Never liked the Start button? Well, by default it is not in Windows 8. It has now been replaced by Metro UI. Yes, Microsoft has said there will be a way to go back to the traditional desktop that we’re all used to (thank goodness), but by default it will be configured with the new UI.
I’ve played with Windows 8 on several test machines, and I have to say that while I think it’s a great interface for a tablet, I didn’t like using it with a mouse and keyboard at all. It looks a little better, but that’s it. And clicking in the bottom left corner and not seeing the popup menu as usual was too much of a change even for me.
Apparently this was added back in Windows 10, although the Start menu has been updated to include these new Windows apps. In addition, Metro apps have been replaced by Universal Windows Platform apps.
2. The simplest task management
Have you ever noticed which tabs you have been using in Task Manager so far? Probably just applications and processes. This is pretty much everything I’ve ever used, and usually just to kill some gluttonous CPU program. Above you see the new Task Manager!
Yeah, that’s all. Just a list of running applications that can be killed with one click. What about processes, you ask? Well, hit Details and you get a nicely separated list of apps and background processes, as well as a heatmap of CPU and memory usage.
Quite cute, actually! I am also looking forward to this change. The current Task Manager was too verbose and too complex for the average user. This makes it easy to use.
3. Improvements to copying, transfer, renaming and deletion
Yes, it may sound trivial, but if you seriously think about it, you are probably moving, deleting, renaming, or copying a file / folder several times a day, if not more often. These four basic operations are pretty much the same over the years and across all versions of Windows. In Windows 8/10, they are greatly improved!
First, when you copy everything around, especially when you perform multiple copy operations, all information is combined into one dialog. You no longer need to make 10 copies and open 10 different windows. Now it looks like this:
You will also notice the new pause feature. Finally, you can pause the copy operation in the middle of it! Hooray! What’s really cool is that if you click on Details, you can see the transfer rates, trends, and the amount of data left in transfer.
4. New Windows Explorer
Say hello to the ribbon interface! You’ve probably already met it in Office 2007 and Office 2010, and now it’s getting into Windows itself. Love it or hate it, this is a permanent fixture. This is how the new interface will look like:
What do you think about this change? Like it or not? As I said before, Windows 8/10 has been completely reimagined and you can clearly see this with all the major differences.
5. Quick startup mode
Boot times have always been an issue for Windows and they have tried their best to fix it with new power states like hibernation and sleep. Unfortunately, they have their own problems. Windows 8/10 has a new Fast Startup Mode (which will probably be called differently later), which is a combination of cold boot and hibernation.
Basically, it will be like “rebooting” your computer without completely rebooting it. You will still get a new user session with everything closed, etc., as if you had just restarted Windows, but it will take significantly less time.
6. Free browsing of plug-ins
IE 11 not only significantly changes the user interface, but also changes the way you browse. IE 11 favors HTML 5 over traditional plug-in architecture and will run without plug-ins by default.
If you need to use something like Adobe Flash for your site, you can switch to desktop mode, but for the most part, plugin support is dropping. WOW! It’s huge. And very bad news for Adobe Flash.
While Apple does not support Flash on its devices, Microsoft is heading in that direction as well – a major paradigm shift for the entire web.
In Windows 10, IE has been replaced by Microsoft Edge, a new browser from Microsoft that is embracing new standards, and that’s very good. If you live in the Microsoft ecosystem, then using Edge is actually better than Chrome and Firefox. However, since I use Google for almost everything else, Chrome is still my default browser.
7. Re-engineering the bootstrap experience
Don’t we all get bored of the same list of “Safe Mode,” “Safe Mode with Networking,” and so on and so forth when booting into Windows with advanced options. It still looks like a DOS command prompt even in Windows 7. In Windows 8/10, things change.
The download process is now very enjoyable and reminds me of setting up my iPhone when I upgraded to iOS 5. You get beautiful screens to help you connect to a wireless network, choose settings, etc.
8. Sign in with your Microsoft account
On Windows 8/10, you can now sign in to your computer using your Microsoft online account. That’s right, Windows 8/10 is moving to the cloud (a little).
With the OneDrive integration also included with Windows 8/10, you can sign in with Microsoft credentials and store your files, settings, apps, and more in the cloud. You can log on to another Windows 8/10 computer and it will all follow you automatically.
It will keep track of all your IE / Edge favorites, desktop wallpapers and more. You can purchase additional storage and store files on OneDrive and access them online or on your mobile device, including iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.
9. Update / Reset your computer
Two interesting new features in Windows 8/10 are refresh and reset options. A reset will delete all of your personal data, apps, and settings, and reinstall Windows. When you upgrade, all data, applications, and settings will be preserved and Windows is reinstalled.
If you’ve ever had to do this before in Windows XP or 7, you know how hard it is to try to restore Windows without deleting your personal data. What happens if your computer won’t boot at all? Well, you can now refresh or reset the loading screen.
10. Scaling for different screen sizes
Along with the new user interface, Windows 8/10 has made many improvements to scale to different screen resolutions, screen sizes, and pixel densities.
While it may seem minor, you should be able to use Windows 8/10 on everything from a small Windows phone to a giant 34-inch 4K screen or higher!
Many applications in Windows 8/10 will automatically adapt to these different screen sizes and provide more / less content based on size.
Overall, the Windows dev team spent a lot of time fixing things, and Windows 8/10 is a big step forward for PCs (mostly Windows 10). What do you think of Windows 8/10? Do you enjoy using your computer? Let us know in the comments! Enjoy!