When Windows 7 launched a few years ago, users breathed a sigh of relief coming as it did after the error-prone Windows Vista. Now with the impending release of Windows 8, technology enthusiasts are agog once more. Is the operating system’s latest iteration worth the excitement? How does it contrast with Windows 7 on all fronts, especially on usability parameters?
The following evaluation attempts to clear the air:
Windows 8 adopts an all-new operator interface, hitherto called Metro. It dispenses with the standard Windows 7 setup comprising the Start button and the concomitant options list. Instead, Window 8 provides a tiled panel screen, each tile representing a specific application. The tiles are large, well-arranged, and can be completely personalized as regards color, size, placement, and embedded function. Further facets are noticeable:
- The new interface may be customized by the Settings tab entrenched in the display’s corner
- A special command will reveal a list comprising conventional user actions like Control Panel, Windows Explorer, Search, and Power Options among others.
- The redone lock-screen dispensation encompasses components like icons, interactive widgets, background image along with a novel image password functionality. The latter allows users to create strong passwords by special image-related actions.
- While the new framework is indubitably vibrant and trendy, the overriding sentiment is that traditional Windows users could find the change too radical.
This is the key parameter that interests most users. Recent experiments conducted by experts using top-notch systems (Intel i7 processors, 16GB RAMs, 1TB drives etc.) revealed fascinating trends:
a) Windows 8 was found to boot in just 18 seconds compared to over 25 seconds in the case of Windows 7 while the shutdown time was also faster: 8 seconds as opposed to 12 seconds for Windows 7.
b) Windows 8 was able to process multimedia content at a nearly 10% faster rate than its rival whereas the 3D graphics performance for both operating systems was nearly equal.
c) Windows 8 also delivered improved results in the spheres of browser operation (due to non-plugin surfing), Microsoft Office operation, and file management (due to ReFS) as compared to Windows 7.
Windows 8 incorporates a revamped Task Manager that is minimalist and much simpler to use than that of Windows 7. The new supervision interface simply displays a catalog of applications that are currently functioning together with a simple command to terminate the applications. Users have the option to recall the normal Windows 7 Task Manager that will manifest running processes along with neatly presented details about their current CPU consumption, memory intake, and more.
The fresh Task Manager is a distinct boon for the many non-technical users making it easier for them to view and control running programs.
Microsoft has equipped Windows 8 with a fresh filing infrastructure called the Resilient File System or ReFS. ReFS, as its full form suggests, is much sturdier than the NTFS setup used by Windows 7, which was susceptible to intermittent breakdowns. The ReFS is also simpler and has the innate ability to debug software glitches without distorting the files themselves.
Windows 8 has been specially designed to also work with ARM devices whereas Windows 7 has support for solely x86 processing systems. This makes Microsoft’s new operating system more versatile and more capable of being used across various gadgets, expressly new-age smartphones and tablet computers.
As paralleled with Windows 7, Windows 8 also offers the ensuing enhancements:
- Heightened copy, paste, delete, and rename controls
- An overhauled Windows Explorer with a ribbon layout
- Ability to log in using Windows Live details
- Ability to harness drive to utilize ISO image
- New computer refresh and reset choices
- Boosted screen size control
- Improved desktop apps
Windows 8 is fresher, faster, and hardier than its predecessor. If users can get used to the new interface, the new operating system is sure to open a new “window” to software excellence.