All Windows 7 applications will run on Windows 8 without compatibility issues. But there are a lot of new things to discover as well. A tap-to-share feature, Hyper-V support, the Metro UI and Windows Live.
Windows 7 Application Support And Preloaded Features
Good news for all current users is that all Windows 7 applications will run natively on Windows 8. No compatibility mode issues. However, they very likely won’t be adapted to the Metro UI unless their makers upgrade them.
As we reported earlier, Hyper-V comes preloaded on Windows 8. SkyDrive cloud storage now supports all cloud-based apps. Windows 8 apps can talk to each other natively (if the developer chooses to utilize this feature). The Windows store will sell both normal Win32 and Metro UI apps.
Windows 8 will ship with a built in anti-virus. It may or may not be Microsoft-made. The developer preview will have continued update support. There’s no ARM support in the developer preview but it will be present in the final release.
As noted in earlier reports, Hyper-V will require specific hardware to run. Otherwise, Windows 8 can be “run” on a very basic system with a first generation Atom with 1GB memory.
Windows 8 devices with NFC chips will be able to enjoy native ‘tap-to-share’ support. This will help them receive and send content from and to another such device or simply read it off an NFC equipped card. NXP Semiconductors has confirmed that they have worked closely with Microsoft in order to facilitate this and they have also worked on the tablet that has been given away at BUILD. This technology will help simplify things to a simple tap, which can be used to pair Bluetooth devices, share data and more; all with a tap. Pretty futuristic it is.
Windows 8 will also be available on Ultrabooks — a line of super thin and super light netbooks and notebooks.
Security update notifications will always be minimized to the lower right corner of the login screen. A new and improved task manager will be suspending all apps that are not running on the screen; a great feature for laptops, tablets and other portable devices. Logins will use a photo-based system.
Metro UI Core
The Metro UI won’t be an overlay; it is a core feature that is as native as explorer. Calendar, Mail, Photos and People apps with Windows Live ID will all be available in Metro style UI. A settings roam feature will allow a user to sync personalization settings across all Windows 8 devices.
Reset and Refresh PC Feature
There are now simplified functions for system wide data wipe and restore called “Reset and Refresh PC”.
Multi-monitor support is has become more advanced. Now a single background can stretch across all monitors. Each monitor can have it’s own task bar.
Input Support And Accessibility
Windows 8 will also feature an optional thumb-by-thumb input option along with a magnifier option for better desktop maneuverability. Internet Explorer 10 will have support for touch-based input. It will also be able to effortlessly switch between conventional Windows desktop and the Metro touch UI.
Windows Live Coming To Windows 8
Gamers will be happy to know that Microsoft has yet again confirmed that Xbox Live is coming to Windows by confirming it’s presence on Windows 8. Called Xbox Live On Windows, it will bring its range of services concerning music, games, movies and TV content to Win8. Microsoft has a promised that more details will follow this week and there will be a special app development session especially for this before BUILD concludes.
Dousing out a lot of curiosity, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will not have separate version for tablet and desktop. There will also be no separate Media Center version either. Media Center is now a feature within Windows. However, they have not mentioned how many editions of the OS will be released (such as Home, Business, Ultimate).