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Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Big Picture

Published: Monday, March 05, 2012 12:26 PM EST     713 Views
Author: Amanda Melodini
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The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been released and, according to Microsoft, has been downloaded 1 million times, allowing everyday people to get a taste of Windows 8 before it is fully released this fall.

You may look at screenshots of Windows 8 and assume that the desktop doesn’t exist anymore. However, the desktop is very much alive, and, according to David Pogue of the New York Times, “the beauty and grace of Metro feels like a facade that's covering up the old Windows” when you are using Windows 8 on a PC.

If you’re using the new OS on a tablet, you may never need to go to the old desktop interface. The average PC user, however, may find the new tile interface superfluous because he or she still needs to use Microsoft Office and create files, something which can only be done in the desktop. The “Windows 7” that is hidden in Windows 8 is so distinct from the Metro interface that each of the two interfaces features its own version of Internet Explorer, with the tile Metro interface not supporting Flash. Furthermore, whereas you can share content when you are in tile mode, you can’t share anything when you’re in desktop mode. The complexity and non-touch interface that we’ve seen for years still exists because people are used to it. Rather than completely getting rid of it, Microsoft hopes that that attractive tile interface will ease its 1.25 billion users into the new interface rather than forcing them to adopt it.

Although desktop PC and laptop users may feel as if the redesigned Windows is façade covering up Windows 7, the big story is that Microsoft is acknowledging that a gigantic shift towards mobile devices is taking place. The Start Menu that has existed since Windows 95 is replaced by a tile menu that works beautifully on touch tablets and, according to reviews, works well on non-touch laptops and PCs. Microsoft knows that the line between mobile devices and PCs will be non-existent in the future and their pending release of Windows 8 is their attempt to stay current with the times.

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