8 Hot Features in Windows 8

The rumor mill is in high gear as people speculate about new features in Microsoft's latest version of Windows. Here's a compilation.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Microsoft recently allowed select OEM partners to download updated preview builds of Windows 8. Since then, there have been several leaked images of supposedly new features that you might see in the next Windows when it launches (perhaps in early 2012). Microsoft also previewed the new user interface late last week. Here we have compiled the most interesting leaks, rumors and previews of Windows 8.

Related stories:

How Windows 8 Will Challenge Enterprise IT

Microsoft: Windows 8 won't require a new PC

First look at Windows 8

Microsoft unveils touch-oriented Windows 8

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Windows Phone 7's theme and UI

Microsoft late last week showed off a preview of Windows 8 that features a tiles-based interface, similar to the UI in Windows Phone 7. Called Immersive, this GUI is meant to be used in full-screen mode, and is probably targeted at tablets running Windows 8. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Ribbon User Interface in Explorer

It looks like Microsoft is taking the Ribbon GUI that they introduced in Office 2007, and gradually extended to their other software products including Windows Live Essentials 2011 and Windows 8. So expect a Ribbonized Explorer. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Cloud Integration

The Windows 8 Explorer interface suggests it will access Microsoft's cloud services, possibly SkyDrive and Windows Live Mesh. SkyDrive is an online storage space that you can put your files on, and Mesh lets you sync your other Windows computers and mobile devices remotely. Both are already available by installing Windows Live Essentials 2011 onto Windows 7 or Vista. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Windows Live Integration

Along with being more wedded to Microsoft's cloud services, the Windows 8 preview suggests that you'll be able to use your Windows Live (or Hotmail) account to log into your Windows 8 computer. The profile image of your Windows Live user profile would then appear to the far right of the system tray.

If you want to experience how this might work, this unofficial, user-created app mimics this feature for Windows 7. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Built-In PDF Reader

Microsoft may include the capability for Windows 8 to load and display PDFs, with its own PDF reader they're calling Modern Reader. So there will be no more need to download and install Adobe Reader or its speedier competitor Foxit Reader. The UI and look of Modern Reader is full-on Metro. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

ISO Mounting

It looks like you'll be able to mount an ISO file to Windows 8 and access its contents as though it is a data CD or DVD drive. Having this functionality in prior versions of Windows has been available only as a third-party program you install separately, such as Virtual CloneDrive or Daemon Tools. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

File Download Verification

First implemented into Internet Explorer, it looks like Microsoft may be expanding its SmartScreen filter feature throughout the Windows 8 ecosystem. So when you try to download a file, SmartScreen will kick in and evaluate whether the source URL is known to distribute malware. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Aero Auto-Colorization

Here's something that doesn't address the critical nuts-and-bolts of Windows 8, but could be fun: Aero can be set to automatically change the colors of your Windows theme based on the primary colors of a desktop wallpaper image you use. The result could be harmonious or awful, of course. This is one of those tinker-around-with toys. There's already a program that does the same thing for Windows 7 called Aura. Source.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

8 rumored features of Windows 8

The following have been publicly announced, reported or heavily rumored, but as of this writing have yet to have been confirmed as showing up in any of the Windows 8 preview builds.

How Windows 8 Will Challenge Enterprise IT

8 Amazing Things You'll Do With Windows 8

Microsoft's Deafening Silence on Windows 8 Tablet Features

Windows 8 is Enough? Microsoft OS Family Gets Confusing

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

App Store

It seems like every company has or is about to launch an app store, so it should come as no surprise that we're probably going to see one in Windows 8. There has been debate for months whether screenshots that have been leaked are fake. The latest rumor is that Microsoft will call its app store Windows Store.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

ARM processor support

Support for the ARM processor indicates Microsoft is probably looking to position Windows 8 for tablet use as well. The processor is used mostly in embedded systems and mobile devices.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Factory settings restore

So you clogged up your Windows computer with viruses, trojans or worms. Windows 8 could have an option to restore it to its "factory settings" -- like the daisy-fresh way it worked when you first started it up. This is supposed to be faster to run than using the restore method that comes with most OEM computers.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

History Vault

Windows' long-time "restore to a given point in time" function will be renamed History Vault and become like OS X's Time Machine. It will be a more robust tool that takes a "snapshot" copy of the entire contents of your Windows 8 computer's hard drive and then lets you easily restore things to that prior system state.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Instant-On and Improved Power Settings

There have always been minor to annoying power setting issues with Windows. Rumors of near instant-on and better efforts to save on power consumption would fit into Microsoft's goal to make Windows 8 more tablet-friendly.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Internet Explorer 10

Yep, Microsoft only recently launched IE 9 and has yet to release a preview of its follow-up. But it's probably a safe bet IE 10 will be in Windows 8 when the OS launches.

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Multi-Touch Interface Support

Another sign that Microsoft likely wants to make Windows 8 more appealing for tablets is rumored support for multi-touch interfaces. We can probably assume that the aforementioned Immersive UI is being developed to work ideally with a multi-touch screen. (In fact, Microsoft did show off this feature in a preview late last week.)

http://www.networkworld.com/slideshows/2011/060611-windows- 8.html

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.