File operation dialog boxes have been updated to provide more detailed statistics, the ability to pause file transfers, and improvements in the ability to manage conflicts when copying files. Task Manager has been redesigned, including a new processes tab with the option to display fewer or more details of running applications and background processes, a heat map using different colors indicating the level of resource usage, network and disk counters, grouping by process type e. New security features in Windows 8 include two new authentication methods tailored towards touchscreens PINs and picture passwords ,  the addition of antivirus capabilities to Windows Defender bringing it in parity with Microsoft Security Essentials.
Windows 8 supports a feature of the UEFI specification known as "Secure boot", which uses a public-key infrastructure to verify the integrity of the operating system and prevent unauthorized programs such as bootkits from infecting the device's boot process. Windows 8 provides heavier integration with online services from Microsoft and others. A user can now log into Windows with a Microsoft account , which can be used to access services and synchronize applications and settings between devices. Windows 8 also ships with a client app for Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage service, which also allows apps to save files directly to SkyDrive.
A SkyDrive client for the desktop and File Explorer is not included in Windows 8, and must be downloaded separately. Games can integrate into an Xbox Live hub app, which also allows users to view their profile and gamerscore.
Internet Explorer 10 is included as both a desktop program and a touch-optimized app, and includes increased support for HTML5 , CSS3 , and hardware acceleration. The Internet Explorer app does not support plugins or ActiveX components, but includes a version of Adobe Flash Player that is optimized for touch and low power usage.
Initially, Adobe Flash would only work on sites included on a "Compatibility View" whitelist ; however, after feedback from users and additional compatibility tests, an update in March changed this behavior to use a smaller blacklist of sites with known compatibility issues instead, allowing Flash to be used on most sites by default. Windows 8 also incorporates improved support for mobile broadband ; the operating system can now detect the insertion of a SIM card and automatically configure connection settings including APNs and carrier branding , and reduce its Internet usage in order to conserve bandwidth on metered networks.
Windows 8 also adds an integrated airplane mode setting to globally disable all wireless connectivity as well. Carriers can also offer account management systems through Windows Store apps, which can be automatically installed as a part of the connection process and offer usage statistics on their respective tile. Windows 8 introduces a new style of application, Windows Store apps. According to Microsoft developer Jensen Harris, these apps are to be optimized for touchscreen environments and are more specialized than current desktop applications. Apps can run either in a full-screen mode or be snapped to the side of a screen.
Apps can use "contracts"; a collection of hooks to provide common functionality that can integrate with other apps, including search and sharing. Components may be compiled as Windows Runtime Components, permitting consumption by all compatible languages. The term "Immersive app" had been used internally by Microsoft developers to refer to the apps prior to the first official presentation of Windows 8, after which they were referred to as "Metro-style apps" in reference to the Metro design language.
The term was phased out in August ; a Microsoft spokesperson denied rumors that the change was related to a potential trademark issue, and stated that "Metro" was only a codename that would be replaced prior to Windows 8's release. In an interview on September 12, , Soma Somasegar vice president of Microsoft's development software division confirmed that "Windows Store apps" would be the official term for the apps. Exceptions to the restrictions faced by Windows Store apps are given to web browsers.
The user's default browser can distribute a Metro-style web browser in the same package as the desktop version, which has access to functionality unavailable to other apps, such as being able to permanently run in the background, use multiple background processes, and use Windows API code instead of WinRT allowing for code to be re-used with the desktop version, while still taking advantage of features available to Windows Store apps, such as charms.
Microsoft advertises this exception privilege "New experience enabled" formerly "Metro-style enabled". The developers of both Chrome and Firefox committed to developing Metro-style versions of their browsers; while Chrome's "Windows 8 mode" discontinued on Chrome version 49 uses a full-screen version of the existing desktop interface, Firefox's version which was first made available on the "Aurora" release channel in September uses a touch-optimized interface inspired by the Android version of Firefox.
Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system's user interface, many of which are aimed at improving its experience on tablet computers and other touchscreen devices. The new user interface is based on Microsoft's Metro design language and uses a Start screen similar to that of Windows Phone 7 as the primary means of launching applications.
The Start screen displays a customizable array of tiles linking to various apps and desktop programs, some of which can display constantly updated information and content through "live tiles".
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It does not include many of the advanced options still accessible from the normal Control Panel. A vertical toolbar known as the charms  accessed by swiping from the right edge of a touchscreen, swiping from the right edge of a trackpad, or pointing the cursor at hotspots in the right corners of a screen provides access to system and app-related functions, such as search, sharing, device management, settings, and a Start button.
The Start button on the taskbar from previous versions of Windows has been converted into a hotspot in the lower-left corner of the screen, which displays a large tooltip displaying a thumbnail of the Start screen.
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However, Windows 8. Pointing the cursor in the top-left corner of the screen and moving down reveals a thumbnail list of active apps. Several notable features have been removed in Windows 8; support for playing DVD-Video was removed from Windows Media Player due to the cost of licensing the necessary decoders especially for devices which do not include optical disc drives at all and the prevalence of online streaming services.
Backup and Restore , the backup component of Windows, is deprecated. It still ships with Windows 8 and continues to work on preset schedules, but is pushed to the background and can only be accessed through a Control Panel applet called "Windows 7 File Recovery". It can only access previous versions of shared files stored on a Windows Server computer. The minimum system requirements for Windows 8 are slightly higher than those of Windows 7.
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Microsoft's Connected Standby specification, which hardware vendors may optionally comply with, sets new power consumption requirements that extend above the above minimum specifications. In January , Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows 8. After the deadline, only critical security updates were to be released for users on these platforms.
Windows 8. Microsoft released minimum hardware requirements for tablet and laplet devices to be "certified" for Windows 8 and defined a convertible form factor as a standalone device that combines the PC, display, and rechargeable power source with a mechanically attached keyboard and pointing device in a single chassis. A convertible can be transformed into a tablet where the attached input devices are hidden or removed leaving the display as the only input mechanism.
The amended requirement is intended to allow "greater design flexibility" for future products. If a mobile broadband device is integrated into a tablet or convertible system, then an assisted GPS radio is required. Devices supporting near field communication need to have visual marks to help users locate and use the proximity technology. Updated certification requirements were implemented to coincide with Windows 8. As of , all certified devices with integrated displays must contain a p webcam and higher quality speakers and microphones, while all certified devices that support Wi-Fi must support Bluetooth as well.
As of , all certified devices must contain Trusted Platform Module 2.
Windows 8 is available in three different editions, of which the lowest version, branded simply as Windows 8 , and Windows 8 Pro , were sold at retail in most countries, and as pre-loaded software on new computers. Each edition of Windows 8 includes all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it, and add additional features oriented towards their market segments. This license also includes Windows Media Center.
Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 was distributed at retail in "Upgrade" licenses only, which require an existing version of Windows to install. The "full version software" SKU, which was more expensive but could be installed on computers without an eligible OS or none at all, was discontinued. Retail distribution of Windows 8 has since been discontinued in favor of Windows 8. Unlike 8, 8. Pricing for these new copies remain identical. The three desktop editions of Windows 8 support bit and bit architectures; retail copies of Windows 8 include install DVDs for both architectures, while the online installer automatically installs the version corresponding with the architecture of the system's existing Windows installation.
Microsoft started moving away from this architecture after Windows The bit version runs on CPUs compatible with x86 8th generation known as x , or x64 or newer, and can run bit and bit programs. Windows RT, the only edition of Windows 8 for systems with ARM processors, only supports applications included with the system such as a special version of Office , supplied through Windows Update, or Windows Store apps, to ensure that the system only runs applications that are optimized for the architecture.
Windows RT does not support running IA or x64 applications. Following the unveiling of Windows 8, Microsoft faced criticism particularly from free software supporters for mandating that devices receiving its optional certification for Windows 8 have secure boot enabled by default using a key provided by Microsoft. Concerns were raised that secure boot could prevent or hinder the use of alternate operating systems such as Linux. In a post discussing secure boot on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft developer Tony Mangefeste indicated that vendors would provide means to customize secure boot, stating that "At the end of the day, the customer is in control of their PC.
Microsoft's philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves. It also revealed that ARM devices Windows RT would be required to have secure boot permanently enabled, with no way for users to disable it.
However, Tom Warren of The Verge noted that other vendors have implemented similar hardware restrictions on their own ARM-based tablet and smartphone products including those running Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform , but still argued that Microsoft should "keep a consistent approach across ARM and x86, though, not least because of the number of users who'd love to run Android alongside Windows 8 on their future tablets. Several notable video game developers criticized Microsoft for making its Windows Store a closed platform subject to its own regulations, as it conflicted with their view of the PC as an open platform.
Markus "Notch" Persson creator of the indie game Minecraft ,  Gabe Newell co-founder of Valve Corporation and developer of software distribution platform Steam ,  and Rob Pardo from Activision Blizzard voiced concern about the closed nature of the Windows Store. Reviews of the various editions of Windows 8 have been mixed to negative. Tom Warren of The Verge said that although Windows 8's emphasis on touch computing was significant and risked alienating desktop users, he felt that Windows 8 tablets "[make] an iPad feel immediately out of date" due to the capabilities of the operating system's hybrid model and increased focus on cloud services.
Pierce also considered the Start Screen to be a "brilliant innovation for desktop computers" when compared with "folder-littered desktops on every other OS" because it allows users to interact with dynamic information. Other improvements and features such as File History, Storage Spaces, and the updated Task Manager were also regarded as positive changes. Bright also said that Windows 8's duality towards tablets and traditional PCs was an "extremely ambitious" aspect of the platform as well, but criticized Microsoft for emulating Apple 's model of a closed distribution platform when implementing the Windows Store.
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The interface of Windows 8 has been the subject of negative reaction. Bright wrote that its system of hot corners and edge swiping "wasn't very obvious" due to the lack of instructions provided by the operating system on the functions accessed through the user interface, even by the video tutorial added on the RTM release which only instructed users to point at corners of the screen or swipe from its sides. Despite this " stumbling block ", Bright said that Windows 8's interface worked well in some places, but began to feel incoherent when switching between the "Metro" and desktop environments, sometimes through inconsistent means.
He noted that while forcing all users to use the new touch-oriented interface was a risky move for Microsoft as a whole, it was necessary in order to push development of apps for the Windows Store. In , Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said that while many of the negative reviews were extreme, it was a "good thing" that Microsoft was "listening to feedback and improving a product".
Microsoft says that 4 million users upgraded to Windows 8 over the weekend after its release,   which CNET says was well below Microsoft's internal projections and was described inside the company as disappointing. On November 27, , Microsoft announced that it has sold 40 million licenses of Windows 8 in the first month, surpassing the pace of Windows 7.
However, according to research firm NPD, sales of devices running Windows in the United States have declined 21 percent compared to the same time period in Windows 8 surpassed Windows Vista in market share with a 5. Windows 8's tablet market share has also been growing steadily, with 7. However, this is still well below Android and iOS , which posted This matched sales of Windows 7 over a similar period.
In January , Hewlett-Packard began a promotion for desktops running Windows 7, saying that it was "back by popular demand". Outside sources have suggested that this might be because HP or its customers thought the Windows 8 platform would be more appropriate for mobile computing than desktop computing, or that they were looking to attract customers forced to switch from XP who wanted a more familiar interface.
Microsoft had similarly cut the price of Windows XP licenses to compete against the early waves of Linux-based netbooks. Some media outlets falsely reported that the SKU associated with this plan, "Windows 8. On the information gathered by Net Applications, adoption rate in March for Windows 8. In May , the Government of China banned the internal purchase of Windows 8-based products under government contracts requiring "energy-efficient" devices.
The story featured an interview with Ni Guangnan, who stated that operating systems could aggregate "sensitive user information" that could be used to "understand the conditions and activities of our national economy and society", and alleged that per documents leaked by Edward Snowden , the U. Yang Min, a computer scientist at Fudan University , also stated that "the security features of Windows 8 are basically to the benefit of Microsoft, allowing them control of the users' data, and that poses a big challenge to the national strategy for information security.
A feature update to Windows 8 known as Windows 8. Windows 8's stock apps were also updated, a new Bing -based unified search system was added, SkyDrive was given deeper integration with the operating system, and a number of new stock apps, along with a tutorial, were added.