29 October 2012
IT Solutions
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5 points of confusion about Windows 8

Windows 8 is not your conventional Windows upgrade. With  Windows 7, Vista, and XP, you got a fresh OS that added new tools, more  capabilities under the hood, new interface options, and a new look. But all of these were  variations on the basic Windows theme, and ran all your existing Windows  programs. Windows 8 changes all this, because it has a bigger mission – to  extend Windows for use on touch tablets while still keeping its ability to run  your existing Windows programs.

With this goal came a whole new class of apps that run on the operating system, and that brings us to our first point of confusion:  Metro apps vs. desktop apps. But even before delving into which types of apps  run where, you have the choice of which kind of machine you want – tablet or  desktop/laptop. In fact the lines between tablets and laptops start to blur with  Windows 8, and many manufacturers are coming out with convertibles that start out looking like laptops but detach or  swivel to transform into tablets.

As with the earlier major Windows releases, we still have the “which  edition?” question. Thankfully, this time around there’s actually a less  confusing array of choices than we had in the past for Windows 7. It’s pretty  much Pro vs. standard Windows 8, unless you’re in a developing nation or in a  large enterprise’s IT department. Also in the past, you had questions of  upgrade or buy new, 64-bit or 32-bit, and upgrade or clean install. But those  are more familiar and less existential than most of the dualities we cover  below, starting with…

1. Tablet OS or PC OS?

Windows 8 is a tablet operating system as well as a PC operating system. It’s  designed to be equally at home on both. So, while Windows 8 offers excellent  touch input capabilities, it can fully take advantage of a keyboard and mouse.  You can’t really say that about an iPad with an after-market keyboard – just try  using the arrow keys to scroll up or down on a web page. And forget about  keyboard shortcuts.

2. New Style (Metro) vs. Desktop

This is another one of the major splits we find within Microsoft’s new  operating system. You always start out in the new-style, tiled “Metro”  Start screen. From there, you can either launch new-style apps or traditional  Windows apps. The new-style apps are full-screen, touch-friendly, web-connected,  and only available from the Windows Store – Microsoft’s (much smaller)  equivalent to Apple’s iTunes App Store. The Store also lists regular Windows  programs, but these aren’t acquired through the Store, but rather from the software publisher’s own page.

Microsoft presents Desktop as just another app on the Start screen, but when  you launch it, you’ll land in a completely different, yet familiar interface –  one that’s nearly identical to the Windows 7 interface. So while desktop users  can still run their existing programs (and enjoy faster performance,  incidentally), they can also take advantage of a whole new class of easily  obtainable and updateable lightweight apps more commonly associated with mobile  platforms.

3. Windows 8 vs. Windows RT

This one is a tricky one, but the easiest way to think of it is that Windows  RT is the purely tablet version of Windows 8. RT is the version that runs on  non-Intel/AMD processors such as those from Qualcomm and Nvidia (ARM-powered  chips). For the most part at this point RT only runs the new-style Windows 8  apps available from the new Windows Store. Its desktop also run apps  specifically compiled for RT, such as the new version of Microsoft Office, which  comes bundled with Windows RT.

But hold on: RT can’t actually run every  app in the Windows Store, though it does run the majority. For example, when I  checked the Windows Store on a Windows 8 tablet with an Intel processor, I saw  Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Microsoft Minesweeper and CyberLink’s YouCam;  but not on an RT tablet. (There were, however, still plenty of other Solitaire  apps available). But the major players and even many minors were in the RT  Store, including Skype, Netflix, and so forth. One thing you’re unlikely to see  on RT is a version of iTunes, which you can easily run on a Windows 8 machine in  desktop mode.

One advantage of Windows RT over regular Windows 8 (not Windows 8 Pro  – see below) is that it includes data protection using Device Encryption, which is based on  BitLocker technology. According to Microsoft’s Windows version comparison page, data is  protected on Windows 8 PCs and removable drives using BitLocker and BitLocker To  Go.

4. Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro

This one is pretty straightforward. If you want a Windows 8 PC for home use  only, stick with generic Windows 8. For business environments, Windows 8 Pro  makes more sense, as it can be joined to network domains and use Remote Desktop  Connection. One exception to the home/work split is that if you want to run a  home cinema PC, you’ll need Pro, since only it can run Windows Media Centre.

5. Window Phone 8 vs. Windows 8 (no phone)

Some have argued that Microsoft likes the confusion sown by this one. Yes,  Windows 8 is a mobile OS in the sense that it runs on tablets, but it’s not a  phone OS, despite the similarity in the names. Unlike Apple, which upsized its  phone OS to work on a tablet, Microsoft’s strategy goes in the other  direction, bringing its desktop OS down to the tablet form factor. And when you  think about it, that strategy makes just as much sense as coming from the phone  to the tablet, especially if you expect tablets to get more powerful and  capable.  But to clarify the issue: No, Windows Phone 8 apps don’t run on  Windows 8, and vice versa… not yet, anyway.

Source: itproportal

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