There are a lot of improvements that have come along with Windows 8. Performance is probably the biggest one. Tests are fairly consistently showing that even though we’re not using the finished product yet, the Windows 8 Release Preview outperforms Windows 7 in every area that matters. What really matters, however, is what you will notice as you get used to the new system.
Here are a few of the top improvements that really make Windows 8 stand out:
Given how much Microsoft has talked this area up, it shouldn’t shock anybody to see improvements. What might surprise you is how easy they are to see. Boot time reduction can be anywhere from 40-60%, given our testing. Some sites have found even more extreme reductions. If you couple that improvement with a SSD, getting under it around 10 seconds is a given. For perspective, you are probably looking at the potential to boot your computer faster than you can connect when making a phone call.
Metro Start Menu
Bear with me here for a moment, because I know there has been a lot of hate piled up on Metro. While it is definitely well designed for touch interface, those who are using a mouse and keyboard will notice no real problems once they get used to things. The organization allows for you to decide if you want a particular icon to be large or small. In some cases this decision will be affected by whether or not you want live data displayed. There are many programs, such as weather apps, that offer little incentive for you to open them once the Live Tile is turned on. For those alarmed by the seemingly large size and overly friendly appearance of the tiles, keep in mind that there is a lot of space available. A 1920 x 1080 display will easily hold 60+ tiles visible with no scrolling.
All Windows 8 installations offer you the option to link your local account to a Live account. This currently doesn’t offer perfect syncing between computers, but it’s getting pretty good. You will get to carry your desktop, basic settings, SkyDrive data, etc. with you just by logging in. We’re hoping for things like App migration in the near future, but what is already available make using multiple computers far more pleasant than usual.
Multiple Monitor Support
This is one of my favorite additions to the Windows experience. While the desktop is generally fine as it is in Windows 7, the improvements made in the new version stand out. The taskbar now stretches across both screens with no need for third-party software. You can pull up the Start Menu, and any other function you want, on either display. Basically you are given the full utility of your primary display on either side. It’s a small thing at first, but this comes in handy more often than you would ever expect to need it.