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Right from the get go Windows 7 was looking strong out the gate and allowed Microsoft to take a quick U-turn away from the rocky road they travelled down with Vista, but it's been Windows XP that has retained the biggest impact in the OS world for MS all this time.
However, if the latest consolidation of data from StatCounter is accurate, the first half of this October has seen Windows 7 actually overtake XP in becoming the primary operating system of choice worldwide. The data was collected from over 3 million sites in total and it was discovered that Windows 7 now has a market share of over 40%, which is up from 39.04% last month.
Windows XP is still going super strong, though, with a 38.62% market share. Meanwhile, Vista continues to dwindle in third place at a far distant 11.18% market share. Trailing behind Vista in fourth is Apple with Mac OS X at 7.3%, then in fifth sits iOS at 1.1%.
With Windows 7 now making it into pole position as the leading OS of choice, it's not hard to believe that it will remain in that position for quite a long time; especially due to Windows 8 still being a ways off and needing to prove itself as the OS of choice well after its release.
Windows 8's UI has undergone some changes as Microsoft received a bunch of feedback due to its developer preview of the upcoming OS last month, where they pledged to respond with a number of changes. Firstly, the app displayed within the Windows 8 App Screen can now be organised into groups, rather than the alphabetical arrangements (as shown in the image below).
Apps can now be displayed at a higher density, which means cramming more content into the same space. Enterprise users will have the ability to customize their companies' Start screens and unify them across the networks, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me. There's still no word on whether administrators have the ability to opt out of Windows 8's Metro Ui tile-based interface, in favor of the "old-school", Windows 7-esque Desktop app, which is a highly requested feature.
There are many changes Microsoft are baking into Windows 8 and its great to see them so open with their users and implementing them so quickly. Take a look at the Building Windows 8 blog for an absolutely mammoth read, its very detailed and very awesome.
Microsoft have set the goal of reducing the overall runtime memory requirements of the core system, this is a benefit to everyone and will allow people to run more and more apps, or many apps simultaneously on systems with only 1 or 2GB of RAM. Microsoft are wanting to reduce Windows 8's memory footprint as it will be pumping away on SoC-based devices which will have not only limited specs compared to a full blown desktop, but they also have batteries that don't last forever.
As Microsoft say "If an OS uses a lot of memory, it can force device manufacturers to include more physical RAM. The more RAM you have on board, the more power it uses, the less battery life you get. Having additional RAM on a tablet device can, in some instances, shave days off the amount of time the tablet can sit on your coffee table looking off but staying fresh and up to date." This is very true, so reducing the memory footprint is a very, very important move.
Wishing you could retain more of a Windows 7 oriented look with your install of Microsoft's Windows 8 developer release? You'd certainly be one of many who just can't get used to the vastly different interface at this stage, in which case you'll be impressed to know there is now a way to get more of a Windows 7 look from Windows 8 thanks to the "Metro UI Tweaker" from The Windows Club.
Using this tweaking tool (after first installing .NET Framework 3.5.1), disabling the Metro start menu and Explorer Ribbon is just the start of what it can do. Other tweaks on tap include :-
1 Disable Metro Start menu: Disables only Metro Start menu screen. This function requires editing a system file. It does not remove the file
2 Disable Metro Ribbon: Disables only the Metro Ribbon UI. It requires taking ownership of a system file. It does not remove this file
3 Disable Metro Start menu and Ribbon: Disables the Metro Start menu UI, Ribbon UI, Metro Task Manager UI and the lock screen
4 Enable Metro Start menu and Ribbon: Re-enables all available Metro UI options
5 Add power options to the Metro Start menu screen: Logoff, Switch User, Lock, Sleep, Restart and Shutdown
6 Add any application/file to the Metro UI Start menu screen: Some applications/files may not be available to you to add to the Metro Start menu screen. This program allows you to add those applications/files which would otherwise be unavailable
I'm sure you dear readers don't like the old-school, 80s style boot-up sequence that has plagued Windows since, well, forever. This is all set to change with the old BIOS system being replaced by a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) which gives users a high-resolution logo and graphical menu to look at whilst booting up their PCs. Not only does it look pretty, but the menu will allow booting to a different disc, OS or USB drive with pictures and words as prompts.
The command prompt will still be there if you would like to get your black and white, text thrashing on. For everyone else, they get the super-pretty, super-fast boot up sequences we've all been dreaming of for a very, very long time. Microsoft will continue to support the legacy BIOS interface, but systems using the UEFI interface will have "significantly richer capabilities". Other nifty things built-in is ease of use for performing troubleshooting in Windows RE.
Microsoft's BUILD conference in Seattle is well underway and every tech site in the world has been throwing news up like there's no tomorrow, so instead of rewording the news, I'll provide some links and some thoughts on Windows 8. Windows 8 has not only myself excited, but most of the tech-related community. It seems like an utter overhaul of the Windows UI as we know it, with a smash-up of the Windows Phone tile-based UI and something new.
"Something new" is what seems like a million new ideas and features built-in to Windows 8. The major changes are [of course] the UI, but Windows 8 brings performance increases, a new lock screen, an entirely new home screen, a new task manager, cloud-syncing and so many others things it's hard to tell you a handful. Instead of this, check out a bunch of screenshots, videos and links to preview thoughts below.
If you want to try it out, download the developer preview here.
Microsoft is preparing to show off their upcoming flagship operating system, Windows 8, at their Build developer conference in Anaheim, California next week. Microsoft have said they want an operating system that feels at home whether home means an 8-inch tablet or a powerful desktop computer connected to large-screen monitors.
Window President, Steven Sinofsky says "It's 'no compromise' and that's really important to us". Commitment like this is great to see, especially in a changed battlefield against companies like Google and Apple.
Microsoft have signalled at much faster boot times as well as introducing Office's "ribbon" interface into the Windows desktop. Microsoft are also aiming at not just having an Intel show this time, but letting a wide range of companies come in for attention from the press and developers. With Microsoft saying at CES in January that Windows 8 will run on ARM-based processors from Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and NVIDIA as well as traditional x86-based chips from Intel and AMD.
A new episode of Microsoft's "Building Windows 8" details significant efforts made to give considerable improvements in boot time with its next-gen consumer level OS. A new 'fast startup' mode being worked on combines elements of typical cold booting with resume from hibernate.
Where Windows 7 and earlier OS' shut down both the user sessions and kernel session, Windows 8 will hibernate the kernel session which will allow it to kick back into action much faster than usual. Microsoft promises that between 30 to 70% faster boot times will be seen using this method, depending on the system's hardware characteristics.
A newly added multi-phase resume capability will also be made use of by the fast startup mode, allowing it to use all cores in multi-core PCs in parallel sequence for the reading of the hiberfile and decompression of contents. There will be the option to bypass the fast startup mode and shut down in traditional, full fashion, but assuming this fast startup method works as well as Microsoft says and that we all seek faster everything in this day and age, there should be little to no reason not to use it.
While many have anticipated its presence in Windows 8 through several reports for a while now, Microsoft has just confirmed that the virtualization technology popular on Windows Server, "Hyper-V" will in fact be a part of its next-gen consumer level OS. This is not a feature the majority of folks using Windows 8 will be singing sweet melodies about, but for some it will no doubt be a true god send. If you're not even sure what it means or does, but are quick to sit forward in your seat and learn more, you can head over to this link for a detailed rundown.
Another interesting addition to Windows 8 talked about via the source is that of MinWin, which is essentially just the core kernel and operating system components of Windows, making it the most stripped down version of Windows possible. While it has showed up in Windows 7 and started when Vista came out, apparently for Windows 8 its role will be much more significant and purposeful, especially when combined with the powerful virtualization features of Hyper-V.
Microsoft are finally adding native ISO mounting support to their upcoming OS, Windows 8. Microsoft have said that in Windows 8, double-clicking an ISO file will automatically mount it as a virtual optical drive. This works in the same way Daemon Tools and Power ISO work, which I have used for the better part of my life. Microsoft will also built in support for Virtual Hard Disk files that are used with virtual machines.
It is in the same fashion with a double-click, it will mount the image automatically. Instead of coming up as an optical drive, it will detect as a separate hard drive, with an eject button. I'm not only surprised, but I'm also so very happy that Microsoft are finally supporting ISOs in Windows. I have a NAS at home and for years now (5+) I have not used an optical disc. When I do, I'll get it to my HDD and make it an ISO. It's much easier to manage, much, much easier and Microsoft have impressed me by adding this support.
How will game companies react? Only time will tell... piracy still does, rule. Even though game revenue is higher than ever, I'm sure people like Cevat Yerli from Crytek will... cry about this news.