Windows 10 is around the corner, the next Wednesday 29th will be available. Probably the best version of Windows ever created thanks to the contributions that all of you have done via the Windows Insider program, your participation has helped to shape features like Windows Hello, Cortana, Edge, Continuum or the reduced footprint that will free space in our computers among many others.
But before we upgrade all of our computers I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the features that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 incorporated.
We can find examples of new features for any kind of aspect of the OS like the ones I mention below.
Since Vista, Windows hasn’t stopped reducing the requirements needed to run the OS, Windows 8 was not an exception and it also reduced the runtime memory
Faster boot times that save us time every time we start up our PC.
Support for USB 3.0 bringing a much needed faster speed for our USB drives.
Picture passwords that allow you to “draw” your password on top of an image, so you don’t have to remember a complex char string.
Family Safety is one of the coolest security features available to ensure your kids can use safely your PC. By creating child accounts, together with the right education, you can ensure that only the apps and webs are available, you can limit the usage times of the PC and get reports on how it is used.
Strictly speaking the next one is not a security feature, File History allows to perform automatic backups of your files keeping different versions of the file, so you can recover a lost file or a previous version of it at any time.
A renewed Windows Explorer with a new ribbon, context actions and some additional features
Signing with Microsoft Account that allowed to sync settings, and apps across different computers, have single sign-on on different apps…
Integration with OneDrive to have always our files in-sync
Smart search was the beginnings of what Cortana will be able to do in Windows 10, Smart Search allowed to perform holistical searches within your PC, files, apps and of course Internet.
Democratization of Touch for desktop and laptops. Don’t know if you have the same feeling, but all non-touch screens feel extremely old for me since then.
Power User Features
Windows To Go was one of my favorites features, it allowed you to install Windows in a pendrive and roam your entire OS by booting from that pendrive in any other compure.
Management of ISO and VHD files directly from the Windows Explorer
Hyper-v technology on the client side, pretty cool for all of us who work with virtual machines, but didn’t want to install the Windows Server version.
New Boot experience that prevents we need to enter and modify the BIOS settings for simple things like booting from a device
A new Task manager introduced the Heat Map to understand better what’s going on in the system.
Generic OS Features
One of the biggest changes in Windows was to make it available on ARM processors and SoC architectures. This allows Windows 8 to run virtually on any kind of device.
New Resilient File System (ReFS) built on top of NTFS compatibility that provides integrity streams, large volumes, data stripping, disk scrubbing or shared storage pools across machines among many other features. A new NTFS Health model
3D printing support out-of-the-box
Refresh and reset, reinstalling your PC is always a pain. The features added to Windows 8 allowed to simplify this task allowing you to reset to factory settings or refreshing windows without losing your apps and info.
Support to IPv6 protocol
Storage spaces a feature that allows you to manage different disks and volumes as one virtual storage space
Mobile Networks. If you travel around with your PC definitively will have had appreciated this feature, which allowed Telcos to integrate their 3G/4G solutions directly into the wireless window settings. This eased the steps needed to connect to broadband networks.
Sensor fusion. As Windows 8 was available to a broader range of devices, like tablets, 2-1, hybrids…it added a new set of features to work with different sensors like accelerometers, gyroscope, compass, etc. that was also exposed as APIs to build apps.
Windows Update is probably one of the largest state-of-the-art automatic solutions that allows you to keep your PC updated. Windows Update was also improved to reduce the reboots needed during updates.
From a dcvelopment point of view Windows 8 was revolutionary, it introduced a new set of APIs called WinRT. WinRT allowed you to build your apps for the Windows Store once and run them in x86 or ARM architectures independently of the device: tablet, PC, laptop or all-in-one. It was the first step to the new Windows Universal Platform.
Windows 8 and 8.1 also incorporated a long list of new features for IT professionals, like support to Open MDM via the OMA-DM API agent included, NFC tap-to-pair printing, remote business data removal, pervasive device encryption, device lockdown or boot to desktop.
All these are just an example of some of the features that we could find in the, at least controversial, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, that paved the way of innovations for the next version of Windows.
As I said at the beginning Windows 10 is just around the corner, the best Windows ever, familiar, free and with a new long list of features that will delight its users. This week is upgrade time!!