IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Microsoft Windows 8 review: First Look

Windows 8 aims to combine a touchscreen Windows Phone 7-style interface with a traditional full-power desktop. Mary Branscombe gets hands on to see if it’s a winning combination.

Slide Metro apps across the screen to get this split view.

Slide Metro apps across the screen to get this split view.

Explorer and Task Manager have more finger-friendly interfaces; Explorer uses the ribbon and Task Manager shows a heat map of resource usage, including for recent apps. Thanks to the same fuzzy targeting as Windows Phone, it's easy to tap even small buttons on the desktop with your finger; if you do have problems you can tap with a stylus, which also gives you the same powerful handwriting recognition as Windows 7. That's something Microsoft says we'll see on the ARM version too and this could make a Windows 8 tablet a good choice for taking notes in meetings and drawing diagrams.

The Start menu is gone, but you can still search for apps, files and settings or send your search to another app, or the Web.

The Start menu is gone, but you can still search for apps, files and settings or send your search to another app or the Web.

The Store for Metro apps isn't ready yet and neither were the updated Windows Live apps. It's easier to activate Windows 8 PCs from Active Directory, but users can also log into a new PC with a Windows Live account, which immediately gives them a password and syncs settings like their desktop background and browser history to any other PCs they use with the same account.

Featured Resources

Four strategies for building a hybrid workplace that works

All indications are that the future of work is hybrid, if it's not here already

Free webinar

The digital marketer’s guide to contextual insights and trends

How to use contextual intelligence to uncover new insights and inform strategies

Free Download

Ransomware and Microsoft 365 for business

What you need to know about reducing ransomware risk

Free Download

Building a modern strategy for analytics and machine learning success

Turning into business value

Free Download

Recommended

How to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data
Microsoft Windows

How to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data

13 May 2022
EMA: The state of AIOps
Whitepaper

EMA: The state of AIOps

1 Apr 2022
Vulnerability in Linux kernel could let hackers remotely take over systems
operating systems

Vulnerability in Linux kernel could let hackers remotely take over systems

5 Nov 2021
IAR Systems and Secure Thingz partner to streamline Azure IoT migration
Microsoft Azure

IAR Systems and Secure Thingz partner to streamline Azure IoT migration

19 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack
hacking

Russian hackers declare war on 10 countries after failed Eurovision DDoS attack

16 May 2022
Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies
Server & storage

Windows Server admins say latest Patch Tuesday broke authentication policies

12 May 2022
Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers
Careers & training

Microsoft to double salary budget to retain workers

17 May 2022