Planning for Windows 8

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article, News

Windows 8 is the next version of Windows.

Microsoft have already released a Developer Preview and the initial Beta version is due shortly. Windows 8 features the new Start Screen which replaces the Start menu and displays active tiles with the new Metro Apps that are being. You will be familiar with this type of interface if you use a Smartphone such as Windows Phone (which incidentally is also a member of the Windows 8 family).

If you are currently running Windows Vista or Windows 7, or planning to upgrade your existing system to Windows 7, the same configuration will run Windows 8.
For a conventional desktop or laptop PC, the requirements are:

  • 64-bit (x64)
  • CPU with 1 GHz
  • 20 GByte Hard disk space
  • 2 GByte RAM
  • DirectX-9 graphics Card
  • 32-bit (x86/x32)
  • CPU with 1 GHz
  • 16 GByte Hard disk space
  • 1 GByte RAM
  • DirectX-9 graphics Card

On these systems, Windows 8 will run your existing desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, and it will also support the new Start Screen and the Metro Apps, with the mouse or keyboard being used to perform the same action that are supported via the Touch functions on the Tablet PCs.
You can therefore be ready for the launch of Windows 8 in the fourth quarter, without having to switch the new class of Windows 8 PCs that are currently under development.
You can go one step further and add a Touch-sensitive monitor to your desktop computer (or use a Windows 7 laptop that supports Touch). However, most existing displays are limited in the level of Touch capability offered and so would not be fully Windows 8 compliant.

The Windows 8 interface comes into its own when used with touch-based, tablet or convertible PCs, in particular the Windows on ARM (WOA) PCs that use the ARM processor rather than Intel or AMD.

These PCs are still under development, but they will feature additional hardware requirements including:

  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
  • WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE (low energy)
  • Direct 3D 10 with WDDM 1.2 driver
  • 1366x768px resolution
  • At least five touch points
  • 720 pixel Camera

Other requirements include USB port and speakers, plus special purpose items such as an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The device must also provide a minimum set of buttons including the Windows Key, Power, Rotation lock and Volume. For devices without keyboards, the Windows Key + Power buttons act as Ctrl+Alt+Del.
As further interim versions of Windows 8 are released and Windows 8 compliant hardware becomes available, the configurations will be refined and confirmed, and the level of capability offered by the various classes of PC will become clearer.  We will also be able to investigate the new versions of software that will be released along with Windows 8, including Internet Explorer 10 and Microsoft Office 2012.
About the author
Michael Price is an accomplished author, IT journalist and systems consultant with a wide experience of computing systems ranging from mainframes to personal computers. He’s also a successful author with several best-selling In Easy Steps books to his credit.
Books by Michael Price
•    Windows 7 in easy steps : Special Edition
•    Windows 7 for Seniors in easy steps
•    Office 2010 in easy steps
•    Office 2010 for Seniors in easy steps
•    Excel 2010 in easy steps
•    Office 2007 for Seniors in easy steps
•    Office 2007 in easy steps
•    Excel 2007 in easy steps
•    Internet for Seniors in easy steps, UK edition
•    Internet for Seniors in easy steps, International edition
•    Internet for Seniors in easy steps, Windows Vista edition
•    Windows Vista for Seniors in easy steps
•    Wireless Home Networking in easy steps, 2nd edition
•    Computer Basics in easy steps, covers Windows 7
•    Computer Basics in easy steps