Top Ten Things I Like About Windows 8 (Eight)

As a long time computer user, it has taken me a while to warm up to the Graphical User Interface.  I’ve always secretly favored the Wico [1] Joystick over the mouse.  Now that the Touch-Centric UI of Windows 8 is out, I realize that I may someday get my chance to throw my mouse out the window [pun intended].  Well, it may be a while [I still don’t have a touch sensitive monitor], but the Surface RT is a tempting transition. 

I feel that the new radical redesign by Microsoft is just what is needed to push technology into the future.  While I don’t have a tablet yet, it seems imminent that tablets and phones will soon replace most ordinary PCs.  Until I make the transition, I can talk about what I like about Windows 8 for Desktop.

Below is a list of the ten things about Windows 8 for Desktop that excite me (a professional developer) the most:

1.       Hyper-V Baby!!!! (In Win8 Pro or higher)

(Developers know how important Hyper-V is.  It allows them to run almost any licensed operating system inside Win8 using enterprise class technology without ever having to reboot.  This is invaluable for developers, businesses, and retro-gamers [2])

2.       The end of the plugin era

(Are you sick of having to update Java and Flash every other month?  Windows 8 is the beginning of the end of this.  As Windows 8 continues to rise into market dominance for the Desktop, Tablet and Phone, Flash and Java will become relics of the past.  Windows 8 has a streamlined UI that relies strongly on the HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript feature set to make plugins unnecessary)

3.       Strong HTML5/CSS3 and XAML Support

(These are tried and tested technologies that developers are familiar with.  Typical users will benefit from this support because more developers will bring their software to Windows 8.  That means more apps in the Windows Store!!!  Developers can benefit since many of them will be able to build upon skills they are already familiar with.)

4.       Instant Access to Windows Live

(In an enterprise environment with already existing storage and email infrastructure, this may not be a big feature, but at home it makes a difference for me.  As soon as I login to Win8, I immediately have access to SkyDrive, Email, MSDN and ASP.NET Forums.   I no longer have to go searching through three of four pages of personal passwords to backup a file to SkyDrive.  It’s already there as soon as I login to Win8!!!  As Win8 continues to increase its market dominance, I hope that other services such as FaceBook, StackExchange and online gaming providers will realize the value of supporting Win8’s instant access feature)

5.       Live Tiles

(I know Windows 7 had gadgets and older versions of IE had Active Desktop, but Win8’s Live Tiles is the best demonstration of active content on the desktop I have seen yet!  Not only do Live Tiles work for native Win8 Apps but a new badge notification system for IE10 also allows pinned websites to provide limited content.  The new badge system provides an easy way for developers to keep interested and consenting users up to date even when IE10 is closed.)

6.       Low Cost Upgrade

(Who can argue with $40 for an MS Windows Upgrade? J  )

7.       Improved Security

(Modern versions of MS Windows seem to be secure enough already when you run them in a restricted non-administrator account with reasonable Anti-Virus software, but with Windows 8, Microsoft has raised the bar even further.  *Some* of the reasons Windows 8 is more secure than previous versions of Windows are:

a.       BIOS Enhanced Boot Security UEFI

b.      Preinstalled Anti-Virus

c.       Less reliance on plugins [plugins like Java and Flash are major security risks][3]

You can read Eric Geier’s comments about these enhancements here: )

8.       IE10 Has Spell Check

(I don’t know about you but I have been waiting on this for a long time.  Seriously, IE has been doing a great job meeting developer/(end user) needs since Version 8.  IE10 with its improved standards and debugging support means Web Developers will spend less time ripping their hair out and more time bringing quality products to end users.)

9.       Faster Boot

(If you are like me, you shut your Home Desktop down when you are done with it because you don’t want to leave it in sleep mode for whatever reason.  This causes you to have to boot the entire OS each day you choose to login to the PC.  Waiting on a PC to come up is no fun.  Fortunately, Win8 has good news for you.  Win8 boot is *much* faster.   In addition, Win8 doesn’t just improve on boot performance. Check out Michael Muchmore’s comments here:,2817,2406668,00.asp  )

10.   Parental Control Enhancements

(My kids are now getting old enough to use the PC.  My wife and I can’t watch them every second of the day, but better parental controls will help.  In addition, in the not so distant future, schoolchildren may be issued tablets.  As Microsoft continues to enhance parental controls, we will all feel safer the day our kids do bring home a taxpayer issued tablet.   See Dara Kerr’s comments on the new Windows 8 Parental Features here: )

As far as I can tell, the Windows 8 Desktop upgrade is the best version of Windows 8 yet.

Thanks Microsoft J,

ASP.NET Web Developer and Parent

[1] -
[2] – I don’t recommend running *new* games in Hyper-V, but very old games like Myst and Civilization III *should* run well in Hyper-V provided you have appropriate licenses and suitable SLAT Capable hardware.
[3] – If you aren’t concerned about browser plugins, you should be.   Lucian Constantin says:
“A large number of computers get infected today through drive-by-download attacks performed with the help of Web exploit toolkits -- malicious Web applications designed to exploit vulnerabilities in widespread browser plug-ins like Flash Player, Adobe Reader, or Java.”
Microsoft’s work to lower Internet Explorer’s dependence on plugins it not only good for Microsoft but it is good for ->*you*<- the consumer.

This post is Copyright 2012 by Shawn Eary and is licensed under the FCDL
In addition to the rights conferred by the FCDL, Shawn Eary reserves the right to update this post at any time and cross post it in other blog areas as he sees fit.  Finally, no warranty whatsoever comes with this post. The post is provided as is and readers bear the full risk of following its advice.