Microsoft's latest OS, Windows 8, includes updates to some Windows 7 features that may allow for more intuitive use. The software was designed with interfaces for computers and tablets, but both devices can support either menu.
The tiled start-screen is modeled after the Live Tile system that Microsoft uses for Windows Phone. These icons are animated shortcuts that provide live updates for each program. For example, if you link your email account with Outlook, you'll receive an on-screen notification for every new message.
Windows 8, aside from its lack of a start button, has an alternate interface with certain similarities to Windows 7. The familiar program bar and desktop are there and can be easily accessed by left-clicking on the tiled screen. After viewing both menus once, pressing the Windows key toggles between the two.
There are different versions of the OS with different tools and were designed with different system needs in mind. Windows 8 is the basic upgrade from 7, Vista and XP with the new screen, integrated accounts and access to the Windows Store for apps.
Windows 8 Pro is Window 7 Professional's successor and offers increased security via programs like Encrypting File System and BitLocker. This iteration of the OS was designed with heavier use in mind. For businesses, Windows 8 Enterprise offers all of the programs found in other versions, except for Windows Media Center and pre-installed Microsoft Office Suites. Enterprise also has Windows To Go, which saves all of a user's files and preferences to a USB drive so they can access their customized OS from any computer.
Anyone whose laptop or desktop runs on Windows XP, Vista or 7 is eligible to upgrade to 8. Systems require processor speeds of 1 GHz or faster, 1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM for a 32-bit device, 16 GB of disk space and a DirectX 9 graphics card to support the OS.
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