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Although Windows 8 is not slated to hit the market before 2012, we’ve already begun to see glimpses of what we can expect from Microsoft’s next desktop operating system. The latest post on Microsoft’s blog demonstrates a dramatically improved boot time in the next iteration of the OS.

We’re talking about 8 seconds from the moment the machine is turned on until it’s fully booted — a vast improvement over most machines running earlier versions of Windows today.

Of course, the boot time won’t be this fast on all machines. Having a fast PC with a lot of RAM and an SSD instead of a HDD will help out tremendously.

Still, it’s nice to see that Microsoft is working to reduce long boot times, which is one of the most annoying aspects of computing for many users. Microsoft’s own data shows that 57% of desktop PC users and 45% of laptop users shut down their machines instead of putting them in sleep mode.

Microsoft provides a very detailed breakdown of how, exactly, the engineers did it — it’s a hybrid between traditional cold boot and resuming from hibernate.


As seen on Mashable.com

We’re live from Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky’s keynote at D9, and there’s something rather exciting on stage — a pair of experimental Windows 8 dev boards running an OS that looks very much like Windows Phone 7’s Metro UIAll Things D actually sat down with the man earlier today and got a sneak peek at what to expect starting with the live tiled screen you see above — and yes, like Windows Phone 7, this OS is designed for touch.

There’ll be two kinds of applications for Windows 8, one that runs in a traditional desktop, and the other pseudo-mobile apps based on HTML5 and Javascript, but both environments — rather, the entire OS — have been designed from the ground up for touchscreen use. Keyboard and mouse will still be options for both sets of programs, but there are multiple virtual sets of keys for different form factors, including a split keyboard for vertical slate use. Multitasking is simply a matter of swiping running apps into the center of the screen, and you can pull windows partway to “snap” them in place alongside other windows — even mixing and matching traditional desktop programs with web apps simultaneously (like Twitter alongside your spreadsheet). There’s a new version of Internet Explorer 10 (which runs Silverlight) and an app store built into the touchscreen interface, along with integrated services like Office 365. Microsoft says the new OS will run on laptops, tablets and desktops when it appears — whenever that might be.

All Things D didn’t have any details on when we’ll get pricing or availability, but we’re looking at some Intel Atom-based demo units on stage right now, and Microsoft says it will have ARM designs (the OS will support NVIDIA, TI and Qualcomm) viewable on the Computex show floor, and more will be revealed at the Build Windows developer conference in September. We should note that “Windows 8” is just a codename for what we’re seeing here — “we’ll figure out the real name in due time,” Sinofsky told the crowd — but we don’t see much harm in calling it Windows 8 for now.

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