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OIT Technology News: April 2012

OIT Newsletter: April

OIT Tech News: April 2012 - Page 4

Windows 8 Preview

Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released to the public at the end of February.

With this new “reimagined and reinvented” version of their Windows operating system (OS) built on the foundation of Windows 7, Microsoft is hoping to provide a common user interface across multiple platforms from smart phones, to slate type tablets, to desktop computers.  While it is geared toward the multi-touch interface devices, it will also work with a mouse and keyboard on the non-touch desktop.

Highlights of what’s new?

  1. No more start button or start menu – there is a new “Start Screen”.  The new “metro” interface is like the Windows Mobile 7 Smartphone look and feel.  Applications are represented in tiles on your start screen and can provide a quick snapshot of current news feeds, calendar appointments, new email in your inbox, date, time, weather etc…The start screen is also customizable so you can organize and group the tiles on your Start Screen as needed.
  2. Applications will run in full screen with controls hidden at the edges of the screen until needed.
  3. Internet Explorer 10 will be released with Windows 8.  It will provide full screen web browsing by hiding the toolbar and tabs until you need them. It is also standards-based around HTML5 and will be “plug-in free” and eliminating the need for Active X controls helping to provide better protection against malware.
  4. Windows Store will be introduced.  Similar to the Mac App Store for the Mac OS, new applications will be available for purchase or download through the Windows Store.  Use of this in an enterprise wide/campus environment is still to be determined.
  5. Cloud Integration - Many new features of Windows 8 are geared for consumers to work with Microsoft’s Cloud services like Skydrive.  Use of these features in an enterprise wide/campus environment is also still to be determined.
  6. Under the covers:
    1. Hardware requirements to run the new OS are the same as Windows 7.
    2. Power requirements are lower to work with ultrathin PC’s and tablets.
    3. Improved Task Manager and better diagnostics tools for troubleshooting
    4. Bitlocker encryption is faster by encrypting only the used portion of the hard drive rather than the entire hard drive
    5. Improved Malware protection built-in to the OS with new Secure boot process.

Reactions to date?

Most feedback to date from industry journals indicates that the new OS will be great on multi-touch devices like slates/tablets and Smartphones.  But, as a desktop OS, it is not desirable.

Plans for Windows 8 at SMU?

Microsoft is currently targeting end of Summer 2012 for the final release of this new operating system.  The Office of Information Technology is not planning to deploy the Windows 8 OS to campus desktop or laptop computers at its release time or throughout the next year. We will focus on completing the Windows 7 rollout to campus machines and testing compatibility of our existing applications and services with the new OS.


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