Windows 8 is the latest Microsoft operating system for computers. The newest version still is Windows 8.1, which contains a few improvements on the first Windows 8. Operating systems support a computer’s basic functions and allow programs to be run. The first version of Windows was released way back in 1983, and each new version has been an update on the last, each time keeping many consistent features so that it’s not too confusing for those used to the previous version.

As well as operating systems for computers and the ever-popular Office programs, Microsoft have moved into a number of different fields over the years, including the highly successful Xbox games console and Windows smartphones, the looks of which are believed to have influenced this latest version of Windows.

Reactions to the new Windows have been largely favourable, with many citing it as a bold move and a faster experience. 

Key features and benefits of Windows 8:

  • Microsoft has responded to criticism and improved the performance of Windows on tablet computers.
  • An improved version of Windows Explorer – the system used to organise and find files and folders.
  • Windows Store – download games apps, apps from newspapers like the New York Times, Skype and others. 
  • Option to use a new ‘interface’ or keep the traditional Windows look. 
  • Microsoft account holders (such as Hotmail.com users, Windows Live Messenger users or Xbox users) can log in through Windows 8 and have access to your existing contacts, files and settings. 
  • To upgrade from Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, you can download Windows 8 or order it on DVD for £99.99 from the Microsoft Store (link opens in a new window)