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Microsoft officially launches Windows 8

Microsoft officially launches Windows 8

By Tim Danton in New York

Posted on 25 Oct 2012 at 17:50

Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 8 today in a packed New York venue, with consumers able to buy the operating system and new Windows 8 devices from midnight tonight.

The event was presented by the two most important men at Microsoft: Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft, and CEO Steve Ballmer.

Between them they kept the launch short and relatively focused, but still managed to hit the core messages numerous times.

Apps and the Microsoft Store are a key part of the package: Windows 8 isn’t just an operating system. The range of Windows 8 devices, and there are over 1,000 of them, is the best ever. And the Windows 8 experience is “magical” and crosses over between work and play.

Nevertheless, there was a tacit acknowledgement that users could find the new OS a challenge to use at first, with Sinofsky announcing that every new copy of Windows 8 will come with a simple how-to guide.

Ballmer used the keynote to fight back against claims that the PC is dead. "Windows 8 shatters perceptions of what a PC really is. Are these new designs PCs? YES. Are these new designs tablets also? YES.”

Read our two-part review of Windows 8 for PCs and laptops, and for tablets and touchscreen devices.

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User comments

Tomorrow, the nightmare begins for IT admins everywhere.

Seriously, I'm amazed by how much removing the start menu would negatively affect my opinion of Windows.

Yes you can do the exact same things in W8 but not for the better on a traditional desktop/laptop.

But I reckon my big problem will be when less tech-savvy people I know get W8 because I WILL still be teaching them to do the most basic things again even with a quick start guide.

By tech3475 on 25 Oct 2012


This report is rather more upbeat than the live report you wrote.......but then again what's important is the quality of the software and I think that once you understand it, Win 8 is better than Win 7 and that there's a clear case for upgrading.

By jmiii on 25 Oct 2012


What nightmare? Move your mouse to the far left or right?

As I've said before the four testers have had ZERO issues with the new os. Heck they're working exactly as they did before and if they have issues with turning the machine off, which a three year old can do, set the power button to Shutdown when pressed.

At times I swear people want to make things harder than they actually are.

By rhythm on 25 Oct 2012

No reason to upgrade yet

Until we need to buy new hardware, why waste money on the software upgrade?

May as well just get stung the once, glad we bought a warehouse full in July running Win7

By markcr6 on 25 Oct 2012

Please can we stop talking about the Start menu?

It's a 1995 idea well due for an overhaul. People just need to learn a few keystrokes, many of which are common to Win7, where they are already quicker than a mouse. Win + E anyone?.

By marct on 25 Oct 2012


I suppose my opinion is tainted by the fact that I know people who struggled to send an email attachment on hotmail.


It's funny, Metro for some reason reminds me of an evolved program manager.

I have tried W8 and the problem I'm finding is that I'm not seeing any benefits over the current system and is change for the sake of change.

By tech3475 on 25 Oct 2012

Just how dumb?

I'm with rhythm on this one.
The condescending notion that the great unwashed will find W8 too hard without a Start button defies belief.

The Start Button is\was part of a graphical interface which consists in numbers of not entirely intuitive behaviors and actions to be usable.
Why Right Click on something? When did you start doing it?
Of course prior to it being in the OS you didn't, but I'll becha you do it all the time now.

Notwithstanding various key-based shortcuts, hovering the cursor in the top-right and bottom-left soon gets second-nature. I use W8 on my main work PC and therefore run almost entirely in the desktop. No Start, but you soon establish a working set of stuff in the toolbar and\or shortcuts scattered about.

If I can work it out I suspect the rest of the human race will manage it too.....

By wittgenfrog on 25 Oct 2012

The Start menu was awful

As someone who had been using a well-designed GUI OS (AmigaOS) for some time before the Start menu was introduced in Windows 95, I always thought that a small button that brought up a tree of sliding menus was a terrible piece of user interface design.

I would be glad to see the back of it, except they've managed to replace it with something worse.

By nelviticus on 25 Oct 2012


Workbench!!! :^D Whatever happened to that?! :^) *goes all nostalgic*

As for Windows 8 - am I bovvered? Regardez mon visage, or my fenêtre even... We've just rolled out Win7 at work and we're very happy with it thankyouverymuch!

Maybe time for a new OS? What's this OS/X malarkey about then? Actually those new iMacs look rather appealing... Oops! "Stay away from the shiny pretty things Carol-Ann!!" Almost had me there! ;^)

By mrmmm on 26 Oct 2012

Upgrade Cost

Actually £24.99 to upgrade my home PC from Windows 7 Home to Windows 8 Pro looks like a good deal. I will be able to remote desktop to my home PC at last which will allow me to view Windows apps on my Ubuntu netbook and at the same time I keep up to date with the latest OS for when I eventually use it at work.

A tablet running Windows * looks ideal for me at work. Sat on my desk connected to wireless keyboard / mouse and monitor it can act like a normal PC. I can take it to meetings / customers, run Powerpoint presentations etc and with a keyboard cover can work away from work with a much more portable device than my current laptop.

If you don't want Windows 8 stick with Windows 7; if you don't want to use Windows buy a Mac or use Linux. Personally I will be using all of the above on different machines. Sometimes I drink tea, sometimes I drink coffee but I never argue about which is better or which other people should drink...

By neil_aky on 26 Oct 2012

To touch or not to touch, that's the question

If i have a touch screen device(IE a pad or a Smart Phone) i'll use a touch screen operating system.As I just have a conventional PC and a standard mobile phone I'll stick with Win 7 thanks.

I will however consider investing in a comany that makes Screen Wipes. Their share price will be about to go through the roof !:-)

By Jaberwocky on 26 Oct 2012

Windows 95

I remember the launch of Windows 95 and the same "Change! We don't do Change!" philistines, who now look back at it fondly, were complaining about the idiocy of having to click the Start button to shut the PC down. People will always moan about change. Then they'll get used to it. Then they'll moan about the next change claiming there was nothing wrong with the last one (that they moaned about at the time). It is human nature.

By Bassey1976 on 26 Oct 2012


I liked Metro / Windows 8 / Modern UI when I first used it on my XBox, so was happy to see it come to the PC. What do we call it now (be nice!)? MUI / Mooey?

We've put Win 7 on over 500 PCs and 200 laptops at work (a high school) and I'd be happy to go to Win 8 if it meant that all those awful Flash based educational websites and the mishmash of educational Windows programs from different eras were replaced with Metro apps. Flash is horrible to deploy on our system, as it stops working at the drop of a hat and needs constant updates (which require "permission" from Adobe every time). I'm sure it'll be a while before that happens though sadly.

I appreciate Win 8's detail and concatenation of the file copying dialog and the pause button, but a queueing system would have been even better - particularly when copying multiple files from multiple sources to a USB drive overnight.

They still haven't fixed the thumbs.db bug (where you have to view a folder in thumbnail mode in File Explorer to free up a locked thumbs.db, before you can delete or move it)

ALT-F4 still shuts down from the desktop, but as I'm controlling it from the sofa and viewing it on a 2.5m projection screen, I try and limit keyboard use on my Win 8 media playback PC.

Once they release a Win 8 specific update to Mobile Mouse for iPad / iPhone, hopefully I'll have all the touch controls without having to buy another device.

It's nice that you can put your own desktop shortcuts on the MUI, but it's a shame that you can't make them live tiles or pictures at least, because then you could use the MUI as a media centre home page, with a double width MUI icon for each TV show etc.

Talking of Media Center, it's available for free until January 31st if you have Win 8 Pro, but I'm not sure if you only get one install per email address, or if you can install it with the same code after a reformat:

One of my work colleagues dislikes Win 8 and I installed it on a new SSD for a friend, but a few days later she made me remove it and put Win 7 back on. She's a programmer but she's not an "IT person" as such (especially when it comes to her home PC.)

I'll be replacing the Win 8 release preview with Win 8 Pro on my laptop once I've fitted a new SSD in there and I'll also be swapping from Win 7 to Win 8 on my 20TB media "server" once I've updated the mobo / CPU / RAM.

By mulvaney on 26 Oct 2012

It's funny...

after years of people complaining about the start menu and how they wanted the Program Manager back...

Now once hated Start Menu disappears and people complain that it is gone.

15 years down the line, the Start Screen will disappear and be replaced by something else and people will complain that it disappears.

Most humans don't like changes to the things they know...

I'm sure, that when the bow and arrow came out, a bunch of hunters complained that it wasn't match for the spear, or probably that the spear wasn't a match for a club...

By big_D on 26 Oct 2012

Where can I get an upgrade for £24.99?

Looking online today, all of the usual suspects are quoting £49.99 for the upgrade version. Does anyone know if the £24.99 offer only apply to people that have bought a Windows 7 PC in the last 3 months? In which case it's not quite such a good deal as it was first made out to be!

By Ip_stuartfe350f1 on 26 Oct 2012

Where can I get an upgrade for £24.99?

Looking online today, all of the usual suspects are quoting £49.99 for the upgrade version. Does anyone know if the £24.99 offer only apply to people that have bought a Windows 7 PC in the last 3 months? In which case it's not quite such a good deal as it was first made out to be!

By Ip_stuartfe350f1 on 26 Oct 2012


By sihaz2 on 26 Oct 2012

.... so?

Why does everyone get so "excited" by new launches?. Everyone here probably knows that its going to be anything between 18 months to 2 years before we know whether this is as good as Microsoft's marketing machine is telling us or whether its another nail in their coffin.

By thickspex on 26 Oct 2012

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