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back to article Microsoft begins cagey Windows 8 disclosures

Microsoft has promised to start sharing technical information about Windows 8 – just don't get too excited or expect too much. Windows and Windows Live president Steven Sinofsky has launched the Building Windows 8 blog to talk about features in the operating system that is expected to hit beta next month. Kicking off the blog, …

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Angel

Ah

"the operating system that is expected to hit beta next month"

So out in the torrent trackers around the same the time then?

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Paris Hilton

Windows 8

Will Microsoft this time make Windows 8 Windows v8.0 ? Will they avoid the embarrassing debacle of Windows 7 being Windows v6.1 ?

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Silver badge

Huh?

How is it an embarasing debacle? The actual version numbers for Windows make perfect sense if you're a programmer or admin and users don't care or need to know. So where's the problem?

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Trollface

I'm guessing...

That this is 'steve ballmer' posting anonymously...

...must...

...leap....

...on...

...anything...

...microsoft...

can't help myself....

even if I do look a tool in doing so...

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Go

Good Morning Steve

Slumming again?

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We need a chair icon

How else can Steve's essence be captured?

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windows 8 omg

seriously where gonna get another operating system in just a years time, really maybe microsoft should start and listen to the community this time make sure theres only 1 version of windows or 2 one for buisness and home. as for windows 8 well im happy with 7 i dont see any need to upgrade what about certain hardware like keyboard mice webcams monitors all need to be compatible.

pluss another thing how come windows 7 came out a year or two and now where on about windows 8 already i thought microsoft usally does a os every 5 years.

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JC_
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WTF?

3 Years is About Right

Win7 was released over 2 years ago, or even longer if you were using the release candidate. Given MS's track-record on compatibility, it's a safe bet that your mice & keyboard will keep working.

"where on about windows 8 already" - have you got a copy you can share?

PS - the shift key is on the left, the spell-checker is in your head.

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Facepalm

OMG is my keyboard compatible?

When has a keyboard, mouse or monitor ever had compatibility problems with Windows? Provided it fits the sockets on your PC you can still use a keyboard from 20+ years ago with Win7.

The only time hardware compatibility rears it's ugly head with new Windows releases is when they change the driver model like they did for Vista. Even then you will not have issues with basic hardware like keyboards, mice and monitors. I haven't heard any rumours that they are changing the driver model for Win8 so all your hardware should still work, including that webcam you use to show people pictures of your junk.

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Unhappy

20 years is ok, 25 may be pushing it

My Model-M keyboard (born 1986) makes Windows 7 very unhappy. If I attempt to put Windows to sleep, it immediately wakes up again with all 3 keyboard LEDs constantly blinking, and I have to power cycle the keyboard.

Very sad.

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Headmaster

Only using half your keyboard?

Have some punctuation, it helps.

...'.',:..:;

Capitals are your friends too.

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Coat

re: Only using half your keyboard?

"Have some punctuation, it helps."

Ah, it's not his fault. Apparently the keyboard isn't compatible - I assume with Windows 7, but could have meant "with the user"...

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Bronze badge

Ahem

Bluetooth keyboards. Had to download and install the MS protype driver (Or whatever ms calls it) on Vista seperatly for the bluetooth module from MS

Although to be fare I don't know of more than one person at work using one on bluetooth (And since then its now sitting in my cupboard of stuff).

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Silver badge

Incompatible keyboards

I had some trouble with an apple USB keyboard on one of the early version of windows to support USB. IIRC Linux on the same machine worked fine with it.

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FAIL

*FAIR

To be really *fair, Vista didn't ship with a proper Bluetooth software bundle, it took them a year to work it out and wasn't just keyboards.

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Go

LOL

Don't you wish ....

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Meh

Windows Flavours!

I'm with you on this one "DEAD4EVER", hope microsoft brings out only one flavour, or at the worst 2, one for business and one for home (ie. no domain logon).

Though since we only recently upgraded to W764, and I cannot see us upgrading until Windows 9 or 10.

Windows 7 is very good in our system, users prefer it to XP, also since money is tight our motto in our business is "if it ain't bust don't fix it!"

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Anonymous Coward

Businesspeople

You've obviously never met an MBA. They can't do anything useful so they justify their existence by how many meetings they can hold about how many SKUs they can get away with and what the exact price points of each one should be. There is not a snowball's chance in hell that Microsoft will release less than 6 SKUs of Windows 8. I'm sure Apple would do the same but Jobs is in charge and he's not a "businessman" whereas Ballmer is the epitome of a bullshit MBA.

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Go

I Resemble That Remark!

And upvoted it.

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Bronze badge

They just

want to lock users out of the guts of the O.S. This is a double edged sword. Consumers can feel safe and "secure" in the knowledge that their shiny Win8 laptop/PC is as easy to use as a mobile phone. Whilst those of us who like to control what our machines do and what information leaks out of it in the background will have to fight through layers and layers of obfuscation to customise the OS beyond what customisation options MS decide to allow the user to have.

Expect the recommended settings to share as much information about your use of the OS to Microsoft as is legally or perhaps otherwise possible with almost every click. Expect a desktop full of advertising that is difficult to block.

Expect me to never install this on anything but a VM with wireshark installed for research purposes. After all I have to work for a living and ridding MS operating systems from malware isn't something I relish but it does pay the bills.

Consumers will embrace this, they have little choice. Those with a clue and choice will stay with previous versions or move to another OS.

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JC_
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Thumb Down

Who Cares?

"Expect me to never install this on anything but a VM with wireshark installed for research purposes."

Why do people post things like this? Do you seriously think anyone at MS could give a toss? You're not Steve Jobs and you're not going to move the market by declaring your (quite extreme) preferences...

Stick with (or switch to) Linux as it seems like it would suit you much better.

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Linux

You care...

or at least you cared enough to respond.

I don't want to move the market, Microsoft's bug ridden and insecure operating systems have earned me quite a few quid. If it wasn't for people who researched the insecurities and privacy implications of using Microsoft operating systems and software, Microsoft and cybercriminals would own all our arses, not just those of the consumer. Thanks for reminding me I am not Steve Jobs, for a moment I forgot that I am just a nobody ;-)

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Don't fight, learn!

"Whilst those of us who like to control what our machines do and what information leaks out of it in the background will have to fight through layers and layers of obfuscation to customise the OS beyond what customisation options MS decide to allow the user to have."

At some time I agreed with this (I think between 2k & XP from the top of my head) but I don't anymore.

While you're absolutely right that when looking at Windows 7 MS has "concealed" a lot from the average user, they /also/ provided enough admin tools to give admin (-like) users easy access to the stuff they need. In some cases I even dare say /easier/ access. And no; I don't mean that "powertools" play thingie.

2 examples.. First I want to check my hardware. Ugh, the horror... "Start menu -> Control panel (aaagh, categories!) -> System/security -> System -> ??? (oh; its in the frickin' left /menu/! grrr) so: advanced settings -> hardware tab -> FINALLY. device control!

Agreed. Its kinda buried.

NOW... you /do/ realize that all you basically did was start the MMC (Microsoft Management Console) right ?

So what I did above I can also do with: Win-R (run program) -> type "devmgmt.msc" and hit enter. WHAM, hardware management in one strike (well, ok; 2). I know, its hard to remember this from mind. So go to \windows\system32, find the file and copy it (control-c) and paste a shortcut somewhere. On your desktop for example and call it "hardware setup" or so.

Another example (slightly harder)... I use restore points. Now what the heck was my last one?

You can use all the steps above (instead of 'hardware tab' go to 'security tab'), you can open up explorer (file browser), find 'computer' in the menu on the left and right-click -> properties. You can use 'start program' and hit "rstrui" (stands for rstrui.exe) OR....

Start Windows Powershell as admin, then use: "Get-ComputerRestorePoint" and hit enter. You can probably do with "get-comp" and press tab to expand the command.

So no, I disagree nowadays. It is true that MS has put certain stuff a little bit deeper, but on the other hand they also made sure that people can easily get to the sections they need. Want to know more then I can really recommend TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/windows/

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Anonymous Coward

title

There's more than one way to skin that cat... chances are you already have explorer open. Right click computer and select manage. There you go, you have just loaded the MMC with all the modules to manage everything and check your logs.

My complaint is the way MS have added several more clicks to do the same simple task of sharing a folder or changing the settings of your NIC - it used to be right click network > properties now you have to look in the left side and then click on network adapters to get to the same screen.

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Go

"Don't fight, learn!"

Learn??? You've got to be kidding.

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Not a big deal???

Rebuilding and QA testing apps for every single architecture is a huge bloody deal. Not having emulation for the vast amount of in-house, commercial and free software which is never going to be recompiled is a huge bloody deal.

While it may be ARM is too constrained to expect emulation (at least in tablet models) I am hoping Microsoft will realise and learn from past mistakes. If they expect people to recompile apps it should not be to ARM, or x86, or x86-64 or whatever arbitrary architecture turns up in future. It should be to something analogous to LLVM which is converted into native code by the host operating system. That way at least devs only need to build and support one product instead of umpteen.

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Meh

Hmm

I beleive they call that .NET, and there's various ports of .NET that already run on ARM architecture.

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Anonymous Coward

MS Word on ARM

Interesting given that Office 2010 onW7 x64 defaults to installing the x86 version.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee681792.aspx

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Meh

x64 Office

Not really, MS recommend using the x86 version for plugin compatibility unless you need the x64 benefits. More x64 plugins are appearing though, so I'd imagine this advice will change for the next version.

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@ DrXym

(Disclaimer: I am *not* a hardware person) Wouldn't it also be an option to expand the ARM chips a bit... a few extra instruction sets, etc? I don't see the need for chip based virtualization, especially on such a low powered platform, but surely we can sortof... meet in the middle? This would obviously be something that ALL OSs could use, with Linux not having to be built for the lowest common denominator.

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Just as bad

I doubt Microsoft would particularly like to have to customize ARM to support x86 instructions. I expect in the first iteration they'd prefer x86 didn't exist at all and if ARM took off then it may well be that hardware assisted emulation appeared down the road.

I don't see anything wrong with using LLVM like targets though. The whole point of it is to make the developer not care what architecture their app is running on. The host OS could precompile the LLVM bitcode into an actual native executable and cache it somewhere or it could interpret it on the fly or Just In Time compile it. LLVM was made with small devices in mind - it's what Apple use for iOS development presumably because they can just flip over to some other architecture and take most of the apps with them. As they're making noises about Mac OS X on ARM as well it is likely they have it in mind for that too.

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@ DrXym, sounds reasonable

"The host OS could precompile the LLVM bitcode into an actual native executable and cache it somewhere"

Not a bad way to go. It'd take some nifty tech to ensure that the result is 'as good as' a properly compiled native app, but there are some very clever people out there these days. I suppose MS's other point is that any .NET app should run as is with zero modifications, provided that MS can make the .NET CLR work equally well on ARM as on X86. They've already got some practise at that - there's certainly used to be a 'try it if you dare' C# implementation for embedded ARMs.

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@Synja, because...

...if you did put X86 instructions into and ARM, what you end up with is an X86 / ARM combined. Then you can kiss goodbye to all the advantages ARM has in terms of power consumption, core size, cost, performance etc.

The reason why Intel is in such a fix in the mobile space is because X86 is a very bad starting point when it comes to making a low power chip with acceptable compute performance. It's fine when you have power to spare (in a desktop for instance), and indeed Intel's desktop/server/laptop chips are pretty quick. To date Intel have relied on being better at the silicon manufacturing processes to stay ahead of the competition, but these days that isn't enough to keep X86 comptetive in the low power sector. That's why pretty much every phone / tablet out there is running an ARM.

If Intel really wanted to make chips that are competitive on power consumption they are pretty much obliged to make changes to their instruction set. Then it wouldn't be an X86 anymore!

Intel's other problem is that the server world is beginning to wake up to the cost advantages to lower power consumption. If the server people get an appetite for ARM then Intel will lose a massive amount of market share.

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Holmes

NSS

Linux already runs on ARM, instruction sets are up to ARM themselves to add, but then they need to go out-of-order first to really compete with X86

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Silver badge

More likely hardware assisted

I doubt you'd ever see an x86 / ARM hybrid. If x86 emulation were ever contemplated it's more likely that ARM would provide some hardware assistance to software emulation rather than full blown support. e.g The Chinese MIPS Loongson-3 supposedly does this.

As for LLVM, the current state of play is it doesn't quite reach native speeds if you compare the output of gcc-llvm or clang vs regular gcc but it's not far off. The difference can probably be chalked up code immaturity rather than any inherent issue. It's not actually as radical as it first sounds because gcc already generates low level bytecode called RTL which is then compiled into native assembly. LLVM just allows the compilation to be pushed out until later.

I doubt MS will use LLVM itself but it would be nice if they have something equivalent.

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Facepalm

Re-architected?

"Windows Vista, where [Microsoft's] big guns laid out major new features, only for Microsoft to retreat as the delayed operating system was re-architected."

I think you mean "de-architected" - if there's such a term. By the time Vista went gold, just about every really interesting and innovative technology feature had been eliminated, leaving people with just a buggy beta of a resource hog and no clear reason to "upgrade".

It will be interesting to see if any of the features scrubbed from Vista make their way into Windows 8, but I'm not holding up much hope.

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Anonymous Coward

Windows 8?

W8? We're w8ing.

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Gold badge

Don't bastardize more hardware for Microsoft

@Synja, god no! The beauty of ARM is the simplicity of the instruction set, it's a *true* RISC architecture with a VERY well designed instruction set. This is why it's so low powered, and the performance per watt is so ridiculously high. It should not be bastardized to accomodate Microsoft and their failings. As has been happening with the netbook market (abandoning the low-cost aspect to "just add a little more RAM", "just add a little faster processor" to accomodate Windows. Ubuntu runs just fine on my Atom netbook, thank you very much.)

And Debian actually runs well on my Droid 2 Global (ARM CPU of course), I actually ran Byte UNIX Benchmark and it was neck-and-neck with the Atom (while using less than 1/4th the power.) I don't have X on my Debian install, it's pointless since the screen doesn't have the physical size or resolution for it anyway. But I'm confident an ARM netbook or whatever will run a Linux desktop just fine. Windows, not so confident.

One issue with an x86 emulator -- it's highly likely (virtually 100%) that to run x86 Windows bins you would have to have the x86 DLLs. That'll take a lot of space, having two sets of DLLs. That is how it is with qemu for sure -- in addition to the "normal" use of qemu (running plain "qemu" to run an x86 virtual machine, or qemu-system-xxxx to run a xxxx CPU virtual machine, it also has qemu-xxxx to run binaries compiled for another CPU directly on your system. Choice of "xxxx" iincludes arm, m68k, several mips varians, ppc and ppc64, sparc, x86_64. And I'm sure if I were not on an x86 already it'd include x86.) *BUT* you must have for instance ARM shared libraries installed to run an ARM binary on your x86 Linux system.

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Joke

Erm.

Have they decided to let us know how many security flaws and bugs will be in this new version?

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FAIL

Be still my heart

An entire blog, with daily updates and everything, detailing the lack of information available about a future product? Exquisite. Gather 'round friends! This is the dearth of information we've been waiting our entire lives for.

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Happy

learner

If Intel really wanted to make chips that are competitive on power consumption they are pretty much obliged to make changes to their instruction set.

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Why change now...

'We want to know we know what we're talking about'

... after all those years?

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Damned if you do, damned if you dont..

A lot of people here are giving out about Microsoft removing control from the user. But half the time you people are giving out about how windows should be more like OSX. Doesn’t OSX limit what users can do, quite severly.

So now Microsoft do limit a bit ( but still make much control available if you know where to look) and your still not happy.

Why not shut up, and do something like install linux, spend hours with driver issues and whatever other problems you usually find with linux installations .

Enjoy your completely open and super alkward non Microsoft OS and stop cramming up Message boards with your opinions. MS is in a lose lose situation with you guys.

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"Widows Live Engineering Group"

... did they have a mass culling of Vista engineers ?

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Go

Windows 8 is Passe'

A formerly favorite "all things digital" site of mine was all hot and into Windows 8 for a while. Now that it's been picked apart and found to be "much ado about nothing" it's no longer a hot topic. It's barely mentioned now in daily posts. I got bored long before the hard core members did. That will likely change for at least a short while when the RTM emerges.

Growing lack of interest from this group is evidence the product is not revolutionary and is, in fact and at best, marginally evolutionary. It has some neat stuff, but hardly worth the cost and effort to move to a new OS.

It'll be interesting to see how the corporate world reacts to Windows 8. Given their high inertia and slow adoption of new operating systems I think the show is going to be, well, boring all over again.

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Meh

Kinect?

If Windows 8 does not include a UI overhaul with full Kinect gesture integration support, I am not interested.

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Paris Hilton

@bazza, etc.

It's 10 years since I worked on/at ARM, but the chip I was on had 3 instruction sets.

The instruction set isn't the primary issue on low power. There are all sorts of other things which are far more important - geometry, leakage, voltage, frequency, clock gating, powering-down unused sections, and so on.

I've got a curious feeling that I posted something almost identical to this a couple of years ago and got voted down... :)

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N2
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Repeat after me

It will all be fixed in the next release

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