Windows 8

Windows 8
Version of Microsoft Windows
Windows 8 logo and wordmark.svg
OS familyWindows NT
CodenameWindows 8
Preliminary name
Architecturex86, x64, ARM32
Latest build6.2.9200.16384.win8_rtm.120725-1247
Release date2012-10-26
Support end2016-01-12
Server counterpart
Windows Server 2012
Windows 7
Replaced by
Windows 8.1

Windows 8 is an operating system developed by Microsoft. It is the ninth major release in the Windows NT operating system line, replacing Windows 7 and being later replaced by Windows 8.1. It reached RTM on 1 August 2012 and was released to general availability on 26 October 2012. Windows 8 was one of the most short-lived releases, and its support ended on 12 January 2016, as extended support was in favor of Windows 8.1.

This is the first version of Windows to drop support for processors without PAE (for x86, given that PAE is not a factor on AMD64 installations), SSE2 (build 7700 dropped support for pre-SSE processors) and NX. (Attempting to boot Windows 8 on these processors will bug check the system with code 0x5D) It was the first client release of Windows to drop the traditional Service Pack model in favor of releasing updates on a continual basis in smaller chunks. This is the last version of 64-bit Windows to support processors without the CMPXCHG16B, PrefetchW and LAHF/SAHF instructions.

Editions[edit | edit source]

It comes in four main editions: Core, RT, Pro, and Enterprise. All other editions are variations of those editions.

  • Windows 8 (Core) is the most basic edition, intended for the average home user.
  • Windows RT (CoreARM) is Core for the ARM architecture. It can only launch Windows Store apps and signed Microsoft desktop applications, but apart from the addition of device encryption, it has the same feature set as its base edition.
  • Windows 8 Single Language (CoreSingleLanguage) is Core without the ability to install language packs.
  • Windows 8 China (CoreCountrySpecific), as the name implies is intended for mainland China market. It only allows the Simplified Chinese language pack to be installed.
  • Windows 8 Pro is meant for the enthusiast and business markets, and most notably supports running Hyper-V virtual machines, receiving RDP connections, and BitLocker.
  • Windows 8 Pro with Media Center is exactly what the name implies. It can be upgraded to from Core and Pro with Windows Anytime Upgrade.
  • Windows 8 Enterprise is designed for large organizations and can only be activated with a KMS server or MAK keys. It has the same feature set as Pro but additionally allows creating Windows To Go portable workspaces. It doesn't have Windows Media Center and it cannot be added with any officially sanctioned methods.

Main changes[edit | edit source]

Interface[edit | edit source]

Windows 8 was largely designed for use on touchscreen devices such as tablets, and this can be seen all across the OS, with includes bigger buttons, more distinct colors, and a more modern interface with the removal of Aero transparency on open windows. The taskbar is still transparent, even though it doesn't blur anything behind it anymore. The renewal of the classic Windows shell was accompanied by the addition of the Metro interface, which includes a new Start menu (named Start screen), with a full-screen UI replacing the smaller Start menu first introduced in Windows 95. From the Start screen, Metro apps can be launched, which can take the entire screen, providing an immersive interface, or be snapped to a side of the screen alongside another application or the desktop. The File Explorer also got a renewal, with the introduction of the Ribbon UI first seen in Windows 7. The Up button, which was absent since Windows Longhorn build 3670 (except for builds 3790.1232, 5000 and 5001), has been readded and the details pane is now vertical.

The Metro UI is directly integrated with the desktop, which features hot corners: positioning the mouse in certain parts of the screen will reveal new functionality. The right side features the Charms Bar, a vertical bar that includes Search, Share, Start, Devices, and Settings as buttons. Right-clicking on the bottom left corner of the screen opens the Quick Link menu, which contains shortcuts to frequently used areas.

Windows 8 was the first Windows operating system ever since Windows NT 3.51 to have no Start button. Although the last build of Windows 8 to have the Start button by default was 8176, it is possible to remove the Start button from the taskbar, on builds 7899 to 7997. To accomplish this, you need to make a new DWORD in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer called YouBettaHideYoPearl, with its value set to 1. After doing so, log off and log back in. If done correctly, the Start button should be removed.

Desktop Window Manager now renders using a software-based 3D rasterizer when such an accelerator is unavailable. Additionally, the Windows Classic and Windows Basic themes have been removed. Although the visual styles still exist, they cannot be enabled by default unless the user modifies the system files.

Progress windows have been modified to remove the animation on the top and make it possible to view "more details", including a graph for tracking transfer speeds. It is also possible to pause file transfer operations.

Notifications have been updated to be more noticeable, as they appear on the right of the screen and are the same color as the current theme.

Task Manager[edit | edit source]

The Task Manager now opens up in a simple view which only displays a list of open programs and not processes. Expanding the view reveals a modernized and improved version of the classic Task Manager, featuring tabs and a bigger focus on memory usage.

Windows Store[edit | edit source]

Windows Store allows the consumer to distribute and download Metro apps or advertise desktop software. The Windows Store would later be redesigned in Windows 8.1. The Store was called "MSHelp" in builds before 8032. The Windows Store would later be rebranded as the Microsoft Store in September 2017 as an update for Windows 10.

Media Center[edit | edit source]

Unlike Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Media Center is not included by default in any Windows 8 edition. Customers with existing Windows 8 Pro licenses can purchase Media Center with the Windows 8 Pro Pack, which was free previously under a promotional offer (until 31 January 2013).

Display language support[edit | edit source]

Microsoft offered 109 display languages in Windows 8,[1] 14 more than Windows 7, including:

  • English (United Kingdom)
  • Punjabi (Pakistan)
  • Sindhi (Pakistan)
  • Central Kurdish (Iraq)
  • Uyghur (People's Republic of China)
  • Belarusian (Belarus)
  • Kinyarwanda (Rwanda)
  • Tigrinya (Ethiopia)
  • Tajik (Tajikistan)
  • Wolof (Senegal)
  • K'iche' (Guatemala)
  • Scottish Gaelic (United Kingdom)
  • Cherokee (United States)
  • Valencian (Spain)

Timebomb[edit | edit source]

Similar to other Windows releases, Windows 8 beta builds include a timebomb which triggers after about 180 days (although this does fluctuate between builds) from the build's official compile date (see the build's information page for the compile and timebomb activation dates).

However, some beta builds contain a broken timebomb. This means that they can be installed on the current date, without triggering the timebomb. Some of these builds include build 7746 through 8888 (win8_gdr_soc_intel). However, installing these builds on the current date renders Windows unactivated, disabling the ability to both access the personalization options in Settings and the ability to change the desktop wallpaper in the Control Panel (unless done so with third-party tools such as DeskImg or ProductPolicyEditor).

List of known builds[edit | edit source]

Milestone 1[edit | edit source]

Milestone 2[edit | edit source]

Milestone 3/Developer Preview[edit | edit source]

Consumer Preview[edit | edit source]

Release Preview[edit | edit source]

Pre-RTM[edit | edit source]

RTM Escrow[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Post-RTM[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sinofsky, Steven. Using the language you want, Building Windows 8. 21 February 2012. Archived from the original on 26 December 2019.