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6 Ways Windows 8 Is More Secure Than Windows 7

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Whatever you think of it, Windows 8 isn’t just a new interface slapped on top of Windows 7. Windows 8 has seen a lot of security improvements, including an integrated antivirus, an application reputation system, and protection from boot-time rootkits.

There are also quite a few low-level security improvements under the hood. Microsoft hasn’t spelled out all of them, but Windows 8 manages memory in a more secure way and includes features that make security vulnerabilities harder to exploit.

Integrated Antivirus

Windows 8 finally includes an integrated antivirus program. it’s named Windows Defender, but the interface will be immediately familiar to anyone that’s ever used Microsoft Security Essentials – this is Microsoft Security Essentials with a new name. You can easily install any other antivirus you prefer and Windows Defender will be automatically disabled if another antivirus is running, but the integrated antivirus is a capable product. Best of all, this ensures that all Windows users will finally have antivirus protection out-of-the-box.

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Early Launch Anti-Malware

In Windows 8, antivirus products can start earlier in the boot-up process to scan the system’s drivers for malware. This helps protect against rootkits that start before the antivirus program and hide from it. Windows Defender starts earlier in the boot process out-of-the-box, and third-party antivirus vendors can also add the Early-Launch Anti-Malware (ELAM) feature to their products.

SmartScreen Filter

Previously used only in Internet Explorer, the SmartScreen filter is now implemented at the operating system-level. It will be used to scan EXE files you download from Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and other programs. When you download and double-click an EXE file, Windows will scan the file and send its signature to Microsoft’s servers. If the application is known-good, such as the installer for iTunes, Photoshop, or another popular program, Windows will allow it to run. If it’s known-bad, perhaps if it contains malware, Windows will prevent it from running. If it’s new and Windows doesn’t know what it is, Windows will warn you and allow you to bypass the warning.

This feature should help less-experienced users from downloading and running malicious programs from the Internet. Even new pieces of malware will be detected by the SmartScreen filter as an unknown new program that should be approached with caution. Read more about the new SmartScreen filter here.

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Secure Boot

On new Windows 8 computers that use the UEFI firmware instead of the old-style BIOS, Secure Boot guarantees that only specially signed and approved software can run at boot. On current computers, malware could install a malicious boot loader that loads before the Windows boot loader, starting a boot-level rootkit (or “bootkit”) before Windows even launches. The rootkit could then hide itself from Windows and antivirus software, pulling the strings in the background.

On Intel x86 PCs, you’ll be able to add your own security keys to the UEFI firmware, so you could even have your system boot only secure Linux boot loaders that you’ve signed. Read more about Secure Boot here.

Memory Management Improvements

Microsoft has made a lot of under-the-hood improvements to the way Windows 8 manages memory. When a security hole is found, these improvements can make the security hole harder or even impossible to exploit. Some types of exploits that function on earlier versions of Windows wouldn’t function at all on Windows 8.

Microsoft hasn’t spelled out all of these improvements, but they have mentioned a few:

  • ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) has been extended to more parts of Windows, randomly moving data and code around in memory to make it harder to exploit.
  • Mitigations that were once applied to Windows applications are now also applied to the Windows kernel.
  • The Windows heap, where Windows applications receive their memory from, includes additional checks to defend against exploit techniques.
  • Internet Explorer 10 includes improvements that make 75% of the security vulnerabilities reported over the last two years more difficult to exploit.

New Apps Are Sandboxed

Apps for Windows 8’s new Modern interface (formerly known as Metro) are sandboxed and restricted in what they can do on your computer.

On the Windows desktop, applications had full access to your system. If you downloaded and ran a Windows game, it could install drivers on your system, read files from everywhere on your hard drive, and install malware on your computer. Even if programs run with limited credentials thanks to UAC, they typically install with Administrator privileges and can do anything they want during installation.

Windows 8 apps function more like web pages and mobile apps on other popular mobile platforms. When you install an app from the Windows Store, that app has limited access to your system. It can’t run in the background and monitor all your keystrokes, logging your credit card number and online banking passwords like applications on the traditional Windows desktop can. it doesn’t have access to every file on your system.

Apps for Windows 8’s new Modern interface are also available only available through the Windows Store, which is more controversial. However, users can’t install malicious Modern apps from outside the store. They’d have to go through the Windows Store, where Microsoft has the ability to pull them if they’re discovered to be malicious.

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Windows 8 is definitely more secure than Windows 7. An integrated antivirus and application reputation system, along with a tamed app ecosystem that replaces the wild-west nature of previous versions of Windows, will probably make the most difference for inexperienced users that may not have ran an antivirus or knew which applications were safe to install on previous versions of Windows. Low-level improvements to the way Windows manages memory will help everyone, even power users.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 11/6/12

Comments (56)

  1. YaYA

    That all sure sounds like some convincing reasons to upgrade or start off with Windows 8. Problem is, I still don’t want it. Not even for free!

    I suppose I could point out how Microsoft Security Essentials is freely available for even non-activated versions of Vista. I suppose I could point out other free software products from the likes of Malware Bytes too. Then again, how about trying to run Windows as a Virtual Machine? Just don’t try it with Microsoft’s own VM client since that piece of (stuff) sucks about as big as a black hole! Never mind that Windows 8 could be run as a guest.

    Of course, I’m sure many people have heard of Linux and are now trying a few different distros in reaction to Microsoft’s latest brain fart. But for those who don’t care about all the upgrading and twiddle-bitting would you care to guess why more and more of them are now opting for the much more expensive Macs?! The reason is simple. Windows 8 sucks! No. It Blows! No it sucks! I don’t know. But there’s definitely a stale stinky wind whenever I deal with Microsoft these days. Or maybe I just feel that way having had to pay outrageous amounts of money for previous editions of Windows that will never be completely fixed.

    Do I seem bitter? Sure I do. It’s as if Microsoft now wants to nickel and dime me for every little line of code rather than rob me all at once. Or maybe both! Forget about any new service packs to Windows 7 or possibly even returning an unused Windows Vista Ultimate retail license for anything like credit. Fine! But if you (Microsoft) go that route then you better find a way for me to completely get rid of things that I don’t want like IE and all that .NET junk that I never use but almost always somehow end up patching. Stop forcing it on me! And can anyone say Silverlight or Bing?! How about Windows Me or Zune?! PEE-EWE!

    Should I even get into Windows 8′s sucky configurations or the need to now start writing how-to’s for basic stuff like changing the weather app from Celsius to Fahrenheit? Or how about what everyone really wants which is simply get the start button back on their desktop?! Who comes up with these stupid design ideas?

    What I’d really like to know is why Microsoft still calls it Windows when there is very little windowing a person can do? They should call it Doors. No. Walls! Cause that’s what people usually run into.

  2. FritzB43

    I can feel it in my bones and I’ll bet that most other people have the same nagging feeling:

    Windows 8 is going to land with a resounding thud and that sound you hear is thousands of Windows 7 users yawning.

    I realize that thumping for the latest & greatest is your job, but…sorry, no sale.

    Windows 8 == Windows Vista Redux.

  3. clamo

    only 6 ways? y not 8? this is the same scam they used for wins 7 to get vista users to switch to 7 but they actually said 7 ways LOL. but any way the real reason y users switched to 7 over vista was because of the FACT that it DID work WAY better than vista. windows 8 just plain SUCKS and the users have ALREADY told Microsoft this and they just simply do not care.

    @YaYa & every one else: Microsoft Security Essentials will NOT work on pirated copy’s of windows. but that program SUCKS just the same.

  4. Rob Mc.

    Hate on haters…

    I disagree with much of the previous but don’t want to turn this forum into a point \ counterpoint argument between Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, .

    The focus here is on Windows 8; not how it compares or favors but how it actually is and let’s face it… It’s pretty good.

    So for those looking for a “readers digest” version from a guy who pre-dates DOS here you go.

    Non-Technical users will love it; especially if they have a touch screen. It’s improved security, use of new tech such as UEFI, RAM use and x64 architecture will make it faster and it’s pretty.

    Technical users on the other hand will learn to love it but since it’s written to be intuitive to a 6 year old it will take literal nerds like us three Google searches and an hour to figure out how to shut it down at night.

    It’s a nice enhancement to the already stable Windows 7 and priced accordingly. If you have 7 you can wait a little while but if you have Vista it’s a no-brainer upgrade.

  5. Myria

    It’s once again bemusing, albeit expected, to watch the technorati shudder in horror at the mere thought of change whilst my non-techie friends have so far been quite happy to jump right in and several have told me that they’re really enjoying Win8. A couple are even asking me about Surface, including one medical facility manager who’s looking to equip her entire practice with pads, based on their positive experience with Win8.

    I suppose it’s amusing in a way. The techies are getting left in the dust by the people they like to look down on.

  6. Ed Stewart

    It has a long ways to go to match Linux!

  7. Darakus

    I read all the bad reactions to windows 8 new interface. I read all the excellent new features that they have been adding. I purchased windows 8 at 9am the day it came out. After using it for a while I can honestly say I don’t miss 7 at all. Sure it takes a couple days to get used to the new stuff, but honestly, that new stuff (aka tiled start screen) is hidden 99% of the time when using windows 8 and I just use the start screen as a keyboard launcher. All the other great features (Hyper-V, mounting ISO’s, built in anti-virus, smaller resource usage, etc) make windows 7 feel outdated. I for one can’t understand all the negative feedback, unless of course, the people who give negative feedback have not even used the OS for more than 5 minutes…

  8. shifu29

    “Of course, I’m sure many people have heard of Linux and are now trying a few different distros in reaction to Microsoft’s latest brain fart.”

    Well said. When the article described how the applications worked that piqued my interest, sounds like a little of Linux code and file structure may have found its way into the new OS. I am a Linux guy, through and through. Hated windowz, until win7. Now, all of my personal boxes are dual boot win7 with various penguins in there. I am sure at some point I will have to have a few win8 boxes to just figure out the exploits and run some labs, but I will not use it for any work related stuff. I hate being a naysayer, but I am pretty sure Microsoft screwed up on this one.

    Any of you reading this and wondering what you should do as far as win8 or OS in general. Google Ubuntu, its free, apps are free, 12.10 is as stable as a Lamborghini at 10 MPH. Give it a shot, a trial before you make your decision. I think you will find their support websites trump Microsoft’s by miles. It is the most secure platform in the world. Happy searching.

  9. Jim Nagy

    To include anti-virus in Win8 is a smart move and offers protection for the average user. Have to give Microsoft credit for thinking about the user experience. However, Win8 is a big smack in the face to desktop PC users I feel. They are favoring the tablet and phone user instead. They even dumbed-down the look. Gone is the transparency and they are giving us 16-bit color screens so we can run it on phones. Ubuntu linux has also abandoned the desktop user, and now they have dropped to 3rd or 4th in popularity from being number one for years. I predict a similar fate for Win8. One reason Windows XP continues to rock on…it works. Why not give the user choices; add-on to Win7 and give users options at boot up for standard desktop, metro, and tablet desktops, instead of pulling the OS out from under them?….the old marketing campaign, giving you less for more $. I’ll stick with Win7 thank you…

  10. Bill Condie

    I couldn’t stand it at first.

    Now I’m getting used to it. Let’s face it; it’s the future.

    And the upgrade price being offered is a steal.

    I bought it and am running it in Parallels on a Mac.

    Much better that the free demo I had

  11. JW

    More secure because less people are / will ever use it.

    It is “Vista on Ice”! all the glitz and spectacle, and none of the substance.

    Anything this divisive can’t be good.

  12. boy_it

    I recognize that I maybe update to Windows 8 immediate .
    More improvements relate to secure is one of method true of Microsoft .
    That’s intelligent .
    I hope Windows 8 version will success in the future.
    Now , Enjoy !

  13. Ronald

    I’ve been a the windows 8 roll for a year now , Gaming ect.
    Its a great program ,, Sure they want to nickel and dime you.
    But its far better then ending up over paying for a rotten apple.
    I like the Microsoft toys ,, very easy to fix.
    In the end Windows 8 is just Childs play.
    I’ll say one thing good about Microsoft , where there is a will there’s a way!

  14. Indianatone

    Yeah very much more secure seeing as for me it will be staying in the “bit bucket in the sky” or securely wrapped up in the packaging in the store. This is not an upgrade for a serious desktop user, it is a toy. A downgrade in every sense of the word.I’ll be staying on Windows 7 indefinitely and if the next version of windows goes the new UI way I’ll be on Linux and only running 7 to play my small collection of casual games in a virtual machine if necessary.

  15. spike

    @Myria: Maybe you need to realize that techs are thinking about implementing it in a business, and a lot of techs like win8 for personal use, but have problems with running in a business environment. Techs aren’t ‘shuddering in horror’ of it. Are you a tech, or do you know one?
    I’m a ‘tech’.
    GO WIN8 !!

  16. 01101001b

    ¿W8 better because it integrates an antivirus? Please. Something similar can be said about the remaining reasons.

    Maybe W8 is good, but I wouldn’t say it’s better.

  17. Indianatone

    @ shifu29

    Quote:
    Any of you reading this and wondering what you should do as far as win8 or OS in general. Google Ubuntu, its free, apps are free, 12.10 is as stable as a Lamborghini at 10 MPH. Give it a shot, a trial before you make your decision. I think you will find their support websites trump Microsoft’s by miles. It is the most secure platform in the world. Happy searching.

    I hope you mean 100 miles an hour as a horse and cart is stable at 10MPH :)

  18. thesilentman

    Well, sandboxing Metro apps make me fell better. I can count the number of times an app has killed my Android phone and iPhone.

  19. Bob

    Personally, I don’t like the idea that to use this new OS, you now are required to get just about everything that Win8 will allow you to run on it from the Microsoft “Store”!

    Having to buy everything above a basic use system from an online store is like paying an additional user tax after buying the original software, and if you download from some where other than the official “Store”, the OS probably won’t allow it to run.

    That’s why I stay away from those overpriced “data usage” smart phones as well – they give them to you for next to nothing and lock you into low data allowance contracts so they can soak you for even having them or reasonably using them for at least 2 years.

    No thanks, I will stay with user-friendly Win7 for the foreseeable future – and hopefully, Microsoft won’t start putting out fixes or patches that cripples Win7 ‘s ability to run new 3rd party software or restricts 3rd party software to run on Win8 only!

  20. wardog

    Tried W 8 x64 Pro Upgrade from W 7 x64 Ultimate. Most features copied over, some gone or broken. Biggest issue, couldn’t access internal D drive. Access denied. Back to W 7 and ok. But then tried make a system image C to D. Failed access denied. So possibly C was bad before tried W 8 Upgrade tho thought I did one ok.
    Had set gigabyte mobo from bios to use UEFI method. Don’t think that change month back would have done this. C is SSD sata III and D 2 TB sata III HD.
    W 8 looked ok but eye candy part gets in way of multi tasking with resized windows open in desktop. In way I mean why bother having it. Boot times really about same under UEFI. Odd tho that installing W 8 wouldn’t go unless didn’t have the DVD drive set to regular mode, not the UEFI option it had in bios/uefi setup.
    Rollback under old W 7 DVD with the saved system image on D went ok once used normal setting bios, otherwise W 7 wouldn’t find the image on D.
    Considering fixing the access denied when making system inage in W 7 and trying again. Even in Upgrade had to do bunch of drivers, even MS intelli s/w for mouse & kb, luckily it picked up prior settings. Win Live Mail came thru ok. Didn’t mess with Mail in Modern.
    Didn’t get to use any of the add ons to restore missing Start button – boy is that stupid to remove.
    Just this feeling MS has no care for existing users.

  21. Chad

    Windows 8 is not actually all that bad. At first, it’s an abomination, sure, but once you customize everything, get rid of the god-awful built-in apps, and actually get working (or playing, as the case may be) you’ll find that it’s BETTER than 7. If you’re a tech guy/girl (which if you’re on HTG you probably are) you might have to dig just a little bit to get familiar with the utilities, etc., which are somewhat hidden so that the average user doesn’t have to worry about them, but it’s a good, solid (now, anyways, it wasn’t a few months ago) OS.

    It’s true that it hasn’t got much over Linux (I love me some Linux, I think we all do) except that it is compatible with (most) apps and programs used and relied upon by the majority of users.

    I got Windows 8 for free, but was so against it that I simply held on to it, without even installing, for about 9 months or so (my windows 8 gestational period? lol) but I use it now, and – as I said – I’ve actually come to prefer it over Windows 7.

    Server 2012 is a different story. I’m still getting used to the vastly different GUI (servermanager has been greatly changed, for example) but if you’re proficient in PowerShell, it doesn’t really matter. And like it or not, this is what we’re going to be working with – at least on some level – going forward.

  22. John

    Like others, LOL Don’t have those problems that MS has created as I have Linux also. Angry Bird hmm… $4.99 at MS, Free with Linux. Free Anti-Virus well that has been around for awhile so no big deal, can’t help it if people are just lazy. Windows Defender updates every 2nd Tuesday of every month, just MS doesn’t tell anyone how to use it. I don’t like it when someone takes things away from me and calls it an improvement and then asks me to give them more money. Good Luck with that, not for me.

  23. Wayfarer

    Windows Defender used to be called Microsoft Security Essentials?? No shit?! It’s not all that long since MSE was called Windows Defender !!! Names count for nothing.

    Are we supposed to be impressed? Because I’m not. The technology isn’t important here. The reason MS keep on producing new and expensive OS’s is – and it’s about money and market share, not security. I’ll stick with Win7 and Kaspersky if you don’t mind – that’s when I’m not using Linux 70% of the time anyway.

    Frankly the best OS ever produced by MS was WinXP – and that was abandoned long before its potential had been exhausted. If MS had any decency, they’d release XP into the public domain wher it would undoubtedly be further developed. But that won’t happen of course as – despite all MS’s crocodile tears – their main priority is selling bloated software to an undiscriminating and largely technologically-dyslexic market.

  24. Bob

    I heard all of the horror stories about W8 and the user interface and thought WTF and I’ll just give it a miss. When W8 RTM was released on Technet I decided to give it a run on one of my machines. It was certainly different but it’s like a skin tumour, it grows on you. On October 26 I bought licenses for all of my machines and I am working my way through installing them. The experience gets better and better. I put up Stardock’s Start8 on the first machine and after using it for a couple of weeks I think I have wasted my $5. It certainly flicks you straight past Metro to the traditional desktop and gives you an almost identical menu to Win7 but I don’t need it. You can pin to the desktop taskbar just like 7 and you can bring back the Quick Launch bar that was dropped from 7. Actually you can bring it back in 7 too. You can also pin as many folders and shortcuts as you want to the Metro GUI. As for the crap about the missing or hard to find shutdown I do what I have been doing for years. I make my own shutdown shortcuts and pin them everywhere, the task bar, Metro etc. When I am done I don’t like to fuck around looking for the way out. As for Metro apps lingering on after you leave them, I just Alt + F4 them and put them out of their misery. Much too hard to drag them off the screen. The negatives, not too many so far. Some things don’t run. They need to be updated. Defender updates as often as needed, sometimes several times per day. The only complaint I have with it is that it relies on Windows Update for the new stuff. I won’t allow Win Updates to automatically run. I like to inspect very update. Most of the time it makes no difference I put them on anyway but I like to feel I have the last word. So far it is a very positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone (including my relos, lol) and at $40 it’s a steal. If they bump the price up that would be a deal breaker for me.

    BTW, why do they wank around and make the price $39.99 and not an even $40 and will be $9.99 for Media Center. That always seems to me to be the ultimate masturbation. Stardock charges $4.99 for Start8. It’s been a long time since we got rid of our coins less than 5 cents here in Australia and I know you can use the odd cents on a card but why bother.

  25. YaYA

    As I said, these are some pretty compelling reasons to upgrade. …Again!

    But considering that most desktop users don’t even care about metro and probably just want a start button back as opposed to the convoluted start screen, why not just provide these same “advantages” in a SP2 for Windows 7 minus any Metro stuff? Oh, that’s right, MONEY! And it’s not like honest users didn’t already pay enough for Windows 7 or even Vista either – even the OEM stuff.

    Microsoft probably could include every one of these advantages to Windows 7 / Vista but they won’t. And it it just goes to show Microsoft’s attitude towards EXISTING customers – “F*** EM!” Microsoft will still provide security updates and patches for things even as far back as XP but that’s only because other companies also do it – like every free Linux distro! Microsoft will even occasionally throw in a new worthless app or two just to make a customer think he/she is getting good support too. But look again! Most everything you update or upgrade has either had a security flaw or bad code bug right from the start. Take into account Microsoft’s prior history with things like IE6 or even their weirdo .NET junk and you just might see this disturbing trend.

    So does that mean I should install Windows 8? No! But I will. In fact I already have ever since the first day each each beta was available too. And I still “H8″ it. But I will probably still install and use Windows 8 simply because many of my clients will. After all, you just can’t stop good marketing even when the product they’re selling or giving away is absolute junk.

    You also have to keep up with Windows simply because it’s the only product available which runs any of the apps most people want or need. Even a significant number of Apple users do too. It’s like drugs that way, especially when it comes to games. I could also point out that one other Microsoft product akin to methadone – Office! I might even point out another sneaky move designed to keep people addicted to Windows – EUFI! But I suppose I should be thankful for not being rolled like a gutter dwelling crack addict when it comes to Windows. Although the price break probably just means Microsoft wants me to spend my savings on other digital dope. (And when you think about it, Linux is really more like rehab where we keep going and hoping we’re never again tempted to shoot up.)

  26. Erik

    Windows 8… Microsoft STILL playing the old cat and mouse game with malware, instead of implementing true proactive, intelligent security at the core.

  27. Joseph

    There were the dinosaurs, now there are Microsoft haters. I can’t wait for the latter to become extinct. The bottom line for most of us who use, and sometimes love what computers can do for us is that Windows has allowed us to move into the 21st century with a minimum of IT stress. Rave on MS haters; your viperous words and pseudo-intellectual opinions will go the way of Windows 3.1.

  28. Robynsveil

    “You also have to keep up with Windows simply because it’s the only product available which runs any of the apps most people want or need.”
    Again, depends on how much you think only Windows can serve *ALL* your needs, and – more importantly – why. The truer statement would have been:
    “Windows users feel they also have to keep up with Windows simply because it’s the only product available which runs any of the apps they want or need. And I want and *need* the latest-greatest MS Office and Photoshop and…and…and…”

    I run WinXP in VirtualBox so that the ThumbsPlus Addict of the house can have access to that ancient program. Windows doesn’t serve any other purpose than to run ThumbsPlus. That’s it. The ‘swiss-army knife’ just has one blade now: the rest, I let Mint 13 take care of.

  29. Richard Steven Hack

    Yes, and Windows 8 has already had an exploit developed for it…

    Read my lips. There is no such thing as “security”. Or to be more precise, my meme goes:

    “You can haz better security, you can haz worse security. But you cannot haz “security”. There is no security. Deal.”

    Windows 8 has Microsoft Security Essentials. Look at the independent AV tests, dump it and install Avast, AVG, or Antivir. Not to mention that you need to be running antimalware programs as well as antivirus programs. And beyond that, hackers can bypass most of that stuff almost trivially.

    SmartScreen Filter: Might help – IF the end user bothers to read the alert – which they won’t. Also won’t help against a phishing email… Also, it’s not much more than UAC under a new name…

    Memory management improvements: The hackers can already bypass ALSR, and will undoubtedly find relatively easy ways to bypass the rest of the mitigations – and sooner rather than later.

    Sandboxed Apps: Since they didn’t exist on Windows 7, it’s moot whether 8 is more secure – or 8 has simply introduced a new class of applications which have already been shown on Android machines to be easily infected… This is called in infosec circles “expanding the attack surface”…

    Sorry, but every Windows OS has been touted as “the most secure” – and it’s done nothing to stop security issues from getting bigger and bigger every year.

  30. TsarNikky

    That may be all fine and good. But…since Microsoft botched the UI; businesses along with serious personal users are going to stick with Windows-7 (or, in some instances XP.) Scraping perfectly good hardware to to get the latest “gee whiz UI” does not make sense. Then, to add insult to the injury, Microsoft did not give users the choice of UI to use. Thank you, my company will be sticking with Windows-7.

  31. jeepmanjr

    Whew Chris!! Getting a little personal are we? W8 is not all that bad when you apply a few W7 features. M$ shoulda made those things options from the beginning. I don’t want a smart phone desktop on my PC desktop. Metro is not cool. It’s a PITA!!! Granted, there are some pluses to W8. That is, if you’re installing it on a smart phone. Why are you and HTG trying to ram this OS down our throats?

  32. Marco

    The first person who commented is a NOOB.
    Only NOOBS hates Windows so much….
    Noobs who can”t figure out how to fix compuers
    Noobs, noobs everywhere

  33. Pawan Sharma

    There is nothing new in Windows 8. Everything mentioned above is already present in other Operating systems.

  34. David

    Having used both review copies as my main operating system, after of course bypassing the Metro screen on start up and putting back the good old start button and menu, I have gone back to Windows 7 and will stay there. While the average user will be more than happy with Windows 8 and will undoubtedly give Microsoft all the word of mouth “good tidings” it can handle, I as a gamer have way too many older games that run fine on Windows 7 but won’t even boot up on Windows 8, I also use a lot of third party and rewritten software which also just won’t work. with the big 50 looming in the near future I just don’t have the time or energy to tear the OS apart to fit my own preferences and need, but that is my personal stand in this regard.
    I’m pretty sure that Windows 8 will however be generally accepted and will go from success to success with the aforementioned average users who simply need it to perform the normal office duties send and receive emails and browse the web

  35. Joe

    @ Marco.
    I pity you and your lack of empathy.
    I pity you because from the sound of things, you have only ever used one operating system. Who is the NOOB now?
    Oh wait. I just made the same assumption you did.
    See how silly that is?

  36. Lawson Johnson

    Is it just me or did I hear restriction (or similar) a lot? However, for those who haven’t the slightest idea how to operate a computer this should be great.

  37. okeke chuchu

    Wild west nature of the previous windows versions had me rolling. Shoot first ask questions later apps.

  38. Chemical

    Loving Windows 8 and how quickly my computer moves compared to Win 7. There are mixed opinions about the welcome screen. As a desktop user I love it as a graphical start menu; beauty is people aren’t forced to use metro apps. But hey, haters gonna hate. The upgrade to Win 8 has been painless, my apps work, the UI is beautiful, and the new features are a great reason to welcome in the new.

    Goodbye Windows 7!

  39. Aron
  40. Rukh

    I like it!
    Paid $40, upgrade was the easiest I’ve dealt with, and it is working very well. It is faster, I can choose between Tiles or desktop with one key, and can customize it any way I like. I added a Start menu for when I need it or feeling nostalgic. :-)

  41. Random Dev

    I’ve been a Windows user and developer since v3.11. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on these security features.

    Windows Defender: A rebranded version of Microsoft Security Essentials, which is a rather underwhelming anti-virus package that has been available free from Microsoft since 2009. A resource-sapping bit of bloat that any experienced user will immediately disable.

    SmartScreen: A blacklist checking scheme that sends hashes of any unsigned executables to Microsoft for validation. A privacy-invading bit of bloat that any experienced user will immediately disable.

    Early Launch Anti-Malware: Reorders software driver loading so anti-virus drivers load first (previously the load order could not be guaranteed). So simple, so obvious – so why has it taken this long to instill a bit of sanity into the boot process? Better late than never I suppose.

    Secure Boot: Not sure what this is doing on the list since it’s a feature of the BIOS rather than Windows. But it will prevent you from installing any other O/S on your Windows 8 certified ARM tablet so it’s definitely a security feature – it gives Microsoft the security of knowing that you won’t be able to install a different O/S on your tablet.

    ASLR: Enabled by default since Windows Vista, all that’s changed in Windows 8 is that Microsoft have finally started using it.

    Sandboxed Apps: Only applies to the interface formally known as “metro”, which is largely irrelevant to desktop users and developers. As for tablet users, most will be running Windows RT which is metro-only, so the benefit of the sandbox will also be a curse since they’ll be stuck in it for good (this is generally referred to as a “walled garden” but I guess “sandbox” has a nicer ring to it).

  42. VHMP01

    I just ran one of my virtualized servers on Hyper-V in W8 in a new laptop (limited resources of course; no 13th Gb RAM, nor 1.2 TB Disk, etc.), but it is just running, which makes all my virtualized backups able to be tested, that was the only reason audits did not believe it was a safe method of backups and test, now they just have nothing to whine about. Just for that the $40 dollars are worth it, now lets begin the rollout to all computers because of better safety. Also to use all the ‘Touch’ functionality, just buying Touch Mice, quite simple really to get most benefits in existing desktops and laptops. Piece of cake!

  43. gowthamgutha

    I think Windows 8 may not be as secure as Windows 7 because, what i had observed is the that, if install an antivirus program say avast!, it is getting started slowly, i just made an experiment of starting firefox before the avast! antivirus has started and then firefox started earlier than avast!

    So, due to this, malware can easily might start before the antivirus do and may cause severe problems. Windows 8 developers might be in a view of increasing the start up speed for Windows 8 but might have forgotten about this backlog. Am i correct? Replies are appreciated.

  44. Keith

    Hey HowToGeek, we went through this tedium when Windows 7 came out. You were going on about how XP was insecure, trying to make people feel like crap for sticking with it. Now you’re at it again.

    On this subject, I wish you would **** off and STAY ****t off. : (

  45. Little John

    I been using Windows 8 little over 3 months, I like it. I been around since the C/PM days – before MS-DOS or IBM-DOS or DR-DOS. I have used all the different versions of Windows except ME, I keep my Windows 2000 (NT). True I miss my start button, but Start screen will do but I have added several icons to my desktop plus added most used software pin to taskbar. I spend more of my time using the desktop, the only thing I use the apps for to check the weather or learn to a radio stations. Since I am one man help desk for different software packages for the company, I am keep busy fixing errors or finding deleted files or other problems. I tried Linux, for me there no reason to move off of Windows. The main software I use is written by MS like Office 2010 (Open Office doesn’t keep the format the same as MS Office). Using couple hot keys and mouse, Windows 8 is winner and keeper.

  46. John

    “Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely”
    http://log.nadim.cc/?p=78

    It’s a great overlay system and security is a bonus, but this “protect the people” thing is going a little far. You can turn off Smartscreen but to have it enabled by default is wrong in my mind. Local computer stores around my area now ship with Win8 with no choice of Win7. & with build in anti-virus isn’t this an “IE law suite” waiting to repeat.

    Love the overlay system though!

  47. Rajesh Koothrapali

    @clamo & other folks complaining about Windows 8:

    You guys just don’t know about how to use a computer, you are too orthodox to utilize yourself.
    Windows 8 has some of fantastic upgrades over the time from Microsoft.
    I know it, and believe it I have used more operating systems than the number of girls you have slept with.

  48. Tech80

    Quoting Spike:
    a lot of techs like win8 for personal use, but have problems with running in a business environment. Techs aren’t ‘shuddering in horror’ of it. Are you a tech, or do you know one?

    I highly disagree, techs should be very afraid. With the integration of look, feel, and UI simplification across all of MS platforms (Xbox, WinPhone, Surface, Win8) I feel us techs have a great deal to worry about. This is a giant push towards cloud computing and uniformity as well as making things easy for the end user. Prime example – if a program is missing from one of your users desktops how many of you get a call asking where it went when it is on their program/start menu?

    This push is going to eliminate 50 – 60% of the tech work force. Prepare to fight for your jobs as the laborers did when robot automation came to be.

    As much as we would like to keep things local I do not feel this is the a-typical client/server cycle we have seen time and time again over the years – I believe the cloud is here to stay and that computers will be much more stable eliminating the need for help desk positions and once the servers are setup for much maint of servers after that. Our era is coming to an end boys and girls, only the elite will survive.

  49. steve

    This should be considered during win xp development ! Almost two generation of OS development lost time ! But still not good enough ! In win XP SP3 i came across iCore Virtual Accounts that installs only on this one OS ! The idea is awesome ! Something like that should be integrated from inside out in Win OS having secured and layered security above low level integrated and installed OS ! If anything goes wrong then only in users space account and not tamper low level install ! And one having easy task to recover data revert changes installed drivers and so on … ! MS still misses to secure his OS ! Integrated antivirus isn’t an option specially from MS ! There are far more better solutions ! I have seen that some mentioned security modules are allredy trowed out of MS Win 8 by professionals that know what they are doing and guess what win 8 even speeds up ! MS Should low level harden his os and everything above administrator account should be layered and isolated from low level OS having secure user space and isolated app by default ! Except drivers nothing is alowed to tamper os ! We have seen enough nasty system related crashes BSOD’s and other nasty problems with MS OS-ses ! It’s time to draw the line and users should demand secure and stable os no mater what one installs on it ! But reality is taht even on Win 8 BSOD occurs and still not enough protected system and os ! The other issues are speed and performance ! Wun in original state is wery lazy and hardly performance os despite installed on power hardware ! Linux outperform it every time and far more less systems problems as in win ! But Linux has huge drawbacks too ! First huge drawback is bootloader ! Many times first time installed not working (not so in win – works every time) and one can not boot system and many user have crippled their win such way including me at the beginning ! This is childish disease in Linux and not overcome’d yet even as we speak in some distro’s ! The second big drawback is installing software in Linux ! Far to many different packages and not unified software installation method with GUI and few mouse clicks ! Some distro’s have much improvement further but as to day still not good enough ! The other thing is upgrade update Linux distro ! Many times required new install ! One sure knows what that means ! If there were this fixed the MS sure will packs his bags for good ! And we were far better off without MS ! Still MS is over sized OS packed with not needed and bloated things resource hungry OS with newer enough power and not secured and hardened enough ! The history of MS OS-ses prove this claim ! Win 8 is not exception ! They should code OS in Assembler not waisting every single bit optimized to max security and speed and not selling hot water around ! With such politics only hardware industry have benefits and security IT we user are non stop under the rain ! The only thing that MS is good for is to playing games on it ! If one playing games no security and stability needed due its used only for fun and if crashes no real damage occurs except for the user installing it all over again ! MS is not trustworthy and only good for playing games ! Why do you think that for strong security oriented task other OS-ses are used ! MS is far from being secure and stable in compare to others solutions ! People are dumb to buy it ! And why people are buying it ? Because it is easy to use (and MS know it) and that is the main reason for MS success ! All other aspect are not considered until first major problem occurs and then wining about not being good enough ! We should demand it from MS and wining about it !

  50. subane

    its ones i gainist for learning crack softwares but its defficult to do crack and to get crack software be care fully windows 8 is a like police is going to i rest in a parison

    good bye all

  51. sammy

    Tech 80 hit the nail on the head, it’s all about making it as idiot proof as possible. When this happens guess what, bye bye techies.

    If your a tech guy who works in that field you better fight like he_ _ against this new OS because it’s clearly the next stepping stone to your extinction. Unfortunately there seems to be a ton of people who are far from the sharpest tool in the shed and are easily persuaded by intelligent sounding press releases and media hype.

    Kind of like the morons who think Obama’s God, instead of seeing him for what he really is , a community organizer who hates America, lies through his teeth and makes apology tours, he is the definition of a marxist who’s bent on bringing this Country to it’s knees ( why was nobody surprised when he waited to officially announce the start of his campaign on Carl Marx’s birthday) 100% true and it’s no coincidence.

    Well, they did say he would get all of the moron vote and he certainly did.

    Anyone who believes 8 is a good thing has not only had a glass of cool aid but swallowed the whole damn pitcher. I guess the saying “liberalism is a mental disorder” is true , (google it ) the books on the money, oh and enjoy the joblessness and misery for the next 4. Remember who called it right here.

    Attack if you wish but i’ll never see it, hopefully someone with some intelligence will continue

  52. Mumford

    I have to laugh at you idiots that hate, are jealous of Microsoft. Linux? Apple? More than a comedy show!!!

    Windows 8 is beyond being a tremendous OS. It will beat out Apple so bad that Mackintosh will appear to be an apple that has been mostly eaten. Only the pits left!

    Man, these comments that have gone on before that cannot stand Microsoft at more than pathetic. Why grace these fools with a response?

  53. cq3r

    Ok so when i first used windows 8 i hated it and to an extent i still do. Anything remotely technical takes the biscite the new network manager is useless i still miss the good old XP one.

    I thought i would be good for my laptop what i work on but it proved to be a nightmare. It’s like going back into the dark ages of one thing at a time even android is starting to become more multitask friendly at least on my tablet i can have a web browser open whilst i play a game.

    No such luck with the outdated approach used by win 8 metro (even win 3.1 could do that). As the desktop is just now “an app” with horrible bars popping out when i move my mouse out the way it doesn’t relay count. Why run all 1.5gig of win 8 idling in ram when i can run a gig of win 7 and ignore all win 8s horrible features.

    That being said on my games desktop its perfect because i just play games most of the time and with DX in full screen i couldn’t do much else. I also get the sens of wastage with my desktop games do use the multicore where as with win 8 apps im better off with a single one as the others won’t be doing anything anyway.

    (just a foot note to MS restore the desktop and fire all the the developers and desighners of metro serious they ruin something that should have been grate. Win 7 2 could have been a game changer pushing apple of its perch but they screwed us all over)

  54. Frank

    I for one will not be using it. I am a writer and Windows 8 seems like it is designed for tablet and phone users, in other words more for play than for work. I will stick with Windows 7 until Microsoft decides to ditch it, then I will buy me a couple of Apples and say sayonara to Microsoft. I think that it is a bad move for Microsoft and in the end will alienate millions of business users, by driving them to Apple. I agree with what the above poster “im Nagy said.” I also think that consumers should be given a choice as to what type of “windows interface” a user should install.” In other words this smacks of not so smart or future sighted marketing as far as I’m concerned.

  55. Michael

    My old Dell Inspiron 1721, running vista, took forever to boot up, run programs, and shut down. Clean installed Windows 8 and witnessed a MIRACLE! The old Dell now boots up faster, runs apps faster, and shuts down faster than any computer at home or work. The apps that most people would need are included, the exception being no word processor/database/powerpoint/spread sheet. Many free apps available from Windows store e.g. Skype. I unpinned unneeded apps, and start interface is now simple and easy to use.

    The concerns about no shutdown button are ridiculous because you can construct shut down button in < 1 minute: right mouse, create shortcut, enter: shutdown /p, select an icon, right mouse click and select pin to start interface. In general, you can customize any way you want; abundant information on internet.

  56. jkglad

    I really appreciate these informative articles from your site. I will have my Windows 8 pc in a few days. Can’t hardly wait. Tried it out first on some old pcs and it worked great (the previews, not the finished product). Will be keeping my Windows 7 on one pc and will have touch with the other. Best of both worlds.

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