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Personal computer operating system by Microsoft released in 2009
Screenshot of Windows 7, showing its desktop, taskbar, Start menu and the glass effect of Windows Aero
|Released to |
|July 22, 2009; 12 years ago (2009-07-22)|
|October 22, 2009; 12 years ago (2009-10-22)|
|Latest release||Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601.24499) / February 9, 2011; 10 years ago (2011-02-09)|
|Update method||Windows Update|
|Platforms||IA-32 and x86-64|
|Userland||Windows API, NTVDM, SUA|
|Preceded by||Windows Vista (2007)|
|Succeeded by||Windows 8 (2012)|
|Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015 (2015-01-13).|
Extended support ended on January 14, 2020 (2020-01-14).
Windows 7 is eligible for the Extended Security Updates service. This service is available via OEMs, in yearly installments. Security updates are available for the operating system through at most January 10, 2023 only for Professional and Enterprise volume licensed editions, through October 10, 2023 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, and through October 14, 2024 for Windows Embedded POSReady 7.
Exceptions exist, see § Support lifecycle for details.
Installing Service Pack 1 is required for users to receive updates and support after April 9, 2013.
Windows 7 is a major release of the Windows NToperating system developed by Microsoft. It was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and became generally available on October 22, 2009. It is the successor to Windows Vista, released nearly three years earlier. It remained an operating system for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media center PCs, and itself was replaced in November 2012 by Windows 8, the name spanning more than three years of the product. Until April 9, 2013, Windows 7 RTM provided content such as security updates, software updates, PC driver updates and technical support, after which installation of Service Pack 1 is required for users to receive support and updates. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time. The last supported version of Windows based on this operating system was released on July 1, 2011, entitled Windows Embedded POSReady 7. On January 12, 2016, Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer versions older than Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7. Extended support ended on January 14, 2020, over ten years after the release of Windows 7, after which the operating system ceased receiving further support or security updates to most users, and all PCs that blocks Windows Update on Windows 7 versions newer than KB4499164 released in May 2019 displays a full-screen upgrade warning notification with an information page link starting from January 15, 2020. A support program is currently available for potplayer latest version free download for windows 7 - Activators Patch, providing security updates for Windows 7 for up to four years since the official end of life. However, Windows Embedded POSReady 7, the last Windows 7 variant, continued to receive security updates until October 2021.
Windows 7 was intended to be an incremental upgrade to Microsoft Windows, addressing Windows Vista's poor critical reception while maintaining Tuneup Utilities Pro 23 Crack With Serial key Free Download 2021 and software compatibility. Windows 7 continued improvements on Windows Aero (the user interface introduced in Windows Vista) with the addition of a redesigned taskbar that allows applications to be "pinned" to it, and new window management features. Other new features were added to the operating system, including libraries, the new file-sharing system HomeGroup, and support for multitouch input. A new "Action Center" interface was also added to provide an overview of system security and maintenance information, and tweaks were made to the User Account Control system to make it less intrusive. Windows 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center.
Unlike Vista, Windows 7 received critical acclaim, with critics considering the operating system to be a major improvement over its predecessor because of its improved performance, its more intuitive interface (with particular praise devoted to the new taskbar), fewer User Account Control popups, and other improvements made across the platform. Windows 7 was a major success for Microsoft; even before its official release, pre-order sales for the operating system on the online retailer Amazon.com had surpassed previous records. In just six months, over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide, increasing to over 630 million licenses by July 2012. By January 2018, Windows 10 surpassed Windows 7 as the most popular version of Windows worldwide; and by May 2020, Windows 10 surpassed Windows 7 as the most popular version of Windows in China. As of June 2021[update], 15.52% of traditional PCs running Windows are running Windows 7 (and thus 5% of all devices across platforms). It still remains popular in countries such as Turkmenistan, China, India, and Venezuela.
Originally, a version of Windows codenamed "Blackcomb" was planned as the successor to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 in 2000. Major features were planned for Blackcomb, including an emphasis on searching and querying data and an advanced storage system named WinFS to enable such scenarios. However, an interim, minor release, codenamed "Longhorn," was announced for 2003, delaying the development of Blackcomb. By the middle of 2003, however, Longhorn had acquired some of the features originally intended for Blackcomb. After three major malware outbreaks—the Blaster, Nachi, and Sobig worms—exploited flaws in Windows operating systems within a short time period in August 2003, Microsoft changed its development priorities, putting some of Longhorn's major development work on hold while developing new service packs for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Development of Longhorn (Windows Vista) was also restarted, and thus delayed, in August 2004. A number of features were cut from Longhorn. Blackcomb was renamed Vienna in early 2006, and was later canceled in 2007 due to the scope of the project.
When released, Windows Vista was criticized for its long development time, performance issues, spotty compatibility with existing hardware and software at launch, changes affecting the compatibility of certain PC games, and unclear assurances by Microsoft that certain computers shipping with XP before launch would be "Vista Capable" (which led to a class-action lawsuit), among other critiques. As such, the adoption of Vista in comparison to XP remained somewhat low. In July 2007, six months following the public release of Vista, it was reported that the next version of Windows would then be codenamed Windows 7, with plans for a final release within three years.Bill Gates, in an interview withNewsweek, suggested that Windows 7 would be more "user-centric". Gates later said that Windows 7 would also focus on performance improvements.Steven Sinofsky later expanded on this point, explaining in the Engineering Windows 7 blog that the company was using a variety of new tracing tools to measure the performance of many areas of the operating system on an ongoing basis, to help locate inefficient code paths and to help prevent performance regressions.Senior Vice President Bill Veghte stated that Windows Vista users migrating to Windows 7 would not find the kind of device compatibility issues they encountered migrating from Windows XP. An estimated 1,000 developers worked on Windows 7. These were broadly divided into "core operating system" and "Windows client experience", in turn organized into 25 teams of around 40 developers on average.
In October 2008, it was announced that Windows 7 would also be the official name of the operating system. There has been some confusion over naming the product Windows 7, while versioning it as 6.1 to indicate its similar build to Vista and increase compatibility with applications that only check major version numbers, similar to Windows 2000 and Windows XP both having 5.x version numbers. The first external release to select Microsoft partners came in January 2008 with Milestone 1, build 6519. Speaking about Windows 7 on October 16, 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7, indicating that Windows 7 would be a refined version of Windows Vista.
At PDC 2008, Microsoft demonstrated Windows 7 with its reworked taskbar. On December 27, 2008, the Windows 7 Beta was leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. According to a performance test by ZDNet, Windows 7 Beta beat both Windows XP and Vista in several key areas, including boot and shutdown time and working with files, such as loading documents. Other areas did not beat XP, including PC Pro benchmarks for typical office activities and video editing, which remain identical to Vista and slower than XP. On January 7, 2009, the x64 version of the Windows 7 Beta (build 7000) was leaked onto the web, with some torrents being infected with a internet explorer latest version - Crack Key For U Never Apart Crack CES 2009, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the Windows 7 Beta, build 7000, had been made available for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers in the format of an ISO image. The stock wallpaper of the beta version contained a digital image of the Betta fish.
The release candidate, build 7100, became available for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and Connect Program participants on April 30, 2009. On May 5, 2009, it became available to the general public, although it had also been leaked onto the Internet via BitTorrent. The release candidate was available in five languages and expired on June 1, 2010, with shutdowns every two hours starting March 1, 2010. Microsoft stated that Windows 7 would be released to the general public on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the launch of its predecessor. Microsoft released Windows 7 to MSDN and Technet subscribers on August 6, 2009. Microsoft announced that Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 R2, was released to manufacturing in the United States and Canada on July 22, 2009. Windows 7 RTM is build 7600.16385.090713-1255, which was compiled on July 13, 2009, and was declared the final RTM build after passing all Microsoft's tests internally.
New and changed
Main article: Features new to Windows 7
Among Windows 7's new features are advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel improvements. Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, XPS Essentials Pack and Imyfone lockwiper crack 2018 - Free Activators PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion for length, weight, temperature, and several others. Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner Display Color Calibration Wizard,Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display.Windows Security Center has been renamed UltraISO Premium Crack Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds), which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer. ReadyBoost on 32-bit editions now supports up to 256 gigabytes of extra allocation. Windows 7 also supports images in RAW image format through the addition of Windows Imaging Component-enabled image decoders, which enables raw image thumbnails, previewing and metadata display in Windows Explorer, plus full-size viewing and slideshows in Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Media Center. Windows 7 also has a native TFTP client with the ability to transfer files to or from a TFTP server.
The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the old Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with the ability to pin applications to the taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. These buttons also enable Jump Lists to allow easy access to common tasks, and files frequently used with specific applications. The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons. To the far right of the system, the clock is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. By default, hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop. In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet PCs, etc., this button is slightly (8 pixels) wider in order to accommodate being pressed by a finger. Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them.
Window management in Windows 7 has several new features: Aero Snap maximizes a window when it is dragged to the top, left, or right of the screen. Dragging windows to the left or right edges of the screen allows users to snap software windows to either side of the screen, such that the windows take up half the screen. When a user moves windows that were snapped or maximized using Snap, the system restores their previous state. Snap functions can also be triggered with keyboard shortcuts. Aero Shake hides all inactive windows when the active window's title bar is dragged back and forth rapidly.
Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, titled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata. Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7. Users are able to disable or customize many more Windows components than was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and Windows Gadget Platform. A new version of Microsoft Virtual PC, newly renamed as Windows Virtual PC was made available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. It allows multiple Windows environments, including Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine. Windows XP Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine, and displays applications within separate windows on the Windows 7 desktop. Furthermore, Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual hard disk (VHD) as a normal data storage, and the bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows system from a VHD; however, this ability is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions. The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also enhanced to support real-time multimedia application including video playback and 3D games, thus allowing use of Navicat Premium 12.1.4 edition registration code - Free Activators 10 in remote desktop environments. The three application limit, previously present in the Windows Vista and Windows XP Starter Editions, has been removed from Windows 7. All editions include some new and improved features, such as Windows Search, Security features, and some features new to Windows 7, that originated within Vista. Optional BitLocker Drive Encryption is included with Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise. Windows Defender is included; Microsoft Security Essentialsantivirus software is a free download. All editions include Shadow Copy, which—every day or so—System Restore uses to take an automatic "previous version" snapshot of user files that have changed.Backup and restore have also been improved, and the Windows Recovery Environment—installed by default—replaces the optional Recovery Console of Windows XP.
A new system known as "Libraries" was added for file management; users can aggregate files from multiple folders into a "Library." By default, libraries for categories such as Documents, Pictures, Music, and Video are created, consisting of the user's personal folder and the Public folder for each. The system is also used as part of a new home networking system known as HomeGroup; devices are added to the network with a password, and files and folders can be shared with all other devices in the HomeGroup, or with specific users. The default libraries, along with printers, are shared by default, but the personal folder is set to read-only access by other users, and the Public folder can be accessed by anyone.
Windows 7 includes improved globalization support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API to provide multilingual support (particularly in Ultimate and Enterprise editions). Microsoft also implemented better support for solid-state drives, including the new TRIM command, and Windows 7 is able to identify a solid-state drive uniquely. Native support for USB 3.0 is not included because of delays in the finalization of the standard. At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.
For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking API with support for building SOAP-based web services in native code (as opposed to .NET-based WCF web services), new features to simplify development of installation packages and shorten application install times. Windows 7, by default, generates fewer User Account Control (UAC) prompts because it allows digitally signed Windows components to gain elevated privileges without a prompt. Additionally, users can now adjust the level at Macrium Reflect 8.0.6036 Crack + License Key Free 2021 [Latest Edition] UAC operates using a sliding scale.
Main article: List of features removed in Windows 7
Certain capabilities and programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present or have been changed, resulting in the removal of certain functionalities; these include the classic Start Menu user interface, some taskbar features, Windows Explorer features, Windows Media Player features, Windows Ultimate Extras, Search Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2020 Crack + Activator Key Free Download 2021, and InkBall. Four applications bundled with Windows Vista—Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Calendar and Windows Mail—are not included with Windows 7 and were replaced by Windows Live-branded versions as part of the Windows Live Essentials suite.
Main article: Windows 7 editions
Windows 7 is available in six different editions, of which the Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate were available at retail in most countries, and as pre-loaded software on most new computers. Home Premium and Professional were aimed at home users and small businesses respectively, while Ultimate was aimed at enthusiasts. Each edition of Windows 7 includes all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it, and adds additional features oriented towards their market segments; for example, Professional adds additional networking and security features such as Encrypting File System and the ability to join a domain. Ultimate contained a superset of the features from Home Premium and Professional, along with other advanced features oriented towards power users, such as BitLocker drive encryption; unlike Windows Vista, there were no "Ultimate Extras" add-ons created for Windows 7 Ultimate. Retail copies were available in "upgrade" and higher-cost "full" version licenses; "upgrade" licenses require an existing version of Windows to install, while "full" licenses can be installed on computers with no existing operating system.
The remaining three editions were not available at retail, of which two were available exclusively through OEM channels as pre-loaded software. The Starter edition is a stripped-down version of Windows 7 meant for low-cost devices such as netbooks. In comparison to Home Premium, Starter has reduced internet explorer latest version - Crack Key For U functionality, does not allow users to change their desktop wallpaper or theme, disables the "Aero Glass" theme, does not have support for multiple monitors, and can only address 2GB of RAM.Home Basic was sold only in emerging markets, and was positioned in between Home Premium and Starter. The highest edition, Enterprise, is functionally similar to Ultimate, but is only sold through volume licensing via Microsoft's Software Assurance program.
All editions aside from Starter support both IA-32 and x86-64architectures, Starter only supports 32-bit systems. Retail copies of Windows 7 are distributed on two DVDs: one for the IA-32 version and the other for x86-64. OEM copies include one DVD, depending on the processor architecture licensed. The installation media for consumer versions of Windows 7 are identical, the product key and corresponding license determines the edition that is installed. The Windows Anytime Upgrade service can be used to purchase an upgrade that unlocks the functionality of a higher edition, such as going from Starter to Home Premium, and Home Premium to Ultimate. Most copies of Windows 7 only contained one license; in certain markets, a "Family Pack" version of Windows 7 Home Premium was also released for a limited time, which allowed upgrades on up to three computers. In certain regions, copies of Windows 7 were only sold in, and could only be activated in a designated region.
|Mainstream support||January 13, 2015 (2015-01-13)|
|Extended support||January 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)|
|Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate, as well as Professional for Embedded Systems and Ultimate for Embedded Systems|
|Professional and Enterprise volume licensed editions, as well as Professional for Embedded Systems||Extended Security Updates (ESU) support until January 10, 2023|
|Windows Thin PC||Mainstream support ended on October 11, 2016|
Extended support ended on October 12, 2021
|Windows Embedded Standard 7||Mainstream support ended on October 13, 2015|
Extended support ended on October 15, 2020
Extended Security Updates (ESU) support until October 10, 2023
|Windows Embedded POSReady 7||Mainstream support ended on October 11, 2016|
Extended support ended on October 12, 2021
Extended Security Updates (ESU) support until October 14, 2024
Support for Windows 7 without Service Pack 1 ended on April 9, 2013, requiring users to update in order to continue receiving updates and support after 3 years, 8 months, and 18 days. Microsoft ended the sale of new retail copies of Windows 7 in October 2014, and the sale of new OEM licenses for Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate ended on October 31, 2014. OEM sales of PCs with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed ended on October 31, 2016. The sale of non-Professional OEM licenses was stopped on October 31, 2014. Support for Windows Vista ended on April 11, 2017, requiring users to upgrade in binary editor - Activators Patch to continue receiving updates and support.
Mainstream support for Windows 7 ended on January 13, 2015. Extended support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. In August 2019, Microsoft announced it will be offering a 'free' extended security updates to some business users.
On September 7, 2018, Microsoft announced a paid "Extended Security Updates" service that will offer additional updates for Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise for up to three years after the end of extended support.
Variants of Windows 7 for embedded systems and thin clients have different support policies: Windows Embedded Standard 7 support ended in October 2020. Windows Thin PC and Windows Embedded POSReady 7 had support until October 2021. Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Windows Embedded POSReady 7 also get Extended Security Updates for up to three years after their end of extended support date. However, these embedded edition updates aren't able to be downloaded on non-embedded Windows 7 editions with a simple registry hack, unlike Windows XP with its embedded editions updates. Instead, a more complex patching tool, that allows the installation of pirated Extended Security Updates, ended up being the only solution to allow consumer variants to continue to receive updates. The Extended Security Updates service on Windows Embedded POSReady 7 will expire on October 14, 2024. This will mark the final end of the Windows NT 6.1 product line after 15 years, 2 months, and 17 days.
In March 2019, Microsoft announced that it would display notifications to users informing users of the upcoming end of support, and direct users to a website urging them to purchase a Windows 10 upgrade or a new computer.
In August 2019, researchers reported that "all modern versions of Microsoft Windows" may be at risk for "critical" system compromise because of design flaws of hardware device drivers from multiple providers. In the same month, computer experts reported that the BlueKeepsecurity vulnerability, CVE-2019-0708, that potentially affects older unpatched Microsoft Windows versions via the program's Remote Desktop Protocol, allowing for the possibility of remote code execution, may now include related flaws, collectively named DejaBlue, affecting newer Windows versions (i.e., Windows 7 and all recent versions) as well. In addition, experts reported a Microsoftsecurity vulnerability, CVE-2019-1162, based on legacy code involving Microsoft CTF and ctfmon (ctfmon.exe), that affects all Windows versions from the older Windows XP version to the most recent Windows 10 versions; a patch to correct the flaw is currently available. As of January 15, 2020, Windows Update is blocked from running on Windows 7.
In September 2019, Microsoft announced that it would provide free security updates for Windows 7 on federally-certified voting machines through the 2020 United States elections.
Additional requirements to use certain features:
Extent of hardware support
The maximum amount of RAM that Windows 7 supports varies depending on the product edition and on the processor architecture, as shown in the following table.
Windows 7 Professional and up support up to 2 physical processors (CPU sockets), whereas Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium editions support only 1. Physical processors with either multiple cores, or hyper-threading, or both, implement more than one logical processor per physical processor. The x86 editions of Windows 7 support up to 32 logical processors; x64 editions support up to 256 (4 x 64).
In January 2016, Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows platforms older than Windows 10 on any future Intel-compatible processor lines, citing difficulties in reliably allowing the operating system to operate on newer hardware. Microsoft stated that effective July 17, 2017, devices with Intel Skylake CPUs were only to receive the "most critical" updates for Windows 7 and 8.1, and only if they have been judged not to affect the reliability of Windows 7 on older hardware. For enterprise customers, Microsoft issued a list of Skylake-based devices "certified" for Windows 7 and 8.1 in addition to Windows 10, to assist them internet explorer latest version - Crack Key For U migrating to newer hardware that can eventually be upgraded to 10 once they are ready to transition. Microsoft and their hardware partners provide special testing and support for these devices on 7 and 8.1 until the July 2017 date.
On March 18, 2016, in response to criticism from enterprise customers, Microsoft delayed the end of support and non-critical updates for Skylake systems to July 17, 2018, but stated that they would also continue to receive security updates through the end of extended support. In August 2016, citing a "strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel", Microsoft retracted the decision and stated that it would continue to support Windows 7 and 8.1 on Skylake hardware through the end of their extended support lifecycle. However, the restrictions on newer CPU microarchitectures remain in force.
In March 2017, a Microsoft knowledge base article announced which implies that devices using Intel Kaby Lake, AMD Bristol Ridge, or AMD Ryzen, would be blocked from using Windows Update entirely. In addition, official Windows 7 device drivers are not available for the Kaby Lake and Ryzen platforms.
Security updates released since March 2018 contain bugs which affect processors that do not support SSE2 extensions, including all Pentium III processors. Microsoft initially stated that it would attempt to resolve the issue, and prevented installation of the affected patches on these systems. However, on June 15, 2018, Microsoft retroactively modified its support documents to remove the promise that this bug would be resolved, replacing it with a statement suggesting that users obtain a newer processor. This effectively ends future patch support for Windows 7 on these systems.
Service Pack 1
Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) was announced on March 18, 2010. A beta was released on July 12, 2010. The final version was released to the public on February 22, 2011. At the time of release, it was not made mandatory. It was available via Windows Update, direct download, or by ordering the Windows 7 SP1 DVD. The service pack is on a much smaller scale than those released for previous versions of Windows, particularly Windows Vista.
Windows 7 Service Pack 1 adds support for Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), a 256-bit instruction set extension for processors, and improves IKEv2 by adding additional identification fields such as E-mail ID to it. In addition, it adds support for Advanced Format 512e bluestacks crack for windows 10 - Free Activators well as additional Identity Federation Services. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 also resolves a bug related to HDMI audio and another related to printing XPS documents.
In Europe, the automatic nature of the BrowserChoice.eu feature was dropped in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 in February 2011 and remained absent for 14 months despite Microsoft reporting that it was still present, subsequently described by Microsoft as a "technical error." As a result, in March 2013, the European Commission fined Microsoft €561 million to deter companies from reneging on settlement promises.
The Platform Update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 was released on February 26, 2013 after a pre-release version had been released on November 5, 2012. It is also included with Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7.
It includes enhancements to Direct2D, DirectWrite, Direct3D, Windows Imaging Component (WIC), Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP), Windows Animation Manager (WAM), XPS Document API, H.264 Video Decoder and JPEG XR decoder. However support for Direct3D 11.1 is limited as the update does not include DXGI/WDDM 1.2 from Windows 8, making unavailable many related APIs and significant features such as stereoscopic frame buffer, feature level 11_1 and optional features for levels 10_0, 10_1 and 11_0.
Disk Cleanup update
In October 2013, a Disk Cleanup Wizard addon was released that lets users delete outdated Windows updates on Windows 7 SP1, thus reducing the size of the WinSxS directory. This update backports some features found in Windows 8.
Windows Management Framework 5.0
Windows Management Framework 5.0 includes updates to Windows PowerShell 5.0, Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC), Windows Remote Management (WinRM), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). It was released on February 24, 2016 and was eventually superseded by Windows Management Framework 5.1.
In May 2016, Microsoft released a "Convenience rollup update for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1," which contains all patches released between the release of SP1 and April 2016. The rollup is not available via Windows Update, and must be downloaded manually. This package can also be integrated into a Windows 7 installation image.
Since October 2016, all security and reliability updates are cumulative. Downloading and installing updates that address individual problems is no longer possible, but the number of updates that must be downloaded to fully update the OS is significantly reduced.
Monthly update rollups (July 2016-January 2020)
In June 2018, Microsoft announced that they'll be moving Windows 7 to a monthly update model beginning with updates released in September 2018 - two years after Microsoft switched the rest of their supported operating systems to that model.
With the new update model, instead of updates being released as they became available, only two update packages were released on the second Tuesday of every month until Windows 7 reached its end of life - one package containing security and quality updates, and a smaller package that contained only the security updates. Users could choose which package they wanted to install each month. Later in the month, another package would be released which was a preview of the next month's security and quality update rollup.
Installing the preview rollup package released for Windows 7 on March 19, 2019, or any later released rollup package, that makes Windows more reliable. This change was made so Microsoft could continue to service the operating system while avoiding “version-related issues”.
Microsoft announced in July 2019 that the Microsoft Internet Games services on Windows XP and Windows Me would end on July 31, 2019 (and for Windows 7 on January 22, 2020).
The last non-extended security update rollup packages were released on January 14, 2020, the last day that Windows 7 had extended support.
End of support (after January 14, 2020)
On January 14, 2020, Windows 7 support ended with Microsoft no longer providing security updates or fixes after that date, except for subscribers of the Windows 7 Extended Security Updates. However, there have been two updates that have been issued to non-ESU subscribers:
In a support document, Microsoft has stated that a full-screen upgrade warning notification would be displayed on Windows 7 PCs on all editions except the Enterprise edition after January 15. The notification does not appear on machines connected to Active Directory, machines in kiosk mode, or machines subscribed for Extended Security Updates.
Windows 7 received critical acclaim, with critics noting the increased usability and functionality when compared with its predecessor, Windows Vista. CNET gave Windows 7 Home Premium a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, stating that it "is more than what Vista should have been, [and] it's where Microsoft needed to go". PC Magazine rated it a 4 out of 5 saying that Windows 7 is a "big improvement" over Windows Vista, with fewer compatibility problems, a retooled taskbar, simpler home networking and faster start-up.Maximum PC gave Windows 7 a rating of 9 out of 10 and called Windows 7 a "massive leap forward" in usability and security, and praised the new Taskbar as "worth the price of admission alone."PC World called Windows 7 a "worthy successor" to Windows XP and said that speed benchmarks showed Windows 7 to be slightly faster gridinsoft anti malware key free - Free Activators Windows Vista. PC World also named Windows 7 one of the best products of the year. In its review of Windows 7, Engadget said that Microsoft had taken a "strong step forward" with Windows 7 and reported that speed is one of Windows 7's major selling points—particularly for the netbook sets.Laptop Magazine gave Windows 7 a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and said that Windows 7 makes computing more intuitive, offered better overall performance including a "modest to dramatic" increase in battery life on laptop computers.TechRadar gave Windows 7 a rating of 5 out of 5 stars, concluding that "it combines the security and architectural improvements of Windows Vista with better performance than XP can deliver on today's hardware. No version of Windows is ever perfect, but Windows 7 really is the best release of Windows yet."USA Today and The Telegraph also gave Windows 7 favorable reviews.
Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Visually arresting," and "A pleasure." Mary Branscombe of Financial Times wrote, "A clear leap forward." of Gizmodo wrote, "Windows 7 Kills Snow Leopard." Don Reisinger of CNET wrote, "Delightful." David Pogue of The New York Times wrote, "Faster." J. Peter Bruzzese and Richi Jennings of Computerworld wrote, "Ready."
Some Windows Vista Ultimate users have expressed concerns over Windows 7 pricing and upgrade options. Windows Vista Ultimate users wanting to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 had to Avast Internet Security 2019 19.5.2378 Crack with Serial Number pay $219.99 to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate or perform a clean install, which requires them to reinstall all of their programs.
The changes to User Account Control on Windows 7 were criticized for being potentially insecure, as an exploit was discovered allowing untrusted software to be launched with elevated privileges by exploiting a trusted component. Peter Bright of Ars Technica argued that "the way that the Windows 7 UAC 'improvements' have been made completely exempts Microsoft's developers from having to do that work themselves. With Windows 7, it's one rule for Redmond, another one for everyone else." Microsoft's Windows kernel engineer Mark Russinovich acknowledged the problem, but noted that malware can also compromise a system when users agree to a prompt.
In July 2009, in only eight hours, pre-orders of Windows 7 at amazon.co.uk surpassed the demand which Windows Vista had in its first 17 weeks. It became the highest-grossing pre-order in Amazon's history, surpassing sales of the previous record holder, the seventh Harry Potter book. After 36 hours, 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions sold out in Japan. Two weeks after its release its market share had surpassed that of Snow Leopard, released two months previously as the most recent update to Apple'sMac OS X operating system. According to Net Applications, Windows 7 reached a 4% market share in less than three weeks; in comparison, it took Windows Vista seven months to reach the same mark. As of February 2014, Windows 7 had a market share of 47.49% according to Net Applications; in comparison, Windows XP had a market share of 29.23%.
On March 4, 2010, Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 90 million licenses. By April 23, 2010, more than 100 million copies were sold in six months, which made it Microsoft's fastest-selling operating system. As of June 23, 2010, Windows 7 has sold 150 million copies which made it the fastest selling operating system in history with seven copies sold every second. Based on worldwide data taken during June 2010 from Windows Update 46% of Windows 7 PCs run the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. According to Stephen Baker of the NPD Group during April 2010 in the United States 77% of PCs sold at retail were pre-installed with the 64-bit edition of Windows 7. As of July 22, 2010, Windows 7 had sold 175 million copies. On October 21, internet explorer latest version - Crack Key For U, Microsoft announced that more than 240 million copies of Windows 7 had been sold. Three months later, on January 27, 2011, Microsoft announced total sales of 300 million copies of Windows 7. On July 12, 2011, the sales figure was refined to over 400 million end-user licenses and business installations. As of July 9, 2012, over 630 million licenses have been sold; this number includes licenses sold to OEMs for new PCs.
As with other Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 was studied by United States federal regulators who oversee the company's operations following the 2001 United States v. Microsoft Corp. settlement. According to status reports filed, the three-member panel began assessing prototypes of ableton live 10 crack reddit new operating system in February 2008. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said, "[Microsoft's] challenge for Windows 7 will be how can they continue to add features that consumers will want that also don't run afoul of regulators."
In order to comply with European antitrust regulations, Microsoft proposed the use of a "ballot" screen containing download links to competing web browsers, thus removing the need for a version of Windows completely without Internet Explorer, as previously planned. Microsoft announced that it would discard the separate version for Europe and ship the standard upgrade and full packages worldwide, in response to criticism involving Windows 7 E and concerns from manufacturers about possible consumer confusion if a version of Windows 7 with Internet Explorer were shipped later, after one without Internet Explorer.
As with the previous version of Windows, an N version, which does not come with Windows Media Player, has been released in Europe, but only for sale directly from Microsoft sales websites and selected others.
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KeePass Password Safe
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Password = 123
Personal computer operating system by Microsoft released in 2012
Windows 8 Start screen, showing default live tile arrangement.
|Released to |
|August 1, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-08-01)|
|October 26, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-10-26)|
|Latest release||6.2.9200 / December 13, 2016; 4 years ago (2016-12-13)|
|Update method||Windows Update, Windows Store, Windows Server Update Services|
|Platforms||IA-32, x86-64, ARM (Windows RT)|
|Userland||Windows API, NTVDM|
|License||Trialware, Microsoft Software Assurance, MSDN subscription, DreamSpark|
|Preceded by||Windows 7 (2009)|
|Succeeded by||Windows 8.1 (2013)|
|Official website||windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/meet (archived at Wayback Machine)|
|All editions except Windows Embedded 8 Standard:|
Windows Embedded 8 Standard:
Windows 8 is a major release of the Windows NToperating system developed by Microsoft. The product was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and generally to retail on October 26, 2012. Windows 8 was made available for download via MSDN and TechNet and available as an upgrade to all Windows 7 users via Windows Update.
Windows 8 introduced major changes to the operating system's platform and user interface intended to improve its user experience on tablets, where Windows was now competing with mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS. In particular, these changes included a touch-optimized Windows shell based on Microsoft's "Metro"design language and the Start screen (which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles), a new platform for developing "apps" with an emphasis on touchscreen input, integration with online services (including the ability to synchronize apps and settings between devices), and Windows Store, an online distribution for downloading and purchasing new software, and a new keyboard shortcut for screenshots. Many of these features were adoptions from Windows Phone. Windows 8 added support for USB 3.0, Advanced Format hard drives, near field communications, and cloud computing. Additional security features were introduced, such as built-in antivirus software, integration with Microsoft SmartScreenphishing filtering service and support for UEFI Secure Boot on supported devices with UEFI firmware, to prevent malware from infecting the boot process.
Windows 8 is the first version of Windows to support the ARM architecture, under the Windows RT branding.
Windows 8 was released to a mixed critical reception. Although reaction towards its performance improvements, security enhancements, and improved support for touchscreen devices was positive, the new user interface of the operating system was widely criticized for being potentially confusing and difficult to learn, especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen. Despite these shortcomings, 60 million Windows 8 licenses were sold through January 2013, a number that included both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new PCs.
Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in October 2013, addressing some aspects of Windows 8 that were criticized by reviewers and early adopters and incorporated additional improvements to various aspects of the operating system. Windows 8 was ultimately succeeded by Windows 10 in July 2015. Support for IE10 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard ended on January 31, 2020. Market share had fallen to 1.06% by October 2020.
In August 2019, computer experts reported that the BlueKeepsecurity vulnerability, CVE-2019-0708, that potentially affects older unpatched Microsoft Windows versions via the program's Remote Desktop Protocol, allowing for the possibility of remote code execution, may now include related flaws, collectively named DejaBlue, affecting newer Windows versions (i.e., Windows 7 and all recent versions). In addition, experts reported a Microsoftsecurity vulnerability, CVE-2019-1162, based on legacy code involving Microsoft CTF and ctfmon (ctfmon.exe), that affects all Windows versions from the older Windows XP version to the most recent Windows 10 versions; a patch to correct the flaw is currently available.
Windows 8 development started before Windows 7 had shipped in 2009. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, it was announced that the next version of Windows would add support for ARMsystem-on-chips alongside the existing x86 processors produced by vendors, especially AMD and Intel. Windows division president Steven Sinofsky demonstrated an early build of the port on prototype devices, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced the company's goal for Windows to be "everywhere on every kind of device without compromise." Details also began to surface about a new application framework for Windows 8 codenamed "Jupiter", which would be used to make "immersive" applications using XAML (similarly to Windows Phone and Silverlight) that could be distributed via a new packaging system and a rumored application store.
The earliest build of Windows 8 is build 7700, compiled in January 2010. The build was identical to Windows 7 except for the wallpaper being different - the same one from the Beta and Release Candidate. In addition, there were references to Windows 8 in this build.
In late 2010, an optional 3D desktop user interface for high-end systems named "Wind" was rumored.
Two milestone releases of Windows 8 and one of Windows Server 2012leaked to the general public. Milestone 1, Build 7850, was leaked on April 12, 2011. It Corel Draw X7 Crack + Serial Key Free Download 2020 the first build where the text of a window was written centered instead of aligned to the left. It was also probably the first appearance of the Metro-style font, and its wallpaper had the text shhh. let's not leak our hard work. However, its detailed build number reveals that the build was created on September 22, 2010. The leaked copy was Enterprise edition, with other editions leaking later. In 2020, it was discovered that Metro existed in this build, after enabling the 'Redpill'. The start screen was very primitive, being a white screen with gray tiles. The charms bar was also included, but was unusable. The OS still reads as "Windows 7". Milestone 2, Build 7955, was leaked on April 25, 2011. The traditional Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) was replaced by a new black screen, although it was later reverted to a different blue color. This build introduced a new ribbon in Windows Explorer. The "Windows 7" logo was temporarily replaced with text displaying "Microsoft Confidential". Both builds 7850 and 7955 leaked alongside Windows Server 2012 build 7959. On June 17, 2011, build 7989 64-bit edition was leaked. It introduced a new boot screen featuring the same Betta fish as the default Windows 7 Beta wallpaper, which was later replaced, and the circling dots as featured in the final (although the final version comes with smaller circling dots throbber). It also had the text Welcome below them, although this was scrapped. The boot screen was not new to this build though - it came from build 7973, a slightly earlier build. It is worth mentioning that most of these leaks "hid" the main Metro UI features that were to come in tweak known as Redlock in order to prevent relevant leaks. A patch named Redpill was necessary to reveal the new Metro UI as well as the redesigned Start Screen, Lock Screen and apps. Several applications have tried to replicate this patch as examdiff pro vs beyond compare - Free Activators as possible, although one called Redlock is the most accurate, supporting the enabling of builds' Metro UI from 7850-8056. It also worked on the Developer Preview.
This build also leaked in the x86 architecture as a debug build, with the setup having a slight change - the theme was now Windows Basic in setup, rather than Classic.
Build 8008 was the first build to remove the User Tile. A new wallpaper was introduced and Metro was updated to be more like the final version of Windows 8.
On June 1, 2011, Microsoft unveiled Windows 8's new user interface, as well as additional features at both Computex Taipei and the D9: All Things Digital conference in California.
The "Building Windows 8" blog launched on August 15, 2011, featuring details surrounding Windows 8's features and its development process.
As Windows 8 transitioned away from being in the Milestone phase of development, the Developer Preview was beginning to take shape.
Build 8032 changed the branding to Windows Developer Preview and was the last build to use Windows 7 branding anywhere.
Build 8056 introduced several changes to the interface and small stability improvements. Metro was updated to be more like the Metro in Developer Preview (although it was still different) and a new wallpaper was introduced.
Microsoft unveiled more Windows 8 features and improvements on the first day of the Build conference on September 13, 2011. Microsoft released the first public beta build of Windows 8, Windows Developer Preview (build 8102) at the event. A Samsung tablet running the build was also distributed to conference attendees.
The build was released for download later that day in standard 32-bit and 64-bit variants, plus a special 64-bit variant which included SDKs and developer tools (Visual Studio Express and Expression Blend) for developing Metro-style apps. The Windows Store was announced during the presentation, but was not available in this build. According to Microsoft, there were about 535,000 downloads of the developer preview within the first 12 hours of its release. Originally set to expire on March 11, 2012, in February 2012 the Developer Preview's expiry date was changed to January 15, 2013.
The next step was the Consumer Preview, sometimes called Windows 8 Beta in the builds before it.
Build 8118 is the earliest leaked post-Developer Preview build. This build disables Redpill, and Metro can be manually enabled through the editing of system files.
Build 8128 removed Redpill, and Metro was enabled by default with no way to disable it (although build 8102 is being distributed by Microsoft with Redpill already applied and can be disabled with a registry key).
Build 8176 featured new branding - Windows 8 Beta. The Consumer Preview wallpapers have now been added, and the setup color has been changed to be the same as the final Consumer Preview.
Build 8195 is largely the same as 8176, although it removes the Start Button from the taskbar. While the start button could be removed in early Milestone 2 (and this persisted through Windows 8 development) with a registry key, this build disabled it by default with no way to turn it back on. The branding is now identical to the Consumer Preview.
On February 17, 2012, Microsoft unveiled a new logo to be adopted for Windows 8. Designed by Pentagram partner Paula Scher, the Windows logo was changed to resemble a set of four window panes. Additionally, the entire logo is now rendered in a single solid color.
On February 29, 2012, Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the beta version of Windows 8, build 8250. Alongside other changes, the build brought over the big change from build 8195: removing the Start button from the taskbar for the first time in a public build since its debut on Windows 95; according to Windows manager Chaitanya Sareen, the Start button was removed to reflect their view that on Windows 8, the desktop was an "app" itself, and not the primary interface of the operating system. Windows president Steven Sinofsky said more than 100,000 changes had been made since the developer version went public. The day after its release, Windows 8 Consumer Preview had been downloaded over one million times. Like the Developer Preview, the Consumer Preview expired on January 15, 2013.
Development on the third and final preview of Windows 8, the Release Preview, began shortly after Consumer Preview (note: build 8277 was compiled on February 8, 2012, before 8250). Build 8330 was a build in between the Consumer and Release Previews. This build includes a new default wallpaper and several changes, such as the new logo replacing the old one and appearing in the About Windows dialog box.
Many other builds may exist or were released until Japan's Developers Day conference when Steven Sinofsky announced that Windows 8 Release Preview (build 8400) would be released during the first week of June. On May 28, 2012, Windows 8 Release Preview (Standard Simplified Chinese x64 edition, not China-specific variant, build 8400) was leaked online on various Chinese and BitTorrent websites. On May 31, 2012, Windows 8 Release Preview was released to the public by Microsoft. Major items in the Release Preview included the addition of Sports, Travel, and News apps, along with an integrated variant of Adobe Flash Player in Internet Explorer. Like the Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview, the release preview expired on January 15, 2013.
With the Release Preview of Windows 8 finished, Microsoft began work on the final release.
Build 8423 is the last leaked build to contain Aero. It was dropped in build 8432 and seen for two builds after 8423.
Build 8438 removed Desktop Gadgets. It was identical to 8432, which removed Aero. This build and the x86 variant of build 8330 wavebox github - Crack Key For U built in the interestingly named 'fbl_ie_longhorn' branch.
Build 8888 was leaked in December 2014, and was identical to the RTM with the exception of the timebomb and missing apps.
On August 1, 2012, Windows 8 (build 9200) was released to manufacturing with the build number 6.2.9200.16384. Microsoft planned to hold a launch event on October 25, 2012 and release Windows 8 for general availability on the next day. However, only a day after its release to manufacturing, a copy of the final version of Windows 8 Enterprise N (a variant for European markets which lacks bundled media players to comply with an antitrust ruling) leaked online, followed by leaks of the final versions of Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise a few days later. On August 15, 2012, Windows 8 was made available to download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Windows 8 was made available to Software Assurance customers on August 16, 2012. Windows 8 was made available for students with a DreamSpark Premium subscription on August 22, 2012, earlier than advertised. Windows 8 became generally available for download to all MSDN and TechNet customers on August 15 and for retail purchase on October 26, 2012.
Relatively few changes were made from the Release Preview to the final version; these included updated versions of its pre-loaded apps, the renaming of Windows Explorer to File Explorer, the replacement of the Aero Glass theme from Windows Vista and 7 with a new flat and solid-color theme as seen in build 8432, and the addition of new background options for the Start screen, lock screen, and desktop. Prior to its general availability on October 26, 2012, updates were released for some of Windows 8's bundled apps, XMind 8 Pro 3.8.1 Cracked Multilingual Activator Download Free a "General Availability Cumulative Update" (which included fixes to improve performance, compatibility, and battery life) was released on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. Microsoft indicated that due to improvements to its testing infrastructure, general improvements of this nature are to be released more frequently through Windows Update instead of being relegated to OEMs and service packs only.
Microsoft began an advertising campaign centered around Windows 8 and its Surface tablet in October 2012, starting with its first television advertisement premiering on October 14, 2012. Microsoft's advertising budget of US$1.5–1.8 billion was significantly larger than the US$200 million campaign used to promote Windows 95. As part of its campaign, Microsoft set up 34 pop-up stores inside malls to showcase the Surface product line, provided training for retail employees in partnership with Intel, and collaborated with the electronics store chain Best Buy to design expanded spaces to showcase devices. In an effort to make retail displays of Windows 8 devices more "personal", Microsoft also developed a character known in English-speaking markets as "Allison Brown", whose fictional profile (including personal photos, contacts, and emails) is also featured on demonstration units of Windows 8 devices. All Windows 7 PCs plan to offer a new Windows 8 upgrade on December bitdefender total security review - Crack Key For U, 2012, and Microsoft upgraded it as a product of currently supported Windows 7 PCs in January 2013 via Windows Update.
In May 2013, Microsoft launched a new television campaign for Windows 8 illustrating the capabilities and pricing of Windows 8 tablets in comparison to the iPad, which featured the voice of Siri remarking on the iPad's limitations in a parody of Apple's "Get a Mac" advertisements. On June 12, 2013 during game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, Microsoft premiered the first ad in its "Windows Everywhere" campaign, which promoted Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the company's suite of online services as an interconnected platform.
New and changed features
Main article: Features new to Windows 8
New features and functionality in Windows 8 include a faster startup through UEFI integration and the new "Hybrid Boot" mode (which hibernates the Windows kernel on shutdown to speed up the subsequent boot), a new lock screen with a clock and notifications, and the ability for enterprise users to create live USB variants of Windows (known as Windows To Go). Windows 8 also adds native support for USB 3.0 devices, which allow for faster data transfers and improved power management with compatible devices, and hard disk 4KB Advanced Format support, as well as support for near field communication to facilitate sharing and communication between devices.
Windows Explorer, which has been renamed File Explorer, now includes a ribbon in place of the command bar. File operation dialog boxes have been updated to provide more detailed statistics, the ability to pause file transfers, and improvements in the ability to manage conflicts when copying files. A new "File History" function allows incremental revisions of files to be backed up to and restored from a secondary storage device, while Storage Spaces allows users to combine different sized hard disks into virtual drives and specify mirroring, parity, or no redundancy on a folder-by-folder basis. For easier management of files and folders, Windows 8 introduces the ability to move selected files or folders via drag and drop from a parent folder into a subfolder listed within the breadcrumb hierarchy of the address bar in File Explorer.
Task Manager has been redesigned, including a new processes tab with the option to display fewer or more details of running applications and background processes, a heat map using different colors indicating the level of resource usage, network and disk counters, grouping by process type (e.g. applications, background processes and Windows processes), friendly names for processes and a new option which allows users to search the web to find information about obscure processes. Additionally, the Blue Screen of Death has been updated with a simpler and modern design with less technical information displayed.
Safety and security
New security features in Windows 8 include two new authentication methods tailored towards touchscreens (PINs and picture passwords), the addition of antivirus capabilities to Windows Defender (bringing it in parity with Microsoft Security Essentials).SmartScreen filtering integrated into Windows,Family Safety offers Parental controls, which allows parents to monitor and manage their children's activities on a device with activity reports and safety controls. Windows 8 also provides integrated system recovery through the new "Refresh" and "Reset" functions, including system recovery from USB drive. Windows 8's first security patches would be released on November 13, 2012; it would contain three fixes deemed "critical" by the company.
Windows 8 supports a feature of the UEFI specification known as "Secure boot", which uses a public-key infrastructure to verify the integrity of the operating system and prevent unauthorized programs such as bootkits from infecting the device's boot process. Some pre-built devices may be described as "certified" by Microsoft; these must have secure boot enabled by default, and provide ways for users to disable or re-configure the feature. ARM-based Windows RT devices must have secure boot permanently enabled.
Online services and functionality
Windows 8 provides heavier integration with online services from Microsoft and others. A user can now log into Windows with a Microsoft account, which can be used to access services and synchronize applications and settings between devices. Windows 8 also ships with a client app for Microsoft's SkyDrivecloud storage service, which also allows apps to save files directly to SkyDrive. A SkyDrive client for the desktop and File Explorer is not included in Windows 8, and must be downloaded separately. Bundled multimedia apps are provided under the Xbox brand, including Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and the Xbox SmartGlass companion for use with an Xbox 360 console. Games can integrate into an Xbox Live hub app, which also allows users to view their profile and Gamerscore. Other bundled apps provide the ability to link Flickr and Facebook. Due to Facebook Connect service changes, Facebook support is disabled in all bundled apps effective June 8, 2015.
Internet Explorer 10 is included as both a desktop program and a touch-optimized app, and includes increased support for HTML5, CSS3, and hardware acceleration. The Internet Explorer app does not support plugins or ActiveX components, but includes a variant of Adobe Flash Player that is optimized for touch and low power usage. Initially, Adobe Flash would only work on sites included on a "Compatibility View" whitelist; however, after feedback from users and additional compatibility tests, an update in March 2013 changed this behavior to use a smaller blacklist of sites with known compatibility issues instead, allowing Flash to be used on most sites by default. The desktop variant does not contain these limitations.
Windows 8 also incorporates improved support for mobile broadband; the operating system can now detect the insertion of a SIM card and automatically configure connection settings (including APNs and carrier branding), and reduce its Internet usage to conserve bandwidth on metered networks. Windows 8 also adds an integrated airplane mode setting to globally disable all wireless connectivity as well. Carriers can also offer account management systems through Windows Store apps, which can be automatically installed as a part of the connection process and offer usage statistics on their respective tile.
Windows Store apps
Windows 8 introduces a new style of application, Windows Store apps. According to Microsoft developer Jensen Harris, these apps are to be optimized for touchscreen environments and are more specialized than current desktop applications. Apps can run either in a full-screen mode or be snapped to the side of a screen. Apps can provide toast notifications on screen or animate their tiles on the Start screen with dynamic content. Apps can use "contracts"; a collection of hooks to provide common functionality that can integrate with other apps, including search and sharing. Apps can also provide integration with other services; for example, the People app can connect to a variety of different social networks and services (such as Facebook, Skype, and People service), while the Photos app can aggregate photos from services such as Facebook and Flickr.
Retail variants of Windows 8 are only able to install these apps through Windows Store — a namesake distribution platform that offers both apps, and listings for desktop programs certified for comparability with Windows 8. A method to sideload apps from outside Windows Store is available to devices running Windows 8 Enterprise and joined to a domain; Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT devices that are not part of a domain can also sideload apps, but only after special product keys are obtained through volume licensing.
The term "Immersive app" had been used internally by Microsoft developers to refer to the apps prior to the first official presentation of Windows 8, after which they were referred to as "Metro-style apps" in reference to the Metro design language. The term was phased out in August 2012; a Microsoft spokesperson denied rumors that the change was related to a potential trademark issue, and stated that "Metro" was only a codename that would be replaced prior to Windows 8's release. Following these reports, the terms "Modern UI-style apps", "Windows 8-style apps" and "Windows Store apps" began to be used by various Microsoft documents and material to refer to the new apps. In an interview on September 12, 2012, Soma Somasegar (vice president of Microsoft's development software division) confirmed that "Windows Store apps" would be the official term for the apps. An MSDN page explaining the Metro design language uses the term "Modern design" to refer to the language as a whole.
Exceptions to the restrictions faced by Windows Store apps are given to web browsers. The user's default browser can distribute a Metro-style web browser in the same package as the desktop variant, which has access to functionality unavailable to other apps, such as being able to permanently run in the background, use multiple background processes, and use Windows API code instead of WinRT (allowing for code to be re-used with the desktop variant, while still taking advantage of features available to Windows Store apps, such as charms). Microsoft advertises this exception privilege "New experience enabled" (formerly "Metro-style enabled").
The developers of both Chrome and Firefox committed to developing Metro-style variants of their browsers; while Chrome's "Windows 8 mode" (discontinued on Chrome version 49) uses a full-screen version of the existing desktop interface, Firefox's variant (which was first made available on the "Aurora" release channel in September 2013) uses a touch-optimized interface inspired by the Android variant of Firefox. In October 2013, Chrome's app was changed to mimic the desktop environment used by Chrome OS. Development of the Firefox app for Windows 8 has since been cancelled, citing a lack of user adoption for the beta versions.
Interface and desktop
Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system's user interface, many of which are aimed at improving its experience on tablet computers and other touchscreen devices. The new user interface is based on Microsoft's Metro design language and uses a Start screen similar to that of Windows Phone 7 as the primary means of launching applications. The Start screen displays a customizable array of tiles linking to various apps and desktop programs, some of which can display constantly updated information and content through "live tiles". As a form of multi-tasking, apps can be snapped to the side of a screen. Alongside the traditional Control Panel, a new simplified and touch-optimized settings app known as "PC Settings" is used for basic configuration and user settings. It does not include many of the advanced options still accessible from the normal Control Panel.
A vertical toolbar known as the charms (accessed by swiping from the right edge of a touchscreen, swiping from the right edge of a touchpad, or pointing the cursor at hotspots in the right corners of a screen) provides access to system and app-related functions, such as search, sharing, device management, settings, and a Start button. The traditional desktop environment for running desktop applications is accessed via a tile on the Start screen. The Start button on the taskbar from previous versions of Windows has been converted into a hotspot (or "hot corner") in the lower-left corner of the screen, which displays a large tooltip displaying a thumbnail of the Start screen. However, Windows 8.1 added the start button back to the taskbar after many complaints, but removed the preview thumbnail. Swiping from the left edge of a touchscreen or clicking in the top-left corner of the screen allows one to switch between apps and Desktop. Pointing the cursor in the top-left corner of the screen and moving down reveals a thumbnail list of active apps. Aside from the removal of the Start button and the replacement of the Aero Glass theme with a flatter and solid-colored design, the desktop interface on Windows 8 is similar to that of Windows 7.
Main article: List of features removed in Windows 8
Several notable features were removed in Windows 8; support for playing DVD-Video was removed from Windows Media Player due to the cost of licensing the necessary decoders (especially for devices which do not include optical disc drives at all) and the prevalence of online streaming services. For the same reasons, Windows Media Center is not included by default on Windows 8, but Windows Media Center and DVD playback support could be purchased in the "Pro Pack" (which upgrades the system to Windows 8 Pro) or "Media Center Pack" add-on for Windows 8 Pro. As with prior versions, third-party DVD player software can still be used to enable DVD playback.
Backup and Restore, the backup component of Windows, was deprecated. It still shipped with Windows 8 and continues to work on preset schedules, but it was pushed to the background and can only be accessed through a Control Panel applet called "Windows 7 File Recovery".: 76 Shadow Copy, a component of Windows Explorer that once saved previous versions of changed files, no longer protects local files and folders. It can only access previous versions of shared files stored on a Windows Server computer.: 74 The subsystem on which these components worked, however, is still available for other software to use.: 74
The minimum system requirements for Windows 8 are slightly higher than those of Windows 7. The CPU must support the Physical Address Extension (PAE), NX bit, and SSE2. Windows Store apps require a screen resolution of 1024×768 or higher to run; a resolution of 1366×768 or higher is required to use the snap functionality. To receive certification, Microsoft requires candidate x86 systems to resume from standby in 2 seconds or less.
Microsoft's Connected Standby specification, which hardware vendors may optionally comply with, internet explorer latest version - Crack Key For U new power consumption requirements that extend above the above minimum specifications. Included in this standard are a number of security-specific requirements designed to improve physical security, notably against Cold Boot Attacks.
32-bit SKUs of Windows 8 only support a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. 64-bit SKUs, however support more: Windows 8 x64 supports 128 GB while Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise x64 support 512 GB.
In January 2016, Microsoft announced that it would no longer support Windows 8.1 or 7 on devices using Intel's Skylake CPU family effective July 17, 2018, and that all future CPU microarchitectures, as well as Skylake systems after this date, would only be supported on Windows 10. After the deadline, only critical security updates were to be released for users on these platforms. After this new policy faced criticism from users and enterprise customers, Microsoft partially retracted the change and stated that both operating systems would remain supported on Skylake hardware through the end of their Extended support lifecycle. Windows 8.1 remains officially unsupported on all newer CPU families, and neither AMD or Intel will provide official chipset drivers for Windows operating systems other than Windows 10. However, on August 2016, Microsoft again extended the Skylake support policy until the end of support for Windows 7 and 8.1 (2020 and 2023, respectively).
Tablets and convertibles
Microsoft released minimum hardware requirements for tablet and laplet devices to be "certified" for Windows 8 and defined a convertible form factor as a standalone device that combines the PC, display, and rechargeable power source with a mechanically attached keyboard and pointing device in a single chassis. A convertible can be transformed into a tablet where the attached input devices are hidden or removed leaving the display as the only input mechanism. On March 12, 2013, Microsoft amended its certification requirements to only require that screens on tablets have a minimum resolution of 1024×768 (down from the previous 1366×768). The amended requirement is intended to allow "greater design flexibility" for future products.
|Graphics card||DirectX 10 graphics device with WDDM 1.2 or higher driver|
|Storage||10 GB free space, after the out-of-box experience completes|
|Screen||Touch screen supporting a minimum of 5-point digitizers and resolution of at least 1024×768. The physical dimensions of the display panel must match the aspect ratio of the native resolution. The native resolution of the panel can be greater than 1024 (horizontally) and 768 (vertically). Minimum native color depth is 32-bits. If the display is under 1366×768, disclaimers must be included in documentation to notify users that the Snap function is not available.|
|Accelerometer||3 axes with data rates at or above 50 Hz|
|USB 2.0||At least one controller and exposed port.|
|Connect||Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE (low energy)|
|Other||Speaker, microphone, magnetometer and gyroscope. |
If a mobile broadband device is integrated into a tablet or convertible system, then an assisted GPS radio is required. Devices supporting near field communication need to have visual marks to help users locate and use the proximity technology. The new button combination for Ctrl + Alt + Del is Windows Key + Power.
Updated certification requirements were implemented to coincide with Windows 8.1. As of 2014, all certified devices with integrated displays must contain a 720p webcam and higher quality speakers and microphones, while all certified devices that support Wi-Fi must support Bluetooth as well. As of 2015, all certified devices must contain Trusted Platform Module 2.0 chips.
Main article: Windows 8 editions
Windows 8 is available in three different editions, of which the lowest edition, branded simply as Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro, were sold at retail in most countries, and as pre-loaded software on new computers. Each edition of Windows 8 includes all of the capabilities and features of the edition below it, and add additional features oriented towards their market segments. For example, Pro added BitLocker, Hyper-V, the ability to join a domain, and the ability to install Windows Media Center as a paid add-on. Users of Windows 8 can purchase a "Pro Pack" license that upgrades their system to Windows 8 Pro through Add features to Windows. This license also includes Windows Media Center.Windows 8 Enterprise contains additional features aimed towards business environments, and is only available through volume licensing. A port of Windows 8 for ARM architecture, Windows RT, is marketed as an edition of Windows 8, but was only included as pre-loaded software on devices specifically developed for it.
Windows 8 was distributed as a retail box product on DVD, and through a digital download that could be converted into DVD or USB install media. As part of a launch promotion, Microsoft offered Windows 8 Pro upgrades at a discounted price of US$39.99 online, or $69.99 for retail box from its launch until January 31, 2013; afterward the Windows 8 price has been $119.99 and the Pro price $199.99. Those who purchased new PCs pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 could digitally purchase a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for US$14.99. Several PC manufacturers offered rebates and refunds on Windows 8 upgrades obtained through the promotion on select models, such as Hewlett-Packard (in the U.S. and Canada on select models), and Acer (in Europe on selected Ultrabook models). During these promotions, the Windows Media Center add-on for Windows 8 Pro was also offered for free.
Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 was distributed at retail in "Upgrade" licenses only, which require an existing version of Windows to install. The "full version software" SKU, which was more expensive but could be installed on computers without an eligible OS or none at all, was discontinued. In lieu of full version, a specialized "System Builder" SKU was introduced. The "System Builder" SKU replaced the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) SKU, which was only allowed to be used on PCs meant for resale but added a "Personal Use License" exemption that officially allowed its purchase and personal use by users on homebuilt computers.
Retail distribution of Windows 8 has since been discontinued in favor of Windows 8.1. Unlike 8, 8.1 is available as "full version software" at both retail and online for download that does not require a previous version of Windows in order to be installed. Pricing for these new copies remain identical. With the retail release returning to full version software for Windows 8.1, the "Personal Use License" exemption was removed from the OEM SKU, meaning that end users building their own PCs for personal use must use the full retail variant in order to satisfy the Windows 8.1 licensing requirements.Windows 8.1 with Bing is a special OEM-specific SKU of Windows 8.1 subsidized by Microsoft's Bing search engine.
The three desktop editions of Windows 8 support 32-bit and 64-bit architectures; retail copies of Windows 8 include install DVDs for both architectures, while the online installer automatically installs the variant corresponding with the architecture of the system's existing Windows installation. The 32-bit variant runs on CPUs compatible with x86 architecture 3rd generation (known as IA-32) or newer, and can run 32-bit and 16-bitapplications, although 16-bit support must be enabled first. (16-bit applications are developed for CPUs compatible with x86 2nd generation, first conceived in 1978. Microsoft started moving away from this architecture after Windows 95.)
The 64-bit variant runs on CPUs compatible with x86 8th generation (known as x86-64, or x64) or newer, and can run 32-bit and 64-bit programs. 32-bit programs and operating system are restricted to supporting only 4 gigabytes of memory while 64-bit systems can theoretically support 2048 gigabytes of memory. 64-bit operating systems require a different set of device drivers than those of 32-bit operating systems.
Windows RT, the only edition of Windows 8 for systems with ARM processors, only supports applications included with the system (such as a special variant of Office 2013), supplied through Windows Update, or Windows Store apps, to ensure that the system only runs applications that are optimized for the architecture. Windows RT does not support running IA-32 or x64 applications. Windows Store apps can either support both the x86 and ARM architectures, or compiled to support a specific architecture.
Following the unveiling of Windows 8, Microsoft faced criticism (particularly from free software supporters) for mandating that devices receiving its optional certification for Windows 8 have secure boot enabled by default using a key provided by Microsoft. Concerns were raised that secure boot could prevent or hinder the use of alternate operating systems such as Linux. In a post discussing secure boot on the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft developer Tony Mangefeste indicated that vendors would provide means to customize secure boot, stating that "At the end of the day, the customer is in control of their PC. Microsoft's philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves." Microsoft's certification guidelines for Windows 8 ultimately revealed that vendors would be required to provide means for users to re-configure or disable secure boot in their device's UEFI firmware. It also revealed that ARM devices (Windows RT) would be required to have secure boot permanently enabled, with no way for users to disable it. However, Tom Warren of The Verge noted that other vendors have implemented similar hardware restrictions on their own ARM-based tablet and smartphone products (including those running Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform), but still argued that Microsoft should "keep a consistent approach across ARM and x86, though, not least because of the number of users who'd love to run Android alongside Windows 8 on their future tablets." No mandate is made regarding the installation of third-party certificates that would enable running alternative programs.
Several notable video game developers criticized Microsoft for making its Windows Store a closed platform subject to its own regulations, as it conflicted with their view of the PC as an open platform. Markus "Notch" Persson (creator of the indie gameMinecraft),Gabe Newell (co-founder of Valve and developer of software distribution platform Steam), and Rob Pardo from Activision Blizzard voiced concern about the closed nature of the Windows Store. However, Tom Warren of The Verge stated that Microsoft's addition of the Store was simply responding to the success of both Apple and Google in pursuing the "curated application store approach."
Reviews of the various editions of Windows 8 were mixed to negative. Tom Warren of The Verge said that although Windows 8's emphasis on touch computing was significant and risked alienating desktop users, he felt that Windows 8 tablets "[make] an iPad feel immediately out of date" due to the capabilities of the operating system's hybrid model and increased focus on cloud services. David Pierce of The Verge described Windows 8 as "the first desktop operating system that understands what a computer is supposed to do in 2012" and praised Microsoft's "no compromise" approach and the operating system's emphasis on Internet connectivity and cloud services. Pierce also considered the Start Screen to be a "brilliant innovation for desktop computers" when compared with "folder-littered desktops on every other OS" because it allows users to interact with dynamic information. In contrast, an ExtremeTech article said it was Microsoft "flailing" and a review in PC Magazine condemned the Metro-style user interface. Some of the included apps in Windows 8 were considered to be basic and lacking in functionality, but the Xbox apps were praised for their promotion of a multi-platform entertainment experience. Other improvements and features (such as File History, Storage Spaces, and the updated Task Manager) were also regarded as positive changes. Peter Bright of Ars Technica wrote that while its user interface changes may overshadow them, Windows 8's improved performance, updated file manager, new storage functionality, expanded security features, and updated Task Manager were still positive improvements for the operating system. Bright also said that Windows 8's duality towards tablets and traditional PCs was an "extremely ambitious" aspect of the platform as well, but criticized Microsoft for emulating Apple's model of a closed distribution platform when implementing the Windows Store.
The interface of Windows 8 has been the subject of negative reaction. Bright wrote that its system of hot corners and edge swiping "wasn't very obvious" due to the lack of instructions provided by the operating system on the functions accessed through the user interface, even by the video tutorial added on the RTM release (which only instructed users to point at corners of the screen or swipe from its sides). Despite this "stumbling block", Bright said that Windows 8's interface worked well in some places, but began to feel incoherent when switching between the "Metro" and desktop environments, sometimes through inconsistent means. Tom Warren of The Verge wrote that the new interface was "as stunning as it is surprising", contributing to an "incredibly personal" experience once it is customized by the user, but had a steep learning curve, and was awkward to use with a keyboard and mouse. He noted that while forcing all users to use the new touch-oriented interface was a risky move for Microsoft as a whole, it was necessary in order to push development of apps for the Windows Store. Others, such as Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet, considered the interface to be "clumsy and impractical" due to its inconsistent design (going as far as considering it "two operating systems unceremoniously bolted together"), and concluded that "Windows 8 wasn't born out of a need or demand; it was born out of a desire on Microsoft's part to exert its will on the PC industry and decide to shape it in a direction—touch and tablets – that allows it to compete against, and remain relevant in the face of Apple's iPad."
In 2013, Frank X. Shaw, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said that while many of the negative reviews were extreme, it was a "good thing" that Microsoft was "listening to feedback and improving a product".
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reported a decline in Microsoft's customer satisfaction, the lowest it has been since Windows Vista.
Market share and sales
Microsoft says that 4 million users upgraded to Windows 8 over the weekend after its release, which CNET says was well below Microsoft's internal projections and was described inside the company as disappointing.
On November 27, 2012, Microsoft announced that it had sold 40 million licenses of Windows 8 in the first month, surpassing the pace of Windows 7.
However, according to research firm NPD, sales of devices running Windows in the United States had declined 21 percent compared to the same time period in 2011. As the holiday shopping season wrapped up, Windows 8 sales continued to lag, even as Apple reported brisk sales. The market research firm IDC reported an overall drop in PC sales for the quarter, and said the drop may have been partly due to consumer reluctance to embrace the new features of the OS and poor support from OEM for these features. This capped the first year of declining PC sales to the Asia Pacific region, as consumers bought more mobile devices than Windows PCs.
Windows 8 surpassed Windows Vista in market share with a 5.1% usage rate according to numbers posted in July 2013 by Net Applications, with usage on a steady upward trajectory. However, intake of Windows 8 still lagged behind that of Windows Vista and Windows 7 at the same point in their release cycles. Windows 8's tablet market share also grew steadily, with 7.4% of tablets running Windows in Q1 2013 according to Strategy Analytics, up from nothing just a year before. However, this was still well below Android and iOS, which posted 43.4% and 48.2% market share respectively, although both operating systems had been on the market much longer than Windows 8. Strategy Analytics also noted "a shortage of top tier apps" for Windows tablets despite Microsoft strategy of paying developers to create apps for the operating system (in addition to for Windows Phone).
In March 2013, Microsoft also amended its certification requirements to allow tablets to use the 1024×768 resolution as a minimum; this change is expected to allow the production of certified Windows 8 tablets in smaller form factors—a market which is currently dominated by Android-based tablets. Despite the reaction of industry experts, Microsoft reported that they had sold 100 million licenses in the first six months. This matched sales of Windows 7 over a similar period. This statistic includes shipments to channel warehouses which now need to be sold in order to make way for new shipments.
In January 2014, Hewlett-Packard began a promotion for desktops running Windows 7, saying that it was "back by popular demand". Outside sources have suggested that this might be because HP or its customers thought the Windows 8 platform would be more appropriate for mobile computing than desktop computing, or that they were looking to attract customers forced to switch from XP who wanted a more familiar interface.
In February 2014, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft would be lowering the price of Windows 8 licenses by 70% for devices that retail under US$250; alongside the announcement that an update to the operating system would allow OEMs to produce devices with as little as 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, critics felt that these changes would help Windows compete against Linux-based devices in the low-end market, particularly those running Chrome OS. Microsoft had similarly cut the price of Windows XP licenses to compete against the early waves of Linux-based netbooks. Reports also indicated that Microsoft was planning to offer cheaper Windows 8 licenses to OEMs in exchange for setting Internet Explorer's default search engine to Bing. Some media outlets falsely reported that the SKU associated with this plan, "Windows 8.1 with Bing", was a variant which would be a free or low-cost variant of Windows 8 for consumers using older versions of Windows. On April 2, 2014, Microsoft ultimately announced that it would be removing license fees entirely for devices with screens smaller than 9 inches, and officially confirmed the rumored "Windows 8.1 with Bing" OEM SKU on May 23, 2014.
On the information gathered by Net Applications, adoption rate in March 2015 for Windows 8.1 was at 10.55%, while the original Windows 8 was at 3.52%.
Chinese government ban
In May 2014, the Government of China banned the internal purchase of Windows 8-based products under government contracts requiring "energy-efficient" devices. The Xinhua News Agency claimed that Windows 8 was being banned in protest of Microsoft's support lifecycle policy and the end of support for Windows XP (which, as of January 2014, had a market share of 49% in China), as the government "obviously cannot ignore the risks of running an OS without guaranteed technical support." However, Ni Guangnan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences had also previously warned that Windows 8 could allegedly expose users to surveillance by the United States government due to its heavy use of Internet-based services.
In June 2014, state broadcasterChina Central Television (CCTV) broadcast a news story further characterizing Windows 8 as a threat to national security. The story featured an interview with Ni Guangnan, who stated that operating systems could aggregate "sensitive user information" that could be used to "understand the conditions and activities of our national economy and society", and alleged that per documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the U.S. government had worked with Microsoft to retrieve encrypted information. Yang Min, a computer scientist at Fudan University, also stated that "the security features of Windows 8 are basically to the benefit of Microsoft, allowing them control of the users' data, and that poses a big challenge to the national strategy for information security." Microsoft denied the claims in a number of posts on the Chinese social network Sina Weibo, which stated that the company had never "assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients" or provided client data to the U.S. government, never "provided any government the authority to directly visit" or placed any backdoors in its products and services, and that it had never concealed government requests for client data.
Main article: Windows 8.1
A feature update to Windows 8 known as Windows 8.1 was officially announced by Microsoft on May 14, 2013. Following a presentation devoted to it at Build 2013, a public beta version of the upgrade was released on June 26, 2013. Windows 8.1 was released to OEM hardware partners on August 27, 2013, and released publicly as a free upgrade through Windows Store on October 17, 2013. Volume license customers and subscribers to MSDN Plus and TechNet Plus were initially unable to obtain the RTM version upon its release; a spokesperson said the policy was changed to allow Microsoft to work with OEMs "to ensure a quality experience at general availability." However, after criticism, Microsoft reversed its decision and released the RTM build on MSDN and TechNet on September 9, 2013.
Windows 8.1 addressed a number of criticisms faced by Windows 8 upon its release, with additional customization options for the Start screen, the restoration of a visible Start button on the desktop, the ability to snap up to four apps on a single display, and the ability to boot to the desktop instead of the Start screen. Windows 8's stock apps were also updated, a new Bing-based unified search system was added, SkyDrive was given deeper integration with the operating system, and a number of new stock apps, along with a tutorial, were added. Windows 8.1 also added support for 3D printing,Miracast media streaming, NFC printing, and Wi-Fi Direct.
Microsoft marketed Windows 8.1 as an "update" rather than as a "service pack", as it had done with such revisions on previous versions of Windows. Nonetheless, Microsoft's support lifecycle policy treats Windows 8.1 similarly to previous Windows service packs: upgrading to 8.1 has been required to maintain access to mainstream support and updates after January 12, 2016. Although Windows 8 RTM is unsupported, Microsoft released an emergency security patch in May 2017 for Windows 8 RTM, as well as other unsupported versions of Windows (including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003), to address a vulnerability that was being leveraged by the WannaCry ransomware attack. Updates to apps published on Windows Store after July 1, 2019 will not be available to Windows 8 RTM users.
Retail and OEM installations of Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT can be upgraded through Windows Store free of charge. However, volume license customers, TechNet or MSDN subscribers and users of Windows 8 Enterprise must acquire a standalone installation media for 8.1 and install through the traditional Windows setup process, either as an in-place upgrade AirParrot 3.1 Crack License key Free Download clean install. This requires an 8.1 specific product key.
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