Microsoft Demos Windows 8 at First Public Event

Dennis Faas's picture

On Thursday, Microsoft gave its first major public demonstration of Windows 8, and showed how it would be used to bridge the gap between PCs and mobile devices.

To the surprise of many guests attending the event, Microsoft says that the new operating system's hardware requirements will actually be less than the requirements to run Windows 7.

Windows 8 Optimized for Varying Screen Sizes and Processors

Microsoft recently confirmed that Windows 8 would run on the ARM processor: a low-powered CPU (central processing unit) commonly used on mobile devices such as tablets, and mobile phones.

In stride with the mobile revolution, Windows 8 has been designed to adjust to different hardware scenarios, particularly the type of screen. This is key in having Windows 8 running on both PC and mobile devices, as well as current-generation high definition monitors -- though, older hardware won't be left out.

For example: Windows 8 would run optimal on a 16:9 aspect ratio of 1366 x 768 to show off its new user face. But for users with an older type of display with 1024 x 768 (for example), Windows 8 would show a "standard desktop mode".

As well as adapting the user interface to different screen sizes, Windows 8 will easily and smoothly switch between a standard monitor and a touch screen display. This would make it easily adaptable for any environment, especially mobile tablet computers. (Source:

Optimization for Each System Could Prove Tricky

Not all features in the system will work on every computer, so Microsoft is giving PC manufacturers clear and detailed advice about what they'll need to do to make sure their new products make the most of the system.

Windows 8 is an attempt to avoid Windows Vista's problems, where some computers were technically able to run all features, but did so in a compromised and disappointing manner.

It's notable that Microsoft is effectively trying to standardize new PCs, an approach it adopted with its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, and something that's much closer to the Apple model where developers have complete control over the relationship between software and hardware.

HTML Apps Now An Option

Another big change is that software makers will now have a choice of two ways to produce applications: the traditional Windows program, and smart-phone style applications which use a combination of Javascript and HTML5, which are, historically, more associated with websites. (Source:

The company will strongly encourage developers to produce software that works effectively, whether the input device is a mouse, keyboard, or touch screen display.

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