The previous client version of Windows. Introduced in October 2012, Windows 8 featured desktop-tablet integration. Updated to Windows 8.1 a year later, Windows 8 was superseded by Windows 10 in 2015 (see Windows 10
Swivel-screen laptops that convert to a flat slate and laptops with removable screens were designed to take advantage of the desktop-tablet integration. In addition, Microsoft introduced its own tablet hardware for the first time (see Surface tablet
). See convertible laptop
and hybrid laptop
Two Interfaces: Desktop and Tablet (Metro)
Windows 8 employed the traditional desktop user interface (UI) with overlapping, resizable windows like Windows 7; however, there were major navigation changes. The Start menu was replaced with a Start screen, Apps screen and Charms bar, the latter a small taskbar with five functions (search, share, start, devices and settings).
Also provided was a tablet-style UI originally named "Metro." Although Microsoft officially dropped the Metro name, there are thousands of articles that refer to Metro. Resembling the Windows Phone interface, the "tile-based" tablet-style features full-screen apps geared for touchscreens (but also work on regular screens), and users can easily switch between tablet-style and traditional desktop apps on their Windows 8 PCs and tablets.
Two Platforms: x86 and ARM
The desktop-style interface runs on x86 PCs, while tablet-style apps run on x86 PCs, x86 tablets and ARM tablets. All x86 tablets run Windows 8 and feature Windows 7 compatibility, while ARM tablets run the Windows RT operating system and only RT apps. Windows ARM tablets come with Windows RT versions of Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and File Explorer (see Windows RT
). See Windows 10
, tile-based interface
and Windows Phone
Windows 8 Start Screen
The style of the icon on the Start screen identifies the app as desktop or tablet style (Metro). All of the square, gray tiles are desktop apps, which also means this is an x86 PC and not an ARM tablet.
The Snap Feature
On x86 and ARM tablets, two apps can share the screen with one displayed as a sidebar. On x86 PCs and tablets, the desktop and one tablet app can exist side-by-side.
Like all tablets, Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets have touchscreen keyboards, although a variety of external keyboards are available.