Windows 8 will be the next Microsoft operating system for desktop PCs, laptops and tablets. It is rumored that Windows 8 will be released in autumn 2012, three years after Windows 7.

With Windows 8, Microsoft wants to enable a stronger connection with the user. It will have the Metro-style interface for touchscreens, which is similar to the interfaces of Windows Phone and the Xbox 360. Windows RT, a version of Windows 8, will also support ARM processors. Windows 8 will have a number of new features such as native USB 3.0 support, Live ID integration, the Windows Store, Windows To Go which enables Windows to run from USB flash drives, as well as simpler options for restoring the system.

The Windows store will resemble the Ubuntu Software Center or the Mac App Store and will make publishing Metro-style applications as well as Win32 or traditional desktop applications on Windows 8 devices possible for developers. It is said that Metro-style apps will only be distributed via the Windows store, so that Microsoft can check apps for security flaws and malware.

The Metro-style user interface will be similar to that of Windows Phone 7 in that it will also have the start screen, which shows the user’s name and picture, and the live tiles for applications. A huge difference to the traditional look of Windows will be that the first screen seen on the computer after starting the PC will not be the desktop but the Metro start screen. The traditional desktop view will be available by clicking the desktop tile that is displayed on the start screen. This means that the desktop is treated like an app. There will also be a new login/ lock screen that allows the user not only to view time and date but also to see notifications.

The new taskbar will be able to span more than one monitor. The multiple monitor taskbar also enables different wallpapers on each monitor or one wallpaper stretched across all monitors. Another crucial development are the new recovery functions Refresh and Reset which will make restoring the system a lot easier than a re-installation.