8 reasons to upgrade to Windows 8

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After years in the making, Windows 8 was launched around the world on Thursday and goes on sale today. I was invited down to the regional launch in Singapore on Thursday evening where I had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with dozens of devices hours before they went on sale. On that note, you may want to check out our slideshow of the Top 10 Windows 8 Hybrids and Tablets. For now, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the technical improvements in Windows 8 that we've previously covered.

  • Reset and refresh: Corrupted applications or some strange problem with new drivers? A "refresh" will reinstall the operating system while leaving your personal data, important settings and Metro style apps alone. What's more, the entire process takes only about 8 minutes.
  • The four main editions of Windows: Windows 8 dramatically reduces the number of different editions of Windows to just four. In a nutshell, they are Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows RT.
  • Better multi-monitor support: I'm a fan of multiple monitors, and I'm really looking forward to the ability to (natively) access the taskbar from multiple monitors.
  • Better security: On PCs with UEFI, Windows 8 can create a secure boot path from the moment a PC is powered on.
  • Improvements to NTFS: Microsoft has made changes to how Windows 8 monitors and fixes corruption in the file system. Result: Self-healing of issues without the need to take the data volume offline.
  • Brand new software stack for USB 3.0: Windows 8 comes with a brand new software stack optimized for handling USB 3.0 devices. The existing software stack for older USB controllers is retained too, which means you get robust USB support.
  • Native ISO image support: Finally, Windows 8 comes with native support for ISO image files.
  • Faster boot-up: While I only ever put my laptop into 'Sleep' mode these days, most users will probably appreciate the faster boot-up times when a reboot is needed.

Finally, if you find yourself having any problems differentiating between the various Windows 8 devices, do check out A simple guide to Windows 8 devices, which I wrote last week. - Paul Mah  (Twitter @paulmah)

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