Vibrant and beautiful, the Start screen is the first thing you'll see. Each tile on the Start screen is connected to a person, app, website, playlist, or whatever else is important to you. Tiles light up with the latest info, so you're instantly up to date. In one glance, you'll see that photo you were just tagged in, tomorrow's weather, and messages from your friends.
In Windows, even the little things are all about you. Like the screen that appears when your PC is locked - it can be any picture you choose. And you'll see quick notifications on your lock screen before you sign in to your PC or open a single app.
With picture password, you can sign in by tracing a pattern on a picture of your choice instead of typing a password. Zigzag over your dog's face? Three taps on your child's nose? The choice is yours.
Use your new tablet or laptop for entertainment, work, or both. Chat with a friend while scoping out a map, or play a game while getting stuff done. Go from spreadsheet to video in one swipe, or snap them side-by-side for easy multitasking.
Built-in apps like People, Mail, Photos, and Messaging power you through all your essential tasks and work together for a single, streamlined experience. And there's a world of new apps to discover in the Windows Store.
Windows 7, only better
Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, but it's been improved on all fronts. You can install Windows 8 on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7, and you'll love how it works on new devices, too. Windows 8 was designed with Windows 7 apps in mind, because you probably have older apps you need to use. In addition to the new look of the Start Screen, Windows 8 incorporates the desktop that you're familiar with. Think of the desktop as one of the many apps you can run in Windows 8. In the desktop, you'll see all the settings, devices, and features you used in Windows 7 - and you can run the desktop apps you ran in Windows 7, too.
Cloud-connected with your Microsoft account
Sign in to your Windows 8 device with your Microsoft account and you're immediately connected to the people, files, and settings you care about. Your PC comes to life with all the things that make Windows yours, including your Start page, themes, language preferences, browsing history, and browser favorites. You can connect your favorite services to your Microsoft account, too, like Hotmail, Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. And you can immediately get to your photos, docs, and other files, whether they're on SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr, or other services.
The Start screen
Everything you care about most is on the new Start screen. Tiles on the Start screen are connected to people, apps, folders, photos, or websites, and are alive with the latest info, so you're up to date at a glance.
Mouse, keyboard - and now touch
Windows 8 is perfect for PCs with only a mouse and keyboard, those with touchscreens, and those with both. Whatever kind of PC you have, you'll discover fast and fluid ways to switch between apps, move things around, and go smoothly from one place to another.
Your Windows, everywhere
Sign in with your Microsoft account to any of your PCs running Windows 8 and you'll immediately see your own background, display preferences, and settings.
The desktop that you're used to - with its taskbar, folders, and icons - is still here and better than ever, with a new taskbar and streamlined file management.
Windows 8 starts up faster, switches between apps faster, and uses power more efficiently than Windows 7.