• Windows 8 brings visual login, desktop app store, idiot-proof system restore, and more

    A bunch of top-secret slides allegedly leaked from an internal meeting reveal a host of goodies that Microsoft has in the works for the next major Windows release dubbed Windows 8. Early features include visual login, cloud user profiles, one-button system restore, Internet Explorer 9, the App Store for Windows software, and other perks. Thanks to the Italian site Windowsette (original in Italian, Google translation) that leaked the presentation, we now know why enthusiasts and mainstream consumers – the two consumer targets groups – will want to upgrade to Windows 8. First of all, Windows 8 should be a better fit for tablets, notebooks, and all-in-ones than its predecessor.

    The cool facial recognition feature will let you automatically log in to Windows simply by appearing in front of your webcam. Faster startups should be made possible thanks to a new feature that will automatically log you off and hibernate your machine. One of the slides states that turn on duration is “about half of today’s cold boot with Logoff + Hibernate.” Enhancements to Help and Support system will help you resolve common issues with a greater degree of confidence than before.

    Microsoft also plans to make fast-user switching even faster and allow you to sync your user account with the Microsoft cloud to recreate your applications and settings on any Windows 8 device simply by logging in. Like I opined a while ago, it looks like Microsoft will roll out the App Store for Windows, dubbed the Windows Store, in Windows 8.

    Basically a centralized software repository akin to Windows Marketplace, the Windows Store will help users discover, download, and update quality third-party software. Or, as Microsoft put it, the Windows Store is focused on “getting applications they want, that they can feel confident in, that they can use on any Windows 8 device.”

    Up next for Windows 8: The Windows Store, basically The App Store for Windows software.

    The new store will be an integral part of a promising new system restore feature dubbed Windows Recovery. Initiated by pressing the hardware reset button, Windows Recovery puts a dialog up and offers to reinstall Windows, migrate user settings and app preferences from your cloud profile, and re-install purchased software via the Windows Store. What’s best, if you enable the store and cloud profile roaming, you won’t have to worry about manually backing any of this stuff anymore.

    Of course, the operating system will also contain IE9 with several enhancements, including comprehensive HTML5 support, GPGPU-accelerated rendering that already makes Chrome look slow, support for the Google-proposed WebM platform for web video, and more. The first public beta of IE9 is expected in August 2010, with release candidate dates to be determined after beta. IE9 Developer Platform Preview (this is not a full browser) has been available since March 10, 2010 at IETestDrive.com.
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