Windows 8 details: new features, UI enhancements and everything in between

Today, Windows Division prexy Steven Sinofsky treated Build 2011 attendees to a walkthrough of the various tweaks, subtle or otherwise, Microsoft's made to Windows 8. Staying true to its roots, the new OS implements the familiar keyboard commands users have become accustomed to over the years -- you know, like CMD and Ctrl+F. And as for its update to Internet Explorer, MS has imbued its tenth iteration with the ability to switch between the much-hyped Metro-style UI and plain old desktop view -- all according to your whimsy. Of course, Redmond's instituted other sweeping changes across the platform, and you can check some of the highlights after the break. %Gallery-133511%

  • All Windows 7 applications will run natively on Windows 8

  • Security update notifications have been minimized to the lower right of the log-in screen

  • Refreshed Windows Task Manager suspends apps when they're not running on-screen

  • New "Reset and Refresh PC" functions enable simplified system wipe and restore

  • HyperV virtualization software comes pre-loaded on Windows 8

  • Multi-monitor support now enables a single background across screens, as well as monitor-specific task bars

  • Multi-touch support enabled for Internet Explorer 10

  • Magnifier function enhanced for desktop manipulation

  • Optional thumb-by-thumb input mode

  • SkyDrive storage support integrated into all cloud-based apps

  • Metro-style refresh for Mail, Photos, Calendar and People apps with Windows Live ID

  • Settings roam allows for preferences to sync across a user's Windows 8 devices

  • Continued update support for Windows 8 Developer Preview Beta

  • Even a Lenovo S10 (first-gen Atom + 1GB of RAM) can "run" Windows 8

  • There's "no overlays" with Windows 8; Metro-style goodness is baked into the core

  • Both Metro-style and conventional Win32 apps will be sold in the Windows Store

  • Windows 8 devices equipped with an NFC chip will be able to use a tap-to-share feature to either send content from one device to another, or simply receive content from something like an NFC-equipped card.

  • Logins will use a photo-based system

  • Apps will be able to natively connect and understand one another (if written as such)

  • Built-in antivirus software will ship in Windows 8

  • There will not be a different edition of Windows 8 for tablets, and presumably, not for Media Centers either

  • It's unclear how many "editions" (Home, Professional, Ultimate, etc.) of Windows 8 there will be

  • ARM devices will be supported, but not in the developer preview

The unabridged fact sheets surrounding the developer preview can be found here, and you can dive right into the fun this evening by downloading a copy of your own. Looking for our take on Windows 8 on a Samsung tablet? Look no further.

Follow our continuing Build 2011 / Windows 8 coverage here!