Microsoft's Windows 8 hardware requirements: some good, some not-so-good

First, an apology: Microsoft released details of Windows 8's tablet hardware requirements back in December, but we were too preoccupied with Christmas and CES to notice. Now that the only thing we're suffering from is jet-lag, let's take a quick tour of some notable extracts from the documentation and what it'll mean for users when the operating system arrives towards the back end of the year.

  • Controversially, ARM-based tablet users won't be able to deactivate secure booting and (therefore) install another operating system. Clearly that's not gone down well with people -- and a straw poll of our editors agreed

  • Ctrl + Alt + Del for tablets without physical keyboards will be supplanted by Windows Key + Power.

  • There's a mandatory five points of touch -- which we already knew thanks to our hands on with Synaptics at CES.

  • If your gear has NFC, physical "touch marks" will be visible on the hardware so people know where to plonk their devices.

  • All tablets must have Power, Rotation Lock, Windows Key, Volume Up and Volume Down buttons.

  • After all operating system updates, there must be 10GB free space, all machines must run UFEI Firmware.

  • All hardware must include one USB 2.0 port, a magnetometer, speakers, Bluetooth 4.0, WLAN, gyroscope and accelerometer.

  • Any camera must have a minimum resolution of 720p.

  • The minimum display for any tablet is 1366 x 768.

  • You'll be able to update your graphics drivers without rebooting.

There you have it, many of the new changes are welcome and demonstrate Redmond's commitment to avoid fragmentation between PCs, Laptops and Slates. However, ensuring ease for the general consumer might come at too high a price if it alienates those who value the freedom of a PC. Still, we won't be betting against the hacking community: which has probably already started taking a run up at the limitation -- just as soon as it's made sure Doom runs smoothly on it.