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Entries in Windows 8 (2)


Windows 8 Pro RTM Review - Part 2

In Part 2 of my Windows 8 review I will cover the features of Windows Explorer, File History, Refresh Windows and Remove Windows.

Firstly, the Windows Explorer utility has been aptly renamed File Explorer. After a decade of using this term I understand it may be difficult adjusting to the switch – but if you are in the IT field like me you may relish in the hope that this new specificity will help users better interpret my request for them to open Windows Explorer and NOT Internet Explorer. This utility has also been adorned with the familiar ribbon-based design similar to that of Office 2010. The ribbon assists users to quickly find common commands without the need to right click on files for options, but if you find it too cluttered or unnecessary it can be minimized.

Windows 8 has introduced a welcome new feature called File History (Pic 9 below). This is Microsoft’s version of Apple’s Time Machine. This optional utility is not enabled by default so you will need to enable it via the control panel. File History will initiate automatic back ups to an external drive of your choice, copying everything from your libraries, favorites, contacts, and on your desktop.

There are a few configureable options:

  1. Select the drive you want to backup to.
  2. Exclude any folders or subfolders from being backed up.
  3. Advanced settings allow you to select how often you want to save and how many versions of the files should be kept. (Pic 10 below)

These valuable backups are a great safety net and allow you to either restore all your files to their orginal location, or restore individual files or file versions. You can access this feature via the control panel or utilize the History command within the new File Explorer ribbon.

The last two features within Windows 8 that I want to cover relate to clean installations of the operating system. Windows 8 now has two ways of doing this and both are accessible from the general tab of your PC settings (Pic 11 below). The two installation options are:

  1. Refresh Windows – refresh your PC without affecting your files. This will save your music, photos, metro style apps and other personal files, but you will need to reinstall your desktop applications.  After Refresh Windows is complete it will put a TXT file on your desktop listing all the applications you will need to reinstall.
  2. Remove Windows – removes everything and reinstalls the OS. This will give you a fresh copy of Windows 8.

So that concludes this installment of my Windows 8 review. Stay tuned for my last post in which we will sample the icing on the cake…Metro.

Windows8-Pic9Pic 9 - File History Windows8-Pic10Pic 10 - Advanced Settings Windows8-Pic11Pic 11 - PC Settings