Windows 8 is a major release of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft. The product was released to manufacturing on August 1, 2012, and generally to retail on October 26, 2012. Windows 8 was made available for download via MSDN and TechNet and available as an upgrade to all Windows 7 users via Windows Update.
|A version of the Windows NT operating system|
|Released to |
|August 1, 2012|
|October 26, 2012|
|Final release||6.2.9200 / December 13, 2016|
|Update method||Windows Update, Windows Store, Windows Server Update Services|
|Platforms||IA-32, x86-64, ARM (Windows RT)|
|Userland||Windows API, NTVDM|
|License||Trialware, Microsoft Software Assurance, MSDN subscription, DreamSpark|
|Preceded by||Windows 7 (2009)|
|Succeeded by||Windows 8.1 (2013)|
|Official website||windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/meet (archived at Wayback Machine)|
|All editions except Windows Embedded 8 Standard: |
Windows Embedded 8 Standard:
|Part of a series on|
Windows 8 introduced major changes to the operating system's platform and user interface intended to improve its user experience on tablets, where Windows was now competing with mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS. In particular, these changes included a touch-optimized Windows shell based on Microsoft's "Metro" design language and the Start screen (which displays programs and dynamically updated content on a grid of tiles), a new platform for developing "apps" with an emphasis on touchscreen input, integration with online services (including the ability to synchronize apps and settings between devices), and Windows Store, an online distribution for downloading and purchasing new software, and a new keyboard shortcut for screenshots. Many of these features were adoptions from Windows Phone. Windows 8 added support for USB 3.0, Advanced Format hard drives, near field communications, and cloud computing. Additional security features were introduced, such as built-in antivirus software, integration with Microsoft SmartScreen phishing filtering service and support for UEFI Secure Boot on supported devices with UEFI firmware, to prevent malware from infecting the boot process.
Windows 8 is the first version of Windows to support the ARM architecture, under the Windows RT branding.
Windows 8 was released to a mixed critical reception. Although reaction towards its performance improvements, security enhancements, and improved support for touchscreen devices was positive, the new user interface of the operating system was widely criticized for being potentially confusing and difficult to learn, especially when used with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen. Despite these shortcomings, 60 million Windows 8 licenses were sold through January 2013, a number that included both upgrades and sales to OEMs for new PCs.
Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in October 2013, addressing some aspects of Windows 8 that were criticized by reviewers and early adopters and incorporated additional improvements to various aspects of the operating system. Windows 8 was ultimately succeeded by Windows 10 in July 2015. Support for IE10 on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard ended on January 31, 2020. Market share had fallen to 1.06% by October 2020.
In August 2019, computer experts reported that the BlueKeep security vulnerability, CVE-2019-0708, that potentially affects older unpatched Microsoft Windows versions via the program's Remote Desktop Protocol, allowing for the possibility of remote code execution, may now include related flaws, collectively named DejaBlue, affecting newer Windows versions (i.e., Windows 7 and all recent versions). In addition, experts reported a Microsoft security vulnerability, CVE-2019-1162, based on legacy code involving Microsoft CTF and ctfmon (ctfmon.exe), that affects all Windows versions from the older Windows XP version to the most recent Windows 10 versions; a patch to correct the flaw is currently available.