Windows 8 is a consumer operating system of the Windows NT family for desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones released by Microsoft in 2012. The server release is called Windows Server 2012.

The most obvious change in Windows 8 is the heavy focus on touch in the desktop user interface and the introduction of the Metro design language, that first debuted in Windows Media Center and Zune, but more commonly seen in Windows Phone 7.

UEFI and secure boot

Windows 8 is the first of the Windows NT line to require computer manufacturers to ship devices with UEFI and the secure boot feature to be enabled through its Windows Hardware Certification Requirements.

While installing Ubuntu with secure boot enabled is possible since 14.04 for LTS releases, non-distribution Kernel modules like proprietary graphics drivers, VirtualBox and other software that relies on dkms will not work. The secure boot feature can be disabled from the Advanced startup menu in Windows 8 (see: How to access the UEFI firmware settings? (aka BIOS)).

For more details and known issues with UEFI have a look at the tag wiki page.

Notable introductions

  • support for Advanced Format hard drives
    • these were already supported with Windows 7 Service Pack 1
  • support for USB 3.0
  • built-in antivirus software
    • thus not necessarily requiring 3rd party security application packages to feel safe, strengthening the statement that you don't necessarily need these in Linux either

Version relation

  • Preceded by: (2009)

  • Succeeded by: Windows 10 (in development)

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