Microsoft has developed a Windows tablet computer of its own design. On Monday, June 18, 2012, the company unveiled the Surface, a PC tablet that runs a yet-to-be released version of its Windows operating system called Windows 8. The device is the first commercial PC that Microsoft has directly designed and sold. Credit: Microsoft Corporation  
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Something big is missing from Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8

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Compared with the hype surrounding Apple's new iPad Mini, this week's big announcement from Microsoft is barely getting any headlines.

But it should: Because Microsoft is making a major change to the computer operating system most of us use every day.

Biggest Windows change since the beginning

Windows 8 is the biggest change to windows since it was first launched two decades ago.
    
Microsoft's new operating system is designed primarily for its brand new Surface tablet, laptops and desktops second. With it, Microsoft is essentially admitting that the desktop/mouse combination is on the way out, analysts say.

As a result of this major change, Windows 8 works much better with a touch screen than a mouse, according to reviewers at the Wall Street Journal who have tested it for months.

Changes you will see

    -Programs will now be launched from rectangular tiles, not the familiar Windows icons anymore.

    -Apps and programs will show up as pictures on those tiles.

    -You will close pages by dragging. This is intuitive with a touch screen tablet, but a little different when you have to use a mouse to drag the screen.

    -And perhaps the biggest change users will notice: There is no more Start button, a signature Microsoft look since the release of Windows 95.

You may remember the Rolling Stones song "Start Me Up" in the first ads for Windows 95, which featured the Start button for the first time.  Some longtime Microsoft fans are posting online that the company should have included it as a option, for those who are used to using it.

But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has responded to critics by saying "the whole screen is a Start button."

Reviewers say Windows 8 will take some getting used to, but Microsoft is so convinced it is the future, and we all will eventually be using it, that it will be available as an upgrade for existing PC's for just $39.

As always, don't waste your money.
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