Windows 8 News: Exciting News On Network Support, File Systems, and PC Repair - HotHardware
Windows 8 News: Exciting News On Network Support, File Systems, and PC Repair

Windows 8 News: Exciting News On Network Support, File Systems, and PC Repair

It's been awhile since we covered the announcements coming out of the Building Windows 8 blog and there have been a number of interesting new articles published. We've got three of the biggest discussed below:

New Network Management:

Windows 7 made connecting to a WiFi network easy, but managing a 3G connection can be more troublesome. As Billy Anders writes, "you needed to locate and install third-party device drivers, and in some cases software, before ever getting your first connection. If the drivers for your device and software from your mobile operator were not available locally, you had to find another connection type (perhaps Wi-Fi) to the Internet to search for software on the websites of the PC maker or mobile operator."



Windows 8 aims to change that. The OS will ship with a generalized broadband driver based on the Mobile Broadband Interface Mobile (MBIM) standard. MBIM isn't proprietary--it was developed by the USB-IF--and it supports both 3G and 4G, including LTE. As part of its expanded support for wireless radios, the OS also includes a comprehensive monitor/control screen where users can view information about connections and turn radios on and off.



Other features include a drastically shortened reconnect time, the ability to switch from carrier to carrier on the fly, and the option to monitor bandwidth usage across both WiFi and 3G. The OS can also be configured to prefer one type of connection over another to avoid overage charges, and to warn you when approaching a preset limit.

NTFS Evolved: Meet ReFS:

ReFS (Resilient File System) is the new storage system built into Windows 8, and it's designed to provide a number of features that guarantee data integrity as well as a highly visible change to how system storage is organized.

ReFS maintains data reliability through the use of checksums that are maintained independently from the data they're attached to. This allows the OS to detect all forms of data corruption. Because ReFS uses a new allocate-on-write strategy for updating file metadata rather than writing it directly, there's virtually no chance that a power loss will result in an unrecoverable corrupted file.



The major visible change is Windows 8's concept of Storage Spaces. Some of you may remember that Microsoft's Windows Home Server OS from several years ago had a feature called Drive Extender that allowed customers to expand the total storage pool available to the OS just by plugging in additional drives, without any need for formatting or letter assignments. Storage Spaces extends that concept and amps it up significantly.

Users can create a storage space using any type or configuration of storage from USB sticks to old IDE hard drives. Once a space is created, the data within it can be safeguarded RAID-style using mirroring, parity+mirroring, or both -- all within the same contiguous block of hard drives. The OS also supports thin provisioning, which means that the total space allocated to a given project can be larger than the amount of total storage available at any given point.

The one downside is that drives / devices added to the pool aren't bootable, though MS says its working on fix.

Data Restoration:

Finally, there's the question of data backup / restoration. The concept of an "overtop" or repair installation has existed since at least Windows 98, but there's never been a foolproof method of ensuring that the process will actually solve the problem. Microsoft added the concept of "Restore Points," years ago, but while these can resolve certain kinds of problems, it's far from a bulletproof solution.



Windows 8 splits OS repair into two categories -- Reset and Refresh. A reset is exactly what it sounds like -- the OS is restored to full factory defaults and all personal data/information is removed. A refresh involves the following steps:
  • Windows RE (Recovery Environment) scans the hard drive for your data, settings, and apps, and puts them aside
  • (on the same drive).
  • Windows RE installs a fresh copy of Windows.
  • Windows RE restores the data, settings, and apps it has set aside into the newly installed copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts into the newly installed copy of Windows.
Microsoft is still deciding exactly which settings should be copied, given that certain issues may have been caused by problems in a users' saved settings.

According to internal benchmarks, it takes 8 minutes, 22 seconds to 'Refresh' a system and as little as 6 minutes to reset it if BitLocker is enabled (using BitLocker allows the system to wipe the drive by erasing encrypted metadata).

Windows, Reimagined:

The number of changes coming in the next version of Windows is staggering. Windows 8's non-x86 support and Metro UI have gotten a great deal of attention, but it's increasingly clear that Metro, while vital, is only one component of the new operating system.

We're still concerned about Microsoft's long-term plans for desktop users and the company's decision to require ARM devices to ship with a locked bootloader, but there are a lot of core improvements coming. It's clear that Microsoft sat down to rethink every aspect of system usage rather than simply slapping on a UI overhaul. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this really might be the company's biggest launch since Windows 95.
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IF windows 8 is rocking it, then i will get it. So far windows 7 has been amazing for me and hasnt given me any problems at all. These changes look pretty awesome.

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pretty nice features, and huge improvements.Like i said before we will get used to win 8 even if some hate its interface :-p but i have to highlight that win 7 isn't bad.

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And here I thought windows 8 was going to be another rehash of vista/7 but with a different UI. This looks very VERY promising.

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I don't think I'll switch to windows 8 anytime soon, although the above features sound good windows 7 is great. If I had an all in one pc with a touch screen then windows 8 would be awesome but sadly I cant afford that. Next Contest maybe??

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I don't anticipate standing outside a store jonesing for a copy, but Windows 8 is genuinely interesting to me. Vista was incredibly important, even though everyone hated it. It made a huge number of under-the-hood changes to how Windows did things that laid the foundations for the work we see today.

With Windows 7, MS largely went back to fix and refine what didn't work with Vista. The result has been a very stable, capable OS -- but its changes were subtle. Being able to size a window to exactly half your screen is a great example of an additional that's useful and practical, but not necessarily exciting.

Windows 8 is the biggest re-think of Windows since at least XP, quite possibly since '95. I'll wait on judging that until the beta comes out in the next few months.

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Joel H:
Vista was incredibly important, even though everyone hated it. It made a huge number of under-the-hood changes to how Windows did things that laid the foundations for the work we see today.

I agree but the released product was a 'bust' until the first service pack came out. After Service Pack One was released it was do-able, but everyone had a case of the a*s*s with Microsoft by then.

I'll try the Win-8 beta out, but it will take some powerful MoJo to get me away from Win-7.

I'm not saying that it's impossible, but it's unlikely.

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The data recovery and file system changes sound very interesting, and welcome. Whether self inflicted or hardware based nothing sucks worse than lost or corrupted data. Hopefully it works well.

According to a MSDN blog ReFS will roll out first as a storage system for Windows Server, then as storage for clients, and then ultimately as a boot volume. So it appears they are not going to rush it, which is a good thing IMHO.

Here is the link to the MSDN blog for those who wish to read more:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/01/16/building-the-next-generation-file-system-for-windows-refs.aspx

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Going to get it just for the new file system. Though I wish it s more open, it will likely take linux a while for drivers. Sad face. This is also the first time I have noticed that the chrome and windows colours are the same :/

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don't worry MayhemMatthew you are not aloneeeeeeeeeeee "This is also the first time I have noticed that the chrome and windows colours are the same :/" I just noticed too lol

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Some of these features for Windows 8 sounds really interesting. it sounds like they are making recovery so easy that no one is going to me a PC tech to clean up malware anymore.

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I think I changed my mind of study computer repair T_T

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Win8 is the change of society in many ways computers worked there way in then it became the information age now everything is mobile in itself or as a component. Win8 it seems to me is much like a M$ Evangelist was saying at a conference I was at a year or so ago and models to the Azure clients he was then talking about. Of course that model is a fully digital distribution method like skydrive and office365 it make a lot of sense. This also will be affected by moving off of the IPv4 model to the IPv6 model which will yess add more addresses, but it also modulates bandwidth, the way data is treated from point to point etc. That data translation is another reason for the new storage model/backbone (ReFS) and data restoration/backup etc as well. As that "information" has become the new currency well then it's value increases exponentially.

I should have listened to my friend years ago, and gone into data recovery which is a VERY lucrative field, I guess! Either way Win8 structurally is very appealing to me although as far as it has gone so far (I have had for a while and am on build 3 now I think of Win8 one an old laptop), I also use it very rarely as it has been annoying really in many ways to use. I need to update it and see where we are at now it has been about a month or a month and a half since I updated it.

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Realneil,

The final product was badly damaged by Nvidia. According to court documents released as part of the Vista Capable lawsuit, NV drivers caused 22% of all crashes as reported by the OS. That's crashes of any application or system module.

Given NV's strong presence in the integrated and discrete market at the time and the well-publicized difficulties with the company's drivers under Vista, I think it played a significant part in the tech community's perception of Vista as a buggy POS. That's not to imply that NV caused all of Microsoft's problems -- the fact that Intel chipsets that would've originally been deemed incompatible were allowed to run Vista is part of the problem -- but I think it played a part.

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Joel H:

Realneil,

The final product was badly damaged by Nvidia. According to court documents released as part of the Vista Capable lawsuit, NV drivers caused 22% of all crashes as reported by the OS. That's crashes of any application or system module.

Given NV's strong presence in the integrated and discrete market at the time and the well-publicized difficulties with the company's drivers under Vista, I think it played a significant part in the tech community's perception of Vista as a buggy POS. That's not to imply that NV caused all of Microsoft's problems -- the fact that Intel chipsets that would've originally been deemed incompatible were allowed to run Vista is part of the problem -- but I think it played a part.

For me, and ~my own personal~ experiences with it, Vista was a ~Steaming Turd~ of an OS. As I mentioned before, Service Pack One made it much better. People tell me that if all of the updates are applied, it works well now,.....go figure.

I was using ATI Radeon 1GB HD4870 video cards in my PC's at the time and was horrified at the crappy file transfer speeds to start with. I had what was close to top-end PC gear at the time and it played like 10 year old junk with Vista installed. I went back to XP and discovered what PC performance was all about again.

I too, read about the NVIDIA drivers debacle, and I believe it. But I can't see how that affected me, over in ATI-Land. I did learn to let others walk the 'leading edge' of software trials first. (leading edge=bleeding edge) I learned to let them discover the bugs,.....discover the joys of that new and fantastic software, before I bought into it.

I can afford to wait and see,....as I've learned my lesson now.

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Cool. I said before that I didn't need Windows 8 but this might make me change my mind, still some things I can do without though.

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That connection time graph is pure unadultered B.S. The majority of the time required to get a network connection is the DHCP handshaking and IP address being assigned *by the DHCP server*.

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I just wish they would wait a bit longer before releasing Windows 8. They are finally just now getting widespread enterprise adoption rates. Why fragment the market? There are still so many XP boxes out there. I feel like they should give Windows 7 a longer tail and really spend more time with Windows 8.

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I like to see people changing their minds after seeing this news :) like i said  before."we will get used to win 8 even if some hate its UI" he he he

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Danger,

Windows 7 will be three years old by the time Windows 8 is released. XP's long life cycle spoiled you. ;) If you consider XP SP2 to be a different operating system (and by all accounts, enough work went into it for it to qualify as such), then a three-year upgrade cycle makes more sense.

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Joel,

Yes we were spoiled by XP, but at the same time, proved that a new OS isn't needed every couple of years.

On the other hand NTFS is rather long in the tooth, perhaps it just wasn't feasible to upgrade the file structure when Win7 came out. But the problem I see is that Microsoft in tends to roll this out first for server storage, and a lot of corporation are just now beginning to transition to Win7. So I don't foresee a high rate of adoption, outside of server farms, anytime soon.

Hopefully, this will provide Microsoft with a big enough pool of info. Otherwise, it may be quite awhile until we see the new file system used on boot drives.

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what will you do if Windows 8 OS doesn't support Windows phone 7 apps? ummmmmmm oh oh if you are interested click here and find out :-p http://www.itproportal.com/2012/01/26/will-windows-os-support-wp-apps/

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