When Windows 8 launches on Oct. 26 2012 the new operating system will looking decidedly different than previous versions of the Windows OS and design changes won’t be the only new features found on the OS. Microsoft is introducing deeper account integration, better hardware support and even increased security standards. While there are sure to be plenty of grumbles thanks to the Metro OS there is also plenty to be excited about.

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Windows 8 tiles

Microsoft Windows 9 Metro Interface

Windows 8 is the first OS by Microsoft to be fully optimized for touchscreen devices and the Metro interface showcases that touchscreen know-how. The first thing users will notice when they launched the system is a tiled display that showcases various popular and user set applications. Known as “live tiles” the new start screen replaces the Start menu. Users can still access the original desktop output via a tile on the Start screen.

The new interface also incorporates a new menu bar to the right side of the screen which Microsoft has named the “Charms bar” which can be access from within any application or by sliding from the right edge of a touchscreen or compatible trackpad. Using the Charms bar Windows 8 users can perform searches, access sharing features and launch the Start screen among other options.

While some early beta testers have complained about confusing display options the ultimately goal for Microsoft is to create more access to apps at all times.

Microsoft Account Integration

Microsoft controls an impressive array of accounts that includes Xbox Live, SkyDrive and Outlook.com. Using the new Windows 8 system Microsoft users will be able to access all of their major Microsoft services through account integration. Microsoft will also use the opportunity to make available its web office apps as it moves towards its software further into the cloud.

Updated Task Manager

As a heavy Windows user I often find myself shouting at my taskbar to provide me with some relief. In Windows 8 the taskbar is vastly improved. For example a heat map now provides darker shades of coloring based on heavy versus light usage. Microsoft has also split performance tabs into CPU, memory, disk, Ethernet and wireless network sections. By separating processes users can better pinpoint resource usage.

Windows 8’s taskbar also ditches the individual graphsy for every logical processor but now shows data for each NUMA node. The CPU tab also shows simple percentages through heat-mapping tiles to display utilization for systems with many logical processors.

Family Safety

No longer will parents need to install a separate Windows Live application to protect their children online. With Windows 8 Administrators can monitor and restrict user activity based off web filtering, application restrictions and even computer usage time limits.

Those are just a few of the new features coming to Windows 8, stay tuned until the end of October and you will either be thoroughly impressed or sorely disappointed by the massive changes Microsoft has in store for the newest version of its operating system.

[Image via yorgonestoridis]