This article is about Windows 8 Performance. I wont go into intricate performance benchmarks, or Windows 7 versus Windows 8, as that appears to have been done to death over the last week or so. What I will mention is the fact that, yes, Windows 8 starts considerably faster than any previous Windows, by a factor of several seconds, even more when using a moderately powered PC and an SSD, and there is no noticeable lag with any of the programs I have since installed.
The issue of performance is one thats often bewailed when an operating system is released or a major upgrade for an OS is installed. Most of the time the average user is quite content that the system boots up, regardless of the speed in which it does it. Windows 8 takes its performance seriously, and in doing so it has included a radically updated Task Manager.
The new Task Manager launches with by default with an extremely minimalistic approach by showing only those applications that are currently running and nothing else no percentages, amount of resources being used or anything. However, clicking on the More Details button at the bottom of the window reveals quite the opposite.
From viewing virtually nothing, to suddenly viewing something that would be at home on the floor of the Stock Exchange can be quite a shock. In the first tab alone, the Processes tab, youre offered a breakdown of each program CPU percentage, Memory, Disk and Network with the amount of resources each is using, in either MB or Mbps.
Each program is grouped into Apps, which are currently running; Background Processes, which arent; and Windows Processes, which consist of both. Each individual program can be further expanded (by clicking on the right-facing arrow next to its name) to reveal the active process thats being used by the program in question. For example, a browser would show the active tab, Microsoft Word would show the active document and so on.
The Performance tab displays levels of information weve never seen before in a default Windows program: CPU speeds are displayed, along with the Up time, the number of cores, and each caches available memory. The available RAM slots are numbered, hard drive average access times are displayed and the Ethernet section shows DNS information as well as IP4 and IP6 addresses.
The other tabs are no exception: App History, Start-up, Users, Details and Services all provide the minutiae of Windows 8s resources, and what its currently up to. Unfortunately, the Resource Monitor has stayed very much the same from its previous outing in Windows 7, but then with the levels of detail the new Task Manager goes into, there seems very little point in ever entering the Resource Monitor, as was once the norm. Perhaps Windows 8 is the last well see of the Resource Monitor, as theres no doubt Task Manager will be improved as time goes on.
Next up, staying on the topic of performance, is the much maligned Internet Explorer. Microsofts web browser has seen a lot of ground lost in the battle of the browsers, with many users now opting for the likes of Chrome andn Firefox, so can IE10 pull a rabbit out of its hat for Windows 8?
IE 10, in Windows 8, has caused some confusion thus far, as it appeared to be two different versions in the same operating system: one being a full-screen app accessed via the new Ul and the other being the familiar e icon, accessed from the taskbar.
You can control the desktop version of IE10, the one thats launched from the taskbar, in the normal fashion. In other words, you can set the home page and access all the various options. The IE 10 thats an app, launched via the Ul, will use the settings from the desktop version (e.g. home page setup) but operates separately from the desktop version.
It may sound confusing, but its not and its certainly nothing to get all wound up about. For those who use the Ul more than the desktop, the IE 10 app will cover you. Its exactly the same as if, or rather when, Chrome or Firefox release a Windows 8 Ul app for their browsers.
Regardless of the different versions, the performance of IE 10 is quite easily the best yet, from any of the previous versions of Internet Explorer, but its still behind the rest of the browser pack. A standard web page such as the Micro Mart forum, for example will load up adequately and show no sign of lag, but when compared to the likes of Chrome of Firefox, it can be a good couple of seconds behind them.
Then theres the future of the web technology WebGL. Microsoft has, at present, no plans to officially support WebGL in Internet Explorer, due to the potential security risk it represents, as per the requirements of the Security Development Lifecycle. Depending on how you look at this, it could be a killer factor of Windows 8.
On one hand, you have a browser within an operating system thats adhering to a strict security policy. On the other hand, you have a browser and a company that are refusing to implement the latest web-based technology, despite the fact that the other major browsers include it. Either way, its little wonder that the number of IE users is dropping at an alarming rate.