5. Dual-monitor support
It's not exactly mainstream in most fields of business, but using multiple monitors can greatly improve productivity, and Windows 8 comes with a number of enhancements to simplify managing and using such setups. Using multiple displays is like magnifying the productivity benefits of the Windows 7 Aero Snap feature. Instead of splitting the workspace in half on one display, you can extend your Windows desktop across more than one monitor.
When it comes to handling multiple displays, Windows 8 significantly improves on Windows 7's capabilities. You can configure the taskbar for each display to make it easier and more efficient to get to the applications you want on each display. Windows 8 also treats the corners and sides of each monitor as active hot zones for accessing things like the charms bar and the app switcher.
6. Better security
Windows 8 introduces some security tricks to help protect data and let IT managers sleep at night. First, Microsoft takes advantage of the Secure Boot feature of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). Secure Boot allows only software signed by authorized certificates to boot up, which prevents BIOS- or kernel-level malware from sneaking in.
With Windows 8, Microsoft has also incorporated the antimalware capabilities of Microsoft Security Essentials into Windows Defender, so Windows 8 provides more-comprehensive protection against malware right out of the box.
Microsoft has expanded the scope of its SmartScreen technology, too. Previous versions were limited to protecting Internet Explorer from malicious sites and rogue downloads. With Windows 8, SmartScreen applies to all network traffic, meaning that it provides the same security whether you're using Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome--or if you're just downloading files across the network.
7. Storage Spaces
Hard drives keep getting larger and cheaper, but newer hardware such as Ultrabooks and tablets tend to rely on smaller-capacity solid-state drives for storage. Windows 8's Storage Spaces feature lets you expand your storage without replacing your drive, and without having to add new drive letters and then try to manage which applications or data get stored on which drive.
Storage Spaces lets you create a pool of storage that can span internal and external drives, and combine storage using different interfaces so that the operating system views and treats everything as being on one large drive. Storage Spaces also uses data mirroring across the drives so that, even if one of the drives in the pool crashes, the data will remain available.
8. SkyDrive integration
As great as Storage Spaces can be, it works only if the various drives in the pool are connected to the Windows 8 PC. When you're on the go, using the cloud to expand your storage options makes more sense. Microsoft has woven access to its cloud storage service, SkyDrive, throughout Windows 8.
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