The Good Windows 8 embraces the future wholeheartedly. Log-in and boot times are fast, the apps look gorgeous, and the Sync feature brings seamless transition between devices.
The Bad The learning curve is steep and in-app navigation isn't obvious. There are just too many known unknowns here.
The Bottom Line Microsoft makes an aggressive, forward-thinking, and bold statement for the future of PCs with Windows 8, and vast security and speed improvements more than justify the $40 upgrade price.
Aggressively innovative Windows 8 forces a steep learning curve
Updated October 24 to include new Windows RT details.
Microsoft's vision for the future of computers builds a new world for Windows. It works well with a mouse and keyboard, and it's great with touch screens. It lusts for apps, lives for sync, and loves real-time updates. But you'd better believe it'll take some time to get used to it all.
Since Microsoft debuted its vision for Windows 8 to the world at its Build 2011 conference, we have watched the themes that drive Windows 8 slowly gestate. The new operating system applies the lessons of mobile to the personal computer in a way that's absolutely innovative. Connectivity, cloud access to personal files, seamless updates, and a simple interface all come together in Windows 8.
VLC 3.0 launches for all platforms, gets Chromecast support
The massive update for the "plays everything" media player also adds 360 video, HDR and took three years of volunteer work to complete.
Photoshop's Select Subject gives you a head start on masks
The one-click masking tool, previewed in fall, is available in a new update, and it's... OK. Plus, Windows 10 users get better interface scaling.
Microsoft is using AI to bring nuance to our search results
The software giant wants Bing search to give you more helpful answers, Outlook to identify important emails and Word to help you write smarter sounding memos.
iTunes is coming to the Windows 10 Store
Hell froze over, again.
Minecraft's education edition will teach kids to code
Microsoft's popular building-blocks game gets a tool to help students learn how to program.
Get ready for 'Microsoft Teams,' Microsoft's answer to Slack
The tech giant may soon launch a new collaborative chat service for businesses.
Microsoft Word wants to help you with your homework
Microsoft's online office suite looks to machine learning to power a small set of new convenience features.
Apple to neutralize Adobe Flash in next version of Safari
It's the new default for an old technology. You'll be asked if you want to turn on the Flash plug-in for websites that may still require it.
Siri responses hint at launch on Mac
The voice assistant isn't spilling any specific beans, but its replies to certain questions could be a clue to Mac support.
GigJam, Microsoft's new collaboration app, is now available to everyone
Once invite-only, Redmond's latest Office add-on can be had by anyone with a Mac, iPhone, iPad or Windows PC.
Facebook unveils WhatsApp apps for Mac, Windows desktops
Jettisoning need for a Web browser, new app promises a more streamlined process for chatting with friends and family.
Google Chrome sneaks past Internet Explorer to become top browser
Chrome is now officially No. 1, according to Web tracker Net Market Share, as Microsoft's IE continues to lose traction.