Windows 8: ultimate guide to Microsoft’s big OS release

Near the end of October, Microsoft Corp. will release Windows 8, its most major update to its flagship operating system product since Windows 7 was released three years ago.

A New York-based event Oct. 25 will mark the beginning of general availability for Windows 8, and a San Francisco event Oct. 29 will showcase Windows Phone 8, designed for smartphones. Since Microsoft unveiled its first look at Windows 8 from its Build conference last year, we’ve known this OS is built with mobility in mind. Gone are small icons ideal for clicking with your mouse – they’ve been replaced by tiles made for tapping with your finger. There will be a slew of new hardware form factors suited for Windows 8 and a bevvy of new Windows applications tailored to the new interface.

It’s going to be a lot of change to the PC landscape happening before year’s end, and we want you to be prepared. What does this change mean for your business? Bookmark this page for continued updates in the form of key information points, feature articles, opinions, tutorials, and video hands-on reviews during the month ahead. Get started now…

Key points | Features | Opinion | Videos | Slideshows

Windows 8 key points

Release date: Windows 8 will be generally available Oct. 26

Cost: Upgrading to Windows 8 from your current version of Windows will cost $39.99 for the download and $69.99 for a DVD version. If you bought a Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013, you can register to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.

Upgrading options: PCs running Windows 8, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 will be able to download an upgrade to Windows 8. If you’re on a different OS, you’ll need to buy the full version of the software.

Get it now: You can install the Windows 8 Release Preview today. The minimum recommended system requirements are: Processor of 1 gigahertz or faster; 1 gigabyte of RAM or more; 16 gigabytes of hard drive space for the 32-bit version and 20 GB for the 64-bit version; a graphics card that supports Microsoft DirectX 9 with a WDDM driver.

Windows 8 feature articles

3 tips for a successful Windows 8 roll out

Advice on how to migrate to Microsoft’s brand new operating system and Bill Gates’ take on Windows 8.

Rogers inks deal with Microsoft on Windows 8

Rogers will be the exclusive Canadian dealer of some Windows 8 tablets and certain Windows Phone smartphones.

Toshiba launches Windows 8 convertible ultrabook

Part notebook, part tablet, this is the latest hybrid design to be announced to support Microsoft’s new touch-based OS.

Acer unveils $500 Windows 8 hybrid tablet

Additional storage or keyboard dock will cost extra when this tablet hits the market in November. Click to see photos.

Analysts questions Windows 8 app strategy

As the clock ticks town to the launch of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system, analysts are questioning the software giant’s strategy to court application developers and ensure a sufficient quantity of apps are available for the new platform.

Acer’s Iconia W700 tablet coming to Canada

The Windows 8 tablet will be priced at $749 in the Canadian market.

Microsoft Store opens in Toronto Nov. 16

The retail store will be Microsoft’s first in Canada as the software giant seeks to compete with Apple’s bricks and mortar locations.

Our take: Windows 8 opinions

Windows 8 faces several challenges to success

Brian Jackson: It always amuses me how passionate a reaction people can have over the release of a new operating system, and Microsoft Corp.’s recent unveiling of Windows 8 at its Build conference was no exception.

Market Windows 8 to your customers before final release

Stuart Crawford: The perfect storm is brewing and you have no excuse to get out in front of your clients, the marketplace or your industry associations and show off Windows 8.

Read more blog posts about Windows 8

Windows 8 videos

Windows 8 slideshows

Windows 8 – a tour of Microsoft’s new look

Microsoft pulled back the curtain on its Windows 8 operating system at its BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif. Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows Live division, took glee in telling a room full of developers they’d each receive a Samsung tablet loaded with Windows 8 to use as a development tool for a year, complete with a wireless data plan from AT&T. Microsoft’s latest operating system looks to bridge the gap between the workstation on your desk and the tablet slipped into your brief case. It will support both high-powered processors such as Intel’s Core i5 and lower-powered processors for mobile devices like ARM.

Top 12 best Windows 8 hardware we’ve seen so far

The new operating system’s focus on touch has inspired manufacturers to focus on a movement of new devices: laptops and tablets, fused together — informally called tabtops or laplets. Their recent entrance means manufacturers are experimenting with a variety of innovative form factors. Similarly, Windows 8 has pushed manufacturers to create unique All-in-One devices with touch screens. In this exclusive ITBusiness.ca slideshow, we examine the cream of the crop in Windows 8 hardware. Have you ever seen a 20-inch tablet PC? Keep your eyes peeled for one.

Nokia launches Lumia 920 running Windows Phone 8

Since its flagship Lumia 900 was released, people have been wondering what Nokia would do for an encore. It was a given that new devices would be running Windows Phone 8, but the rest of the mix? Who knew.

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