Windows 8 due next year: What to expect

While many businesses are still using XP and contemplating a move to Windows 7, an even newer version of Microsoft’s operating system is due in 2012.

Experts had previously speculated on the release date of Windows 8, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently confirmed it would take place in 2012, ComputerWorld reports.

As far as what changes can be expected with the new OS, there have only been rumors so fa. But here are a few of the most intriguing features Windows 8 may add, according to Gizmodo:

  1. Portable workspaces — An expected new feature will allow users to save images of their systems (including their desktop, user settings, and essential apps) onto USB drives so they can work with the same setup on different machines.
  2. History Vault — This leaked feature has been compared to Apple’s Time Machine, which creates periodic back-ups of changed files so users can recover lost or damaged items.
  3. System Reset — This new tool will allegedly allow users or administrators to, according to a dialog box, “remove all programs you’ve installed and restore default Windows settings. You can choose to keep user accounts and personal files.”
  4. New ribbons — Screenshots seen so far show that Microsoft has included a lot of the ribbon-style interface already incorporated into Office programs such as Word.
  5. Windows App Store — One of the most rumored changes is Microsoft’s version of Apple’s app store that may provide a different way of installing software on Windows machines.