October 23, 2012, 1:29 PM — The most talked-about issue in the lead-up to Microsoft's launch of Windows 8 is the new Start screen, featuring the Modern UI. But Windows 8 has much more to offer than just a revamped interface.
The operating system includes fundamental enhancements, such as better multiple-monitor setups, an overhauled Windows Explorer, cloud-based account syncing, and new ways to personalize your desktop.
Here are 15 improvements to Windows that you'll want to check out in Microsoft's latest OS, including some new tools in the Modern UI.
Some of these improvements have no corresponding feature in Windows 7. If they do, we'll show you what they look like in Windows 7 and (for comparison) provide a screenshot showing how they are enhanced in Windows 8. Lets dive in.
Where to get started: Charms bar > Settings > Change PC settings > Sync your settings
Windows 8 can sync your user account settings across multiple PCs, saving you the trouble of having to customize your Windows environment manually on different computers.
You can sync your desktop themes and backgrounds, lock screen, account pictures, passwords, HomeGroup settings, Modern UI app settings, browser history, favorites, and more.
Settings syncing requires having a Microsoft account connected to each Windows 8 PC.
Where to get started: Charms bar > Share
Social networking comes built into Windows 8's Modern UI, with the ability to share items between Modern UI apps.
You can use this functionality to share items such as links and photos with specific people via Mail, or you can post items to social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter via the People app.
Sharing has to be built in to third-party apps by the apps' developers, so sharing may not work with all Modern UI apps.
Better multiple-monitor setups
Where to get started: Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display
In Windows 8, Microsoft adds several improvements to multiple-monitor setups. The traditional desktop interface now features separate taskbars and backgrounds for each display.