Windows 8 introduced several changes, including a redesigned start screen, a Windows Store for downloading new software, integration with online devices and apps, and a platform for developing mobile apps. The goal of adding these features was to improve the operating system's visual identity and mobile performance.
The most noticeable change to Windows 8 was the release of a new start screen. Windows replaced the traditional feel of its program in favor of a more modern and image-based look. The new design is fully customizable: users can pick and choose their favorite colors, tile sizes and the specific applications to appear on their desktop.
Designed with tablets in mind, Windows 8 emphasizes and works with touchscreen technologies to switch between apps and programs fluidly. The operating system also placed an emphasis on interactive and social tools. Windows 8 provides a number of built-in apps for photo sharing, video editing and email; however, it is through the new Windows Store where users can access thousands of popular apps.
Windows 8 implemented new security features, including two new authentication methods (PINs and picture passwords) built for touchscreens and an improved Windows Defender program. Microsoft released Windows 8 in January of 2013 and updated it through the release of Windows 8.1 in October of the same year.