In the latest Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft's Billie Sue Chafins details some of the improvements and changes made to Windows' boot and diagnostic screens to make them more touch-friendly, and also to take advantage of the UEFI technology supported by an increasing number of new PCs.

Apart from the improvements in speed, which we talked about awhile back, Windows 8 is going to replace the MS-DOS-style pre-boot screens with big clickable buttons and a simple GUI - examples shown included OS dual-booting, Windows troubleshooting, and a boot device selection screen (currently handled in an inconsistent fashion by the BIOS on most PCs). You can also use this simple GUI to choose your default operating system, specify how long the computer will wait before booting the default OS, and some other things previously accessible only to people comfortable editing their Boot.ini file in a text editor.

Microsoft's screenshots also show that the on-screen touch keyboard is available not just in the fully booted OS, but also in these pre-boot screens. To see the interface in action, you can look at Microsoft's video, and you can also check out the full post over at the Building Windows 8 blog.

Source: Building Windows 8 blog

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  • nagi603 - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    As I can manipulate the bios with a wacom pen on my quite old Fujitsu Stylistic, this is quite welcome, but not nearly new. The problem so far was that the manufacturers went with the "ehh, it was good enough for the last decade, why change it?" approach.
  • Ronakbhai - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    "Let’s say you’re someone who has multiple copies or versions of Windows installed on a PC. In Windows 8, you will be presented with a high-fidelity, immersive, touchable UI where you can select which OS to boot with a single tap"
    - (

    In all honesty, if I had Windows 8, I would expect it to supersede ALL previous iterations of Windows. Right now I have Windows 7 installed, and there is really no need to have any previous version installed concurrently.

    Though, I might go ahead and try to install every copy of Windows possible to see how many pop up on that screen. :P
  • Canbacon - Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - link

    For me on my test PC I have XP, Vista 32bit Enterprise, Vista 64bit German, Win7 64bit ENG, Win7 64bit FR and Win8 installed.

    For the default OS, it is Win8 just like previous windows boot loader functionality (latest installed will be default). It is basically the same as the screenshot in the article but more boxes and it will scroll if there are too many to display at once on the screen.

    I prefer this new boot loader since the current (XP/Vista/Win7) does not inform the user of more OSs installed than initially displayed choices.
  • MadMinstrel - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    A bootloader that only loads Windows rather than any OS you throw at it? Pointless, useless, stupid.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    ..and you expect MS to provide access to other operating systems because...?
  • sgtrock1us - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    No, I expect my hardware vendors to provide access to other operating systems. Like some bit-heads, I've been dual-booting between Windows and Linux for about a decade. This position by Microsoft forces a hardware vendor to choose between Windows only or no Windows, which means that I would not be able to continue doing this. This, for me, is HUGE.

    Also, consider what happens in a virtual machine environment. Guest OSes can't see the hardware, so how will this be abstracted for a Windows 8 guest? How about a situation where Linux, BSD, and Windows guests are running on a set of hosts that are managed centrally? (Not uncommon in in server environments today.)
  • danielkza - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - link

    You can boot any operating system through Windows' bootloader. Google EasyBCD for an easy way to do it.
  • dfghdfshhh - Friday, September 23, 2011 - link

    Come go and see, will not regret it Oh look


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