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Changes in Windows 8

Quick Overview


Microsoft Windows 8

New Start Screen
The new Start screen has all of the information you care about in one place, such as your contacts, the weather, and the next appointment on your calendar. Windows 8 is truly yours: websites, news, people, contacts, and your favorite apps are front and center. Because you decide how to organize and group things on the screen, viewing and interacting with content is faster than ever. The tiles on your Start screen are brimming with content, and they change and update in real time so you can see what’s going on and stay on top of things.

Even Better Than Windows 7
Behind the new look of Windows 8 is the rock-solid foundation you’ve come to expect from Windows 7. Just like Windows 7, security and reliability features are built into Windows 8. Everything that was great about Windows 7 is even better.

Windows 8 is hands-on and designed to eliminate the need to choose between this and that. Because you work in different ways depending on which app you’re using, Windows 8 makes it easy to use touch or mouse and keyboard, whichever method works best. And the most efficient way to get stuff done is immediately available. Whether you’re browsing apps, reading a book, or typing on the go with touch, creating a project that requires the precision of mouse and keyboard, or doing everything at once, Windows 8 makes it easy. You use whatever works best, whenever it works best.

Windows 8 also incorporates the familiar PC desktop that you know today. In the desktop, you’ll see that the settings and features you used in Windows 7 are still there. Plus, the majority of your existing apps that run on Windows 7 will run on Windows 8.

Apps are the heart of Windows 8. Windows 8 provides you with built in apps, and access to the Windows store where you can easily browse, try, buy and manage apps for thousands of apps. Windows 8 apps are full-screen, immersive and designed to work together with things like contracts that allow search and sharing.

Sign in to your Windows 8 device with your Microsoft account and you’re immediately connected to the people, files, and settings you care about. Your PC comes to life with all the things that make Windows yours, including your Start page, themes, language preferences, browsing history and browser favorites. You can connect your favorite services to your Microsoft account, too–services like Microsoft Hotmail, Microsoft Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. And you can immediately get to your photos, docs, and other files, whether they’re on Microsoft SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr, or other services.


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Upgrade Windows Server 2012

Evaluation Versions and Upgrade Options for Windows Server 2012

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Published: August 15, 2012

Updated: August 15, 2012

Applies To: Windows Server 2012

This document summarizes key information about evaluation versions of Windows Server® 2012, including where to obtain them, the limits on their use, and how to convert them to full retail versions. It also summarizes the supported upgrade paths from previously licensed retail versions of Windows Server to Windows Server 2012.

Fully functional time-limited evaluation versions of Windows Server 2012 are available for the following editions:

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Windows Server® 2012 Essentials

These evaluation versions are 64-bit only and can be installed with the Server Core option or the Server with a GUI option. For more information about these installation options, how to convert between them, and how to use the new Minimal Server Interface and Features on Demand, see

For all editions, you have 10 days to complete online activation, at which point the evaluation period begins and runs for 180 days. During the evaluation period, a notification on the Desktop displays the days remaining the evaluation period (except in Windows Server 2012 Essentials). You can also run slmgr.vbs /dlv from an elevated command prompt to see the time remaining.

You can get evaluation versions by the following methods:

All evaluation versions are fully functional during the evaluation period, although booting to Safe mode is not available. The Windows Server 2012 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter editions come with the activation key pre-installed. After the 180-day evaluation period elapses, the server warns you in various ways depending on the edition:

Windows Server 2012 Standard; Windows Server 2012 Datacenter:

  • The following warning appears on the Desktop: Windows License is expired
  • When you log on to Windows, you are prompted with the following options:
    • Activate now
    • Ask me later
  • The system shuts down every hour.
  • The only updates that can be installed are security updates.
  • Event ID 100 from source WLMS “The license period for this installation of Windows has expired. The operating system will shut down every hour.” appears in the Application log.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials: you receive warnings on the Desktop and on the dashboard, but the server does not shut down.

Most evaluation versions can be converted to full retail versions, but the method varies slightly depending on the edition. Before you attempt to convert the version, verify that your server is actually running an evaluation version. To do this, do either of the following:

  1. From an elevated command prompt, run slmgr.vbs /dlv; evaluation versions will include “EVAL” in the output.
  2. From the Start screen, open Control Panel. Open System and Security, and then System. View Windows activation status in the Windows activation area of the System page. Click View details in Windows activation for more information about your Windows activation status.

If you have already activated Windows, the Desktop shows the time remaining in the evaluation period.

If the server is running a retail version instead of an evaluation version, see the “Upgrading previous licensed versions” section of this document for instructions to upgrade to Windows Server 2012.

For Windows Server 2012 Essentials: You can convert to the full retail version by entering a retail, volume license, or OEM key in the command slmgr.vbs.

If the server is running an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 Standard or Windows Server 2012 Datacenter, you can convert it to a retail version as follows:

  1. If the server is a domain controller, you cannot convert it to a retail version. In this case, install an additional domain controller on a server that runs a retail version and remove AD DS from the domain controller that runs on the evaluation version. For more information, see
  2. Read the license terms.
  3. From an elevated command prompt, determine the current edition name with the command DISM /online /Get-CurrentEdition. Make note of the edition ID, an abbreviated form of the edition name. Then run DISM /online /Set-Edition:<edition ID> /ProductKey:XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX /AcceptEula, providing the edition ID and a retail product key. The server will restart twice.

For the evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 Standard, you can also convert to the retail version of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter in one step using this same command and the appropriate product key.

For more information about Dism.exe, see


The table below briefly summarizes which already licensed (that is, not evaluation) Windows operating systems can be upgraded to which editions of Windows Server 2012.

Note the following general guidelines for supported paths:

  • In-place upgrades from 32-bit to 64-bit architectures are not supported. All editions of Windows Server 2012 are 64-bit only.
  • In-place upgrades from one language to another are not supported.
  • In-place upgrades from one build type (fre to chk, for example) are not supported.
  • If the server is a domain controller, see for important information.
  • Upgrades from pre-release versions of Windows Server 2012 (such as the Release Candidate) are not supported. Perform a clean installation to Windows Server 2012.
  • Upgrades that switch from a Server Core installation to the Server with a GUI mode of Windows Server 2012 in one step (and vice versa) are not supported. However, after upgrade is complete, Windows Server 2012 allows you to switch freely between Server Core and Server with a GUI modes. For more information about these installation options, how to convert between them, and how to use the new Minimal Server Interface and Features on Demand, see
  • If you do not see your current version in the left column, upgrading to this release of Windows Server 2012 is not supported.If you see more than one edition in the right column, upgrade to either edition from the same starting version is supported.


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Windows XP Expires

Support for Windows 2000 and Windows XP Service Pack 2 expires today

Microsoft LogoAs previously announced, extended support for a number of Microsoft products expires today, July 13th, 2010. Affected products include Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and all versions of Windows 2000, including Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server. After today, Microsoft will no longer fix even critical security vulnerabilities, but will maintain its knowledge base as an online help resource.

Microsoft usually supports Service Packs for up to 12 months after the release of their respective successors. In the case of Windows XP SP2 (32-bit), however, due to customer demand Microsoft extended this to 24 months for Windows XP SP2. This does not, however, relate to support for the operating system itself, which will run until 2014 – longer than for some versions of Windows Vista. From now on Microsoft will only support XP users who have installed Service Pack 3.

The initial support phase for all versions of Windows Server 2003 also comes to an end today. It will now enter its second support phase, in which Microsoft will only release free patches for security vulnerabilities which the company classifies as critical. This second phase expires on the 14th of July, 2015.



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Microsoft Server 2012

It’s Here – Windows Server 2012

Realizing the Vision

As the foundation of Microsoft’s Cloud OS platform, Windows Server 2012 provides powerful new technologies to the enable transformation to a modern data center platform with the goal to effectively address opportunities created by IT trends and to better meet today’s business needs with agility and efficiency.Windows Server 2012 delivers upon the promises of a modern data center in four ways:

  1. It takes you beyond virtualization: Windows Server 2012 offers a dynamic, multitenant infrastructure that goes beyond virtualization to provide maximum flexibility for delivering and connecting to cloud services.
  2. It delivers the power of many servers with the simplicity of one: Windows Server 2012 offers excellent economics by integrating a continuously available and easy-to-manage multiple-server platform with breakthrough efficiency and ubiquitous automation.
  3. It opens the door to every app on any cloud: Windows Server 2012 is a broad, scalable, and elastic server platform that gives organizations the flexibility to build and deploy applications and websites on-premises, in the cloud, and in a hybrid environment, using a consistent set of tools and frameworks.
  4. It enables a modern workstyle: Windows Server 2012 empowers IT to provide users with flexible access to data and applications from virtually anywhere, on virtually any device, with a rich user experience, while simplifying management and helping maintain security, control, and compliance