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Windows 8: the complete guide

Our in-depth guide to Microsoft's new OS

Mail, Calendar and Messaging

Mail brings Hotmail to the touchscreen for the first time. The interface is split into three vertical panes. On the left is a list of folders - or accounts, if you select that from the option bar - followed by the inbox in the middle, and messages on the right. When you enable the accounts view, you can link other email services including Exchange and Gmail.

Windows 8 Mail accounts

Messages are shown in the order they are received, as opposed to threads. Reminder emails are automatically sent for appointments created in the Calendar app. Calendar has the same colour scheme as Mail - grey and green - and can show day week or month views. Even in day view, three days are shown in landscape mode.

Windows 8 email

You can tap on a specific hour to create an appointment. All the usual options you'd expect are displayed in a column on the left including a list of calendars so you can select which one the meeting belongs to. By default you get three: your own, one for birthdays and a third for bank holidays.

Windows 8 Calendar

Messaging is another app that shares a similar design. As with all Metro apps, it's designed to run full-screen, which can feel a little strange on a laptop or PC. Unlike Windows Live Messenger from Windows 7, Messaging displays previous conversation threads so you can jump straight to one and continue chatting if the contact is online.

Internet Explorer

Windows 8 ships with Internet Explorer 10 and the Metro version is radically different from IE9. The interface is hidden until you tap or swipe upwards, giving the entire screen over to displaying the website. Swiping up reveals the address and search bar at the bottom of the screen.

Gone is tabbed browsing: swiping down from the top shows thumbnails of all the sites you have open, and you can scroll right to see the full list or tap the '+' button to open a new site.

Windows 8 Internet Explorer 10

NEXT PAGE: Windows desktop enhancements

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