Many websites have covered what's new in Windows 8 but very few have covered the tools and features that were included in Windows 7 that no longer exist in Windows 8. That's why I decided to make a side by side comparison and identify the programs and features that were removed in Windows 8 and those that have been replaced by newer alternatives. Let's see what I have learned.
Desktop Gadgets - Removed from Windows 8
Even though desktop gadgets were never popular with software developers, many Windows 7 users loved them. In Windows 8, Microsoft decided to remove them, even though they were present in some of the Windows 8 test builds.
The intent is for Windows 8 apps to completely replace the gadgets from Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Also, the Windows Store will definitely help in making Windows 8 apps popular with developers and users alike, a feat never accomplished by gadgets.
Luckily there is an unofficial tool you can use to restore desktop gadgets to Windows 8. More details about it can be found here: How to Use Desktop Gadgets in Windows 8 with 8GadgetPack.
Windows DVD Maker - Removed from Windows 8
Windows DVD Maker was a rather troublesome tool. It was basic, easy to use but also filled with annoying bugs.
Way too many people had troubles using it and I don't think this tool will be missed by many.
Games Folder - Removed from Windows 8
The Games Folder was a rather unused and missunderstood Windows 7 feature, even if was useful.
Even though I use it regularly, I don't think many users will miss it in Windows 8.
Windows CardSpace - Removed from Windows 8
Windows CardSpace was a piece of software that worked with a now defunct identity system created by Microsoft. I never used it and have never seen it being used by others.
I am not sure anyone will even notice it missing from Windows 8.
Start Menu - Replaced by the Start screen
You can say that the Start Menu has been removed from Windows 8. However, that would not be true. It was simply replaced with something else, having the same functionality. The main difference is that it looks different and searches are done a lot faster.
If you want to get acquainted with the new Start screen, don't hesitate to read some of our articles:
Windows 8 Analysis: Is the Start Screen an Improvement vs. the Start Menu?
Introducing Windows 8: Group Shortcuts on the Start Screen and Name Them
Introducing Windows 8: What are the Tiles?.
Windows Explorer - Replaced by File Explorer
In Windows 8, Windows Explorer has been renamed to File Explorer. Also, it features a new ribbon-based interface and some cool enhancements.
To learn more about it, don't hesitate to read these articles:
12 Reasons why Windows Explorer in Windows 8 Rocks
What is the SmartScreen Filter & How Does it Work?.
Parental Controls - Replaced by Family Safety
Parental Controls in Windows 7 were basic and did not provide much in terms of controls. Luckily, in Windows 8 they have been replaced by Family Safety - a much better and more complete tool for managing your children's computing activities.
Backup and Restore - Replaced by File History
Backup and Restore was never a favorite tool for making system images and scheduled backups. Like many other people, I prefered to use third-party solutions for the same job.
Luckily, Windows 8 brings the new File History tool which is a lot more versatile and easier to use.
I can't wait for us to feature it in future tutorials.
Windows Media Center - Optional Purchase in Windows 8
Windows Media Center is no longer part of Windows 8. It is available only as an optional purchase.
Details about this decision and how things will work out can be found here:
Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8
Windows 8 Pro upgrade set for $39.99, Media Center too
If you look at the list of features that have been removed, I don't think you will miss any of them. Yes, there are no more desktop gadgets but Windows 8 apps promise to be so much better. Then, the tools that have been replaced by new alternatives, the only ones that will stir up controversy are the new Start screen and File Explorer. Even though it is going to take a while to get adjusted with them, I would argue that they are better tools than their predecessors.