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Windows 8 Desktop Search to be 'Easiest Ever'

Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will let you search your Desktop simply by typing words when you are looking at the Start screen, without you having to open up a search box.

Microsoft's forthcoming operating system, which is expected to launch in the second half of 2012, will also contain a search 'charm' that will let you search for apps, programs, settings and documents, though simply typing will work as well. Microsoft says Windows 8 "makes it easier than ever" to search your PC.

However, you won't be able to search through everything from the Start page. If you want to search your emails, for example, you'll have to go to your in box, because file search results will no longer include emails and contacts. Microsoft says that less than 0.05 per cent of searches in Windows are for email.

Microsoft will also change the Task Manager in Windows 8 to make it easier to see which programs are running and monitor the resources they are using. When you open the new Task Manager, all running programs will be listed. Clicking the More Details tab will show you how much strain they are putting on the processor, memory and hard disk, as well as how much bandwidth they are using.

Programs that are hogging resources are highlighted in red, so you can quickly see what's slowing everything down. If a program has crashed, you'll see the words 'Not Responding' next to it. Selecting the program and clicking the End Task button will close it. You will not see the 'Are you sure?' message that comes up in Windows 7.

Windows 8 'Ultrabooks' coming next year

Intel and Microsoft have announced that Ultrabooks running Windows 8 will be available to buy next year, though there is no exact date yet. Ultrabooks are thin and light laptops that use power-efficient Intel processors. Their touchscreens will take advantage of Windows 8's Metro interface, which uses larger tiles, rather than icons, to launch programs. Ultrabooks use solid -state flash memory rather than traditional hard disks, making them faster, lighter and more efficient. The first Ultrabooks, manufactured by brands including Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Toshiba, will cost around £600 and launch before the end of this year, though they will be based on Windows 7.