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The search bar allows you to search through your various applications, or the web, for content or websites. This search bar is only a swipe and a tap away at all times, even if you are in the regular Windows desktop.
The settings bar is also only a swipe and a tap away, giving you a rich and up-to-date view of your network and other controls. From here, you can change your language settings, the brightness of the device or screen (if you are on a tablet), see your notifications from other applications and alter the volume. You can also access application preferences here, too.
Notifications are also different, here in Windows 8. Sporting the new Metro user interface, it appears when a system-change has occured. In this case, a USB drive has been plugged in and a list of available options appear. These options can include configuring it for backup, speeding up the computer -- or simply opening the device to the desktop. Other devices will react differently, such as optical media or external peripherals.