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Windows 8's multimonitor support means you can have modern-style applications and the Start screen on one monitor, and a traditional desktop on the other — and just drag and drop modern apps from screen to screen to switch between the two.
Microsoft has given Windows 8 a series of attractive widescreen backdrops that work across two screens. If they're different sizes you'll need to tweak things manually, but two identical monitors will get the whole image, automatically.
If you're worried about backing up data, Windows 8's new File History tool will take snapshots of your documents every few minutes and store them on an external hard disk or a network share. Once stored you can use a viewer to scrub through all your previous versions to find the file you need.