Windows Reader is a new program that Microsoft has developed exclusively for the Windows 8 operating system. The reader is integrated into the Consumer Preview version of the operating system, so that it can be checked out by everyone.
Windows Reader will open all pdf documents by default, regardless of their origin. The Metro UI app opens local pdf documents and those that you download from the Internet. Windows users who prefer a different pdf reader can install it on the system to associate pdf documents with the program instead. The core benefit of Windows Reader is that it adds native pdf support to the Windows operating system, so that you do not need to install a third party application anymore for that. Windows Reader on the other hand is just a document viewer, it cannot be used to modify pdf documents in any way.
The program is not added to the start page by default, which makes sense as it is opened automatically when you click on a pdf file. You can however easily add the program to the start page. When in Metro, enter Windows Reader, and right-click the result afterwards. This pins the program to the start page. You can then launch it with a click, and open pdf documents from within.
The fullscreen app displays only the opened document on the screen. A right-click displays a toolbar at the bottom that lets you open, save and find documents, switch between a one or two pages layout or rotate documents.
When you use find or open to load pdf documents, you are taken to a filtered view of My Documents where only pdf documents are visible and every other file is hidden from view.
Windows Reader is a basic pdf reader, comparable to the built-in pdf reader of the Google Chrome browser. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially so for users who just need a program to access the occasional pdf document on their computer. The inclusion makes sense from a usability point of view, and maybe even security, considering that the most popular pdf reader, Adobe Reader, is also one of the most attacked.