The upcoming Windows 8 public beta will no doubt offer a myriad of improvements over last year's developer preview. Microsoft has outlined a handful of them in its latest update to the Building Windows 8 blog. The post addresses changes to Explorer, several of which were apparently made in response to user feedback.
Among them: users can now pin folders to their Metro start screen for easy access. The "ribbon" interface is minimized by default in Explorer windows. Explorer now reads EXIF metadata for picture orientation, so JPEG thumbnails will look right. Also, during a network file copy, the OS detects if you plug in an Ethernet cable and automatically switches to the faster connection on the fly, provided both peers on the network are running Windows 8.
I'm pretty excited about that last one. I suspect you'll feel the same way if, like me, you routinely copy a 12GB benchmark suite and tens of gigabytes of Steam game backups to review laptops.
You can check out the complete blog post for a full list of changes and some screenshots. According to The Verge, the Windows 8 public beta is due out next month, so we should all get to see these improvements first-hand very soon.