Microsoft is expected to launch the next version of Windows in 2015 with a public preview coming later this year (possibly as soon as September 30th). But the folks at German site WinFuture seem to have gotten their hands on an early build of the operating system because after releasing a series of photos of Windows 9 or Windows “Threshold” last week, they’ve now released a series of videos showing some of the operating system’s new features.

w9 start menu

One video shows the new Windows Start Menu, which brings back some elements of the Windows 7-style Start Menu, but keeps some elements of the Windows 8 Start Screen including live tiles — although it looks like you can turn the live tiles feature on or off.

Another looks at the new Notification Center, which displays notices from Windows apps as they come in, and provides a single place to see all recent notifications. It works a lot like the notification systems we see on smartphone operating systems, but notifications are confined to relatively small windows on the right side of the screen.

A third video shows the new virtual desktops feature in Windows 9 which lets you create separate workspaces as if you were using multiple monitors. Then you can toggle between desktops. This is a feature that’s been available to OS X and Linux users for years, but up until now you’ve needed third-party apps to use virtual desktops on a Windows system.

WinFuture has also recently released screenshots showing that Microsoft is bringing its Cortana digital assistant software to Windows. Right now the Cortana voice assistant is only available on Windows Phone devices.

via TechCrunch

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24 replies on “Here’s what Windows 9 looks like so far (in video)”

  1. I am still mad they took WMC out of Windows. I used to have a Windows7 PC that I only used as a DVR. Now I understand if you want it you have to pay extra. Not sure if it will even be an option for Windows9. Might have to buy a ChannelMaster+.
    At least it looks like Microsoft has finally knuckled under to the pressure of its users and given them back at least some of what they have been screaming for. The underpinnings of Windows 8/9 are solid. Too bad they keep shooting themselves in the foot with the UI.

    1. For WMC, remember that most people were already opting for free options like VLC and not really using WMC… Never mind still using Media Player Classic with Codec packs, etc…

      And it did cost money for MS to have WMC fully enabled, as it meant they had to cover the cost of the pay for Codecs it used, which they had to pay a licensing fee for every single copy of Windows they put out with it included…

      Add, how many people were pirating copies of Windows and a percentage of people didn’t even know Windows had a WMC and it’s not hard to understand why they opted to make it optional… So, you just have to be using a Pro version of Windows, or higher, to enable it now… Though, as long as you don’t need the codec you can still play other videos/music that don’t require it… and of course there are the other options that most people were using anyway…

      Besides, options like XBMC are much better for home media center setups…

  2. When I moved to Windows 7 for two reasons:

    1) Because my new laptops came with it.
    2) Because new parts and peripherals I bought for my desktop no longer came with Windows XP drivers.

    I suspect the same thing will happen next time around…

    1. And this is why Windows 8.x.y.z selss as well as it does. Most people don’t want it, I know many who swear at it every day, but it was the only game in town for the vast majority of PC buyers. These folks don’t install an OS, they buy a PC.

      1. There’s really no such thing as a OS that everyone wants… We’re all too different to like the same OS configuration and no OS can auto adjust itself for everyone…

        So, whether you’re stuck with one OS that relies on 3rd party solutions to customize or a OS that simply has hundreds of different versions (Linux Distros for example)… There will always be people unhappy with the trade offs and available options that they have to choose from…

        Yes, a lot of people stick to the OS the device comes installed with but this is true of all devices and all OS that those devices comes with and not just Windows…

        Really, you think people would stick to an old version of Android on their device if they bothered to simply download a newer ROM?… Or stick with the 3rd party junk ware their devices came with?

        People, themselves, can upgrade most devices regardless of official support but they typically don’t in most cases and they’re all typically dissatisfied but deal with it anyway…

        While, let’s be real and admit a lot of people are dissatisfied because they simply can’t be bothered to or simply don’t know how to go about customizing their OS… Most complaints of any OS can easily be rectified if people just went that little extra step but for one reason or another they usually don’t…

        Like Penn Taylor joked about, Windows has pretty much always been a less than satisfactory option…

        So the real issue is thus most people need to get more technical and aware of their options… the average lay person needs to get a better minimum skill set as only then can they have any real influence in their user experiences…

        Besides, most people don’t like having to upgrade at all if they can help it… as it means more time, effort, money, etc. and sometimes makes previous such efforts seem pointless by forcing to go through certain processes again and again, like relearning how to use a app because they changed how the UI was set up, or how they organized the system, etc…

        Many companies are also simply invested in legacy software that many of them specifically put in the time and money to develop themselves and have to balance the cost analysis of having to recreate that software over again and retrain its employees…

        Thus why so many are still sticking to XP even though it was never a really stable or secure OS and even now that they have to pay a premium to keep support as the alternative isn’t something they’re ready for… even if it cost them less in the long run to upgrade…

        Mind, they have the option to upgrade to Windows 7 as well but many still aren’t doing it… So, it’s not just Windows 8 they’re avoiding as even with Windows 7 they will have to deal with retraining of employees and needing to create new company apps…

        While there are companies that would otherwise want even Windows 8, as it does provide features that Windows 7 did not that could be very useful to certain usages… Like for servers, you can freely install or uninstall the GUI without needing to reinstall the whole OS each time, which means much like a custom Linux distro you can work from the command line only and avoid the GUI that you really don’t need running on a server and will make it more stable and maintainable…

        So… let’s not exaggerate the situation… A lot of people just need to take more control of their own devices… as there are options and ways for them to have more control but whining and groaning rarely does anything to help…

    2. People don’t buy a PC because they like Windows, but to run their needed software. The problem with Win8 is that, aside from the confusion the change in UI caused, there’s no software that needed Metro.

      Consumers have a choice now. They can simply not buy a new Windows PC, and stick with what they have (Win7). Many new users are making do without a PC, using only a phone & tablet as their computing devices. Most of the public’s interest, and new software advances have moved to mobile platforms. For businesses, they are still buying Win7. MS is no longer calling the shots. Win9 isn’t inevitable, Metro isn’t inevitable. MS can’t force it onto its users any more, unlike in days past.

      1. While presently true, about Metro, but I should point out that’s only because there is no legacy yet… People didn’t need Windows at all when it was first introduced either and it took years of adoption before legacy kicked in and there became a dependency on support for what came before… So that can change, given time and how apps develop for Metro, especially now that W9 onward no longer locks them to just one type of usage and they can start being treated like any other app…

        Really, what most people didn’t like about Metro was simply being full screen all the time and the lack of options/control but the main thing W9 is introducing is more options/control, and doing away with needing everything to be full screen all the time… Covering the main reasons people didn’t like Metro…

        There’s still the lack of graphical eye candy, of course, but that’s a much more minor issue and being able to stay in the desktop and setup your own custom themes should mostly deal with that as well…

        While, we shouldn’t underestimate the appeal of apps that can be more secure, easier to run and able to be run on a wider range of devices, more stable, able to be interactive with live tiles without actually needing to open the apps all the time, etc. Least we forget that legacy desktop apps have their limits and downsides as well that we may be used to and often overlook but they’re there nonetheless…

        1. >it took years of adoption before legacy kicked in and there became a dependency on support for what came before

          Now isn’t then. As said, unlike years past when there was only Windows, now not only Windows has competition, the competition is far ahead of it in mindshare and new software (apps). The “slowly but surely” rationale doesn’t hold any more, not when the competition is also advancing, and continuing to gain yet more mindshare and software. (Third-party) software is the lifeblood of a platform, not the OS.

          >what most people didn’t like about Metro was simply being full screen all the time

          I disagree with the generalization. If I were to boil Metro’s travails down to one point, then it’s MS’ failure to sell touch as a paradigm on PCs. Metro was designed around touch, and is very space-inefficient, since every manipulable element has to be large enough to accomodate a finger, as opposed to the more compact/precise mouse pointer. There’s also the ergonomic drawback of requiring touch for displays 2-3′ away. These physical realities will not change on PCs, regardless of how “good” Metro can become. Hence, Metro aka touch UI will never be popular on “sit-back” computing devices.

          1. Sorry, MS has always had competition and the OS is the platform!… You’re own analogy of lifeblood helps point that out as lifeblood doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have a body to flow through!

            Software is build upon what the OS can support and how the dependencies and kernel are designed… Without that basis to start with then you couldn’t even go about developing the software… So, they always had to start somewhere!

            And no, Metro was never about only touch as you put it… Sorry, but that’s one of the myths about W8 but that one is MS failure to not only sell it but for apparently most people to even understand what Metro really is…

            Now this is the real crux of the matter as MS really messed up on educating the public and that’s the main thing that’s hurt them… Not that they were ever really good at educating the public… aside from their premium channels, you can get far better how-to’s, etc from 3rd party sources… and that has been the status quo for pretty much all of MS history…

            Failure of MS to even get across that RT is not the same as full W8 being a prime example…

            A shame because W8 really was easy to learn… young kids have already easily adapted to it but young kids don’t have pre-conceived bias and don’t mind learning something new…

            Now, with W9, the main thing the new MS management has to really accomplish is educating the public and that appears what they’re shooting for because the preview is much like when they introduced Windows 7…

            It’ll be the first in a series of previews, the requirement of users who try out the preview will even require them to accept automatic monthly updates… These updates will also be like what MS has previously only released annually, like the 8.1 update…

            So, unlike W8, they’re working with user direct feedback for the first time since they released Windows 7…

            While, Spring/Summer of 2015 are only the earliest they’ll release a final release… It could take longer…

            Also, physical realities of PC’s have already started changing… More All In Ones are being sold already, touch screen is becoming standard on laptops/ultrabooks… Alternatives like motion and voice control are being introduced as well…

            Tablet’s being used as remote controls for the PC, house, entertainment, etc is steadily growing…

            Even alternatives like Chromebooks are getting touch screens!

            Linux distro companies like Canonical are already pushing phone/tablet version of Ubuntu…

            2 in 1’s are a continuing growing market… Which will only eventually expand into even wider range of dock options for even wider range of usages…

            So, I’d have to really disagree as the reality of the market trends do not follow what you are suggesting…

  3. I guess I am in the minority, but I like Windows 8 and Windows 9 looks like it will be a nice update. I wouldn’t say I’m excited over it, but as long as it runs well and is as stable as Windows 8 (and is free or a cheap upgrade) I’ll be happy.

    The most interesting part of it to me is the running of Windows store apps on the desktop. This seems to be a nice feature as now developers will be able to write Windows Store apps that work in Modern UI (tablets and Phones) and on the desktop. For developers more exposure to users and for users no being forced into Modern UI (hopefully).

  4. So, Start menu is now an expandable mini-Start screen, there’s virtual desktop, better notifications, and Cortana. Is there anything else for Win9?

    I’m not excited. I don’t like Metro on PCs, aesthetically or functionally, and looks like Win9 will get a heavy dose of Metro directly on the desktop. Win8 was actually better in that the desktop was at least (mostly) Metro-free. ClassicShell won’t be out of a job, after all.

    Before “it’s only a preview” peeps come, yes, some details can be changed, but at this late stage, the crux is what’s shown, that Metro will be merged into the desktop. That will not change.

    Aside from a small fanbase, the Metro UI has never caught on with the public at large. It didn’t help Zune, nor Win8, nor WP, and I don’t see any indication that Win9 will reverse the trend. In fairness, I don’t see any other option for MS than sticking it out with Metro, given the short time window of getting SOMETHING, ANYTHING out quickly to replace the Win8 debacle.

    Win7 users are overdue for replacement buys, and Win9 may improve enough to ride that wave. But I don’t see a resurgence for PCs, nor a boost for MS’ unification effort.

    Yeah, I’ll probably run Win9, as I’m running Win8.x now, mostly for up-to-date driver support. But I have zero interest in MS’ “new UI,” and I’ll be running mostly “legacy” software. Judging from Win8.x’s anemic sales, I’m not alone in this.

    1. It already seems clear this Windows “Treadstone” is going to end up assassinating the Windows product line permanently. Microsoft has not listened and we still have the hated Metro crap and a gimped substitute for the Start Menu.
      Sad though, Windows 7 is getting long in the tooth and there have been some real improvements to Windows under the hood. However this may push more business users to Android and ChromeOS on the desktop instead of dealing with Microsoft anymore. Most point of sale, kiosk, etc. software vendors have made the move already. It seems like the holdouts are PC gamers and foot-dragging business users.

      1. Nope… business have always been foot-draggers! Before XP they held onto NT/2000 for years as well…

        There’s also a continuing myth that any version of Windows was ever quickly adopted when none really were… XP took over three years before it was even considered a stable release over Win95/ME, and Windows 7 never replaced XP as the dominant version of Windows until years after its release and even then only after MS had already announced that they were finally ending official support for XP…

        Fact is, despite all the disquiet over Windows 8 and the hybrid UI it has in fact continued to gain market growth since its release to up to the beginning of this year and the starting rumors of Windows 9… All despite the fact the PC market has been in continual decline all that time… So, no matter how many times you may want to compare it to Vista it was never that bad!

        While the fact also remains the future of PC market will not resemble the past… People are going to continue to find new ways to use technology and the software will have to be able to adapt to that changing market…

        So, yes, MS will have to continue to stick it out because the whole point of Metro is to be forward thinking and preparing the OS for future needs… Like that’s why they’re merging all the Windows platforms together, so they can provide a scalable and flexible solution…

        And no, it doesn’t mean we get stuck with all the problems we originally had with Windows 8… as another Myth is that Metro only has one style or use but it’s really just another platform like Linux that provides improvements in coding, dependencies, future proofing of capabilities and security, and being able to Window them is just the beginning of what will change about them…

        So whine and groan all you may like but there’s no one who is going to stick to the old ways of doing things… Sure, people will resist change but eventually they all have to accept it eventually and it doesn’t really matter if that happens quickly or over a decade or even by generation…

        When the mouse was introduced and GUI first started to be introduced… People whined and groaned then too but after a couple of years it eventually took off… There are other examples where change took more than one try as well but still happened eventually… So, don’t let bias of how it started blind you to its potential…

        There’s a lot of things you can’t do with a traditional desktop and that simple fact will only increasingly become obvious as the market continues to change…

        Really, our phones have already gone through this process… Smart Phones were never the best at everything they do but they became dominant because they were more convenient and eventually they got good enough to ignore their weaknesses and eventually good enough that we forgot we ever compromised to begin with… and now we’re going through a similar process with our PCs…

        1. I agree with most of what you said, but the smartphone part, it’s adoption has more to do with carriers and marketing than to what users want/need!!!

          1. No, even the carriers had to deal with what people want… Sure, there was a lot of trickery and conning on the carrier side but that’s mainly on the services side of things and the phones themselves were developed according to the users needs and wants…

            Really, the most successful business maneuvers are those that take advantage of what people want rather than fully dictate it… The carriers just took advantage of it…

            The main issue with such practices is we don’t always improve as fast as we may like and some things, like device support, often get the short end of the deal but that doesn’t change what really made Smart Phones take over the phone market… and that was simply the fact they are more convenient in most cases…

            Otherwise, people would still be using dedicated devices that do each job much better and companies could make even more money for supporting a wider range of devices than just one…

            Now charging more for text than voice and other similar things is where carriers really got crooked but again, that was on the services side of things… which is also why they promoted contracts, etc. as it didn’t matter to them what you did with your device as long as you used their services as that is really where they make their money…

  5. Yes! Looks awesome. They could have put these options in Windows 8 and avoided all of this…. …. … Either way. I’m liking the option to not be forced into tablet mode and also bringing back the useful awesome start button/menu. I’m getting a new Windows 9 PC. The PC is back!

    1. They could have put these options in Windows 8 and avoided all of this

      No, many of these options weren’t ready for Windows 8… creating a hybrid OS takes time and even now the process is not complete as Windows 9 is just another stepping stone in the direction they started with Windows 8…

      For example, they’re going to merge all the existing Windows platforms from WP to desktop Windows but at this stage they’re only going to merge WP with RT, and the XBox will still remain a separate branch with just limited overlap for now…

      Mind, they also had to establish the new interface with consumers and get developers involved for the improving process to even start… Otherwise we’d still be waiting for original Windows 8 OS release instead of being ready to move onto Windows 9…

      OSX is and example of going the other route and they’re still on version 10 after over a decade, with only incremental updates all that time…

      This can also be reflected in just about any major OS in use… Even mobile Android and iOS didn’t really take off and start getting features until after the developers were involved and starting working with the OS to develop features and apps… Besides show were the infrastructure had to be improved to help future development…

      But the process is started now and we’re further along and can expect more now…

      1. “OSX is and example of going the other route and they’re still on version 10 after over a decade, with only incremental updates all that time…”

        True, but compare the Mach kernel from a decade ago to the NT-branch kernel that XP was based on, and there’s a pretty good justification for why OSX has stood still in terms of under-the-hood fundamentals for much longer.

        1. Not really, under the hood doesn’t change overall functionality or the fact many users have different needs and wants that also change over time…

          One of the reason there are over 600 Linux distros and over 200 active Linux distro projects at any one time is because no OS design is a good fit for everyone and they really only cater to less than 10% of all users… So deal with far less number of variables on the users involved…

          Besides, the Mach kernel has its flaws too and everything can be improved… There’s just a difference for how long some people are willing to wait for such improvement…

          You can probably say people have gotten a bit spoiled with how rapidly the mobile platforms have evolved in just a few short years compared to the over decades for the desktop OS choices… So now a lot of people lose patients a lot quicker and don’t want to give these OS choices the chance to develop and expect more rapid gratification but like many things in life not everything moves at a fast pace…

  6. I like the rumored idea. Keeping the new Start Menu contained within the old Start Menu is just dandy. I have a tried-and-true desktop environment that I enjoy, plus some new features that really improve the experience. I hope that there is an incentive for Windows 7 users to make the jump, because I would love to get this update on the cheap.

  7. Still so flat, boring and full of garish colors. INB4 “you can get third party tools to return Aero Glass”…I don’t want that thanks. So sick of hipster UI designer wannabees trying to fix something that was never broken. They’re just making things worse.

    I think I’ll just stay on 7. Faster boots are nice in 8.1 and probably 9 but it’s not that big of a deal that I need to deal with the abortion UI. Virtual desktops are cool though but again, not a “must have” feature. I give this a solid MEH!

    1. “INB4 “you can get third party tools to return Aero Glass””

      For those of us who have been around since Windows 3.0, this is absolutely hilarious. Come on over to GNU/Linux and stop fretting about Redmond.

      1. Agreed, the Linux desktop has all the necessary features to be efficient and productive.
        Now only the variety of productivity applications is lacking but that will also improve with time.

        1. If they had all my software I use to run my business I’d gladly come over. Thing is, they don’t so I don’t even pay attention.

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