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.
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.