An internal beta build of Microsoft’s next Windows codenamed “Threshold” aka Windows 9 has slipped out of Redmond labs. A couple of German websites, winfuture.de and computerbase.de have published about twenty screenshots and a video of alleged Windows Technical Preview Build 9834.
Microsoft hasn’t officially commented on the moniker of “Threshold” yet, the exception being Microsoft China accidently published a Windows 9 logo two weeks ago. Although the Redmond giant has been rebranding things for a while, the company may come with its first cross-platform solution named “Windows” only (Microsoft looks to drop the “Windows Phone” name for its mobile OS).
To the casual observer, Build 9834 shows some progress over Windows 8.1 Update 1 that was released early April at the BUILD 2014 conference. The leaked screenshots also reveal that the Technical Preview contains more than simple tweaks and hints at what Threshold may bring to the table when it’s released during the spring of 2015.
Internally, Threshold has been bumped from 6.3 (Windows 8.1) to 6.4 or to be precise, 6.4.9834 in the leaked build. Reportedly, the build is being served to partners via the company’s Microsoft Connect program and should be the last beta before Windows 9 goes to public later this month or early October.
Microsoft has brought back the revamped Start Menu, and added new notifications center, window-ed apps, and virtual desktops.
The ergonomics of the new Start Menu are quite similar to the old version, except the right pane shows a small vertical start screen instead of personal folders and system locations. Power options, user’s profile, and folders are now in the left pane (on the top) of the Start Menu.
On the Taskbar, there’re two new buttons next to the Start button: the search and the virtual desktops. “Virtual Desktops” will allow users to run and switch between apps and groups of apps viewing one work space at a time like Apple’s OS X and Linux.
Earlier, there were some rumors that the Charms bar would be removed, at least for desktop users; however the Charms bar is still there – in this release – and can be turned on or off, although the window-ed apps will have the Charms bar options and app commands in Title bar context menu individually as per app’s contracts and extensions.
While far from complete, the Notifications center is finally added, which manages system notifications and alerts from different apps. The notifications list will appear at the bottom right corner and can be accessed by clicking the Notification icon – left to the system tray icons – in the Taskbar. Will it be able take action on notifications? The feature is still in question.
One other noteworthy change coming to Windows 9 is Internet Explorer 12 UI, reported by neowin.net. The Redmond developers are reportedly going for a complete overhaul of IE. The new Internet Explorer will be flat – as IE 11 – but the tabs will be shifted on the top of address bar like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, while the back, forward and refresh buttons will be placed right before the address bar.
Additionally, the installation or deployment process is still same and makes use of the Windows Pre-installation Environment.
Watch “Windows 9’s Start Menu in action” video:
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