Windows 9 Preview Could Arrive in 2014, Focus on the Desktop

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Windows 9 Preview Could Arrive in 2014, Focus on the Desktop

Windows 8-1 Start Menu 310x

The next version of Windows is expected to bring renewed focus to the traditional desktop.

Microsoft is still hard at work putting together another update to Windows 8.1, but the farther future of its operating system is still in the crosshairs.

ZDNet, ever the fantastic resource for Windows news, has new information on "Threshold," the project that will eventually become Windows 9 (or hopefully Windows Vista 2: Vista Harder).

Threshold will bring a renewed focus to desktop users, or rather Windows users who aren't using a touchscreen to navigate.

The device type that Windows 9 is installed on will dictate the operating system's behavior upon startup. The phone/mobile version of Win9 will not have a Desktop mode, but will retain some desktop/PC features (like side-by-side apps). OS SKUs for hybrid devices, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga line, will be able to switch seamlessly between the touch environment and a desktop.

Windows 9 installed on traditional PCs will boot directly into the desktop you all know (and probably love), while not having access to the touch environment. This version will also have the redesigned Start Menu, which has been a feature sought by Windows users since Win8 first shipped to consumers in October 2012.

All of this is coming in Threshold/Windows 9, which is expected in 2015. A preview (beta?) of the OS is expected later this year, some time after 8.1 Update 2 is delivered in mid-to-late August. Windows 8.1 Update 2 won't have much for desktop users to cheer for; a UI change here, an optimization there, but the mouse and keyboard crowd will likely be unimpressed.

Source: ZDNet

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See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

Gxas:
See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

you know the drill.

98 = Good
2000 = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
7 = Good
8 = Bad
9 = Good?

Fingers crossed eh? :)

I swear Microsoft deliberately makes every other OS radical (and sucky) so that they can sell the next one as 'back to what you want'

Gxas:
See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

Touch screens themselves aren't a gimmick, tablets are firmly embedded and here to stay now. They're completely wiping out the market for netbooks and other low budget laptops at the moment and that sort of thing has Microsoft worried.

What Google are doing is leveraging their dominance of the smartphone market to push their systems onto the tablet market too. Then they're trying to get people hooked onto Google services and applications so that people begin to think 'what I really want is just a PC that can use all these applications too'. That makes the ChromeOS look more attractive and Google are hoping that over time they're going to be able to get the whole world using Google unified services on a GoogleOS with Google hardware.

This could be a serious threat to Microsoft. They're already losing ground in businesses because people want to use the applications that come with the work phone and work tablets.

To counter this, Microsoft are trying to come from the opposite direction. Their phones aren't popular enough to be leverage, so they're trying to adapt their PC OS to work on tablets too. So the people using Windows applications on WidowsOS PCs don't have to switch over OS' and applications when they use their tablet instead. If Microsoft can overtake the tablet market then overtime, if they unify the OS', they'll be able to get into the phone market too and end up safer than before.

We're heading towards a future where relatively few people will actually need or want a full on tower-desktop PC. If MS do nothing then they'll lose their throne. But the problem of combing touch and mouse OS' is hard and they haven't solved it yet.

I'm using a touchscreen right now on my phone...it's great for this usage.

However if I sit down at work I have zero touchscreens. Two computers and three monitors. It's not quite an optimum set up but as a software developer windows 8 is directly detrimental to my work. Luckily I'm on 7 at work but god knows what it would be like if we had enforced upgrade.

Windows 8 feels like it was developed by marketing not by engineers. Mainly because I think you'd struggle to find an engineer who'd think the gui design would benefit their everyday work.

To all Windows 8 users missing the start menu, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you install a program called Pokki. It's the start menu, but better. Came preinstalled on my laptop. As such, I haven't had any issues with Windows 8.

TLDR, install Pokki. Thank me later.

"The device type that Windows 9 is installed on will dictate the operating system's behavior upon startup."

Fuuuuuuck, so they are going to stick with this weird ass hybrid software focus?

Oh joy, I just can't wait for problems to pop up that have nothing to do with the system I'm using, that'll be fun to solve.

What could possibly go wrong?

The problem is not Windows 8. Having recently moved to a new laptop with no official downgrade option, I gave it a try - latest Win 8.1, a variety of Start Menu alternatives. But what got to me eventually was Metro UI. There is no synergy between the two. One moment you are in the same window format as 7 (for all practical purposes) and the next you are forced into the clunky "must be full screen, and let's hide the window bar" Metro UI. I would pay good money for Windows 8.1 with the full Windows 7 Aero window scheme. Instead I did the next best thing and downgraded.

Really Microsoft - how could you design a Windows desktop interface that is clunky to use with a keyboard and mouse?

Devin Connors:
Windows 9 installed on traditional PCs will boot directly into the desktop you all know (and probably love), while not having access to the touch environment.

I hope they don't completely dump touch screen functions altogether, I have been using a secondary 19" cheap (80) panel in portrait mode as a secondary touch screen to throw programs like team speak, vent and browser over there while running full screen apps like games on the main screen.

Microsoft. Reinventing the motherfucking wheel.

I want to be able to completely remove apps/Metro/touch screen mode type thing. I want to remove it so that I don't even have the option of getting it back in case I lose my mind and I express a desire to do so. If I can't do that then so long Microsoft. It was nice knowing you.

"Vista 2: Vista harder"

no no no no nonononononono! vista was the BAD ONE.....give us "Windows 9-7: Triple 7's". Instead of a pinball game, you get an arcadey slot machine game! =D

OT: drop freaking metro, period. or do what apple does. the underlying architecture across platforms is relatively similar, but DO THE WORK and make MULTIPLE versions for different hardware needs. I know you guys are feelin all smug still "its the ONE environment they'll need" but no.......an OS that decides what its going to be when its installing based on hardware is a BAD idea guys, leave that in the hands of the techs installing.....who (we hope anyway) actually KNOW what they want the OS to do! automation to that degree of assumption is great AFTER everything is set up, not during.

Valderis:

"The device type that Windows 9 is installed on will dictate the operating system's behavior upon startup."

Fuuuuuuck, so they are going to stick with this weird ass hybrid software focus?

Oh joy, I just can't wait for problems to pop up that have nothing to do with the system I'm using, that'll be fun to solve.

What could possibly go wrong?

It's more likely this: If you have a touch screen, it'll give you the touch interface, if you don't have a touch screen, it'll boot as normal into desktop.

It still looks like the shitty Windows 8 plain and dull theme. Bring back Windows 7's transperancy and cool looks. Windows 8 is the manifestation of Microsoft, plain, dull and boring, it looks old before it's even released. Seriously this is meant to be a professional office OS yet it has bright flat colours like a child's 'my first computer'.

The problem is that the former Windows Mobile team took over the desktop with Windows 8, hence the insane touchscreen focus. The same guys are still in charge, so I expect Win9 to be a cosmetic change at best.

Unless and until Microsoft decides to create an operating system for PCs once more, I am not interested in their new OSs. My hopes are on Linux, with SteamOS giving gaming a much needed boost.

Here's an idea Microsoft, how about focusing on making the OSes you've already made better and more user friendly instead of releasing a new one every 2 or 3 years with only marginal improvements at the very best and a crappy barely functional OS at worst while removing support for the previous OSes just to force people to buy that new OS?

And I'm sticking with 7. What do I need 8 for, let alone 9?

Eiv:

Gxas:
See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

you know the drill.

98 = Good
2000 = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
7 = Good
8 = Bad
9 = Good?

Fingers crossed eh? :)

This does seem to be following the pattern. Moving away from the standard desktop/start menu and making Bing incorporation a primary feature were 2 HUGE mistakes. I'm glad to see at least one of those now rectified. The whole "be like Minority Report" idea would only work if you had multiple, transparent screens to swap objects between, with an overall theme that's less Windows brightly colored tiles and more Skynet, utilitarian with neon blues and grays, for that new, yet worn in look.

immortalfrieza:
Here's an idea Microsoft, how about focusing on making the OSes you've already made better and more user friendly instead of releasing a new one every 2 or 3 years with only marginal improvements at the very best and a crappy barely functional OS at worst while removing support for the previous OSes just to force people to buy that new OS?

you know, I couldn't help but think some of EA as I read this........

It's nice to see Microsoft acknowledging that you can't make a one size fits all operating system that works perfectly for all platforms. I don't know why they ever thought they could, though I'll admit the more recent versions of Windows 8.1 do about as good of a job accommodating both as I could expect.

Gxas:
See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

Oh how I hate the word gimmick. I hate it so much. It's such an empty word one can use to tear down an idea without actually devoting any thought to it.

So what makes touchscreens a gimmick, but the mouse not a gimmick? Because you like using a mouse more? Because the mouse came first? Because the mouse was the accepted norm for a long time? Both technologies have their advantages, the mouse is certainly ideal for playing FPSs, but terrible for drawing or anything that requires dexterity. Touchscreens on the other hand are faster, more intuitive, and don't require a desk or plat surface, but lack the precision of a mouse pointer and require you to cover part of the screen with your hand. Neither is objectively better, which is why they both still exist.

If it seems like touchscreens are getting preferential treatment it's likely because it's easier to use a mouse on a UI designed for a touchscreen than the other way around. Ideally a UI should be tailor fitted to the input and output being used on it, but if forced to go with only one, a touchscreen UI is more accommodating overall.

RicoADF:
It still looks like the shitty Windows 8 plain and dull theme. Bring back Windows 7's transperancy and cool looks. Windows 8 is the manifestation of Microsoft, plain, dull and boring, it looks old before it's even released. Seriously this is meant to be a professional office OS yet it has bright flat colours like a child's 'my first computer'.

While I'm not going to tell you that your opinion is wrong, I think you'll find the movement away from skeumorphic design languages is pretty universal, and for a reason. The shiney, glossy, semi-transparent look of windows Aero was not only functionless (and distracting IMO) but also took up more graphical resources. Transparency is especially weird since all it does is make windows on top less easily visible. Ultimately the purpose of an interface is not to look flashy and cool but to provide information and functionality.

Look, as revolutionary as a touchscreen is (well, they have been around for decades already), a mouse and keypad are visually unobtrusive, your hands aren't covering up part of the screen every time you try to do something. Can you imagine trying to play Call of Duty or Battlefield on a touchscreen?

They stopped the support of XP to finish this of for the end of the year?

Who the hell do they think they are, Ubisoft?

Windows 8.1 already delivers in that respect. You can already boot directly to desktop if you're on a PC.
The "problem" has to do with Microsoft's original vision of creating a hybrid system - a OS which works both on touch screen devices and with keyboard and mouse.

Now that's apparently too ambitious but it makes sense in a world where the majority of all computer users prefers tablet devices but the PC legacy is still vital for getting things done. Why force users to use two devices when that one tablet is more than enough powerful to work as a swift tablet while also running your legacy PC apps? All you need is hardware that supports both use cases - and the Surface is supposed to work like that. "Supposed to", as in it doesn't necessarily work flawlessly right now.

RicoADF:
It still looks like the shitty Windows 8 plain and dull theme. Bring back Windows 7's transperancy and cool looks. Windows 8 is the manifestation of Microsoft, plain, dull and boring, it looks old before it's even released. Seriously this is meant to be a professional office OS yet it has bright flat colours like a child's 'my first computer'.

So much this. The only reason I can think of that they did this was because they wanted to save on system resources. That is it.

Eiv:

Gxas:
See, this I can get behind. I still don't know why companies are so intent on pushing touch-screen (or motion controls, or 3D) as the primary option.

A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick.

As much as we might say, "Hey, that computer thing from Minority Report looks cool." I definitely don't want that at all. I like my keyboard and mouse. It works perfectly.

Maybe I'll have another Windows OS to upgrade to in the future. Still sticking with 7 right now, though.

you know the drill.

98 = Good
2000 = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
7 = Good
8 = Bad
9 = Good?

Fingers crossed eh? :)

I dunno. Given some of the trends we've been seeing in a lot of the tech industries these days, I'm not sure we'll keep with the cycle. It's a strong possibility Microsoft will deal us a big, steaming pile of "deal with it".

I'm a little worried about the future of things. And the collective consumer rear end.

Honestly, I rather liked the idea of a full-screen Start menu that comes up automatically when you start, and can be customized and paged through. I know too many people, and you probably do too, who bury their desktop in shortcut icons because clicking the button that auto-minimizes everything and double-clicking whatever app they want to launch is still quicker than hunting through the whole All Programs menu. (The lab computers at my college were like this - literally every app, arranged alphabetically, exactly filling the desktop.) I bet almost anything Apple had that in mind when they designed the iPhone's home screen. Meanwhile, how often does anyone need to have the Start menu open and still see most of the rest of their screen?

The problem is the Metro theme and the integration with full-screen apps designed for Windows Phone Big Screen Edition. It looks radically different from everything else and never lets you forget that your desktop is a ghetto, allowed to stay for now but generally considered an eyesore by the rich tablet apps that live uptown and liable to be bulldozed to put in another shopping district any year now. Hell, they could even keep some elements of the flat Metro style around. Reduce the color variety to maybe two or three at a time with the ability to customize the scheme Windows 98-style, use the monochrome white icons for toolbars while keeping the Vista-style icons for actual files and folders and app logos, make the window theme into something like a more modern version of the Watercolor theme from the XP beta.

Someone Depressing:
They stopped the support of XP to finish this of for the end of the year?

Who the hell do they think they are, Ubisoft?

Windows XP was literally 13 years old. If you're the kind of person who still thinks XP was the last version of Windows worth using, maybe it's time to stop using Windows, period.

Someone Depressing:
They stopped the support of XP to finish this of for the end of the year?

Who the hell do they think they are, Ubisoft?

Nice username. Fits perfectly.

OT: Hey, I'm up for it if it continues the increasingly hilarious "rebounding quality pattern" that Windows is increasingly famous for.

Olas:

While I'm not going to tell you that your opinion is wrong, I think you'll find the movement away from skeumorphic design languages is pretty universal, and for a reason. The shiney, glossy, semi-transparent look of windows Aero was not only functionless (and distracting IMO) but also took up more graphical resources. Transparency is especially weird since all it does is make windows on top less easily visible. Ultimately the purpose of an interface is not to look flashy and cool but to provide information and functionality.

Quite true, however I find Windows 8/8.1 performs worse than 7 (both performance and compatability with games), the interface gets in the way and offers only downsides with no upside to make it worth having over 7. The looks are basically the icing on the cake, not only does it perform worse but it looks like ass too, sort of speak. Windows 7 runs smooth and looks great while being functional, I use it at home and work and hate using 8 on my laptop, will be wiping it and putting 7 on soon, I've given 8 and 8.1 a chance since December, still does nothing but piss me off, I think I've given it enough of a chance.

Eiv:
[...]

you know the drill.

98 = Good
2000 = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
7 = Good
8 = Bad
9 = Good?

Fingers crossed eh? :)

Win2000 was bad?
As someone who's run PC's, servers, and work machines... Are you shitting me? 2000ran everything I threw at it, and it was probably the smoothest OS I've had to work for it's time.

And, for people who work with a technology perspective, 8 isn't bad either. People just... Couldn't adapt. So, they complained instead. Vista had some problems in a few places. I'll give you that one.

Personally, This article tells me nothing other than the OS is to ship. 8 was the half-way point to a brand new back-end... So I predict we'll run into some compatibility problems with 9 as we finally drop copious amounts of old architecture and DLL's, and drop 32 bit. (Good god I fucking hope they drop 32 bit. I'm leaving the IT Industry, so it's someone else's problem at that point.) Sad to see they're devolving back to that corner, if you ask me. I've gotten quite used to the Start Screen.

immortalfrieza:
Here's an idea Microsoft, how about focusing on making the OSes you've already made better and more user friendly instead of releasing a new one every 2 or 3 years with only marginal improvements at the very best and a crappy barely functional OS at worst while removing support for the previous OSes just to force people to buy that new OS?

That's just not going to happen right now. Apple's been doing this for some time, and as of late, Apple has become a threat. When Microsoft detects a threat, it pushes out a binge of updates and new products in that sector. They're strong-arming and fighting back pretty hard.

Aside, last time we had MS focus on just one thing, we had XP. At the time, it was pretty sweet, but for a while before Vista came out, most of us were thinking... "This is getting old. We really need something a little more functional." Though, I agree... Give us a few more years before pushing out the next best thing.

Adorable kitty, BTW. :3

Windows 8's problem wasn't that they tried to make a universal OS it was trying to expand its market into first party tablets and phones. I use VMWare a lot at work form a system admin POV and using a OS that can be used on any device makes a lot of sense in fact I see this is where the future of all computers (phone and tablets too) are going. I do see an issue with the program that recognizes the type of computer but I imagine that it will be an easy switch once you log in.

As much as I know it could very well be worse, I really can't see how much worse Windows can get than Microsoft 8 (no, vista was not nearly as fucking annoying, don't care what you say).

Every experience I've had with Windows 8 has just been a headache of me trying to figure out where everything has been moved to, how to close and or do things that I don't have to think about at all on ANY OTHER Windows OS. Windows 8 was a colossal failure of OS's and I'll be glad when it's gone. That said, I'm not going to just jump ship and upgrade to Windows 9 until I play around with it a bit and see if the layout is reasonable and not designed by a person who had their head stuck in a gas-oven for a year before they pulled him out to draw what he thought made perfect sense for a Windows OS PC layout.

I see they're still going with the ugly Fisher-Price "My First OS" look of Metro, though. It seems at least marginally better than Windows 8, but I certainly hope I can remove those godawful tiles from the start menu. I can't wait for this current hideous design fad of flat tiles to die and we can return to skeuomorphism.

I plan on skipping windows 8 altogether. Windows 7 has given me absolutely no troubles.

I even had the chance to buy a full copy of Windows 8 pro for $18 when it first launched (through work) and I declined.

Everytime I have to fix a friends/family members computer that has windows 8 on it I just get frustrated, it's the most unintuitive interface for a mouse/trackpad and keyboard I have ever used, it's just horrible.

You shouldn't have to download mods and 3rd party programs just to make an OS usable.

Does not tell us much, but i shouldnt expect much from MS anyway. Its good that desktop is now the default enviroment again, it was popular for a reason.
I see that they are still trying to force their "tiles" design into the start menu though. looks like half of start menu is fine, other half is "omg not this again". Probably will be back to "OS needs mods to function".

BeerTent:

Win2000 was bad?
As someone who's run PC's, servers, and work machines... Are you shitting me? 2000ran everything I threw at it, and it was probably the smoothest OS I've had to work for it's time.

2000 was "so good it was bad". as you say, it ran anything you threw at it. thats because it was designed to have every driver, dll, ect that ever could possibly be needed. this was the OS downfall however, as it would constantly get lost within its own mountain of drivers and break apart. it was designed to run everything, ended up not being able to run anything well. jack of all trades, master of none.

lostlambda:
I do see an issue with the program that recognizes the type of computer but I imagine that it will be an easy switch once you log in.

considering how since XP MS has been dumbing down its messages (to the point where it flat out tells you its "installing some things". What stuff, tell me, EXACTLY). and disabling user controls and even acess (no true admin mode now unless you force it for every process manually), i wouldnt put it past them to hide this so well that people would need to do registry edits to access.

Yay... Just like how windows 7 made every vista user a happy camper. As fast as and optimized as windows 8 is, it is a COLOSSAL pain. USB's powering off randomly, having to log out in order to kill a process that freezes up.

That's a nice bit of a backtrack. I guess not being able to sell Windows to corporations must have stung a little...

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