Based on leaked screenshots found on the website of well-known Russian leaker WZor, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is hard at work putting the finishing touches on a major update to their widely panned Windows 8 operating system. Furthermore, it appears Microsoft has listened to the masses and you’ll soon be able to “pin” your favorite apps to the taskbar in desktop mode like you could in earlier Windows versions.

Windows 8

The two worlds of Windows 8

Windows 8 is an unhappy tale of two worlds. It includes the “desktop mode” which looks like the regular Windows interface, and a “modern mode” designed for touchscreen devices such as tablets and hybrid machines. Unfortunately, you can only access apps in modern mode in Windows 8, which is time-consuming and requires several steps that some users find difficult to remember. The good news is it looks like the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 update will let you keep click-to-open app icons on the taskbar in desktop mode.

Windows 9 on the horizon

Several inside sources have confirmed over the last few months that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is hard at work on a successor to the problem-plagued Windows 8. Windows 9 is anticipated to include at least two major changes that will help to bring the consumer back.

The first change is the ability to run Metro apps and the second is the long-awaited return of the Start menu. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) removed the Start menu in the original version of Windows 8. However, after much criticism, the company brought the Start button back in their Windows 8.1 update, but there was still no Start menu. The “boot-to-desktop” mode in Windows 8.1 permitted bypassing the Start screen designed for tablets. Based on WZor’s screenshots, however, it appears the Start menu is back.

Windows 9 is also likely to bring together two or more of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s various platforms. There are rumors MSFT is planning to merge all three of its operating systems  — Windows, Windows Phone and Windows RT —  to create a dominant software ecosystem. Last but not least,  ZDNet is reporting Microsoft may split the operating system, creating a consumer version and an enterprise version.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was trading down a couple of pennies at around $36.15 as of 1 PM ET today.