Windows 9 is expected to be released next spring, and rumors about it continue to leak out. This time we’re hearing that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may not only bring the desktop back but also focus more on it rather than on the tiled Metro-style interface in Windows 8.
Windows 9 brings desktop features back
ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley reports that Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, will offer more features for those who prefer the traditional desktop interface. Specifically, Microsoft will target PC or laptop computer uses who utilize a mouse and keyboard and possible touch as well.
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With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft focused on creating profiles based on the specs of each device that it is being used on. Some devices running Windows 8.1 have Power and Search buttons right on the Metro start screen, while others do not. Some Windows 8.1 devices even power up with the desktop user interface as the default at startup. Devices that are more mobile and touch-focused start up with the Metro interface as the default at startup.
Windows 9 to sport mini-Start menu
Foley’s sources say Microsoft is going to continue heading in this direction with Windows 9. In other words, the new operating system will appear differently depending on the device it is on. The desktop interface will load as the default for PC and laptop users. Devices like the Surface Pro or the Lenovo Yoga, which are more hybrid tablet / notebook devices, will be able to switch back and forth between the desktop and Metro user interfaces, depending on if there are any keyboards connected to the device.
It’s expected that the desktop version of Windows 9 will feature a mini-Start menu, which will basically just be a new version of that Start menu. Microsoft already showed off that Start menu at its annual Build conference back in April. The desktop version is also expected to be able to run Metro and Windows Store apps in Windows on the desktop. Currently the desktop and Metro interfaces are very segregated, in that Windows Store and Metro apps can only run in Metro view.
More details on Windows 9 coming
Some have suggested that Microsoft might create a setting for Windows 9 users to be able to turn the Metro live tile interface completely off. Foley says she’s unsure if the company will do this but that she would not be surprised if it did.
She also reports that Microsoft will probably show off Windows 9 Threshold at some point this fall. Before that though, the company will roll out a final Windows 8.1 update. The company pushed back the mini Start menu feature from Windows 8 update 2 to Windows 9 Threshold. As a result, Foley said her sources have indicated that this last Windows 8 update probably won’t bring any noticeable changes.
The next Windows 8 update is expected to be ready to go any day now and then locked down approximately two weeks ahead of August Patch Tuesday, which is August 12, according to her sources. She has also heard that Microsoft might push that last update out without much fanfare along with the rest of the August patches.