A second Windows 8.1 build has leaked in different popular file sharing sites, and with it we now know a few more things are coming in the next upgrade of Microsoft’s operating system. To begin with Windows Blue build 9369 is the latest pre-beta version of Windows leaked online, it includes several tweaks, is a little more stable, but there are not a whole lot of changes.
Microsoft said in the past that Windows 8.1 (Blue) will have a smaller disk footprint, in the newest leak the installation seems to require less space (Poking around I have noticed a reduction of almost 4GB in hard drive space — it may not seem like a lot, but if you’re using a solid-state drive, it is a big gaining).
Resilient File System
While Blue still running under Microsoft’s NTFS (file system), the new upgrade shows a new support for ReFS, when trying to erase an internal/external drives with the Format tool, excluding the C:\, of course. For those unfamiliar, ReFS is Microsoft new Resilient File System; it was introduced back in 2012 and it is based on NTFS for compatibility. There were rumors that Windows 8 will be running under ReFS, but Microsoft backed down and opted to continue with NTFS instead. However the new file system is already present in Windows Server 2012 (information from WinBeta.org).
A difference from the previous leak, build 9369 adds more improvements when using the Windows 8 “Metro” UI with the keyboard and mouse. For example, a new buttons appears floating in the bottom-left corner of the Start screen to get access to all the apps. And different filters are also available to let users sort apps “by date installed” and “by most used” (build 9364 had “by Name” or “by Date installed”).
The Search Charm functionality shows some tweaks as well. Now by invoking Search, it doesn’t default to the All Apps view and typing won’t trigger the auto-search. Instead users can type a term and then select which kind of search they want to do or simply press enter. And there is a new setting that can be turned-on, found in the PC settings, to include search suggestions and results from the web — feature that previously knew might be coming.
According to an article on The Verge, Microsoft has improved even further the Snap View functionality, and now users can choose which “view an app opens into”. The new mode will only be visible when two or more apps are snapped, and the newly launched app will simply float on top the current snapped apps until you choose where you want to start the app.
We heard previously that Microsoft would be including a new Files app, now the app is present and working in the latest leaked build. What is interesting is that the File app has the SkyDrive logo, which lead us to keep thinking, what the company plans really are? Personally, I would say that the folks at Redmond are planning a single file manager app to access local files and SkyDrive since within the app you’ll find both options, “This PC” (default) and SkyDrive.
It also appears that now the Lock screen camera access feature is working. This is a new feature that allows to get access to the computer’s camera by simply dragging down the Lock screen — Sound familiar? This is similar to the camera feature in the Windows Phone.
The software giant has also included trackpad settings to let users disable edge gestures
, and apparently users won’t be able to rename group tiles anymore.
Sync in the Account sections of the PC settings now shows everything that users will be able to sync between computer, including: personalization settings, app settings, web browsing settings, passwords, language preferences, Easy of Access, File Explorer, Mouse and more.
Clearly there isn’t a lot of new changes to see in this pre-beta release, but there are a few tweaks and improvements. There still a lot sections inside PC settings with the “under construction” message. The now popular request boot-to-desktop functionality can’t be found anywhere and neither the Start button in build 9369. One thing for sure is that the software giant keeps improving Windows 8.1 and a public preview is expected to be released at BUILD Developer Conference by the end of June.