Microsoft may be showing off Windows Technical Preview on September 30, in San Francisco, but thanks to a recent leak of a test version of the operating system many of the new features and changes are already known. From Cortana, to the new Start menu, to the new redesigned more flatten desktop, here are all the changes Windows 9 may include:
Start menu: Since Microsoft showed off an early version at the Build conference the new Start menu doesn’t include dramatic changes to what we’ve already seen. The menu has a traditional look, but adds elements from the Start screen too and users can add as many Live Tiles as they want. Also there is an option to disable or enabled the feature, however it’s unclear if this option will make it on the final version.
Modern apps (windowed): The software giant previously said that Windows Store apps will change to be more useful for desktop users. In Windows Technical Preview, we can already see how apps are changing, now apps behave more like traditional apps floating in the desktop with an almost borderless frame.
Charms: The controversial Charms bar seems to be gone in the leaked preview of Windows Threshold, however they live in a per-app basis, on a new menu than can be accessed from the left side of the title bar that reveals the App Commands menu and an option to make modern apps full screen.
Virtual desktops: From the screenshots and videos leaks of Windows Technical Preview (build 9834), we can also see that Microsoft is bringing virtual desktops (or multi-tasking), which is the ability to groups apps and specific tasks on a particular desktop. User can create multiple desktops by simply clicking the “Add new desktop” in the manager and from the virtual desktops manager users can easily control each experience with live preview and the ability to close apps without going inside the desktop.
Notification Center: Like in Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft is bringing Notification Center to Windows 9. The new features will bring all notifications from the system and apps together in one place. All notifications can be accessed by clicking an icon in the taskbar, they are grouped by apps and they have a timestamp. There is also a way to clear all the notifications at once or you can remove them one-by-one. The feature is very basic, but more feature can always be added in the future.
Desktop (flat design): To match the Metro-style look from the Start screen and Windows Store apps, Microsoft is also bringing the flat design to the desktop. Touch is not completely implemented, but we can already see where the operating system is headed. In the latest leaked version of Threshold, Microsoft included new flat design icons for the File Explorer and other elements, also the Jump List menu shows a new design.
Cortana: There are few features that didn’t make it in the build 9834 of Windows Technical Preview, but there are evidences of the existence. This is the case of Cortana, previous rumors suggested that Microsoft’s digital assistant will be coming to Windows, and several leaked screenshots show that Cortana is being integrated into the operating system.
Storage Sense: A few features from Windows Phone are also coming to Windows 9. Storage Sense is one of them, as an entry of the feature was spotted in the PC settings and followed screenshots further confirmed the new feature. Like in Windows Phone, Storage Sense for Windows 9 will help users to manage local storage. This is a welcome addition to Windows 9 as the feature can really be a help on new low-cost devices with limited internal storage. Currently the feature shows that users can easily configure external storage to save music, pictures, and videos, but more functionality can be added in later releases.
Wi-Fi Sense isn’t a feature working in Windows 9, but there are registry keys that hints the functionality.
Microsoft will be holding a press event on September 30, in San Francisco, to talk and demo officially Windows Threshold for the first time. Follow the event we are expecting to release the “Windows Technical Preview” ISO image for anyone to download and test all the new features.
There is always a new leak, so check here for the complete Windows 9 coverage.
- The complete summary of features from leaks for Windows 9 continues in part 2!