Windows Threshold: new flat desktop design, interactive taskbar, and Cortana

Windows 9 "Threshold" Start Menu concept from demo at Build conference.

Details of the next version of Windows, codenamed Threshold, has been surfacing for some time, but today we have more insights of what might come in the next version of the of the operating system.

As you know, Threshold is the next big thing for Windows, and no just for PCs but for phones and tablets (big and small) too. We also know some bits already, such as the Start menu will make a comeback on PCs with keyboard and mouse, putting to rest the Start screen. And on tablets and touch-enabled devices users will still get the Start screen by default, while small devices will be limited to the Metro environment only — no more desktop.

Now a new report from Neowin claims even more changes are coming. Though, the report warns that Windows Threshold, which may or may not be called Windows 9, still in alpha and Microsoft many change or remove features as the move closer to the public release.

According to the new report the next version of Windows will have a new refined user interface. Up to Windows 8 the desktop looks pretty much the same as it did with Windows 7. Perhaps the only major difference is the Start button. In Windows Threshold it’s different story, the UI will get an update to look more modern and flat.

The Taskbar will get more functional. According to Neowin sources, the icons in the taksbar will now be interactive as if they were “mini Live Tiles”. At this point there no additional information to what features the new improved taksbar will have, but it’s said that Microsoft is testing with a new “glance-and-go” functionality to further interact with minimized applications.

We also know that with Windows 9, modern apps will float inside the desktop like traditional applications do today. But the new information suggests that modern apps will look that they belong in the desktop, they will have flat design without a title bar. However it seems that the black bar with reveal itself when hovering close to the top, which will unveil the close and minimize options like you see today in Windows 8.1 Update.

It also appears that desktop gadgets are coming back as sources claim seeing widgets back on the desktop. Finally, Microsoft seems to be testing a new interactive desktop background that will put static images to shame.

Cortana is arriving to Windows too. Apparently the digital assistant is already part of Threshold and can be accessed from the taskbar. But of course the access location is subject to change as users also needs access from the modern UI.

Although, there in no official word from Microsoft on these changes, they make sense as each feature and change fits the new Microsoft direction “productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world”.

Windows 9 is scheduled to release sometime in 2015, but the company will be making available a preview before the end of 2014.

Source Neowin

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.