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Windows 9 Technical Preview Screenshots Leaked

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A screenshot showing the new Start menu in the Windows 9 technical preview. (Image: ComputerBase.de)

A few weeks ago I blogged about how Microsoft was rumored to be planning a Windows 9-themed event around September 30th to take the wraps off the Windows 9 Technical Preview. Now we’re getting an even closer look at what this next version of Windows might contain, thanks to some screenshots that leaked of the Windows 9 technical preview (Build 9834) that were promptly posted by two German computer blogs: ComputerBase and WinFuture.

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According to the post at WinFuture, a batch of 20 images — created on September 8th — were released to Microsoft partners, and eventually found their way into the hands of various German IT tech publications. I’ve posted some of the images here that outline some of the most eagerly-awaited features in Windows 9, but I’d encourage you to check out both ComputerBase and WinFuture (links above) to see all the images that were leaked. I’ll highlight what I think are the biggest new features revealed in this batch of screenshots below.

Windows 9: Start Menu

The revamped Windows Start menu — which we was originally thought would be delivered in an update to Windows 8.1 — now seems to have found a home in the Windows 9 technical preview. As shown in the screenshot above, the new start menu incorporates traditional start menu elements as well as the “live tiles” from Windows 8. This addition of a proper Start menu to Windows 9 will undoubtedly make millions of end-users and IT managers very happy.

Windows 9: Windowed Modern Apps

A Modern UI app running in a desktop window in the Windows 9 technical preview.

A Modern UI app running in a desktop window in the Windows 9 technical preview. (Image: ComputerBase.de)

One of my own gripes about all current versions of Windows 8 — including both Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update — is that the desktop and touch sides of the OS always seemed like they were forcibly welded together, making it a user experience nightmare when jumping back and forth between the two UI models. Microsoft has steadily refined this interaction with Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update, but the Windows 9 technical preview screenshot above shows that you’ll be able to run modern apps in Windows on the Desktop side of the OS. That’s a big step forward for usability, in my opinion.

Windows 9: New Notification Feature

Windows 9 notifications center

A screenshot showing the new virtual desktops feature in the Windows 9 technical preview. (Image: WinFuture)

One ubiquitous feature of most smartphone and tablet OSes is the notifications center, an OS feature that aggregates all of the notifications — from text messages, emails, Facebook likes, and other notices — into one cohesive design element. MacOS, iOS, and Android all offer this functionality, and it’s a good sign that Microsoft is adopting this feature as well.

Windows 9: Virtual Desktops

Windows 9 virtual desktops

A screenshot showing the new virtual desktops feature in the Windows 9 technical preview. (Image: ComputerBase.de)

Another feature that should be welcome to users with cluttered desktops — and I definitely consider myself one of those — is the addition of virtual desktops in Windows 9. This allows you to have multiple desktops running at once, and would allow you to have one screen dedicated to your work apps and Windows, and another dedicated to social media, for example. It’s a useful feature that has been used in various Linux clients over the years, as well as more recent variants of Mac OS X.

So do these Windows 9 Technical Preview screenshots give you more — or less — confidence in what Windows 9 will bring to the table? I’d love to hear what you think, so please drop me an email with your thoughts, add a comment to this blog post, or contact me on Twitter or Google+. You can also catch up on my posts in the Petri IT Knowledgebase forums.

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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Windows 9 Technical Preview Screenshots Leaked”

  1. Stephen Del Vecchio

    If Microsoft had made the start menu like this from the very beginning people would have been a lot more open to accepting the new OS. I finally got to try Win8 on a 2-in-1 and other than the metro screen, I really don't see a point to having a touch screen since all the other apps still have tiny menus (Too small to accurately use touch without the use of a stylus).
    • Jeff James

      Hi Stephen - I think your comment is spot on. I've had dozens -- if not more than a hundred -- other Petri readers tell me the same thing. Windows 8 changed the traditional Windows UI beyond recognition for most users, which translates into enormous IT training and help desk costs.
      • Frank

        On the other hand MS invented something like group policies. That's what I use to get Windows 8 to heel. I must say once configured it really works. Most of my users never needed any serious training because it looks just like XP did but more playful. There are actually some benefits like the possibility to create shortcuts on desktops depending on certain conditions and deploying printers easily. I've noticed most parts of group policies actually work better. I'm now 8 months in the transition but for users not much has changed after I do the remodeling for them. As for the server OS I'm with Tim Nelson on this. What were they thinking?
      • Christopher Moor

        I'm with James and Frank trying what I can. I saved myself a lot of grief installing StartMenu8 on every machine. But, I have to say, not using the Enterprise version and licensing has made things so awful.
  2. chrisp666

    Sadly too late for me...MS's pig-headedness with 8/8.1 has persuaded me to stick to Linux henceforth. 8 is not a bad os, but the disdain with which they treat their customers is not acceptable.
  3. Tim Nelson

    Agreeing with what Stephen and Jeff said below. What I would love to know, is why on earth Microsoft decided to adopt that tiled interface with Server 2012? Why do we need a tiled interface for a server OS? I do not care one bit about aesthetics, I only want functionality, power, and ease of use. It is incredibly frustrating I feel.
    • baggman744

      The shell, or GUI if you will, on Win 8 & Srv 2012 are the same. M$ did not feel the need to spend the extra $$ on a separate module just for the servers. Its simply a matter of cost saving, nothing more. Although, having rolled several 2012 R2 servers early this year, it wasn't really an issue. Just right click the flag, just about everything you need is there w/out having bounce back & forth into metro; the rest you can customise. I'm defending the lack of a start, it was just a dumb thing to leave out.
      • Tim Nelson

        I've been in the industry for 14 years, including as a systems admin/engineer/IT manager for 10 years. I figured out my way around the desktop and how to find what I need to do in Windows a long time ago. My point was that this is a server OS and its designed like a tablet computer; we don't need all of this BS to administer a server.
        • Jeff James

          You're not alone, Tim. Our reader surveys show that you have a lot of company with that opinion....
          • Guest

            On the other hand MS invented something like group policies. That's what I use to get Windows 8 to heel. I must say once configured it really works. Most of my users never needed any serious training because it looks just like XP did but more playful. There are actually some benefits like the possibility to create shortcuts on desktops depending on certain conditions and deploying printers easily. I've noticed most parts of group policies actually work better. I'm now 8 months in the transition but for users not much has changed after I do the remodeling for them.
  4. Scott Birrell

    As an IT manager for many small businesses I never recommended any version of Windows 8 when upgrade time came around. My primary reason for this was that the end user became very frustrated with its usability (or lack of) when it came to simple tasks & many didn’t want it as they were using it at home & didn’t want that pain in the work place also. From my point of view the Win 8 OS seems to be aimed at the “home user” more than business & my peers & I always thought that a “business” version should have been an option. I see on your screen shot that “Games” & “store “are prominent on the new start button. Hopefully in the final release these will need to be added to the start button & not the default options – at least not in the business environment.
  5. Christopher Moor

    As an IT Director, and as a user, I've beta tested everything I could in my spare time. The best beta success to date was Windows 7. Windows 8 seemed to ignore so many issues of critical complaint from end users that still remain unchanged. I enjoyed the ambition behind it. I have touch All in ones and laptop tablets in use with my power users, but all of them are using 3rd party start menu apps. Server needs a start menu. Especially with the VM prevalent deployments. In business Windows 7 machine availability and implementation became more labor intensive with the volatility and variety in technology, I see this needing much greater attention for business productivity. I just hope Windows 9 realizes that focus, but also fixes the problems thousands have complained about in any tech forum available. I do have to admit, I'm still peeved about the XP Mode being removed transitioning from from win 7 to 8 too. Would have spared me a lot of 3rd party expenses for an old Unix database system stuck in migration yet.
  6. Jeff James

    Many thanks for all the comments here. As an FYI, I just posted a new article that includes 4 video clips showing Windows 9 in action: https://petri.com/leaked-windows-9-videos-show-start-menu-virtual-desktops.htm
  7. Christopher Moor

    the server GUI has to go. They still haven't fixed the black title bar text issue in the entire life cycle and now the 9 preview either... Smh. It has as much appeal as a stardock theme engine in pastels.

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