In a few weeks, Microsoft will release its first official preview of Windows 9, code-named Threshold. The press event is said to be scheduled for September 30th. At this point, nothing is for sure, not even the final name, Windows 9.
Let’s see what other rumors are out there and whether this new Windows incarnation could meet your needs.
When Will Microsoft Release A Windows 9 Preview & Can I Try It?
It remains unclear whether the Preview will be released at the press event this month or sometime in October. ZDNet’s All About Microsoft guru Mary Jo Foley relied on multiple sources when she reported that:
Microsoft is aiming to deliver a “technology preview” of its Windows “Threshold” operating system by late September or early October.
What appears to be for certain, is that a Technical Preview is imminent. After all, sources say Windows 9 will be shipped in 2015. While Microsoft is not planning to release a Consumer Preview, the good news is that the Technical Preview will be available to anyone interested. So yes, you will be able to try it.
Will Windows 9 Really Be A Free Upgrade?
This rumor remains vague, but could make the day of plagued Windows 8 users.
In the Neowin discussion thread that gave rise to many Windows 9 rumors, Chinese leaker FaiKee claims that Windows 9 will most likely be a free upgrade for legit Windows 8 users and possibly even for all Windows users. The rumor was confirmed by Russian leaker collective WZOR.
A free version of Windows isn’t such a crazy idea. After all, when was the last time you bought Windows?
Most people buy a new computer, which comes pre-installed with an operating system. In the past, this tended to be Windows. Today, there is much more choice and awareness around different options. By making Windows free, Microsoft removes one barrier to joining their ecosystem. How they plan to compensate that loss is a different story.
Will The Start Menu Return?
Yes, Windows 9 will almost certainly come with a Start Menu.
In April, Microsoft announced a new Start Menu would be made available to all Windows 8 users as an update. This had everyone expect the Start Menu would be a feature of the much anticipated Windows 8.1 August Update, which turned out to be a disaster. Below is the clip from BUILD 2014 with the original announcement.
Microsoft later clarified that the Start Menu won’t come to Windows until 2015, i.e. with the official release of Windows 9. In light of the rumor that Windows 9 will be a free update for Windows 8 users, it seems like Microsoft will keep their word after all.
Will It Be Possible To Disable The Modern Interface On My Desktop?
If Microsoft has learned one thing from this whole Windows 8 disaster, then it’s that desktop and mobile environments don’t mix well. They made a first move in the right direction with Windows 8.1 Update, turning boot-to-desktop into a default behavior for desktop users and adding other desktop friendly features.
The Start Menu mock-up shown at BUILD 2014 promises they will go even further. It potentially reveals how desktop users will experience the modern interface. Gizmodo’s Eric Limer speculates that the Start Screen will live in the new Start Menu. Superficially, Microsoft is killing the Start Screen on desktop devices. Technically, it’s still there, just not as obvious.
Will The Charms Bar Be Gone?
Yes, all sources agree that the Charms bar will die. With the return of the Start Menu on the desktop, the Charms bar would be superfluous. In the modern interface, it will be replaced with icons in the app title bar.
Will Cortana Make Its Desktop Debut?
Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, who recently appeared on Windows Phone, is bound to make the move to the desktop. Bringing the personal assistant to all Windows platforms and adding millions of users to create sample data, will help Microsoft continuously improve Cortana’s service and create a seamless user experience across multiple devices.
Cortana is a key component of the new Windows ecosystem. Whether or not she will be ready to ship with the Windows 9 Technical Preview remains unsure. In any case, you should be excited about Cortana!
What Else Can I Look Forward To?
The new Windows 9 version promises to add virtual desktops, modern apps will run in windowed mode on your desktop, and Microsoft is switching to a rapid release cycle, possibly offering new features and improvements to the operating system via one-click updates every month.
This rapid release cycle could be a revolution. Instead of releasing a major Windows version every few years, Microsoft might continuously improve the platform via free updates. This could make Windows 8 the last major release, with Windows 8.1 and 9 being nothing but free updates to the modern Windows environment. At the very least, this rumor is causing IT professionals sleepless nights as untested one-click updates have the potential to cause havoc.
Are You Anticipating The Release Of Windows 9?
If you believe the rumors, there’s much to be looking forward to. And much to be concerned about, too. What are you excited about?
What is your opinion of Windows 9 and are you ready to try it?