It’s Coming! Windows 9 Screenshots Surface
We have lots of Linux people in our audience who will likely go “meh” at this, but for those of you who still use Windows and are not up to date on the latest happenings from our beloved Microsoft, you will be happy to read that the successor of Windows 8.1 is coming sometime soon. For the time being, due to lack of a better option, the outside media has decided to dub this new version known as Windows 9. It seems that several companies have gotten a hold of an early version of its Developer Preview, which should be out within the next month or so. Out of those previews, it seems that a couple of German sites (namely ComputerBase and WinFuture) have managed to snatch more than a few screenshots of this new OS. The Verge created a nice compilation of said screenshots, which paints a picture of what the future of desktop will be all about.
If you were expecting that Microsoft would go back to basics and maybe try to get away from the Metro design, Windows 9 will do nothing more than disappoint you beyond your wildest dreams. Not only have they kept the UI but they decided to expand it into other areas of the Desktop experience. Having said that, this is not a terrible thing because the overall feel seems to be more unified with some rather essential elements from the MetroUI blended into the new Start Menu. And yes, the Start menu is officially back in Windows 9 (slow rolling clap). There are several other elements present that seem to have made their way into the first row. For instance, the Search icon is now present right by the Start menu (no more having to look for it through the side bar). Over the years, it seems that Microsoft has played quite a bit with the location of this ever important tool. Yes, there are mods to stick this elsewhere, but having it where it should be out-of-the-box is always a nice feeling.
Another familiar feature (for Linux enthusiasts) now present in Windows 9, is the fact that you have the ability to have multiple desktop environments and easily switch between them. Ever since the golden years of Windows XP, there have always been tools to simulate this feature, but nothing has ever been built in into the OS. Always useful for those in need of extra room, or for those who need to quickly hide their solitaire screens and jump to a somewhat pseudo productive, cluttered screen filled with Excel spreadsheets (simulate a productive work situation).
Last but not least, the UI now seems to offer a feature that saw its birth in Android which has slowly made its way into virtually every other OS (mobile or otherwise). Ladies and gentlemen, Windows 9 proudly presents…. Notification Center! This is a neat feature as the old taskbar can get cluttered thanks to the never ending notifications from Adobe and Java requesting your permission to update themselves. It looks like Microsoft accepted the fact that using things that people use is, after all, a good idea.
The leaks don’t seem to suggest much else other than an even flatter UI than what is currently present in Windows 8.1. However, it seems that Microsoft developers and designers seem to be quite content with the Windows 8 overall feel and look and Windows 9 represents a bit of a minor upgrade (visually and almost functionality wise) over it. One thing worth noting is that if the Longhorn preview of 2006 has taught us anything, is that you should never rely on the early preview to know exactly how the new version will look like. There is still a long time before the release of Windows 9 is even announced, but as stated, the sole return of the Start menu should be enough to keep Windows enthusiasts happy enough.
What is your take on the new Windows? What elements would you have scrapped altogether or what would you improve over what you see here? Please share your thoughts.
You can find all the screenshots in the original article by The Verge.