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Microsoft's April 2015 "Threshold" Release May Be Windows 9

By - Source: Paul Thurrott | B 38 comments

Microsoft is reportedly trying to distance itself from Windows 8.

Thanks to a number of sources, here's what we understand will happen with Windows over the next 15 months. In April, Microsoft plans to release Windows 8.1 Update 1 (or GDR1 internally) and Windows Phone 8.1. After that, Windows may likely not see another major update until April 2015, the "Threshold" release. We previously pegged this as Windows 8.2, but now there are reports that this release will be labeled Windows 9 instead due to Microsoft wanting to distance the platform from the Windows 8 "debacle."

According to Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows, Microsoft will talk about what the company plans for Windows 9 this April during the Build 2014 conference. We will reportedly hear about Microsoft returning the Start Menu back to the desktop, and the ability to run Modern UI-style apps in Windows. Microsoft wants customers to get excited about the platform, and these two details should help.

Thurrott also lays out a roadmap for developers, reporting that BUILD will not produce early bits of "Threshold," as the Redmond company won't even begin development until later that month. Currently, Microsoft is "firming up" the features it plans to release in the Windows 8.1 Release 1 (or Windows 8.2; it could be either).

"Maturing and fixing the 'Metro' design language used by Windows will be a major focus area of Threshold. It's not clear what changes are coming, but it's safe to assume that a windowed mode that works on the desktop is part of that," Thurrott writes.

The report states that Microsoft will likely make three milestone releases of "Threshold" before its final release. Thurrott speculates these will be named Beta or Release Candidate, but questions whether they will or will not reach public hands. If Microsoft is indeed trying to shove Windows 8 in a closet, getting a public beta out with cool features may be on the Microsoft cards, similar to what it did with Windows 8.1.

Thurrott reports that fixing the Modern UI (Metro) design language will be a major focus in Windows 9 "Threshold." So far the extent is unknown, but as previously stated, Microsoft is expected to bring Windowed modes to Modern UI apps.

Windows Phone 9 is also expected to be part of the "Threshold" release in April 2015, bringing both platforms closer together. By then, Windows Phone 9 and Windows RT are expected to be one platform. Also expected is a unified storefront bringing Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 together.

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  • 11 Hide
    carnage9270 , January 14, 2014 10:05 AM
    "We will reportedly hear about Microsoft returning the Start Menu back to the desktop, and the ability to run Modern UI-style apps in Windows."Was really Win8's only failing. If they bring it back in full functionality, they have a winner.
Other Comments
  • -4 Hide
    red77star , January 14, 2014 9:30 AM
    If they try to do same thing as they did with Windows 8, it will also fail.
  • 11 Hide
    carnage9270 , January 14, 2014 10:05 AM
    "We will reportedly hear about Microsoft returning the Start Menu back to the desktop, and the ability to run Modern UI-style apps in Windows."Was really Win8's only failing. If they bring it back in full functionality, they have a winner.
  • 1 Hide
    Osmin , January 14, 2014 10:09 AM
    I hope Microsoft improves Windows by adding the ability of multiple desktops in order to organize the workspace. It also would be nice to be able to scroll a non-active window without making it active and popping it to the foreground. These are nice options that I got used to while using Linux and the Apple OS X. I would also like the Widgets to come back since I preferred the Calendar and Weather widgets in Windows 7 over the Metro apps. If Microsoft was worried about security then have the same vetting policy on widgets like they do for Metro apps.
  • 5 Hide
    pariahdox , January 14, 2014 10:10 AM
    @red77starHence, bringing back the Start button and a traditional desktop for traditional laptops and desktops. :-D
  • -1 Hide
    DBGT_87 , January 14, 2014 10:12 AM
    Bring Start Menu Back
  • 0 Hide
    hyperanthripoid , January 14, 2014 10:43 AM
    "but now there are reports that this release will be labeled Windows 9 instead due to Microsoft wanting to distance the platform from the Windows 8 "debacle.""Or they just want upgrade money to fix their "debacle". They probably realized they could not charge for the 8.2 update.
  • 0 Hide
    hannibal , January 14, 2014 10:43 AM
    This is Modern UI2 (aka metro 2) so no traditional desktop. But if they can make Modern UI better for desktop usage it will be just fine. The MS economy is build to Modern UI aps store. What I am waiting is the new and improves disk operation system... Maybe if they can get it working we will get win9 and prize tag. If it is not ready this will be win8.2 and maybe cheaper to upgrade? Who knows. This is very early "leak", and not directly from MS.
  • 4 Hide
    danwat1234 , January 14, 2014 11:10 AM
    What I would really like to see with Windows 8.2 is an update to explorer.exe so that it will finally have full support for file paths longer than 255 characters in length. This is a very annoying limitation that occurs frequently in deeply nested folders on my computer. I have to use Totalcommander to do the operation I ought to do with Explorer. NTFS itself has support for file paths longer than 10,000 characters I believe.Also, start using "MiB" and "GiB' instead of "MB" and "GB" where applicable. When you are stating a capacity in the base 2 system, use "MiB" or "GiB" and when stating a capacity in the base 10 system, use "MB" or "GB" please! It confuses a lot of users into thinking that their hard drive isn't as big as it should be.Also make the task manager more code efficient, take longer to load than the Windows 7 task manager.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 14, 2014 11:21 AM
    $700 for a 4K TN monitor would've been a great deal, if not for the 30Hz refresh rate. It's apparent from the images I've seem of the monitor and from the first hand accounts of tech editors, that this monitor uses a very good TN panel. Unfortunate really, I'm willing to bet a lot of gamers and enthusiastes would've been all over a $700 4K monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • 1 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , January 14, 2014 11:32 AM
    wow, that's interesting. My previous comment mysteriously disappeared after I submitted it. Tom's really needs to work on their web page in general, especially the commenting system. It's slow and buggy.
  • 2 Hide
    XGrabMyY , January 14, 2014 12:15 PM
    I doubt they will be releasing a Windows 9. They are already so close to finishing "Project Singularity" on M#. Chances are Windows 8 will keep getting decimal revisions and exist alongside the open-source Midori OS. Windows 8.x will be for enterprise and people who need legacy support. Midori will be the new open-source OS (Not Windows) for users wanting cutting edge features and a new environment to work in/build on. I'd imagine for enterprise Midori will be very similar to Red Hat.
  • -2 Hide
    ross_mitchell , January 14, 2014 12:28 PM
    The start button isn't the only thing windows 8 is missing it is also missing shadowcopy.
  • 4 Hide
    Nolonar , January 14, 2014 1:06 PM
    Quote:
    @red77starHence, bringing back the Start button and a traditional desktop for traditional laptops and desktops. :-D

    Microsoft never removed the traditional desktop from Windows 8.

    Quote:
    They probably realized they could not charge for the 8.2 update.

    They never charged for the 8 > 8.1 upgrade either, so it's not a matter of realizing or not realizing.
  • -3 Hide
    bochica , January 14, 2014 1:22 PM
    The start menu isn't the only issue. They are still having driver problems for most enthusiast users.
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , January 14, 2014 1:48 PM
    I'm more curious what Threshold will mean for WP users than for the Windows platform itself.
  • 0 Hide
    glitch177k , January 14, 2014 3:45 PM
    I love how the media works. First off, it's nothing to do with Windows 8. Stop spinning it like "Microsoft has realized they've made a colossal mistake". They aren't "fixing" anything by "rushing" anything to market. Natural....Product......Life cycle. Vista: 2006Win 7: 2009Win 8: 2012Win 9: 2015!!!
  • 0 Hide
    JD88 , January 14, 2014 5:01 PM
    They aren't actually going to expect people to pay for the upgrade are they? If so, what an absolute joke. Make an unpopular product then make people pay for the fix? What will their justification for the cost be? Scare tactics about security? Faster boot times? When will they learn that this business model is outdated? There are better, free operating systems out there now. The only thing keeping them floating is the perceived need need for legacy apps like Office, Exchange, and Skype. Most people don't need Windows, they just think they do.

    If they really want to make a good operating system, dump the old desktop entirely and make a brand new UI. Don't give us Frankenstein crap. The basic foundations of Windows from a UI perspective haven't changed since Vista. All they did was tack the awful metro screen on top with 8. Give us something that is totally new and modern without trying to be 3 different things at once and appeal to everyone on every platform at the same time. If they have to break compatibility with a few programs that were made back in 1999, then so be it.
  • 0 Hide
    10tacle , January 14, 2014 5:46 PM
    MS apparently learned a hard lesson on what consumers want. When general consumers want a tablet or phone interface (touch screens, tiles, etc.) they'll go to those devices. When they want a traditional mouse/keyboard PC/laptop for more power-oriented use (real games, office applications, video editing, etc.), they'll go to those, and expect an easy interface they are used to - not something mirrored after their tablets and phones. Win 8 was technically the most efficient OS to date, bettering Win 7 in memory usage for example, but the average PC consumer would not notice the difference. The will notice the more frustrating, less-user-friendly interface however. And they did, and they reacted accordingly.
  • 0 Hide
    Martell1977 , January 14, 2014 6:50 PM
    I like Windows Phone 8 on my Nokia, one improvement I'd like it to be able to customize it more, i.e. change the icon to whatever picture I want. It sounds like Windows 9 will be to Windows 8, what Windows 7 was to Vista. I do not like Windows 8 on desktops and laptops for various reasons, the lack of the start menu is only one of them. I'll hold off and see what Windows 9 turns out to be before even considering changing from 7. So far, there is just no compelling reason to change. One thing Windows 8 taught me: I never realized how much I used the start menu until it was gone.
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