Windows 9 Preview May Arrive Later This Year

Up until now, we've referred to the next big Windows release as "Threshold." This version is expected to appear in Q2/Q3 of 2015, arriving after what's currently dubbed as Windows 8.1 Update 3 in Q1 2015. Right now it's unclear whether the Threshold platform will be officially called Windows 9 or branded as Windows 8.2.

Unnamed sources have told ZDNet that Windows 9 will address Windows 7 users by adding a whole set of new features for desktop users. Windows 8.1 Update 1 began to address this, but the news coming from those sources point to an even larger desktop-oriented focus. Windows Threshold will work and look differently on a desktop than it will on a touch-based device.

For example, when running Windows Threshold in a mouse and keyboard environment, the desktop will be the platform's main focus. If Windows Threshold is installed on a 2-in-1 device, the interface will depend on whether the keyboard is connected (desktop) or not (Start screen).

On devices like tablets and smartphones, "Threshold Mobile" will not have a desktop environment but will still support having apps side-by-side. This SKU is expected to run on ARM-based Lumia phones, ARM-based Windows tablets and possibly even Atom-based tablets.

Sources have also said that the Windows/Laptop SKU will feature the returned "Mini" Start menu, and the ability to run Windows Store apps in windows on the desktop. There's a possibility that Windows Threshold will have a toggle to completely turn off the Start screen as well as the live-tile interface on the Start Menu.

The big news here is that Windows Threshold may go into public preview mode this fall. ZDNet's report throws out the possibility of Update 3, and moves Update 2 to the end of July -- two weeks before August 12, aka August Patch Tuesday. Because the Mini Start Menu was pushed back into Windows Threshold, sources are now saying that Update 2 won't be anything major like Update 1.

The report states that Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 users to install Service Pack 1 and Windows 8 users to install Windows 8.1 Update 1 so that they'll be ready for Windows Threshold when it's released next year. Sources claim that Windows Threshold will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 customers and possibly even Windows 7 Service Pack 1 customers.

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  • SteelCity1981
    I wouldn't be surprised if windows 9 is called windows 8.2 the way microsoft keeps pushing windows 8 updates with 8.1, 8.1.1, 8.1.2 in aug 8.1.3 in march in 2015
  • TechyInAZ
    Sweet!!! Ever since I used windows 8 preview years ago, I knew that windows would have to make a Windows for Desktops and a Windows for Tablets.
  • tomfreak
    I will rage if they give win7 free upgrade. win8 user pays their OS not to be treated the same level as win7.
  • kawininjazx
    This sums it up perfectly, Windows 8 is cool for tablets and small touchscreen laptops, but WIndows 7 rules the traditional desktop and laptop experience. Windows 8 is not a bad OS, but for people who want to get work done, they need a "windows 7" mode.
  • 24oz
    I will stay with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future.not excited about a Windows 9.
  • Johnny_C13
    " Sources claim that Windows Threshold will be a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 customers and possibly even Windows 7 Service Pack 1 customers."

    Tom's was wise to finish with this sentence, cause if it didn't, it's where I would of stopped reading. I find it very unlikely that MS would give either an updated Windows 8 or possibly a new OS 9 for free to W7 users (not that my Windows 7 desktop would be complaining!).
  • falchard
    I just wish they would get the modern UI and desktop UI to play together better.
    I expect Microsoft to come out with a monthly fee based OS some time in the future. Like $5-$10 a month for an up to date machine.
  • velocityg4
    I would like for their version labels to be consistent between the marketing version and NT kernel version. Otherwise go back to the system where the name had nothing to do with the version. Such as 95, 2000, XP, &c.
  • Jay Stew
    I will rage if they give win7 free upgrade. win8 user pays their OS not to be treated the same level as win7.

    Just what makes you think those of us on Windows 7 will run out and buy windows 9 without real value adds anyway? After the debacle that is Windows 8 on a notebook or desktop without all the features and clean run of Windows 7 I'm simply not convinced I "need" or "want" Windows 9.

    I am certainly convinced that I do not "need" and sure as hell don't "want" windows 8. A substantial number of us still on Windows 7 were sold on it because it is largely the successor to XP which was a great OS and also got burned by Vista which was not an improved experience over XP.

    Show me some stuff about Windows 9 that will get me excited Microsoft. Metro aint it. Flipping between desktop and table OS isn't' it either.
  • canadianvice
    I have said this from the very start! All they need is to detect touchscreen vs. non-touch and allow the user the option of interface based on it. They had the code, they took it out, but this would be such a simple fix to a huge problem of adoption that they've had.

    I really, really hope Windows 9 is the release to push me off 7, because I hate being a laggard.