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The Swiss Style still dominates Modern UI's creep onto the desktop, but new UI promises return to Windows' basics

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) appears to have silently rolled out "Technical Preview" builds of its upcoming Windows "Threshold" (Windows 9) to select enterprise clients.  One of these clients has leaked screenshots of the new operating system and fresh details to a pair of German websites, WinFuture and ComputerBase.  The screenshots and accompanying accounts confirms some things we were expecting, and hold a few suprises as well.

The biggest change, perhaps is that in the preview build version for non-touchscreen clients (i.e. traditional laptops and desktops) there is no Modern UI ("Metro") Start Screen.  Metro UI, later rebranded as Modern UI always felt a bit oversided and clunky on mouse and keyboard setups.  Windows 8.1 Update 1 improved the UI for traditional PC users somewhat, but ultimately it appears Microsoft decided that having a separate Modern UI start screen was more trouble than it was worth.

Let's examine some of the other details about the leaked build and its features.

Windows 9 Build

Condfidential, eh?

Windows 9 Technical Preview


The Release Preview (or Consumer Preview) should roll out later this month.  This is the earlier "Technical Preview" for enterprise.

Windows 9 feedback


"Insider Preview Program" sounds like a pretty special status.

Windows 9 Start Menu

On the desktop we notice a few things:
  • The latest version of the Metro/Modern UI Desktop Start Menu
  • Search Button -- next to Start Button
  • Multi-Desktop Button -- next to Seearch Button
  • IE 11 pinned app
  • File Browser w/ Modern UI icon
  • Windows Store in Desktop mode
  • Taskbar is transparent, except for clicked button/app's pop out
Here's a closeup highlighting those buttons.

Windows 9 buttons

The new folder icon looks nice.  The store icon, on the other hand looks pretty chunky and clashes with the transparent background.  Maybe cut out that outer green, Microsoft?

Start Menu right click

We see here that the right click works pretty much like normal, bringing up options to uninstall, unpin from Start, and Pin to Taskbar.  Properties has disappeared (as it's probably still in Charms).  Otherwise the right-click functionality looks pretty much liike Windows 7's The user appears to be running as an Administrator.

We see a lot of Modern UI apps, including Health & Fitness, Camera, Finances, Food & Drink, People, the Metro Mail client, etc.

Settings menu

And there's the new settings menu.  And there's the build string -- Build 9834.fbl_partner_eeal.14908.0936.  Interestingly enough, it appears that the slides were sent with the build string unobscured, which was a bad move for the leaking party.

ComputerBase.de did the right thing, black boxing the string, making it unrecoverable.  

Windows 9 blacked out

Unfortunately for our Windows 9 corporate leaker, WinFuture.de doesn't realize that blurring doesn't truly destroy data.  Here's their blur.

Windows 9

You know you've done a bad job Gaussian blurring when you can almost eyeball the numbers.  I read initially 96275, simply by magnifying the blurred image.  As you'll see, I guess correctly!

Here's the string identifying the leaker thanks to a little help from Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) impressive deconvolution algorithms, which do a surprisingly competent job removing that pesky Gaussian blur.  Tsk tsk.  Well, that's the price you pay when you leak to indiscrete parties. 

string

So we have Build 9834.fbl_partner_eeap.140908.0936.ec967275c53a5e576 (last three digits might be off) to thank for the leak.  Thanks, ec967275c53a5e576!

More pictures to come!

Sources: WinFuture.de [Google Translate], ComputerBase.de [Google Translate], via The Verge





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