The technology preview release of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 9 operating system, codenamed 'Threshold,' is just around the corner - and already the source of numerous leaks demonstrating its revised user interface.
To say that the Modern UI introduced with Windows 8 was divisive would be an understatement. Based heavily on the Metro interface developed for the company's Windows Phone platform, the Modern UI in Windows 8 is centred around using a touch interface - great for tablets, not so good for desktops and traditional laptops. Although users can leave the tile-based Start Screen and return to a more traditional desktop, it's one devoid of a Start Menu with many users opting to install third-party packages to restore said functionality. Windows 8.1 reintroduced the Start Button to counter user confusion as to how to access their files, but the Start Menu itself isn't due to make a return - albeit in modified Modern-ified form - until Windows 9.
A user of the Windows 9 partner preview - a step ahead of the technology preview's general release - has been leaking details left, right and centre, providing a glimpse as to how Microsoft's Windows 8 replacement is shaping up - and the future of the Modern UI. The first images were published by German technology site WinFuture
, and include several images of the new Start Menu which combines the Modern UI's tile interface with a more traditional scrollable folder-based list.
Also on display is the virtual desktop system, which allows a user to have multiple desktops and slide between them - keeping multiple full-screen applications, or clusters of windowed applications, open at once. Windows 9 marks the first time such technology has been built into Windows, although it has existed in the Linux world for decades - pre-dating the common use of multiple physical monitors as a means of improving multi-tasking.
If you're curious what the Windows 9 interface looks like in action, WinFuture has published a video of the partner preview build which is reproduced below.