Much Hated Feature Could Get the Axe in Windows 9

If you’re one of the millions of users who hated that the Charms Bar that floats out from the right side of the screen on laptops and desktops running Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system this will come as good news. New rumors indicate that Microsoft has plans to ditch the Charms Bar in Windows Threshold or what many are simply calling Windows 9.

WinBeta revealed that sources they’d spoken to about Windows 9 indicate that Microsoft plans to ditch the Charms Bar for users who have a mouse and keyboard at their disposal instead of a touchscreen. In fact, the outlet’s post goes so far as to declare that the Charms Bar as the way users know it will be gone, definitively.

In Windows 8 the Charms Bar floats out from the right side of user’s screen and houses basic commands like Search, Share, Devices and Settings. To open it mouse and keyboard users have to place their cursor in the top or bottom-right corners of their screen. Touch users have to place their finger on the right edge of their screen and swipe to the left. Reportedly, Desktop users would be able to access the charms from within Desktop apps by clicking on an additional button on the top-right corner of each window. That button could sit right next to the minimize button.

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A change of this magnitude could finally be the thing Microsoft needs to start getting Windows 7 users upgrading to the new operating system. Today, the Charms are absolutely essential to Windows 8. Apps downloaded from the Windows Store can’t print without them. Even worse, it’s the only way for users to get to the settings for Windows Store apps too. As Microsoft has already publicly said that it’s experimenting with brining Windows Store apps to the Desktop, the company has to find a way to keep them accessible to users.

Microsoft also has to make sure that the way users access these Charms or the functions they hold doesn’t completely alienate longtime Windows users. The Charms Bar might have made sense for some users, but even on touch devices the Charms Bar wasn’t exactly a great idea.  There’s no actual on-screen element that lets the user know the Charms Bar is there, and new Windows users hardly ever pay attention to the operating system’s tutorial. That’s despite it being the first thing that shows up on a new device after setup.

Today, users can deactivate the Charms Bar in the Desktop if they don’t find it useful.

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Read: Windows 8.1 Review

Separately, a report from Neowin indicates that Microsoft will return to adding big productivity features in the Desktop interface too. Allegedly, Windows 9 will include virtual desktops. Virtual desktops allow users organize different Desktop applications based on their use case. For example, many Mac OS users have all of their media apps in one virtual desktop and all of their work apps in another. Windows users haven’t had the ability to create virtual desktops, but Linux and Mac users have been able to create them for years.

Virtual desktops might sound like a basic feature, but compared to the amount of new Desktop features included in Windows 8 for the Desktop it’s big. Effectively, the Desktop didn’t actually receive any new landmark features in Windows 8. In Windows 8.1 the only features Microsoft added were related to killing off Start Screen features for users who didn’t want them.

Most rumors indicate that Microsoft has plans to fully launch Windows 9 in the spring of 2015. That means we could see a public beta of the operating system sometime this fall. Whether all Windows 8 users will get Windows 9 free of charge remains unclear.

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