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Start Menu + 5 Must Have Features Rumored for Windows 9



Microsoft has already confirmed that the Start Menu is making a celebrated return in Windows Threshold or what many industry watchers are already referring to as Windows 9. Now a new report confirms that users can expect a boatload of must-have features to be rolled up in the update including, a refreshed Desktop taskbar and digital personal assistant Cortana.

An unconfirmed report from Neowin is shedding a bit more light on the future of Windows. What the report refers to as Windows 9 is full of features that that’ll leave PC buyers salivating. The biggest of those features, besides the return of the Start Screen, is Cortana. Reportedly, Microsoft’s digital personal assistant will be added to the Desktop taskbar for easy access. Microsoft introduced Cortana to users earlier this year in Windows Phone 8.1. The Windows Phone 8.1 version of Cortana has a personality like Apple’s Siri personal assistant, but is able to look through emails and contacts to automatically surface information that users might find relevant – just like Google Now.

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Additionally, the report confirms that the Start Screen is going away for Desktop users. Reportedly, tablets and convertibles will be able to switch between the Start Screen and the Desktop as they do today. Tablets running Windows 9 will only see the Start Screen with no access to the Desktop interface.

Joining Cortana will be an expanded Desktop taskbar. In Windows 8, the taskbar is mostly a shortcut menu, but with Windows 9 the taskbar could gain some live tile functionality. In fact, today’s report actually calls the new interactive icons “mini Live Tiles.” These mini Live Tiles will be interactive, possibly like how Windows Media Player adds a mini player to the taskbar when it’s minimized.

Finally, the report notes that users can expect Windows 9 to look distinctive. That is to say, users won’t be able to confuse the Desktop interface with Windows 9. It notes that everything looks a lot flatter in Windows 9 than it does in Windows 8 and Windows 7. That’s not hard considering Microsoft barely made any improvements to the Desktop interface in Windows 8, choosing to focus on the Start Screen and Windows Store apps instead.

In addition to confirming that the Start Menu would make its return, Microsoft also talked a bit about freeing Windows Store apps from the Start Screen and letting them run in the Desktop. This report mentions them in passing, but doesn’t provide a lot of new details about how they work. For example, we don’t yet know if the title bar that sits at the top of each Desktop app will make their way to each Start Screen app. Microsoft added a disappearing title bar to Windows Store apps so that mouse and keyboard users could simply press the X and close any app they weren’t using without dragging it to the bottom of their screen. It might sound small, but adding title bars to Windows Store apps that are always visible could instantly make them more approachable than they are in Windows 8. Even today Windows 8 users struggle to figure out how to close Windows Store apps. Luckily, Windows Store apps don’t run when they’re not on the screen, so battery life isn’t affected by having a ton of apps open.

Read: Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Windows 9: Why All Windows Users Should Be Excited

Users surprised that Microsoft is already working on Windows 9, or what’s code-named Windows Threshold, really shouldn’t be. Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October of 2012. That means we’re two-years into Windows 8’s life-cycle – about the time when the company starts working on the current version’s successor. Reportedly, Microsoft will share more about Windows 9 including a release schedule sometime later this year. Allegedly, it won’t release a final version of Windows 9 until next year.



  1. New generation Web

    07/16/2014 at 12:08 pm

    Microsoft, Give me a quick option to completely disable Live tiles and bring another start menu for desktop computers which is much better than Windows 7, but without any live tiles as it uses up our internet bandwidth.

    Microsoft, do you understand that most people have multiple devices in their homes everyday and we had our internet speeds boosted from 6 mbps in 2012 when we only had traditional machine to 60 mbps download and 10 mbps upload in 2014. You cannot consider 1.5 billion Windows users people that do not prefer to have more devices in their home.

    I have 3 computers in our home and we know that live tiles do much harm to our internet speeds than going on internet on more than 2 lightning devices.

    • thedesert

      07/17/2014 at 2:02 am

      Sense your comment not have, in third world country you must live.

  2. Fantasm

    07/17/2014 at 8:38 am

    Microsoft, I don’t want “FLAT”. I want my desktop to look interesting and appealing. I want my Aero effects and 3d look.
    I don’t want “Live” tiles. They already look so ugly that I don’t use Metro at all even on my tablet. Apart from that, they’re no damn good to me at the cottage… 200 miles from my ISP and with no cell coverage.

    People on limited bandwidth don’t want “cloud” features or “Live” tiles eating away at their bandwidth either…

    • Steven Ealy

      08/07/2014 at 12:17 pm

      The keyword you said here is “desktop”. Theres nothing wrong with flat tiles on a mobile device because thats the norm. You can’t criticize Microsoft for flat design because Apple and Android are just as flat happy. The default Metro icons on windows 8 are horrible though. Some of them can be very beautiful looking, like for example the app, when it shows the forecast in “LARGE” tile format, its actually quite nice. The biggest beef with Windows 8 for me is the cognitive dissonance (look it up) between the Metro start screen and the legacy desktop. STOP BOUCNING ME BETWEEN BOTH INTERFACES! What monkey thought this up?

      I still use Metro applications but only about 10% of the time and ONLY when I need to use an app. 90% of the time im in the desktop. Thanks to Stardock who saved my sanity.

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