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Windows 9 Threshold public preview could be released as soon as next month

The clock is ticking on Windows 8, and Microsoft is working hard to usher in the next era of Windows-based computers. A new report says that a Windows 9 public preview could arrive sometime in late September, or early October. The public preview, once it arrives, will reportedly be available to use by anyone. Plus it doesn’t seem like Microsoft will put any restrictions on how many people will be able to download it, as Apple did with the OS X Yosemite public beta.

It’s unclear exactly what changes Windows 9 will bring, and whether all of them will be available to use once the public preview becomes available. However, leaks and rumors indicate that Windows 9 will include a revamped version of the Start menu, the ability to run Metro apps in Windowed mode while in the classic desktop UI, and will get rid of the Charms menu that debuted in Windows 8 back in 2012.

Related: More signs point to Cortana appearing in Windows 9 Threshold

Microsoft has spent the last two years cleaning up the mess caused by the release of Windows 8, a widely panned operating system that’s endured slow sales and a general downturn of the PC market. In response, the company is struggling to replace Windows 8 with the new OS likely to be named (unsurprisingly) Windows 9. One reason is Windows 8’s adoption numbers, which have been paltry ever since the OS was introduced. Things didn’t change much either once Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in the fall of 2013.

Combined, Windows 8 and 8.1 occupy 12.48 percent of the desktop OS pie as of July. That’s not much, considering that Windows XP occupies roughly double that, despite the fact that it’s well over 10 years old. Then, there’s Windows 7, whose share spiked in July to 51.22 percent. That’s up from 50.55 percent in June; an increase of 0.67 percent.

Microsoft will have to do something radical with Windows 9 in order to knock Windows 7 and, to a lesser extent, Windows XP off their perches.

Thankfully, it looks like we won’t have to wait too long to get an idea for what Redmond has in mind for their next desktop OS.