On top of that, winfuture.de says that they were able to obtain these screenshots because a contact of theirs is an employee of a company that’s a “partner” of Microsoft (according to the translated page we’re reading, at least).
The screenshots you see here look like they were taken from version 9834 of the Windows 9 technical preview. This is notable because whispers have been flying that Microsoft could demo a tech preview version of Windows 9 as soon as this month.
Anyway, let’s take a look at what we’ve got here.
The new Start menu
The revamped Start menu, which Microsoft teased back at Build 2014 in April, looks very much like other images we’ve seen of it before.
Despite the fact that Microsoft is recommitting itself to the classic desktop experience, these new images once again show a Start menu that has a very Windows 8.1-ish look to it.
To the right of the list of programs and apps you can open are shortcuts of Windows 8.1 apps like People, Calender, OneDrive, Mail, the Windows app store, and more. You can open, uninstall, unpin, or pin things from the Start menu by right-clicking on them, and then selecting the action you desire by left clicking on it.
However, there’s a new app here labeled “Microsoft Feedback.” Recent Windows 9 rumors stated that Redmond’s next operating system could be heavily built on user input. In fact, some whispers went as far as saying that Microsoft could absorb user input on an individual basis, and customize Windows 9 to fit the needs of every single person based on what each individual says when providing input via Microsoft Feedback.
We think this is pretty far fetched. Even if Windows 9 doesn’t sell well, just think about the amount of different requests, complaints, and rants Microsoft would receive.
However, the existence of the Microsoft Feedback button in the new Start menu indicates that Redmond will at least (on the surface) make a greater effort/attempt to listen to people’s wants and needs.
On the top of the Start menu, you’ll see what looks like a power button to the right of the “Microsoft” icon. We assume that, once you click this button, you’ll get a standard set of options allowing you to shut down, restart, or sleep/hibernate.
If that’s indeed true, that adds another way to shut your PC down in Windows. If all of the methods from Windows 8.1 are carried over toWindows 9, that would give you four ways to shut down. Right now, you can right-click on the Start button in the classic desktop, click the power button at the top of the Start screen, and also use the Settings charm to power down.
A recent rumor tipped off the addition of a Notifications Center to Windows 9, and one of the screenshots posted by winfuture.de actually gives us our first look at it.
The Windows 9 Notifications Center was described as basic, and that’s exactly what it looks like. At this point, it consists of a totally white background with “Notifications” at the top of the window. The screenshot winfuture.de posted doesn’t include any notifications. There also doesn’t appear to be an obvious way to clear them out either, though an “X” button or something of the sort could appear once the center is populated.
You can access the Notifications Center by clicking on an index card-like button directly to the rest of the usual buttons you would expect to see in the System Tray in the lower right hand corner of the desktop.
More apps running in Windowed mode
Some of the new screenshots show apps like the Windows store running in windowed mode in the classic desktop UI.
This is a feature that’s widely rumored to appear in Windows 9, and these new images only reinforce that notion. The shots also show control centers like the Metro-centric PC settings menu running in Windowed mode, along with the aforementioned Microsoft Feedback app.
Multiple desktops on the same PC
Windows 9 rumors indicate that it could ship with the ability to display multiple virtual desktops on the same PC without having multiple video sources connected. Here, we get our first look at that feature.
The screenshots show three desktops running at the same time, with a black window and a plus sign over it. This is likely what you need to click in order to open more virtual desktops.
It’s unclear whether there will be a limit on the amount of virtual desktops you can have open at the same time. We can’t help but wonder how much this utility will tax PCs.
This could pave the way for super-enhanced multitasking in Windows 9, but if you need boatloads of RAM to run multiple desktops while also maintaining a smooth Windows 9 experience, this feature could only be used by people who own considerably powerful machines.
The Charms menu lives on, for now
In a screenshot that shows the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties menu, the option to turn off the Charms menu still exists, as it does in Windows 8.1 right now. This implies that the Charms menu is alive and well in Windows 9.
This comes after a rumor indicated that Charms as they exist in their current form could be killed off.
However, a different screenshot of the Windows Store app running in windowed mode features a button in the upper left hand corner that, when clicked on, contains almost all the functions currently contained in the Charms menu. Search, Share, and a split-up version of Devices are all there. The only Charm missing here is the one that takes you back to the Start screen.
You can also put the app in full screen mode from here, but we’re pretty sure that most people are going to rely on the Maximize button, which is located in its familiar spot between Minimize and Close in the upper right hand corner.
These new screenshots answer some questions, but also pose new ones. For instance, there’s a new Windows Features menu that lets you turn certain parts of Windows on and off.
While most of the items listed in the screenshot would probably only be used by IT folk, there may be certain sub-menus within folders like Internet Explorer or Media Features that could be of interest to the average user. However, at this point, it’s impossible to know for sure what lurks inside.
So far, so good
If these screenshots are indeed legitimate, we like what we see so far. We wish that there was more to the Notifications Center, as it looks completely bare in the screens leaked by winfuture.de. We realize that changes to these features can and likely will be made, so none of this is set in stone.
Nevertheless, we can’t wait until Microsoft gives the world its first official look at Windows 9. If we’re lucky, we’re just a few weeks away from that happening.