Details are a little hazy at this point, but the Windows 9 experience will reportedly differ depending on what kind of device you’re using, and could consist of multiple versions. On the flavor meant for traditional desktop and laptop PCs, the classic desktop UI will be the centerpiece of the OS, while hybrid devices will allow you to switch between the desktop and a tiled, Metro-ish mode. One report suggests that users may be able to turn the tiled portion of the UI on and off in the final release of Windows 9.
On top of that, the desktop/laptop version of Windows 9 will allegedly feature a return of the Start menu, or some form of it. Users of this variant will also be able to run windowed Metro apps in the familiar desktop environment. These were expected, and unsurprising changes though, assuming they turn out to be accurate. Microsoft teased a new Start menu at Build 2014.
Microsoft has already started to make overtures towards desktop users with Windows 8.1, and with Windows 8.1. Update 1 as well. With those two updates, which arrived in October and this April, respectively, Microsoft has added a handful of smaller functions aimed at desktop users. They include a psuedo-Start button for the desktop UI, the ability to run Metro apps in the classic desktop UI, a dedicated button for shutting down, restarting, or putting your device to sleep in the Metro UIs Start screen, and more.
While Microsoft is expected to continue with this push to appeal to desktop users, there’s no guarantee that whatever changes they make with Windows 9 will have Windows XP and Windows 7 diehards flocking over to Windows 9 once it’s released. The Windows 9 public preview, should it be released sometime this coming fall, may go a long way towards telling us whether Microsoft is on the right or wrong path.
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