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8/18/2014
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Windows 'Threshold': 7 Things To Expect

Microsoft will reportedly release its next version of Windows as a public preview by this fall. Here's what we know about the next version of Windows.

swiped or moused into viewed. This change confused many users and contributed at least partially to the OS's poor reputation. In the next version, Microsoft will reportedly backtrack, as neither the desktop nor tablet UI is expected to include the Charms Bar.

5. Windows will gain virtual desktops.
The next version of Windows will reportedly include virtual desktops, a feature already available to Linux and OS X users. This addition would allow Windows users to create different desktops for different software titles, and to then switch among them. That way, the user maintains an uncluttered screen even during heavy multitasking.

6. Windows Threshold might include Cortana.
Rumors and patent applications indicate both Apple and Microsoft plan to bring virtual assistants to the desktop environment. It isn't clear which will move first, however. Siri isn't present in Apple's developers' preview of OS X "Yosemite," which will launch this fall. Cortana, meanwhile, is allegedly present in some internal Threshold builds, though reports don't agree whether the feature will be ready for the OS's launch.

7. The next version of Windows might be free.
Several reports have claimed the next version of Windows will be free. This wouldn't necessarily be surprising; Microsoft has offered free upgrades in the past, and given Windows 8's reputation, it probably behooves the company to do so again. That said, Microsoft leaders have allegedly considered making Threshold free not only to Windows 8 users, but also to Windows 7 users. Millions of Windows XP users still haven't upgraded, even though Microsoft stopped supporting the OS more than four months ago. Microsoft might be trying to avoid repeating this situation with Windows 7.

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Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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Some Guy
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Some Guy,
User Rank: Strategist
8/20/2014 | 2:51:32 PM
Even Win 7 Upgrade for FREE may not be enough incentive
A free upgrade from Win 7 would certainly help, although that may still not be enough. Most of the XP reluctance to upgrade has more to do with the organizational or embedded design costs of validating the systems and all the other software that had to be migrated than the OS cost.

A couple of other issues. 1) Hard to think that the Microsoft Board of Directors and shareholders would be OK with leaving a lot of money on the table, either. 2) Given the trend to consume more compute cycles with every iteration of Windows, the Win 7 HW may not be able to run Threshold. For example, 2-point touch from the 2010 era, although compatible with Win 8/8.1 is pretty clunky. No universal TPM from that era really needs a solution even if it's a USB dongle they brand and sell separately. Will my 2010 Dell Duo 1090 with 2-point touch and single-core Atom really work with Threshold? Would Microsoft even want crippled instances of legacy HW trying bravely to run Threshold even out there?

Finally, I was really happy with how Microsoft rolled out Win 8. They still need to fix the basic Windows touch so that you can reliably do such simple things as close windows and start text entry with your finger -- THE FIRST TIME. (HINT: make the icons bigger, or at least give me a choice to in Control Panel.) They need to do as great a job as they did with the Upgrade Evaluation Tool. And having the $30 upgrade like they did from Win 7 to Win 8 Pro for the 1st 3 months is a good idea to repeat; maybe this time without the sour taste of dropping Windows Media Center.
Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/20/2014 | 12:35:35 PM
Re: Free Windows (as in free beer)?
I don't know how, but I totally missed that story yesterday... Must have been because of all the crap Windows systems I was having to support.

 

For now, it is only a thought.  But I smell a schill in the Munich Gov.  Gonna have to check to see who recently has come into postition their and who their backer is.

 

Maybe MS will pull their head out and the next version wont be the unmitigated disaster taht Windows 8 is.

 

Otherwise, I will have to use my powers for evil and start breaking Windows OS.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
8/20/2014 | 7:01:43 AM
Start menu?
Based on the image the new start menu will not provide for a hierarchical menu system that allows for properly organizing and quickly accessing many entries. If this how it will pan out it will remain an epic fail. Give us the REAL start menu back so that we do not have to fix every Windows install with ClassicShell.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
8/20/2014 | 2:22:37 AM
Re: Windows Threshold
What's missing here? What else would you like in Windows Threshold, readers?

It's not as much as what I'd like to see in Threshold, although Cortana, the Start Menu and free are a given, but to be able to install it in old computers without the NX requirement. I believe many people are in that position.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2014 | 1:38:45 AM
Re: Windows Threshold
I've been assuming Microsoft will make it free for Windows 8 users. They indicated at Build that Windows 8 users would get the Start menu in a future update. Since the Start menu is now evidently part of Windows 9, they sort of have to give it away in order to avoid going back on their word. The more interesting possibility is that they'll make it free for Windows 7 users too. I think it would be the right call. Apple has basically already done the same thing, and Microsoft really needs to avoid repeating the ongoing Windows XP fiasco when Windows 7 reaches its EOL deadline.


I think Microsoft realizes it can't make money from OSes the way it used to. I've heard a few references to a possible Windows as a Service offering, for example, which would be a step in a new direction, and one that a few analysts have told me is inevitable.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2014 | 1:31:15 AM
Re: Free Windows (as in free beer)?
This doesn't necessarily negate all of your points, but Munich is now considering dropping Linux and moving to Windows.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2014 | 1:29:32 AM
Re: Windows Threshold
+1

All the major mobile platforms have embraced the flat aesthetic to some extent, but the Modern UI is my least favorite. Not that it's bad, per se-- but "too flat" is one of the problems. Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 both let you create some depth with backgrounds in ways that their predecessors did not, so hopefully "Threshold" will perfect it further.
Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
8/19/2014 | 10:29:19 AM
Free Windoze and Talking Clippy
Of course they'll have to provide a free upgrade. Otherwise sales of PCs with Windows 8 will plummet as soon as the "previews" go public.

"Virtual assistants."  Is that what they're calling Clippy now?  Guess it'll return with a Siri-like voice, but even more annoying.
Lord_Beavis
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Lord_Beavis,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/19/2014 | 10:18:03 AM
Free Windows (as in free beer)?
The only way that I would even think about running Windows for personal use is if they built a GUI for the Linux Kernel and then that would be with a grain of salt.

I've witnessed first hand the fuster cluck that Windows 8.x can cuase in a business and I must say it is extremely laughable that they [Microsoft] are even still in business.

When more businesses take the Munich route, it will be a good day indeed.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
8/19/2014 | 7:32:28 AM
Re: Windows Threshold
I think Microsoft doesn't have much choice on the price.  There are enough people who are complaining that making us pay for these updates would cause a riot.  I've been using Win8 and 8.1 since they were released and I'm really hoping this next update is the sweet spot in fixing the little issues that everyone has been waiting for.  I know Microsoft really didn't want to give us a start menu but Win 8 has such a split personality that you have moments of misery just trying to make simple system configuration changes.    I appreciate the direction they are heading but the execution is so loosely stitched together you end up switching back and forth between UIs to do anything.
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