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