10 Features to Expect in Windows 9

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-08-25 Print this article Print

Windows 9 is coming to the marketplace soon, according to some recent reports. Earlier this month, one report said that Microsoft would show off its upcoming operating system, currently known as Threshold, toward the end of September or early October. A more recent report said Microsoft is, in fact, planning to hold a special press event on Sept. 30 and will launch the preview build of its operating system soon after. With Windows 9 now just weeks away from its initial launch, many consumers and enterprise customers are likely wondering what the future holds for the operating system. Windows 8 has been a nightmare for Microsoft and its customers, and so Windows 9 must be the operating system that bridges the gap between Windows 7 and an updated OS that Windows 8 couldn't fill. In other words, Windows 9 cannot be a misstep the way Windows 8 was. Microsoft, from all appearances, is doing everything it can to make sure that doesn't happen. Several rumors, in fact, have suggested that Microsoft will be delivering a wide range of improvements and new features to make Windows 9 what Windows 8 should have been in the first place. In the following slide show, eWEEK takes a look at features users should expect to find in Windows 9.

  • 10 Features to Expect in Windows 9

    By Don Reisinger
    10 Features to Expect in Windows 9
  • Cortana Will Be Making Her Presence Felt

    Cortana is arguably one of the most important platforms Microsoft is promoting right now. While the virtual personal assistant might not have the same kind of impact as the Surface tablet or Office 365, it has proved to be better than Apple's Siri. Realizing that, the feature, which is available in Windows Phone, is expected to come to Windows 9. Cortana would seemingly make using the operating system a little easier. Whether it will, however, remains to be seen.
    Cortana Will Be Making Her Presence Felt
  • Charms Are All but Dead

    Charms, the feature that Microsoft brought to Windows 8 because it thought it would change how we all use its operating system, will be dead, according to several reports. Microsoft has realized that Charms, which was supposed to surface those items that mattered most and make the operating system easier to navigate, failed on both fronts. And now it's being left out of Windows 9.
    Charms Are All but Dead
  • Yes, the Start Menu Is Coming Back in Full Force

    All signs point to the Start Menu coming back in Windows 9. With the launch of Windows 8, the Start Menu was eliminated, making the operating system harder to use for those who weren't used to the new look and feel. Complaints about the operating system have continued and, according to reports, Microsoft has felt enough pressure to bring back the Start Menu in its next OS.
    Yes, the Start Menu Is Coming Back in Full Force
  • Metro Apps—With Windows?

    Microsoft isn't yet ready to give up Metro-looking applications, but the company has decided that windows really do matter. So, Windows 9 will launch with a hybrid of sorts, featuring Metro-style applications in full windows that can be maximized, minimized or x'd out. Yes, real windows functionality is coming back to Windows.
    Metro Apps—With Windows?
  • Finally, an End to Multiple Versions

    Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella indicated that multiple versions of Windows might be a thing of the past. He said he wanted to bring his Windows teams together and have them focus on a single operating system version for all. That's good to hear, and it should eliminate the complexity that has affected Windows versions all these years.
    Finally, an End to Multiple Versions
  • Expect Some Serious Cloud Integration

    It shouldn't surprise anyone if cloud integration makes its way to Windows 9. Nadella has been clear that he believes Microsoft needs to be a mobile-first, cloud-first company, and part of that will be integrating services such as OneDrive and maybe even elements of Office 365 into Windows 9.
    Expect Some Serious Cloud Integration
  • Enhanced Gestures for the Tablet

    Since mobile is also very important to Microsoft, don't be surprised to see enhanced gesture support in the upcoming operating system. In fact, Windows 9 is expected to be optimized for the tablet form factor, making touch gestures all the more important. It's not clear what Microsoft has planned, but touch functionality will likely play a crucial role in Windows 9.
    Enhanced Gestures for the Tablet
  • Expect Some Broad Convergence

    In his massive manifesto released earlier this summer about the future of Microsoft, Nadella said he believes his company can be successful by combining elements of its many platforms, including Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox. Expect a broad convergence in Windows 9 that will allow for easy integration between all of Microsoft's many software platforms.
    Expect Some Broad Convergence
  • Don't Expect to Pay a Dime

    Expect Windows 9 to be free for all users. Such a move is a response to Apple's own decision to make its recent operating systems available as free downloads. The future for Microsoft is not generating cash on Windows software; it's getting people to adopt Windows so they use its other, paid platforms. Nadella knows this and plans on leveraging that in the coming weeks.
    Don't Expect to Pay a Dime
  • Expected Final Build Launch Date: 2015

    The final build launch date for Windows 9 is currently slated for 2015, according to reports. While Microsoft will make the operating system available to test this fall, the company won't actually send out the final release until it's ready next year. So, while Windows 9 sounds promising, don't expect it to be making a splash anytime this year.
    Expected Final Build Launch Date: 2015
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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