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Microsoft Windows

Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes. 1009

Nerval's Lobster writes "A little over a year after Microsoft released Windows 8, and a mere three months after it pushed out a major update with Windows 8.1, rumors abound that Windows 9 is already on its way. According to Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows, Microsoft will begin discussing the next version of Windows (codenamed 'Threshold,' at least for the moment) at April's BUILD conference. 'Threshold is more important than any specific updates, he wrote. 'Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment.' Microsoft intends Threshold to clean up at least a portion of Windows 8's mess. Development on the latest operating system will supposedly begin in late April, which means developers who attend BUILD won't have access to an early alpha release—in fact, it could be quite some time before Microsoft locks down any new features, although it might double down on Windows 8's controversial 'Modern' (previously known as 'Metro') design interface. Yet if Thurrott's reporting proves correct, Microsoft isn't abandoning the new Windows interface that earned such a lackluster response—it's betting that the format, once tweaked, will somehow revive the operating system's fortunes. With Ballmer leaving the company and a major reorganization underway, it'll be the next Microsoft CEO's task to make sure that Windows 9 is a hit; in fact, considering that rumored 2015 release date, shepherding the OS could become that executive's first major test."
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

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  • Simple fix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:53PM (#45941321)

    Drop the Metro/Modern interface, and focus on the desktop for business use - that is where Microsoft has always had it's strongest showing. If they don't, and insist that it's all touch, all Metro, all the time, they have just ceeded the business desktop to the Linux variants such as Mint and Ubuntu.

  • by NewWorldDan ( 899800 ) <dan@gen-tracker.com> on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:53PM (#45941327) Homepage Journal

    I rather like Windows 8. The only thing I really want is to integrate Metro apps with the desktop and run them inside of a regular window, which will allegedly be added to Windows 9.

    Also, when you go to 'All Programs' on the new start menu, it's a horrible mess. Sort it alphabetically and let each group start a new column. Otherwise, I'm very happy with 8.1.

  • Metro on servers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @01:56PM (#45941369) Homepage

    Metro on servers is a big turn off but MS will be slow to accept that server admins have different GUI needs. Sure core is catching on some but the GUI users will stick around until forced to use powershell.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#45941517)

    Oddly enough, the bugs I can deal with. The horrid interface, the gradual removal of control, and attempts to mimic apple's walled garden is what I take issue with.

  • Call it "This is it" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by h00manist ( 800926 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:02PM (#45941519) Journal

    They should call it the "this is it" version. Make a grand video of the rehearse of its pre-release beta version. Hire a tech doctor to put it to sleep with anethesia. Have a great big media trial and debate. Then admit it's dead.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:06PM (#45941563)

    Most people use Windows for one of those two things: gaming or business.

    Make the following:
    - Windows 2015: Gaming Edition, optimized for games, no useless services running in the background, only the bare utilities to help setup/add hardware easily.
    - Windows 2015: Business Edition, optimized for business applications with strong support for emails, calendars, networking, etc.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:08PM (#45941607) Homepage

    They don't want that. What they want is that desktop gradually retreats to acting more like a guest OS / GUI on a Metro based system. Moreover that is really suboptimal even now. Far better is:

    large screen = desktop
    small touch screen = metro

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:16PM (#45941739) Journal

    They shouldn't have two GUI modes based on entirely different paradigms. It's absolute madness. Trying to make a desktop operating system behave like a smartphone operating system is just idiotic. I get the MS was trying to plant the psychological seeds to make the Surface and desktop offerings a unified target, but Surface and Surface RT just aren't selling and, in a time of shrinking PC sales, they've shot themselves in the foot. Whatever master plan they had with the Metro interface, it's been a failure on all fronts.

    To show you how bad it is, I ordered some laptops from one of our main suppliers a few weeks ago. I didn't even have a chance to request downgrade rights to Windows 7 Pro when my rep simply said "And these come with Windows 7 Pro installed, but we can install the upgrade media if you want it." This is one of the biggest hardware and software providers for enterprise and government in Canada, and they're selling new hardware with Windows 7 out of the box simply because no one in enterprise or government wants anything to do with Windows 8.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:19PM (#45941801) Homepage

    Not unlike Star Trek movies. :-P

    Of course, the big question is if they'll break pattern and have two good releases back to back, or, if they'll break pattern and have two releases back to back which suck.

    Oh, and you've forgotten about Windows 2003, which to the best of my knowledge falls into the 'great' category since it's still widely used.

  • Re:Vista/7 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by number17 ( 952777 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:20PM (#45941809)

    With Windows 8, the desktop environment has fundamentally been changed.

    Basically they created a start screen instead of start menu.

    Oh ya, the start screen can also run these other apps which you don't have to use.

  • by Anaerin ( 905998 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:24PM (#45941887)
    Microsoft has always attempted to follow an "Every 3 years" release schedule for new consumer operating systems, and they've pretty much kept to that schedule, apart from skipping a release in 2004:
    • 1995: Windows 95
    • 1998: Windows '98
    • 2001: Windows XP
    • 2004: Skipped
    • 2006: Windows Vista
    • 2009: Windows 7
    • 2012: Windows 8
    • 2015: Windows 9

    So why is everyone acting so surprised when they keep following this trend?

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheloniousToady ( 3343045 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:30PM (#45941967)

    Yes, but with or without Aero?

    It fascinates me that they added Aero as eye candy that no one needed in Vista, then in Windows 8 they not only took it away but also took away the minimal, though longstanding, eye candy of rounded corners. So do we need eye candy or don't we?

    Years ago, I read about a study in which researchers tried to determine what type of music would make cows produce the most milk. They tried all the common genres, from classical to hard rock, but didn't find any clear winner. However, they found that the cows produced slightly more milk when the type of music was changed.

    Microsoft consistently has milked their users by changing the cosmetics of each major new version of Windows. I assume that's part of the plan to sell you the same thing again while pretending it's different - much as car makers do. But since Windows 8 is plain, Windows 9 seemingly would need to be fancy. But it can't be slightly fancy like XP, or really fancy like Aero. What's more, if they want to stick with their dogma of deploying the same look-and-feel across all devices, big and small, they're going to have to find a new form of plain (to run on lowest-common-denominator hardware) that's somehow different. Changing colors is about the only option I can think of. Hey, it works for the fashion industry.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:38PM (#45942093)

    I don't know where you get your scientific study from, but EVERY single person I personally know who has 8 or 8.1 likes it after the initial hours of adjustment

    But are they using Metro on 8.1 or do they spend those initial hours of adjustment turning it off?

    Even my Apple loving son and his wife (won't ever change) like it. It is called NEGATIVE publicity by all these supposedly techie sites and then the articles are picked-up on by mainline press.

    It's not much of a recommendation to say that a user that primarily uses (and prefers) a different operating system likes Metro. It's not hard to like something that you rarely use.

    I don't know where you get your scientific study from, but EVERY single person I personally know who has 8 or 8.1 likes it after the initial hours of adjustment

    Me, I can't wait until I can get me a touch screen for the desktop and have 3 ways to input -keyboard, mouse and touch. I love that aspect about my Surface Rt-3 ways to input.

    Will you really use a 27" monitor as a touch screen? The fingerprints alone would drive me crazy.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:43PM (#45942179)

    It fascinates me that they added Aero as eye candy that no one needed in Vista, then in Windows 8 they not only took it away but also took away the minimal, though longstanding, eye candy of rounded corners. So do we need eye candy or don't we?

    Personally, I think this [berlios.de] Win8 hack would be a good design to go with. It keeps the clean lines of the new interface, while restoring transparency to increase visual interest and make overlapping windows a bit more usable.

    That said, I'd be fine if they just went back to the Win7 Aero interface. But I do want to see glass transparency in some form – this isn't just eye-candy, it does serve a useful purpose when multi-tasking. (Apparently Microsoft has forgotten that some people actually use their PCs for work.)

  • Re:9.1 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:43PM (#45942193)

    Not speakiing for the GP, but I also kinda like it:
    1. I like the visuals more than the glassiness of Vista/7. I'm a fan of bright, bold colors.
    2. I like big buttons better than I like lists of things for selecting stuff. Functionally, it still is searchable/filterable so there's not really much of a downside. And the big square buttons are easier to hit with a mouse than little items on a list.
    3. I like the way Windows 8 organizes programs better - they seem to be stopping the vendors from creating 9 million folders and icons for everything that you install.

    Are these silly short sighted reasons for liking Metro? Yes, of course. But the thing is, the entire controversy against Metro is silly and short sighted. It's a 5 minute install and setup to get the start menu back. [classicshell.net] For the record, I do think that MS should include this option built in, but everyone's complaints of Metro are completely overblown.

    One thing I do NOT like are the hot corners - they are finicky and pop out all the time when I don't want them. they also are confusing with multiple monitor setups.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:48PM (#45942271) Homepage Journal

    Strange, for me it's the opposite. I can find stuff much faster in Windows 7 because it is logically laid out and grouped, unlike XP which just evolved randomly over time. The search feature will get you to pretty much any random function or setting as fast as you can type. It's also a lot smoother and cleaner, snappier and more responsive.

    Windows 7 is actually a damn good OS. Windows 8 is hardly a "nightmare" with a few tweaks, which any self-respecting techie should be able to apply. Metro was incredibly dumb but like MacOS if you ignore the crap parts there is a lot of good stuff and power under there.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:50PM (#45942305)
    I agree... I did switch to "classic shell," but then I don't use Windows much at all anyway; when I last bought a laptop I had the option of 7 or 8... and decided to see what the fuss was about. Turns out it was mostly much ado about nothing.
  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:53PM (#45942333) Homepage

    Sorry, Windows 8 is a nightmare. I have used every version of Windows since day one, and stand out sucks are 2.0, Windows Me, Windows Vista and Windows 8.

    All others, including NT, WfW and the rest were much better than /.ers made them to be. Win 8 is every bit as bad as you've heard.

    Windows 8 works in as much as you can make it not to be like it was supposed to.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:53PM (#45942337) Journal

    We are using windows 7 at work, also macosx and linux, but the windows machines are running windows 7, almost no windows 8 almost no windows XP.

    And now Windows 9 is showing... tell me why should I upgrade my windows 7 machines ? The faster they release the less I want to upgrade. I prefer to wait until the dust settles. Even the users can understand this. Windows 7 have become a comfort zone.

    That's very true. I'm mildly interested because this will tell us what direction Microsoft is going and whether they learned anything from the mistakes on Windows 8. If 9 is still 8 with some minor improvements, this reinforces my deathgrip on Win7, and what I recommend to users. But if 9 has what purports to be the performance improvements of 8 (which I never got to test, as before I had figured out how to make it work, I realized I didn't care anymore and went back to 7) and a reasonable KVM-centric GUI paradigm, then not only does it become a candidate to upgrade Win7 boxes, but it becomes a panic upgrade for Win8 boxes.

    There needs to be conventional analogs (read: actual menus) to those funny bars that are swiped in from the sides, because you do not swipe with a mouse. Conveyance needs to be improved -- it should be obvious what is clickable and what isn't. And -- feel free to scatter admin tools throughout the touch menu system; I don't care. But every single thing I need to do to a machine had better be in control panel. The machine should detect the absence of touch hardware on boot and automatically boot into desktop -- a real desktop, with a real menu system, not that retro-DOS "just type the command".

    If these things happen, I mean, *really* happen, not just a "start" button that takes you back into touch-only mode, then sure, I'd consider Windows 9.

    Parenthetically, someone I know that actually likes Windows 8 (there are a few) said that she puts up with the confusion because on her laptop, she can see those big squares in Metro mode, whereas she couldn't really tell the icons on her desktop apart in Vista without her reading glasses.

    This got me thinking... does Metro look like that because.... Gates and Ballmer have gotten... OLD? Because big splotches of color are easier for old tired eyes to see? Are they flat because elderly eyes can't distinguish shading? Is Win8... the GERIATRIC OS?

  • Re:9.1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:56PM (#45942383)

    I'm not the person you replied to but I like it on my HTPC for netflix, and the metro video player.

    The large start menu, and automatically going full screen for movie playback is great on the big screen at 10 feet away.

      I could see a few other metro apps being useful in that setup, although I haven't gotten around bothering to look for any myself. (A "file explorer" would be good for example; I'd probably even consider a metro browser... I hear firefox has one... I should look at that too. As both those activities are a bit painful from the couch using the desktop apps.)

    As for my actual desktop on my actual desk...

    I've also really got nothing against the new start screen for the desktop use case either. I rarely use the start menu; having pinned my apps to custom toolars. Right clicking on the start button brings up pretty much everything I ever used from the old start menu and more.

    But yes, I have little to no use for metro apps there. However, I just don't launch them and they don't bother me.

    I had to change the default picture viewer and video player away from the metro version to the desktop version, and then it was good. IMO those are bad defaults.

    If they gave win+r the autocomplete+search functionality of the win7 start menu widget I'd really have no complaints about 8.

    I don't use classic shells etc, they really aren't necessary at all, and just preserve a lot of the legacy mistakes that the win7 start menu has accumulated. Just because you are used to it, doesn't mean it was good.

  • Re:Vista/7 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @02:58PM (#45942425) Homepage

    My wife's grandmother was having computer trouble so I agreed to look over her PC. Unfortunately, it was running Windows 8 in Metro mode. Though I pride myself on my knowledge of computers, I couldn't figure out how to locate anything. It seemed like every step of the way, the computer was actively preventing me from finding tools that would have diagnosed the problem. It was like the OS was designed to be "so easy grandma can use it" to the point that they didn't even think that someone knowledgeable in computers would need to use it. Finally, I managed to escape from Metro-ville and fixed her problems. It turned a five minute job into about a two hour job, though.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:14PM (#45942643) Homepage Journal

    I hate the hot corners and the swipe gestures.

    And this is where windows really takes a beating - on my wife's very new Samsung ultrabook the drivers for the touchpad are borked and I can turn the crap off but it comes back after being shut down. That's not Microsoft's fault - but it doesn't matter. Just like people don't care when their nvidia card has problems on a linux box. I just want it to work. Paying $1500 for a machine and then going through all the grief I have to get it working, and ending up stuck with it not quite right makes Apple look a lot more attractive.

    So it's not just that Windows 8/8.1 has problems- it's also that it's so hard to find a decent PC manufacturer.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:19PM (#45942711) Journal

    I loved Windows 7 when it came out and was excited to leave XP and Vista behind FINALLY!

    What is so bad about it? Is it change. Do you find the libraries weird? Do you know like the theme?

    Windows 7 has new features as well. If you hit the Windows key on the keyboard and type it will instantly find any document or program. A godsend if you are college student and have hundreds of files! I can search "financial analysis Marsh 2008" and find only the correct excel and word documents for this!

    I like aero snap. On your Windows 7 system drag the title bar of your browser to the left or right? Notice there was a clear rectangle on what it would look like before it was moved? Now you can have 2 documents side by side.

    As an IT pro I finally can do a system file check. Sooo annoying under XP. Sure we can use the OEM XP SP 2 disk but guess what? 70% of the files have been altered since 2008 because of Windows Update making the damn thing useless. So if your XP installation is corrupted I can not fix it :-(

    But that is my opinion. If you hate the translucent aero you can adjust this and make it solid. I think it looks pretty and do not mind it. You can even make it look like Windows 95 if you want and disable aero.

    All these things just the gui. Under the hood it is a vast improvement from the XP days.

  • Re:9.1 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hermitdev ( 2792385 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:27PM (#45942823)
    I've used every version of Windows since 3.1 and NT 3.5, and with the exception of WinME, Windows 8 is the worst experience I've ever had. I've yet to use it in a touch interface, but for a traditional laptop or desktop interface, it is horrible. On my desktop, I've dual 29" widescreens (as I write this, I simultaneously have a movie playing and Civ5 on a separate monitor). Windows 8 abhors multiple monitors with Metro. Another really annoying regression with Win8 is you cannot independently control the volume of Metro apps. All Metro apps are 100% volume, all the time. As far as the actual UI goes, I wouldn't be so against it if they didn't impose the touch cues to traditional interface users. Where before, I could just click a button to close a window, now I have to click & drag and make a rather dramatic motion. Not so bad with a mouse, but really annoying on a laptop with just a touchpad. To close a metro app, it's a click and hold and like 4 or 5 swipes of the finger. Something that now requires 2 hands or a lot of dexterity that I used to be able to do with just a single finger. Not to mention, they make it really hard to find anything that isn't a Metro app or didn't happen to just be installed recently. After upgrading from Win7, I couldn't find 3/4 of my apps.
  • Re:9.1 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:39PM (#45943025) Journal

    I find it funny that Windows 7 will not find "Add or remove programs" if you type "Add", but it will find it if you type "Remove"

  • by MyNicknameSucks ( 1952390 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:49PM (#45943173)

    Early adopter here -- it came pre-installed on a notebook.

    What I eventually realized is that MS is now supporting 3 separate UIs, all with quirks, and all with separate design philosophies.

    The classic, window-based UI has been evolving over 15 years; it's straight-foraward, if cluttered. Start button; apps binned to the task bar; random crap on desktop; text-based menu bars; high contrast, colourful design elements.

    Ribbons in Office. Similar to windows, but it replaced the menu bars with ribbons. More customizable than the menu bars, but my old eyes find the muted colours, grays on white, and small icons troublesome, especially in Outlook. Runs exclusively in classic UI.

    Metro -- which actually comes in two flavours, touch and keyboard / mouse. The touch interface isn't bad, although I personally find it a pain to sort through open apps. But ... I find it hard to stay in Metro. Open up the calculator app, and you end up with a full screen calculator that looks STUPID on an 18" monitor (similar calculator on a 4" smartphone looks great, mind you). Open up Outlook? Back into classic. Further, the apps themselves feature scrolling vertically and horizontally which is ... disconcerting. If there's a pattern as to the reasoning behind H v. V scrolling, I don't get it. While the tiles themselves are colourful (a reference to the classic UI?), the apps are back to scroll bars that are grey on white (Office?). And the Music app is mostly black / grey / white. Weird choice, that, since it removes a design element that can highlight useful information. And, having a whole bunch of live tiles scrolling information on an 18" monitor is distracting, not illuminating.

    But Metro with a keyboard and mouse? I know it can work ... but "put mouse in corner and pray" seems like a poor design choice. Further, I'm unaware of any helpful hints within the OS itself about how to use keyboard shortcuts. Seriously, MS made one of the most counter-intuitive UIs I've ever used with a keyboard and mouse, but did an outlandishly poor job of introducing it. First impressions last -- and if the first impression was "rage", good luck to you.

    And, finally, my grousing aside, but if MS had released Win 8 with useful, clever, and outlandishly cool apps, we might not really be having this conversation. Instead, MS has my geographical location (Toronto, ON), but the installed apps gave me news, sports and weather for NYC (seriously, they got the country wrong?). Again, it's small -- but it would've been a nice touch if the apps tried to have a local flare because, frankly, I don't care about NYC. At all. The other apps? Music is interesting, especially since it includes free streaming (something of a big deal in Canada), but the interface blends local libraries with cloud streaming not-quite-seamlessly. The other apps, like mail and calendar, suck.

    Win 8 is a deeply weird beast. It's fast. It's stable. And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, especially if you're wedded to Office. The weird blending of multiple UIs is, plain and simple, goofy.

    Looking back at my comments. What I think I would like is a small, tablet-sized second monitor for running Metro, connected to my desktop. I'd have whatever I'm doing on the classic desktop open, but could easily glance over and see Twitter updates, incoming e-mails -- a lot of things I use my iPhone for. Weird thing, that.

  • Re:ME compared to 98 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:58PM (#45943281) Journal


    A comment from someone who just was learning about computers then, so take this with some salt...

    One basic problem about Windows Me is that its timing was wrong. We all heard about the crash happenings of Win 95. Win 98 was a decent effort at least to tidy all that up. Not perfect, but you could see that someone tried. My first comp I learned on was Win 98.

    The problem was, behind the scenes someone started a "skunkworks" second dev track based on the Win NT line that was at that time much more stable. Then they managed to get hold of the legendary Dave Cutler who poured himself into it all, and basically stamped the Win 2000, which when tweaked, became the Win XP that we all argue about today.

    Win Me was a last left over holdover from the Win 98 codebase without all that extra hardening in, so it ran up against too many things that had been solved on the other dev track from Win 2000 / Win XP.

  • Got a mac (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cowdung ( 702933 ) on Monday January 13, 2014 @08:03PM (#45945805)

    I needed a new laptop.. but nobody would sell me one without Windows 8.

    So I bought a MacBook Pro (fully loaded).

    I'm very satisfied with it (now that the new version supports 16 gb though it still seems a bit low).

    MS has done its utmost to drive me away.. I was tough to convince.. but eventually they succeeded.

    First they tried with the Ribbon: I stuck to Office 2000 (still use it by the way)

    Then they did the XP mess: I waited till Vista/Win7

    But Win 8 was an impossible puzzle to solve.. so I got a Macbook and installed Win7 with Parallels. Phew..

    I wonder if I'll be able to dodge their next salvo!

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault