Windows 8.1

Microsoft made some radical changes to the Windows platform with the launch of Windows 8. Some consumers adapted to the new Modern user interface, while others struggled to move on from the Start menu, not effectively utilising the Start screen with Live Tiles and other functionality. According to latest reports, the company is looking to return the Start menu in a coming update.

Rum: 9

We've previously looked at the upcoming Windows 8 update to succeed 8.1, codenamed "Threshold." It's believed that Microsoft will release said updates to bring Xbox One, Windows and Windows Phone closer together. Now, according to Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet, Microsoft will ship three product SKUs:

  • ​Consumer-focused release, running on phones and ARM-based tablets/PCs (think a revised Windows RT)
  • Traditional consumer release on x86 architecture, aimed at the PC market with mice and keyboards (just like full-blown Windows 8 today)
  • Traditional enterprise SKU for volume licensees

Parallels Start Menu
​​Start menu in Parallels 9

Big changes coming to Windows

As well as the above, Paul Thurrott has included a few changes that may be planned for a future version of Windows - note that no codename or version has been confirmed. If you've been craving the full Start menu, or have desired the ability to run Modern apps in desktop mode alongside each other, prepare yourself for a rather large smile.

Both these features are believed to be on the way. Currently, there are still many complaints about the start menu, or lack of. Some utilities have been released (and even included by OEMs), but to have an official menu return to Windows would be a blessing for those who simply can't live without the feature.

Running Modern apps in desktop mode would also be a massive improvement for those using a mouse and keyboard. The ability to have Modern apps as windows (much like traditional x86 Windows software) in the desktop would remove the requirement to switch between the desktop and Modern UI. This could potentially increase productivity.

But that's not all as Thurrott teases that there's the possibility for more features to be included in the next major update for Windows and we find it difficult to disagree. Microsoft is certainly listening to consumers on all platforms (be it Windows, Xbox or Windows Phone) so these changes (and more) make perfect sense.

It's worth noting that while this is all rumour for the time being, both Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott are usually spot on when it comes to these types of stories. Would these two features alone make a difference to the Windows user experience for you?

Source: ZDNet, via: Winsupersite