Ex-Windows chief shares early concept ideas for Windows 8

Windows 8 presentation
(Image credit: Hardcore Software)

What you need to know

  • Former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky recently shared a video showing off an early concept of Windows 8.
  • The presentation was shown to Microsoft employees back in 2010 to illustrate how the operating system could look and function.
  • Interestingly, the early designs of Windows 8 included a Start button and a side panel that looked similar to the Windows 11 widgets panel.

The former head of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, shared a video from the early days of Windows 8 recently. The presentation was shown to Microsoft employees back in 2010 to illustrate the concepts of the operating system (via Deskmodder). Windows 8 would later ship in 2012.

Sinofsky's video is on the YouTube channel Hardcore Software, which the ex-Windows chief runs. 

Since the presentation was from so early in the development process, many of the ideas presented did not make it into Windows 8. Interestingly, the Start button was shown off in the presentation. Windows 8 controversially shipped without a Start button, and Microsoft reintroduced the feature with Windows 8.1.

One of the final images in the video shows a side panel with various tiles. While not identical to the Widgets panel seen in Windows 11, there are clear similarities.

The presentation also includes an updated File Explorer and a preliminary concept of the Windows 8 Start menu. One image shows off Internet Explorer 9.

Concept videos like this often include ideas that don't see the light of day. That's part of the brainstorming process, after all. It's still interesting to see ideas presented in 2010 appear similar to features that are in Windows 11.

Windows 8 was generally met with negative reviews, but it's an interesting piece of Microsoft history. As we get further from the operating system's end of support (2016), tidbits continue to trickle out. Earlier this year, we got to hear the startup sound that never shipped with Windows 8.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).