Windows Blue build 9364 leaked, shows numerous improvements

We're all eagerly awaiting to see what Microsoft has for consumers with the Blue updates that will be released for its array of products later this year. Build 9364 for Windows 8 has been leaked, teasing what we can all look forward to in the public release once the final revision is available for the market. So what features and changes are new in this leaked build? WinBeta managed to take a good look and record some footage.

So, you're interested in new stuff, right? Well, we're talking about more advance personalisation, deeper SkyDrive support, more Live Tile sizes (familiar, Windows Phone consumers?), stronger multitasking and a bunch of other goodies. Check out the following video for a walkthrough on installing a fresh copy of the leaked build:

What many will find interesting is how Microsoft is attempting to group all the settings and categories in Control Panel and shove the configurations into PC Settings (accessible from the charm menu). This makes sense as for the time being settings are split up and are available in multiple locations. It can be daunting for new users to figure out where settings are after turning a new PC or tablet on for the first time. As well as this, there have been some improvements made for multitasking.

It's reported that changes have been made to the core system to allow 3 or 4 apps to be "snapped" on-screen at any given time, as well as 2 or more "Metro" apps to be run across multiple displays. Sounding good so far? We couldn't agree more. Microsoft has to battle initial reviews that noted how the new operating system may feel like too much of a climb for those who perform multiple tasks at once. It can be frustrating to juggle multiple apps on Windows 8.

A one-swipe gesture from the main home screen will take the user straight to the app list - swipe down, buddy. Instead of having to rely on heading over to search for the list of installed programs, users can now check what's available with an accessible display. Oh, and the Windows logo in the Charms menu shines a little bit clearer when the bar is activated - or is it just us? It's the little things like this that make a visual difference.

Windows Phone owners will be slightly jealous once they've witnessed Microsoft implement a colour chooser for the background theme.

Windows 8 Colour Chooser

Can Windows Phone not sport an accent colour bar selector tool?

Could we be seeing something similar in the Blue update for Windows Phone? It'll be interesting to see. To add just a few more new observations, a handful of new apps were spotted in the above video, including Alarms. All this is coupled with reports that current core apps on Windows 8 set to receive major updates - the Mail app alone is crying out desperately for a refresh.

So, as Windows 8 users, what do you make of findings thus far? What else would you like to see Microsoft include before the update is released? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: WinBeta; thanks, John, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.