Windows 8 Discussions Get the Green Light

Microsoft has opened a space for public dialog about Windows 8, its next client operating system, which is currently under development.

Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division, authored the first blog today of a new Building Windows 8 ("B8") series that will discuss a range of issues over the coming weeks about the incipient OS. The blog echoes a similar effort carried out with the development of Windows 7 via an "Engineering Windows 7" blog series in August 2008. The new blog on Windows 8 apparently will continue Sinofsky's "opaque" approach on releasing information.

Sinofsky is largely credited with getting the Windows 7 train moving on schedule after disappointments associated with Windows Vista. Some of the expectations Microsoft had projected for Vista did not get met. Many independent software vendors weren't ready with driver support by the time Vista was released.

In one example of promising too much with Vista, Microsoft was taken to court over the "Vista capable" tag on PCs. "Vista capable" turned out to mean that the machine could run Vista, but not the newly introduced Aero glass-like graphical user interface introduced with Vista. That limitation turned out to be associated with Intel chips that were on the market but were incapable of handling the demands of the new OS.

Such problems led to a more cautious approach to releasing information by the time Window 7 was starting to appear on the scene. Sinofsky reiterated that approach with the B8 blog, saying that "our top priority is the responsibility we feel to our customers and partners, to make sure we're not stressing priorities, churning resource allocations, or causing strategic confusion among the tens of thousands of you who care deeply and have much invested in the evolution of Windows."

In the first B8 blog post, Sinofsky suggested that current hardware that can run Windows 7 might also be capable of running Windows 8, and that some Windows 7 software applications might be compatible with Windows 8.

"Windows 8 reimagines Windows," Sinofsky wrote in the blog. "That's a big statement and one that we will return to throughout this blog. It is also important to know that we're 100% committed to running the software and supporting the hardware that is compatible with over 400 million Windows 7 licenses already sold and all the Windows 7 yet to be sold."

This view seems consistent with what other Microsoft executives have said about Windows 8. The B8 blog is not Microsoft's first public discussion of Windows 8. Microsoft gave an initial preview of a "Windows Next" at the Computer Electronics Show in January, and announced future ARM support and system-on-chip support from AMD and Intel at that time. In June at an All Things Digital D9 event and at the Computex device show in Taipei, Microsoft unveiled Windows 8's user interface, which has a tile-based touch screen that looks a lot like the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS.

Sinofsky said in the blog that much has changed since Microsoft's last major overhaul with Windows 95. The company is focusing on the growing mobile device market with Windows 8. He said that "today more than two out of three PCs are mobile."

Microsoft plans to release more information about Windows 8 at its Build conference in September. While Sinofsky referred to a "pre-release version" of Windows 8, he did not specify when it would be available. Many expect some Windows 8 release to be available at Build, which combines Microsoft Professional Developers Conference and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.

The new Building Windows 8 blog can be accessed here. A Twitter feed can be accessed at @BuildWindows8.

Sinofsky promised that an e-mail link on B8 blog page will go to him, allowing readers to communicate their Windows 8 suggestions to him directly.  

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 sgrimes ok

How about a virtual monitor for certain busines applications where a single pc may drive multiple monitors, in some situations, these monitors are not directly in sight, could be a sign or a kiosk for info. etc. would like to have a window which displays the content of all addtional monitors. So each monitor not th main could have a mirroring window on the main monitor is needed. Now I can see what the other person sees, to correct any issues. This could also work with pushing images out to laptops or to tablets like in an interactive meetings. this could create an amazing experiece, by utilizing these devices as extended monitors. A shared montor via the virtual monitor.

Fri, Sep 30, 2011 sgrimes OK

Would like Windows 8 to give me the capability to create multiple desktops. NOT virtual extention of the same desktop, but multiple configurations which would allow me to have a development desktop with appropriate apps, system setups and running threads which is needed for that desktop, then a graphics desktop again with its appropriate running threads. ex> I may not want to run a Kodac thread while on my programing desktop, but may want it on the graphics desktop. Then I can have as many as I need to do the work I want to do. The end game is the machine becomes light weight while still being a workstation.

Tue, Sep 6, 2011 sgrimes OK

a major issue with PC security centers around port security. Have you considered a means of using an application type of signature system, which when a port is to be enabled that the port is opened only for certain apps or individuals. could also be a pair, where the port will only open if the both agree. The system could also enable a value stream which must follow a pattern to ensure that it was not hijacked, the app and the OS and the port feature would know if the stream is correct and can't be initially hijacked midstream. the sytem may require periodic resets to make this even more assured.

Tue, Sep 6, 2011 sgrimes OK

concept: How about a monitor extention which enables a special type of monitor(keyboard sized) to lay on the desk or lap and be the keyboard, ribbon, start bar, or other navigation. the keyboard would display like an on screen keyboard and would be able to change based on the app. the function keys would say what it does, like help, or close app. or indicate which key sets are needed to effect. This would be a feature that can be turned on if the user wished to employ but MS could also develop this special keyboard(monitor) for this purpose. the advantage would leave the main monitor to have more space for apps, and make the keyboard much more flexible. Could eventually be a flexible OLED. to allow for ergo choices, flodablity or other vairations.

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 Nirav

win8 should have a aplication explorer that shows installed softwares. And we can open software from it. Same as game explorer. Some of my friend doesnt know which software they had installed. They only know about desktop shortcut. If shortcut should delete they thought the software is deleted. Control panel/uninstall program shows installed aplication. we can unistall aplication from there but cant open aplications.

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 Mike

I hope Windows 8 Tablet will rival the iPad but I have a feeling that it won't meet expectations. What I need is an iPad killer, something that can replace a desktop, support dual monitors, and provide mobility for workers. You have to offer buisness something that the iPad can't deliver on.

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 Sgrimes ok

provide a baked in means of providing digital signatures to application. For those apps which do not provide this feature, a save as or save with feature which will wrap the file with signatures, like or simular to a Mail attachment. the file would be saved with(as) this wrapper extention, to open you first will get the wrapper to present the signature(s) along with a Icon representing the signed file, and any indication of validity. you can then click to open the file. This in no way would interfere with any embedded capability of an app or form, but does extend any app that does not. the OS would show the Icon of the app as normal in the file system in order to recognize it. The XPS system signatures may come close but does not show signatures upfront and visible, and does show the file as an xps file, not as a wordpad file or a JPG file, etc.

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 Sgrimes OK

I don't know if these Ideas are in the new OS or even in windows 7 ,but.. a common issue is registry coruption: Provide a registry protection and self healing function. Create a hardened core which will only be update by the OS. Create a sandbox for new entries to be tested over some time span, then migrate to permanent. Something to prevent the need to rebuild profiles for what ever.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 Ted W CO

Please, please everyone request one feature that would be a huge time & energy saver: Left-side vertical scroll bar! Think about it: most things we need to click are on the left (think about all the check boxes to the left of emails to delete), so we're constantly moving that mouse pointer back and forth across the screen. And with a wide-screen monitor it's even worse. There is just no good reason for a right-side scroll bar, but at least give us a choice! I'm betting that the current limitation is about top of the list of most inefficient characteristics of Windows. Think about it! Write in! Thanks!

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