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Windows 9 Preview to Launch September 30

Yahoo Tech

Code-named Threshold, Windows 9 is set to bring a major change in terms of design and features compared to Windows 8, which was launched less than two years ago.

According to sources within the company, speaking to well-known Microsoft-watcher Tom Warren at The Verge, the company is planning to hold a media event on Sept. 30 to unveil the new software, though that date could change in the coming weeks.

The news from Warren comes just days after fellow Microsoft expert Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet reported that the Redmond-based company was planning to make a “technology preview” of Windows 9 available in late September/early October.

Threshold — as the software is currently known within Microsoft — is set to be the next major release of the company’s desktop software and will be known as Windows 9 when it officially launches in the spring of 2015.

Microsoft is said to be focusing more on making the new Windows experience better for those using non-touch devices, with Windows 8 roundly criticized by mouse and keyboard users for being too touch-focused.

Microsoft began to address these concerns with the Windows 8.1 update last year, and this will continue with Windows 9.

Among the additions to feature in the Windows 9 release:

• A mini Start menu returning to the desktop
• “Windowed” Metro-style apps
• Virtual desktops
• Cortana integration
• Removal of the Charm bar

Microsoft has stated its intention of having a much more rapid update cycle for Windows software, similar to its update cycle for Windows Phone mobile software.

With that in mind, the preview set to become available at the end of September is likely to be accessible not just to developers but to the public as well, unlike the Windows 8 preview, which was initially available only to developers.