Windows 9 (Threshold) to include new taskbar, improved UI and much more

Zac Bowden

Windows 9 concept

We all know that the upcoming release of Windows will be big when it comes to the desktop, we’ve already reported on a number of changes coming in the future, and Neowin has today revealed even more plans for Threshold when it launches sometime next year. In Threshold we can expect an updated UI, a brand new taskbar, Cortana, and possibly desktop gadgets.

Starting off with the basics, Threshold will have a brand new distinct user interface, which sets it apart from the usual Windows 8 and Windows 7 look and feel. According to Neowin, this new user interface is flatter and more modern than ever before. Can we assume Microsoft will (finally) give us updated desktop icons? We can only hope.

Moving onto modern UI windows, something Microsoft recently revealed. The Modern UI windows are set to be even more native than originally thought, the concept shown at BUILD saw the apps placed in the usual Win32 borders, that won’t be the case when Threshold ships. The windows will not have borders, but will still have a close, maximize and minimize buttons. 

The taskbar in Threshold is set to get a rather large update too. We recently talked about a new patent that Microsoft had filed, which included changes to the taskbar. Neowin has revealed that the taskbar in Threshold will have live icons, and will have a “glance-and-go” approach. Cortana is also set to live in the taskbar, which allows for easy access to her assistance.

Last but not least, desktop gadgets may be making a comeback. One of Neowin’s sources has claimed that gadgets are present in certain builds of Threshold, meaning Microsoft may be ready to give gadgets on the desktop another go.

Now, we recently talked about leaked screenshot of the Start Menu in build 9788. You may ask “why does that build look completely different to what’s being described here?” It’s pretty simple. There are multiple development branches for Threshold, some working on the user experience, and others working on features. The recently leaked screenshots are from the WINMAIN branch, which is the branch which typically includes working features.

What Neowin has revealed above may not be ready for compilation in the WINMAIN branch as they are still being worked on. Until the UI is ready (or at least working to some extent) and features are mostly working, they will stay in their respective branches. This should help clear up any confusion as to why the latest screenshot leaks still look pretty vanilla.

Of course, as Threshold is in alpha right now, things could definitely change. So don’t be surprised if anything you read here isn’t in the final release.