Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    Updating Windows 8 for General Availability

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    We are pleased to be releasing a set of improvements to Windows 8 in broad areas of performance, power management and battery efficiency, media playback, and compatibility. These improvements are available starting today via Windows Update. We wanted to briefly talk about our improvements to the engineering system and in particular the speed at which we were able to deliver these updates to you. With every release of Windows we have had approximately 8-12 weeks from when we released the code to OEMs...
  • Building Windows 8

    Updating our built-in apps for Windows 8

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    We’re super excited to be approaching general availability (GA) of Windows 8 and Windows RT. With thousands of new apps in the Store, there are a lot to choose from and tens of thousands of developers have been very busy around the world creating new apps. Across Microsoft we’ve been busy since August adding new features and improving the apps that come with Windows and will be updating these apps before GA. We’ll introduce new features, improve performance, and increase reliability. This post is...
  • Building Windows 8

    Collaborating to deliver Windows RT PCs

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    Since RTM on August 1, PC manufacturers have been using the released software to ready new PCs designed for Windows 8. Collectively, we are all very excited by the innovation and creativity that will arrive in market this October. Our engineering collaboration has been better than ever as we work to bring better performance, reliability, and battery life to new PCs designed for Windows 8. We also know many are interested in how we extended this process to a new generation of PCs built on the ARM...
  • Building Windows 8

    Releasing Windows 8 - August 1, 2012

    Today marks an important milestone in the Windows 8 project. The Windows 8 team is proud to share with you that a short while ago we started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. This means our next milestone will be the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012. Back when we first demonstrated Windows 8 in May 2011, we described it as “reimagining Windows, from the chipset to the experience,” and...
  • Building Windows 8

    Simplifying printing in Windows 8

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    Printing is one of the most common things we do with our PCs even as we read and work with more online resources. We set out to simplify and improve this common operation--working with partners across the ecosystem to deliver these improvements in Windows 8. This blog post was authored by Adrian Lannin, a lead program manager on the Printing team. --Steven Of all the peripheral devices that you can connect to your Windows PC, printers are one of the most popular, and have been supported...
  • Building Windows 8

    Hardware accelerating everything: Windows 8 graphics

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    With Windows 8 we set out to enable all applications to have the beautiful and high-performance graphics enabled by modern graphics hardware. This work builds on the well-established foundations of DirectX graphics, which have been providing an increasing breadth of APIs and capabilities. In Windows 7, we expanded the capabilities of DirectX to provide a common hardware-accelerated graphics platform for a broader range of applications. Whereas previously, DirectX mainly provided 3-D graphics, we...
  • Building Windows 8

    Using your feedback to make Narrator work better with touch

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    Shortly before we released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in February, we blogged about our work to make Windows 8 more accessible to people with disabilities. This included our work on Narrator to enable customers who are blind to use Windows 8 on touch screens. This work has continued to evolve in the Release Preview, and will also improve as we move toward the final release of Windows 8. This post details some of the work we have done to improve Narrator when using a touch-enabled PC. This post...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing the Windows 8 touch keyboard

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    Starting with the earliest TabletPC enhancements to Windows, we have been working on “on-screen keyboards.” With Windows 8, we started fresh and took a "first principles" approach to developing the touch keyboard. Given the amount of experience many of us have with touch keyboards for phones, and the myriad of touch devices we interact with these days, we set a very high bar for the quality of the experience and effectiveness of input with the new Windows 8 touch keyboard. In this post...
  • Building Windows 8

    Protecting user files with File History

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    Backing up your critical files is something we all know we should do. Even with everything in SkyDrive, it is still something we need to do. With Windows 8, we took a new look at the way backup can work and set out to solve the perennial problem of not just restoring all your files but restoring a previous version of a critical file you have been editing through the course of a day. To achieve this, we're introducing a new feature in Windows 8, File History. Bohdan Raciborski, a program manager on...
  • Building Windows 8

    Readying Metro style apps for launch

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    We know many folks are looking forward to RTM. Developers currently working on apps in the Store are especially excited. We have hundreds of apps in the Windows Store now and many more on the way. There’s a broad set of developers around the world that we have been working closely with since the first Developer Preview. The WinRT platform is evolving rapidly during development based on feedback, and we have the dual task of keeping the Store up and running so we can supply apps to the millions...
  • Building Windows 8

    Introducing the Photos app for Windows 8

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    Wrapping up our series of posts on some of the new apps in Windows 8, we take a look at the new Photos app. With this app, along with Metro style design principles, we set out to design an app that allows you to bring together photos from many different sources and to then view and share them. Brad Weed, a group program manager in the Windows Live team authored this post. --Steven We take a lot of photos that end up in a lot of different places. Some are on our PCs, others end up on a photo...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing the Windows 8 Calendar app

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    This post builds on the Mail app and People app posts , and details the Calendar app. We’ve worked hard to integrate these apps together into a seamless communication suite that connects to the cloud services most important to you. This post details the integration with Windows 8, some of the features in the current preview, and features on the way. We also look at a little bit of the design history and iteration as some background. Colin Anthony, a lead program manager on the Windows Live...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building the Mail app

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    Hundreds of thousands of folks have been using the “App Preview” of Mail on a daily basis since the Windows 8 Release Preview. We’ve also been updating it along the way through the new Windows Store with more updates planned. In this post we go into the background of the Mail app and talk about the design and features, especially relative to Metro style design principles. This isn’t an exhaustive list of Mail features or features yet to be added and primarily focuses on the...
  • Building Windows 8

    The People app: the complete, cloud-powered address book for Windows 8

    • 139 Comments
    Managing "contacts" has been a bit of a challenge for many, especially as the number of places that contacts can be stored and the number of PCs and devices we use to access those contacts has increased. Storing contacts in the cloud for easy roaming and connectivity is a part of the solution. With Windows 8 and the new People app, we are taking cloud storage a step further by optionally connecting it to other services you already use. This brings together email contacts and contacts from your service...
  • Building Windows 8

    Activating Windows 8 contracts in your app

    • 88 Comments
    One topic that we’ve demonstrated quite a bit is how apps on a Windows 8 PC can communicate with other apps and web services. At the start of Windows 8 we chose an approach where apps can be the source or destination for data you want to share—sort of like a clipboard, but with a richer interaction model and clearer semantics. When an app implements a contract , Windows 8 can provide glue between that app and any other apps on the system, and the system itself. You can see this in action...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building a rich and extensible media platform

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    Windows provides a broad set of technologies for consumers to experience video and audio and for developers to tap into these technologies through rich APIs. This post goes into depth on both of these aspects of the Windows media platform, which has been substantially improved for both desktop and Metro style apps. The landscape for media playback has changed significantly since Windows 7 was released, with an increased focus on streaming, and the desire for content owners to offer playback of their...
  • Building Windows 8

    Connecting with IPv6 in Windows 8

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    With World IPv6 Launch upon us, we thought it would be good to provide a look at the work in the Windows 8 Release Preview supporting IPv6. Christopher Palmer on the core networking program management team authored this post. --Steven IPv4 is the Internet Protocol that has been used for Internet connectivity for decades. However, IPv4 was never designed for such load and scale, and it is beginning to show signs of strain as the Internet grows—even though the incredible foresight of the original designers...
  • Building Windows 8

    Web browsing in Windows 8 Release Preview with IE10

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    In the Windows 8 Release Preview, we continue to deliver the re-imagined experience of the web browser, incorporating your feedback to provide the best browsing across all Windows 8 devices, including more of the web you browse every day. Rob Mauceri, the group program manager for Internet Explorer, authored this post. --Steven We built a new browsing experience in lockstep with Windows 8 to give you all the advantages that Metro style apps offer. We built that experience by extending IE’s underlying...
  • Building Windows 8

    Delivering the Windows 8 Release Preview

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    Today, Windows 8 Release Preview is available for download in 14 languages. This is our final pre-release, and includes Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps for connecting to Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger (and many more), and hundreds of new and updated apps in the Windows Store. Since our first preview release last September, millions of people now use the pre-release product on a daily basis and millions more have been taking it through its paces, totaling hundreds of millions...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before

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    While we're hard at work making sure you never have to turn off your PC and can run in a connected standby state, we know that there will still be reboots for updating key system components. We've previously talked about reengineering the Windows boot experience and how we modernized and touch-enabled the core boot loader and choices. We've also made boot go by very fast . In fact, it is now so fast that we had to look at the design to enable the kinds of diagnostic boots required by those who do...
  • Building Windows 8

    Enhancing Windows 8 for multiple monitors

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    This post goes into the details around the multi-monitor experience for Windows 8. From the very first public release and demonstrations of Windows 8 we have shown improvements over Windows 7 for multi-monitor scenarios and have shown how we support new Metro style apps within a multi-monitor environment. We have continued to develop and refine features for multiple monitors and have significantly enhanced the experience as we move to our next milestone, the Release Preview. This post provides a...
  • Building Windows 8

    Creating the Windows 8 user experience

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    This blog often focuses on the bits and features and less on the “philosophy” or “context” of the product. Given the level of brand new innovations in Windows 8, however, we think it is worth putting Windows 8 in the context in which we approached the design. As with any significant change to a broadly used product , Windows 8 has generated quite a bit of discussion. With millions of people using the Consumer Preview for their daily work, we’ve seen just as many points...
  • Building Windows 8

    Delivering reliable and trustworthy Metro style apps

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    As we developed the app model for Windows 8 and the new Metro style apps, a key architectural requirement has been to deliver apps to customers that can be used with confidence--confidence that apps will be well-behaved with respect to resources, that apps will not interfere with other apps, that apps use system resources with your permission, that apps can be installed and uninstalled with ease, and so on.  These attributes require a robust platform and strong set of tools for developers. ...
  • Building Windows 8

    Keeping your family safer with Windows 8

    • 125 Comments
    One of the intrinsic capabilities of Windows 8 is the ability to use multiple accounts on any PC. This makes it much easier for parents to use tools that can help protect their children from content on the Internet as they see fit. It is also a great way for each family member to maintain their own unique online identity while still sharing a single PC. Microsoft has been a leader in creating tools to help maintain a safe computing environment for all users as well as for parents in particular. With...
  • Building Windows 8

    Redesigning chkdsk and the new NTFS health model

    • 101 Comments
    We’ve written about tons of improvements in the OS kernel, networking, and file system. While for most client PCs, the tried and true chkdsk utility is one we rarely use anymore except in very rare circumstances, we are using Window 8 as an opportunity to improve this utility. We wanted to focus on rethinking how the utility works to increase availability and reduce downtime due to chkdsk operations. In looking at the real world usage of chkdsk, we note that corruptions are exceedingly rare...
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