Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

October, 2011

  • Building Windows 8

    The Windows 8 Task Manager

    • 363 Comments
    As we mentioned during the Windows 8 keynote at //build/, every 15 years or so we choose to update Task Manager. Of course that was said in jest as we have incrementally improved the utility in just about every release of Windows. For Windows 8, we took a new look at the tool and thought through some new scenarios and a new way of tuning the tool for "both ends of the spectrum" in terms of end-users and those that need very fine-grained control over what is going on with their PC. Ryan Haveson, the...
  • Building Windows 8

    Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen

    • 767 Comments
    We've been having a lot of discussion regarding the two recent posts on the Windows 8 Start experience. Those of you who have used the Developer Preview are contributing to our understanding of your individual usage patterns and what is easier or more difficult than in Windows 7. As a reminder, we released Windows Developer Preview build with the full product "enabled" even though we still had much feature work to do in the user interface. We did this in order to foster the dialog and we want folks...
  • Building Windows 8

    Reducing runtime memory in Windows 8

    • 200 Comments
    Fundamentals such as memory usage represent a key engineering tenet of Windows 8. In building Windows 8 we set out to significantly reduce the overall runtime memory requirements of the core system. This is always good for everyone and especially in a world where people want to run more and more apps at the same time or run on systems with only 1 or 2GB of memory. The laptop we talk about in this post is the exact same one we talked about at the Windows 7 PDC in 2008 – an off-the-shelf, first-generation...
  • Building Windows 8

    Evolving the Start menu

    • 357 Comments
    This post kicks off a series of posts on the design of the Start screen and the evolution of the core activity of launching and switching programs. Some folks are calling the Start screen the "Metro shell" for Windows 8, but for us it is the evolution of the Start menu and associated functions. We've been watching the comments closely and have seen the full spectrum of reactions as one would expect when the core interface changes. We want to use these blog posts to have a dialog that reflects back...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing the Start screen

    • 603 Comments
    Thank you for the comments and feedback on the previous post. We definitely get the message that there's a lot of feedback and passion around the design. We're going to continue talking about the design and answering your questions and comments through these blog posts. We designed Start to be a modern, fast and fluid replacement for the combination of launching, switching, notifying, and at-a-glance viewing of information. That's a tall order. And of course, we set out to do this for the vast majority...
  • Building Windows 8

    Using Task Manager with 64+ logical processors

    • 190 Comments
    Ryan Haveson, a group program manager on the User Experience team, wanted to update folks on some progress with Task Manager since the Windows Developer Preview. In this post you'll find the updated Task Manager tools for managing systems with a large number of logical processors. This is scalability well beyond desktop PCs, and is designed for the server and data center. A big part of Windows development is that the OS scales across a wide range of form factors and CPU architectures. Note on...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing search for the Start screen

    • 381 Comments
    Given the ton of interest in the design of the new Start screen we wanted to dive deeper into the topic of search. There's a clear focus on efficiency and overall professional productivity in the comments. For professional scenarios, every keystroke matters. One new aspect of the Windows 8 platform is the ability for Metro style apps to deliver a customized search "contract." For this post we'll focus on the built-in search capabilities for files, settings, and apps, which update the Windows 7 search...
  • Building Windows 8

    Optimizing for both landscape and portrait

    • 287 Comments
    As we have demonstrated Windows 8 in many forums, we've tended to use landscape orientation (widescreen) quite a bit. Primarily that's because often we're projecting, and it makes for a better experience that way. Another reason is that many of the early devices (such as the Samsung tablet issued at //build/ with Windows Developer Preview) are widescreen, which is ideal for showing side-by-side applications using the new Snap feature, and that tends to work well in landscape. We have done a ton of...
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