Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    Improvements in Windows Explorer

    • 1,343 Comments
    Windows Explorer is a foundation of the user experience of the Windows desktop and has undergone several design changes over the years, but has not seen a substantial change in quite some time. Windows 8 is about reimagining Windows, so we took on the challenge to improve the most widely used desktop tool (except maybe for Solitaire) in Windows. Alex Simons on the program management team authored this post with a detailed look at the evolution of Explorer and the major improvements to its interface...
  • 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 fast boot times in Windows 8

    • 419 Comments
    When it comes to talking about "fundamentals" we want to start with boot time – no feature gets talked about and measured more. We designed Windows 8 so that you shouldn't have to boot all that often (and we are always going to work on reducing the number of required restarts due to patching running code). But when you do boot we want it to be as fast as possible. This is a very deep topic and we have a lot of folks focused on it. We made a bigger leap in this area with Windows 8 than we...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building the next generation file system for Windows: ReFS

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    We wanted to continue our dialog about data storage by talking about the next generation file system being introduced in Windows 8. Today, NTFS is the most widely used, advanced, and feature rich file system in broad use. But when you’re reimagining Windows, as we are for Windows 8, we don’t rest on past successes, and so with Windows 8 we are also introducing a newly engineered file system. ReFS, (which stands for Resilient File System), is built on the foundations of NTFS, so it maintains...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture

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    One of the notable aspects of Microsoft Windows has been the flexibility the architecture has shown through shifts in technology and expansion of customer usage over time. What started out as an operating system for one person working solo with productivity software is now the foundation of a wide array of hardware and software technologies, a spectrum of connected Windows products, and an incredibly flexible approach to computing. With Windows 8 , we have reimagined Windows from the chipset to the...
  • 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

    Signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID

    • 182 Comments
    With Windows 8, we introduce the optional capability to sign in to your PC with a Windows Live ID and, by doing so, gaining the ability to roam a broad range of settings across all of your PCs. In this article by Katie Frigon, the group program manager of the You-Centered Experience team, she describes the feature and its benefits. --Steven Each Windows user wants to have the ability to set up and use a PC in a way that is unique to them. Doing so, however, can be challenging in today’s multiple...
  • Building Windows 8

    Bringing Hyper-V to “Windows 8”

    • 190 Comments
    In this post we talk about how we will support virtualization on the Windows "client" OS. Originally released for Windows Server where the technology has proven very popular and successful, we wanted to bring virtualization to a core set of scenarios for professionals using Windows. The two most common scenarios we focused on are for software developers working across multiple platforms and clients and servers, and IT professionals looking to manage virtualized clients and servers in a...
  • Building Windows 8

    Scaling to different screens

    • 268 Comments
    There’s a ton of innovation in the world of displays—from pixel density, to aspect ratio, to core technologies. Windows 8 is designed to grow and improve as the display ecosystem grows and improves. Our goal is to support the broadest range of display technologies so PC makers can build PCs or you can use external displays that provide the best experience for your needs. To do this, we architected the WinRT to provide the platform necessary to support this diversity. This is a complex...
  • 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

    The Windows 8 Task Manager

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    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

    Delivering the Windows 8 Release Preview

    • 554 Comments
    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

    Refresh and reset your PC

    • 118 Comments
    The power of personalization is something we all love about PCs, but sometimes there is good reason to want to roll back to an earlier state. Most consumer electronics devices today can be reset to some factory state, and so we built this capability into Windows 8 too. Desmond Lee is a program manager on the Fundamentals team and authored this post about “push-button reset.” --Steven Many consumer electronic devices these days provide a way for customers to get back to some predefined...
  • 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

    Making personal cloud storage for Windows available anywhere, with the new SkyDrive

    • 303 Comments
    In February, we told you about our goals for connecting your apps, files, PCs, and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8 . Since then, we have provided the App Preview of a Windows 8 app to access SkyDrive, and we’ve updated the SkyDrive web experience. Today, we are delivering new capabilities for SkyDrive across the Windows platform. Mike Torres, and Omar Shahine, group program managers for SkyDrive, co-wrote this post. --Steven     Over the last year we’ve been hard at...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing for PCs that boot faster than ever before

    • 206 Comments
    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

    Using the language you want

    • 263 Comments
    Since its introduction in Windows 2000, Multilingual User Interface technology, or MUI, has allowed customers to install additional display languages on their Windows PCs and to switch between them. But for the majority of users, the language you got when you booted up your Windows PC for the first time was likely the one you were stuck with. For Windows 8, we have reimagined the display language experience, focusing on making additional display languages available to all Windows users , making them...
  • Building Windows 8

    Welcome to Windows 8 – The Developer Preview

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    If you’ve been following this blog, then you know today is a big day for the Windows team. At the BUILD conference we are about to preview Windows 8. There’s a ton to see in the product and so we’d really encourage everyone to check out the available streams on http://buildwindows.com , where we will webcast the keynote. The BUILD conference this week is focused on developers and hardware partners, and there are over 100 sessions (all of which will be available from the link above...
  • Building Windows 8

    Reflecting on your comments on the Start screen

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    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

    Protecting the pre-OS environment with UEFI

    • 186 Comments
    There have been some comments about how Microsoft implemented secure boot and unfortunately these seemed to synthesize scenarios that are not the case so we are going to use this post as a chance to further describe how UEFI enables secure boot and the options available to PC manufacturers. The most important thing to understand is that we are introducing capabilities that provide a no-compromise approach to security to customers that seek this out while at the same time full and complete control...
  • Building Windows 8

    Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency

    • 181 Comments
    In this post, we are going to dive into a feature in the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Storage Spaces are going to dramatically improve how you manage large volumes of storage at home (and work). We’ve all tried the gamut of storage solutions—from JBOD arrays, to RAID boxes, or NAS boxes. Many of us have been using Windows Home Server Drive Extender and have been hoping for an approach architected more closely as part of NTFS and integrated with Windows more directly. In building the Windows...
  • Building Windows 8

    Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete

    • 630 Comments
    We wanted to do an early Windows 8 post about one of the most used features, and one we have not improved substantially in a long time. With the increasing amount of local storage measured in terabytes, containing photos (in multiple formats and very large files), music, and video, these common operations are being taxed in new ways. These changes, along with consistent feedback about what we could improve, have inspired us to take a fresh look and redesign these operations. Of course this is just...
  • Building Windows 8

    Simplifying printing in Windows 8

    • 102 Comments
    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

    • 155 Comments
    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

    Connecting your apps, files, PCs and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8

    • 256 Comments
    Many folks reading this blog are active users of SkyDrive and Mesh, both part of the broad set of Windows Live services (like Hotmail), and the Windows Live Essentials programs (Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, and more). With their introduction and with Windows 7, we have talked about how these services really complete the Windows experience. As we developed Windows 8, we thought deeply about how these services can take an even more active role in completing the experience—offering a...
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