Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    Scaling to different screens

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    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

    Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8

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    In this post we wanted to update you on Media Center and Windows 8, specifically how we will make sure Windows 8 fully supports the capabilities of Media Center as it is in Windows 7. We took the feedback about maintaining the functionality very seriously, and we clearly understood what we’ve heard many of you saying around the value of Media Center for movies, Internet TV, broadcast TV, optical media, music, photos, and all the other scenarios it covers today. Many said in comments and email...
  • Building Windows 8

    Using the language you want

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    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

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

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    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...
  • Building Windows 8

    Metro style browsing and plug-in free HTML5

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    One of the first things a lot of folks will try after installing the developer preview of Windows 8 will be the IE10 browser—the most used tool in Windows. IE 10 in the preview is Platform Preview 3 of IE 10.  You can read on the IE blog about the HTML 5 engine work we’re doing. This post is about a big change in Metro style IE, which is the plug-in free experience. In Windows 8, IE 10 is available as a Metro style app and as a desktop app. The desktop app continues to fully support all plug...
  • 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 file name collision experience

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    Thank you so much for all the comments about our work to improve file management basics. We’ve been overwhelmed by the dialog—there’s a huge amount of excitement for the changes we’re making and a ton of energy around this topic. That’s what makes working on Windows 8 so much fun. While there were comments and suggestions around many parts of what we talked about, by far the most back and forth (expressing all sides of the issue for sure) came from the discussion of the file name collision dialog...
  • Building Windows 8

    Minimizing restarts after automatic updating in Windows Update

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    Before the Internet, updates such as service packs and "patches" were impossibly hard to come by. You ordered upgrade "media" or maybe bought a magazine with a CD in it. Of course, the Internet changed all that. In fact, when ftp.microsoft.com was first set up, among the first services was the ability to get updates for MS-DOS and Windows. With the introduction of Windows Update, we invested heavily in building not just a software delivery service, but a commitment to delivering...
  • 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

    Reengineering the Windows boot experience

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    Phew!  We're all back from BUILD and focused on our next milestone.  It is fair to say we had an awesome time showing everyone Windows 8 in depth and all of our speakers and Microsoft attendees are unbelievably appreciative for the warm reception you gave the product.  We know it is early still--a developer preview--and there are lots of questions.  We're going to be answering them in new posts as we focus on using the Windows Developer Preview (WDP) as a baseline--so if you haven...
  • 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

    FAQ - DVD playback and Windows Media Center in Windows 8

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    We thought we would follow up the previous post with an FAQ which is based on the comments and discussions, so Bernardo put this together so things are in one place. Some of these might be introductory for some but since the comments covered a lot of topics, it seemed reasonable to start at the beginning. --Steven What are the codecs needed to play DVD? A codec is software that is used to compress or decompress a digital media file, such as a song or video. MPEG-2 is widely used as the format...
  • Building Windows 8

    Reducing runtime memory in Windows 8

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    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

    Using Task Manager with 64+ logical processors

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    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

    Bringing Hyper-V to “Windows 8”

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    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

    Reflecting on our first conversations (part 1)

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    When we kicked off this blog, the premise was a dialogue – a two-way conversation about building Windows 8. As we said we intended to do, we’ve started a discussion about how we build the product and have had a chance to have some back and forth in comments and in posts about topics that are clearly important to you. To put some numbers on things, I’ve personally received about 300 email messages (and answered quite a few) and in total, we have had just over 3,000 English language...
  • Building Windows 8

    Protecting the pre-OS environment with UEFI

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    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

    Signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID

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    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

    Virtualizing storage for scale, resiliency, and efficiency

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    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

    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

    Improving power efficiency for applications

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    Minimizing the power consumption of your PC while maximizing the responsiveness and utility (making it “fast and fluid”), is a significant engineering challenge. While it starts with the work we do in Windows to provide support for the right level resource usage, this work requires developers to take resource utilization into account as they develop their apps. Power efficiency applies to all form factors and all usage scenarios—using less power is the right thing to do for everyone...
  • 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

    Best place to discuss Windows 8

    • 165 Comments
    I wanted to offer a pointer to the best place to have discussions about Windows 8. Please head over to the forums we have set up to discuss the product and answer questions.  As we have seen, the commenting mechanism is not a great place to have a wide variety of topics different than the topic of the post while keeping track of the discussion. We set up this short URL to be easy to remember: http://win8.ms/forums gets you to the general forum.   -Steven
  • 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

    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...
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