Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    FAQ - DVD playback and Windows Media Center in Windows 8

    • 204 Comments
    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

    Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8

    • 265 Comments
    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

    Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined

    • 134 Comments
    We have talked quite a bit about SkyDrive and using your Microsoft account for the sign-in and roaming capabilities of Windows 8. These are just two aspects of a broad service infrastructure that you can tap into when using Windows 8 (and Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE, and a host of other services and apps). We want to talk more about the capabilities and features of cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. To get started, Chris Jones, the VP of our Windows Live group responsible for the development...
  • 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

    Managing "BYO" PCs in the enterprise (including WOA)

    • 58 Comments
    With more and more people providing their own hardware for work, the "bring your own" PC is becoming more commonplace and IT Pros want to have the confidence that they can support their clients who follow this trend. The presence of BYO does not change the need for IT Pros to manage, secure, and remain accountable for the network assets of an organization, and we all know that written policies can only go so far. This post focuses on managing WOA PCs, which are designed with this "consumerization...
  • Building Windows 8

    Reclaiming memory from Metro style apps

    • 84 Comments
    Modern operating systems take a different view of the resources on the system. Regardless of the form factor, it is important for the OS to more effectively manage resource utilization than in the past. Currently, it is far too easy for a single process to consume available resources (memory, CPU, disk I/O) even when this does not improve the overall performance for end-users. The very role of an OS is to balance resources and make sure you can complete all the things that you want to do on your...
  • Building Windows 8

    Touch hardware and Windows 8

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    Last September we blogged about experiencing Windows 8 touch on Windows 7 hardware , introducing the story of touchscreen hardware, how it is evolving, and what we expect Windows 8 will bring to the ecosystem of touch. We discussed how our engineering efforts (software and hardware) are driven by key user experiences, how these experiences play a big part in how we evaluate Windows 8 hardware, and how we communicate with hardware partners. Since that post, we’ve been working closely with our...
  • 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

    Web browsing in Windows 8 Consumer Preview with IE10

    • 376 Comments
    In this post we want to talk about the new Internet Explorer 10 browsing experience.  We have considerably improved the underlying browsing engine with performance , standards, and features as we have previously blogged about.  IE10 designed for a Metro style experience is a new and improved way of browsing, where you can truly focus on the information you want to browse rather than the task of browsing – a fully immersive experience.  At the same time it provides all of the safety...
  • Building Windows 8

    Going behind the scenes building Windows 8

    • 626 Comments
    As we start to talk about some more of the details of the Consumer Preview release and some of the changes, or just features we haven't had a chance to blog about yet, we wanted to take a step back and re-introduce the team a bit--a reminder of the people behind the features we talk about. Building Windows 8 is a pretty significant undertaking and involves a team with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We're proud of the fact that the diversity on our own team reflects the diversity of the customers...
  • Building Windows 8

    Running the Consumer Preview: system recommendations

    • 481 Comments
    We’re very excited to get to the point in the project where we can provide a pre-release version of Windows 8 that is broadly usable by the tech community on a daily basis. We know folks who are anxious to run the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are probably interested in suggestions around what hardware to use. This post provides the technical details behind system recommendations. These are not system requirements , and are not final, but simply a view of what works best for running the Consumer Preview...
  • Building Windows 8

    Welcome to Windows 8 – The Consumer Preview

    • 665 Comments
    Today is a big day for the Windows team. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain a few moments ago, we unveiled the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to our partners and press. Based on a broad range of feedback, we have made over 100,000 code changes and the Consumer Preview represents a refined product ready for broad and daily usage by those of you willing to test a pre-release OS. You can download the Consumer Preview starting now at http://preview.windows.com . If you tried the Windows 8 Developer...
  • 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

    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...
  • Building Windows 8

    Internet Explorer Performance Lab: reliably measuring browser performance

    • 143 Comments
    A big part of this blog is going behind the scenes to show you all the work that goes into the engineering of Windows 8. In this post we take a look at something we all care very deeply about--as engineers and as end-users--real world web performance. We do a huge amount of work to get beyond the basics of anecdotes and feel as we work to build high performance web browsing. This post is authored by Matt Kotsenas, Jatinder Mann, and Jason Weber on the IE team , though performance is something that...
  • Building Windows 8

    Enabling accessibility

    • 75 Comments
    Windows 8 is a product we design for an incredibly broad spectrum of people around the world. One of the areas where we have worked to deliver an even greater level of innovation is in ensuring that Windows 8, particularly the new Metro style experience, is accessible to everyone regardless of their physical abilities. In this post we will talk about the engineering work that goes into the features we refer to as “accessibility” – though as you will see, many of these features are broadly applicable...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture

    • 299 Comments
    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

    Improving power efficiency for applications

    • 167 Comments
    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

    Acting on file management feedback

    • 391 Comments
    As we approach our next public milestone, we will begin to circle back to topics we covered in the blog and talk about the changes we’ve made to the product since the Developer Preview. As we've said often, we read the comments, newsgroup discussions, and reviews that have been written about Windows 8 and track the feedback carefully. We listen to this feedback by taking into account the source of the feedback and factoring in the intended audience for features as well as trying to reconcile conflicting...
  • Building Windows 8

    Supporting sensors in Windows 8

    • 74 Comments
    Recent advances in sensor technology are catalysts for the acceleration and evolution of user experiences on PCs. The ability to react to changes in ambient light, motion, human proximity, and location are becoming common and essential elements of the computing experience. Even something simple—like an ambient light sensor to adjust display brightness in a room with changing light—is potentially a basic scenario for desktop PCs. Of course, we also want to make sure you have full control over the...
  • Building Windows 8

    Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks

    • 132 Comments
    In this post, we dig into the details of how we have re-engineered the wireless networking stack to optimize it for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks. We’ve done a ton of work to enable mobile broadband providers to make it easy for you to use 3G and 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi in Windows 8. In addition to this architectural work, we’ve worked on keeping Windows connected to a network even when in a low-power state (when the screen is off, for example) when running on supporting architectures...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building the next generation file system for Windows: ReFS

    • 167 Comments
    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

    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

    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

    Optimizing picture password security

    • 75 Comments
    We wanted to talk a bit more about the security of picture passwords in a follow up post based on some of your comments. Jeff Johnson, the Director of Development for the User Experience team, is particularly interested in the math and security of this feature and authored this post on how to optimize the security of the picture password. Since this is a new form of logging on and concerns over security (especially with mobile devices) as well as new authentication techniques (fragility of facial...
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