Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • 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

    Protecting user files with File History

    • 210 Comments
    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

    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

    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...
  • 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

    Updating our built-in apps for Windows 8

    • 554 Comments
    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

    Accessing data in ISO and VHD files

    • 310 Comments
    In continuing with the improvements in core Windows functionality and also oft-requested features, we are adding native Explorer support for ISO and VHD files in Windows 8. While terabytes of storage are available to all of us, managing disk (or disc) image formats remains important for a number of mission-critical operations in many organizations and among power users. We know even more support for VHD is a big request, so stay tuned. Rajeev Nagar authored this post. He is a group program manager...
  • Building Windows 8

    Welcome to Building Windows 8

    • 386 Comments
    Building the next release of Microsoft Windows is an industry-wide effort that Microsoft approaches with a strong sense of responsibility and humility. Windows 8 reimagines Windows for a new generation of computing devices, and will be the very best operating system for hundreds of millions of PCs, new and old, used by well over a billion people globally. We've been hard at work designing and building Windows 8, and today we want to begin an open dialog with those of you who will be trying out the...
  • Building Windows 8

    Updating Windows 8 for General Availability

    • 167 Comments
    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

    Designing the Windows 8 touch keyboard

    • 79 Comments
    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

    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

    Running Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual environment

    • 142 Comments
    We wanted to do a quick post on compatibility with respect to virtualization technologies. We know there were some initial challenges and we've seen the community support process kick in and many people are unblocked as "how to" posts have gone up in various places. As this is a developer preview we expect to see other classes of issues related to app or device compatibility—the full breadth of our testing was not done (or intended to be done) for the Preview. Obviously this one was found...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing for Metro style and the desktop

    • 369 Comments
    We thought it would be good to take a moment to talk about where we are heading in terms of the user interface of Windows 8. By now you've seen two different elements of the Windows 8 design—first, a Metro style user interface we showed previously and in a video seen by millions of folks. And recently, we have described in this blog some of the enhancements we’re making to familiar Windows desktop tools such as Explorer and the copy file dialog. We’ve seen a lot of dialog about...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building the Mail app

    • 147 Comments
    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

    Designing the Windows 8 Calendar app

    • 123 Comments
    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

    Improving the setup experience

    • 134 Comments
    Installing Windows is a complex operation that provides an incredibly unique capability—the ability to run a new version of Windows on a vast array of hardware configurations and combinations that were designed with no knowledge of a future Windows, even a version with substantial re-architecture of the Kernel. While most people do not experience the full code path of setup/upgrade (because they buy new PCs and choose to get a new version of Windows that way), even orchestrating the new PC “out of...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building a rich and extensible media platform

    • 116 Comments
    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

    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

    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

    Connecting with IPv6 in Windows 8

    • 117 Comments
    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

    Signing in with a picture password

    • 73 Comments
    Picture password is a new way to sign in to Windows 8 that is currently in the Developer Preview. Let’s go behind the scenes and see how secure this is and how it was built. One of the neat things about the availability of a touch screen is that it provides an opportunity to look at a new way to sign in to your PC. While many of us might prefer to remove the friction of getting to a PC by running without a password, for most of us, and in most situations this is not the case or is at least...
  • Building Windows 8

    Minimizing restarts after automatic updating in Windows Update

    • 217 Comments
    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

    Web browsing in Windows 8 Release Preview with IE10

    • 160 Comments
    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

    Collaborating to deliver Windows RT PCs

    • 57 Comments
    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

    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...
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