Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    Building a power-smart general-purpose Windows

    • 154 Comments
    In this post, we look at the broad topic of developing an OS to reduce power consumption. We've seen an ever-increasing emphasis on power management in the OS from two perspectives. First, as Windows 8 comes to market, it is easy to see two-thirds of all PCs shipping as portable devices operating on batteries some or most of the time. And second, in the workplace, there is an increasing demand for desktop machines with a reduced carbon footprint as we look to save energy wherever we can. In all cases...
  • 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

    Updating live tiles without draining your battery

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    One thing that is becoming far more commonplace across all of our “screens” is the idea of lightweight notifications. Originally, Windows Gadgets were to offer this type of functionality—the idea is a quick heads up display for some critical information (news, weather, sports scores, or line of business events are a few examples). However, the startup time and model of Gadgets are not compatible with reducing overall power consumption (something that is important in a desktop and...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building the Mail app

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    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

    Internet Explorer Performance Lab: reliably measuring browser performance

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    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

    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

    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

    Experiencing Windows 8 touch on Windows 7 hardware

    • 136 Comments
    As many no doubt know by now, we've released a Developer Preview of Windows 8. This is a build of the software designed for developers to begin developing apps using the new capabilities of Windows 8 and our new tools. The build is substantially complete across subsystems but is not a beta by any measures that we use to define a beta. The rich diversity and creativity you find within the ecosystem of hardware/software/peripherals for Windows can lead to a situation where different parts of an overall...
  • 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

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

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    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

    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

    Enabling large disks and large sectors in Windows 8

    • 128 Comments
    One of the most basic services provided by an OS is the file system, and Windows has one of the most advanced file systems of any operating system used broadly. In Windows 7 we improved things substantially in terms of reliability, management, and robustness (for example, automating completely the antiquated notion of "defrag" ). In Windows 8 we build on this work by focusing on scale and capacity. Bryan Matthew, a program manager on the Storage & File System team, authored this post...
  • Building Windows 8

    Keeping your family safer with Windows 8

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    One of the intrinsic capabilities of Windows 8 is the ability to use multiple accounts on any PC. This makes it much easier for parents to use tools that can help protect their children from content on the Internet as they see fit. It is also a great way for each family member to maintain their own unique online identity while still sharing a single PC. Microsoft has been a leader in creating tools to help maintain a safe computing environment for all users as well as for parents in particular. With...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing the Windows 8 Calendar app

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    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

    Protecting you from malware

    • 120 Comments
    One of the things we talk quite a bit about with Windows 8 is making sure Windows is a safe, secure, and reliable computing environment. We have always provided a broad range of solutions for achieving these goals and work closely with a broad range of industry partners. We continue to enhance these capabilities with Windows 8 while making sure you always have choice and control over how to protect and manage your PC. With Windows 8 we are extending the protections provided by Defender to address...
  • Building Windows 8

    Building robust USB 3.0 support

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    One of the important roles Windows plays as part of a broad ecosystem is developing support for new hardware. This is a pretty involved process and so for this post we wanted to take a look at supporting USB 3.0, something we know everyone is anxious to be using because of the improvements it brings. This is also our first video post – we aimed for "engineering" videos and not high production values but I think we make our point (note videos are embedded in HTML5 and available for download...
  • 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

    Connecting with IPv6 in Windows 8

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    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

    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

    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

    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

    About this blog and your comments

    • 98 Comments
    Thank you very much for the warm reception. It is humbling to see the amount of interest and enthusiasm for the blog and for Windows. We've been digesting all the comments (lots of mail is going around internally about specifics) and I've been going through my overflowing inbox (I can't reply to every message, but I have been replying)! Thank you. The most popular question/comment is about "signing up for the beta". We will be up front and very visible with any pre-release software programs that...
  • Building Windows 8

    Metro style browsing: one engine, two experiences, no compromises

    • 96 Comments
    We are very happy to have received such a warm welcome from developers yesterday as we kicked off a pretty big opportunity with Windows 8. Our focus on B8 now moves to the Developer Preview and what is in it and how it evolves. We hope those choosing to participate in the blog are installing and using the build. While it is early and focused on developers, it is also quite fun to use. I am doing all my posts from the conference via the Samsung Preview tablet! We wanted to talk some about Metro style...
  • Building Windows 8

    Windows Store event and blog

    • 92 Comments
    Today at our Windows Store Preview event in San Francisco, Antoine Leblond revealed the business terms and app policies for anyone developing apps for our new Windows Store. He showed some of the great apps that will be available in the Store at Windows 8 Beta, and demonstrated the design, capabilities, and flexibility of the Store as a platform . Antoine has also just started a new Windows Store for developers blog , where he will provide info and updates related to the Store for anyone interested...
  • Building Windows 8

    Extending "Windows 8" apps to the cloud with SkyDrive

    • 88 Comments
    Building on the recent post about signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID, we wanted to talk a bit about using SkyDrive from within new Windows 8 Metro style apps. While apps get some amount of "automatic usage" of SkyDrive to roam settings, and the apps themselves roam, we know developers are anxious to make it easy for customers of their applications to have data they create roam easily across devices. SkyDrive is a great way to do this as every Windows Live ID has a free cloud-based drive...
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