Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • Building Windows 8

    Reengineering the Windows boot experience

    • 209 Comments
    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

    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

    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

    Designing the Start screen

    • 603 Comments
    Thank you for the comments and feedback on the previous post. We definitely get the message that there's a lot of feedback and passion around the design. We're going to continue talking about the design and answering your questions and comments through these blog posts. We designed Start to be a modern, fast and fluid replacement for the combination of launching, switching, notifying, and at-a-glance viewing of information. That's a tall order. And of course, we set out to do this for the vast majority...
  • 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

    Introducing the team

    • 272 Comments
    Thanks for the comments and the flood of email we received (and to the number of folks now following us on Twitter, too). It is definitely humbling to see all the enthusiasm and interest. There are clearly already few important threads in the initial comments, some of which are based on the previews of the Windows 8 user experience. We’re definitely gearing up to discuss these issues, the design, and tradeoffs. Windows 8 has new features across the full breadth of the product. It takes quite...
  • 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

    Readying Metro style apps for launch

    • 59 Comments
    We know many folks are looking forward to RTM. Developers currently working on apps in the Store are especially excited. We have hundreds of apps in the Windows Store now and many more on the way. There’s a broad set of developers around the world that we have been working closely with since the first Developer Preview. The WinRT platform is evolving rapidly during development based on feedback, and we have the dual task of keeping the Store up and running so we can supply apps to the millions...
  • Building Windows 8

    Using Task Manager with 64+ logical processors

    • 190 Comments
    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

    Activating Windows 8 contracts in your app

    • 88 Comments
    One topic that we’ve demonstrated quite a bit is how apps on a Windows 8 PC can communicate with other apps and web services. At the start of Windows 8 we chose an approach where apps can be the source or destination for data you want to share—sort of like a clipboard, but with a richer interaction model and clearer semantics. When an app implements a contract , Windows 8 can provide glue between that app and any other apps on the system, and the system itself. You can see this in action...
  • 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

    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

    Designing search for the Start screen

    • 381 Comments
    Given the ton of interest in the design of the new Start screen we wanted to dive deeper into the topic of search. There's a clear focus on efficiency and overall professional productivity in the comments. For professional scenarios, every keystroke matters. One new aspect of the Windows 8 platform is the ability for Metro style apps to deliver a customized search "contract." For this post we'll focus on the built-in search capabilities for files, settings, and apps, which update the Windows 7 search...
  • 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

    Reflecting on our first conversations (part 2)

    • 533 Comments
    As mentioned at the start of the last post, I wanted to pause for a moment and look back at the dialogue we’ve had via this blog, further exploring a few of the exchanges and inquires, just as we did with the Engineering Windows 7 blog. We’ll pick up where we left off the last post, discussing the importance of feedback, and then we’ll look at the discussions around the Ribbon, Metro style, and Media Center availability. Ribbon We thought the amount of energy around the redesign...
  • Building Windows 8

    Keeping your family safer with Windows 8

    • 125 Comments
    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

    Using your feedback to make Narrator work better with touch

    • 39 Comments
    Shortly before we released the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in February, we blogged about our work to make Windows 8 more accessible to people with disabilities. This included our work on Narrator to enable customers who are blind to use Windows 8 on touch screens. This work has continued to evolve in the Release Preview, and will also improve as we move toward the final release of Windows 8. This post details some of the work we have done to improve Narrator when using a touch-enabled PC. This post...
  • Building Windows 8

    Optimizing for both landscape and portrait

    • 287 Comments
    As we have demonstrated Windows 8 in many forums, we've tended to use landscape orientation (widescreen) quite a bit. Primarily that's because often we're projecting, and it makes for a better experience that way. Another reason is that many of the early devices (such as the Samsung tablet issued at //build/ with Windows Developer Preview) are widescreen, which is ideal for showing side-by-side applications using the new Snap feature, and that tends to work well in landscape. We have done a ton of...
  • 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

    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

    Touch hardware and Windows 8

    • 84 Comments
    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

    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 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

    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

    Building robust USB 3.0 support

    • 120 Comments
    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...
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