Building Windows 8

An inside look from the Windows engineering team

  • 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

    Reclaiming memory from Metro style apps

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    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

    Delivering reliable and trustworthy Metro style apps

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    As we developed the app model for Windows 8 and the new Metro style apps, a key architectural requirement has been to deliver apps to customers that can be used with confidence--confidence that apps will be well-behaved with respect to resources, that apps will not interfere with other apps, that apps use system resources with your permission, that apps can be installed and uninstalled with ease, and so on.  These attributes require a robust platform and strong set of tools for developers. ...
  • Building Windows 8

    Designing the Windows 8 touch keyboard

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    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

    Protecting your digital identity

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    We live in a world of usernames, passwords, and PINs when it comes to using our computing devices connected to the Internet. These are very important elements of the digital economy and providing the infrastructure for these in Windows is serious business. This work starts with the most basic step of signing in to Windows, and then includes the technologies used to secure the myriad of accounts you will come to use over time. In this post we take a look at the architectural improvements to Windows...
  • 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...
  • Building Windows 8

    Enabling accessibility

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    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

    Supporting sensors in Windows 8

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    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

    Signing in with a picture password

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    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

    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

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

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    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

    Collaborating to deliver Windows RT PCs

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    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

    Using your feedback to make Narrator work better with touch

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    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

    Releasing Windows 8 - August 1, 2012

    Today marks an important milestone in the Windows 8 project. The Windows 8 team is proud to share with you that a short while ago we started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. This means our next milestone will be the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012. Back when we first demonstrated Windows 8 in May 2011, we described it as “reimagining Windows, from the chipset to the experience,” and...
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