Leaked build of Windows 9 shows reborn Start menu, Metro apps running on the Desktop

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Over the last couple of days, screenshots that purport to be from an early build of Windows 9 (Threshold) have leaked online. Most notably, one of these screenshots includes the new, resurrected Start menu that Microsoft first showed off at its Build conference in April. Another screenshot shows Metro apps running in a window on the Desktop. The leaked Start menu appears to be physically identical to the one shown off in April, but with a different set of tiles, indicating that the Metro portion of the Windows 9 Start menu will be customizable in the same way as the current Windows 8 Start screen.

The new hybridized Start menu appears to be part of build 9788, which was compiled on July 4. While no one seems to have leaked the ISOs for build 9788 yet, the general consensus seems to be that the build does indeed exist somewhere at Microsoft — and that it might also feature Windows NT kernel version 6.4 (i.e. the complete version number is 6.4.9788). The screenshots show a Windows 8.1 Pro watermark, but this isn’t unusual for a very early alpha of a new build of Windows.

Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, is due to be released in spring 2015 — probably at the next Build conference. The latest rumors suggest that Windows 9 will probably be split into multiple SKUs (versions), with at least one SKU that will be oriented towards mouse-and-keyboard use. Presumably this version will boot to the Desktop and open Metro apps in a window by default. There will also likely be a continued push towards creating a unified experience between Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox — but until we hear some official information from Microsoft, we don’t want to speculate too much about that.

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