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In an ongoing quest to further improve the functionality of the “classic” Windows desktop experience after customers have largely rejected Windows 8’s Start Screen interface, a new screenshot leaked by popular Microsoft leaking group Wzor has revealed that Microsoft is actively working on bringing Windows Store applications to the classic desktop user interface. The screenshot, which can be seen above, reveals a new build of Windows 8.1 compiled on January 14th and can be seen as displaying a shortcut to the Windows Store app on the desktop taskbar.

This would be a huge departure from Microsoft’s current vision of how their Windows 8 operating system works. In current releases of Windows, the “classic” desktop interface and Microsoft’s tablet-oriented “Start Screen” interface (previously known as Metro) exist as two nearly totally disconnected entities – the Start Screen has little to no access to running classic Win32 programs, and the Desktop has little to no access to Windows Store apps. Bringing these new Windows Store applications to the Desktop could be seen as a great way to bridge the gap between the two interfaces, allowing users to more smoothly interact with all the programs and apps installed on their PC from one unified interface.

Judging by the build tag of the screenshot, this new functionality seems slated to arrive sooner rather than later -in an update to Windows 8.1 rather than as part of the upcoming Windows 9 release. All builds of Windows 8.1 have carried the build 9600 tag, while pre-release builds of future versions of Windows would undoubtably carry a higher build number as they always have in the past. Microsoft has been rumored to be preparing a large update to Windows 8.1, dubbed Windows 8.1 Update 1, in an effort to deliver fixes and improvements to the desktop Windows operating system with more speed than ever before, following the release schedule Microsoft has adapted for their Windows Phone platform. These smaller updates will essentially replace the Service Packs of previous Windows releases.

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