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The more we hear about Windows Threshold – which may or may not simply end up being Windows 9 – the more anxious we are to actually get to try it. A bunch of rumors about the new version of Microsoft’s flagship OS have been swirling this week, but here’s one of the most important ones: Microsoft looks to be on track to deliver a preview of Threshold this fall.

Both Neowin and ZDNet report that Microsoft plans to offer a public preview of Threshold this coming autumn, meaning that the new iteration of the OS is making some pretty solid progress. But what are some of the features we’ll see in this new operating system? From what these and other sites are reporting, the answer is: lots of good stuff for those unsatisfied with Windows 8.

A post on Winbeta reports that Microsoft will be pulling the plug on the Charms bar for Desktop versions of Threshold. For non-Windows 8 users, or users who simply aren’t up on their terminology, the Charms bar was Microsoft’s attempt to give users the most important Start Button features without simply bringing in the Start Button and its pop-up menu list. By swiping in from the right side of the screen, the Charms bar appears, offering the options to Search, Share, Manage Devices, access Settings, and, of course, to hit that Start button.

But the Charms bar has proved to be of limited utility to mouse-and-keyboard users, so apparently it’ll be stripped from the Desktop version of Threshold. Meanwhile, ZDNet goes a step further, claiming that Microsoft will drop the Charms bar entirely. And since the mini-Start Menu will supposedly be back in Threshold, users won’t have much need for the superfluous bar anymore.

A post over on Neowin also reports that Threshold will add Virtual Desktops to the mix, which will give users the ability to access multiple desktops on one machine, and switch between them on the fly. The post points out that this feature is already on OS X and Ubuntu, so in adding Virtual Desktops, Microsoft would simply be catching up to its competition. Virtual Desktops is the kind of feature that’s mostly good for developers or users who employ multiple monitors. Even still, it’s nice to hear that Microsoft’s moving forward with Threshold and keeping Windows competitive.

Hopefully we’ll get a firmer date for the release of Threshold soon – and maybe we’ll even find out if it’s actually Windows 9 or not.

[Sources: ZDNet, Neowin, Winbeta]


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