We are already expect to see the return of the Start Menu in a new modern form with the release of Windows Threshold. We saw new screenshots of that aspect of the Windows UI less than a month ago. Now Windows insider Mary J Foley has discovered some more rather sizable tweaks which will bring big changes to the UI of the next major Windows OS release. There are three key changes we have heard about; the addition of virtual desktop spaces, the elimination of the charms bar and modern apps in desktop windows.
As mentioned by ZDNet, virtual desktops are common in other OSes so it's not that surprising to see this facility appear in a modern Windows release. The feature may be not at the very forefront of the Windows UI but could be there for 'power users' to unlock if they feel the need, muses Foley.
Available but not in-your-face sounds like a good option to me as I have used some virtual desktop systems in the past and found that they didn't fit in and/or weren't necessary for my way of working. I simply forgot about them being there, just like the Windows 8's modern UI…
The charms bar might be eliminated entirely or confined to touch-friendly systems depending upon which 'insider' source you read. If the charms bar is chopped it apparently won't be missed as the relevant functions will be listed in a menu/button within the modern apps. For instance ZDNet's Foley suggests that apps will need to include a share button in the UI if the developer wants to enable that functionality from the app.
Modern Apps in desktop windows
We have recently gained the ability to minimise and close full screen Modern apps and also see them running in the task bar of the desktop UI. Microsoft is expected to supplement the minimise and close title bar buttons with the minimise/maximise toggle function common to most desktop apps. That will be another welcome option in Windows 9 Threshold - if there are any Modern Apps that you find useful.
We should see a developer preview of Windows Threshold become available for tinkering and testing this autumn with the full release ready for around April next year. ZDNet's Foley says the preview should let Windows XP/Vista and 7 stalwarts get a feel for the new mouse/keyboard and business friendly Threshold.