What you need to know about the Windows 9 Technical Preview

Here's what to expect when the preview hits

The Windows 9 Technical Preview is expected to be available for download this week. Here's what you can expect from this first look at the next version of Windows.

The desktop rules again

Leaked screenshots shows that Windows 9 will be desktop-oriented for traditional computers, rather than touch-oriented for tablets. Metro apps, for example, will run in their own windows on the desktop. They'll have an option button on the upper left of their screen, and will also have minimize, maximize and close buttons on the upper right. When you click the option button you get searches that typically are available in the Charms bar or one of its submenu. In fact, the Charms bar may go away altogether for users of traditional PCs.

Finally --- a real Start menu

Leaked videos show the new Start menu in action, and it's a winner. In fact, it's an improvement over the Start menu in previous Windows versions. It looks like the old Start menu, but has nice additions, including a section on its right onto which you can drop Metro apps. That makes the Start menu a great way to merge the dueling Windows 8 interfaces.

Virtual desktops and Notifications

In Windows 9 it'll be easy to create virtual desktops, and it looks to be easy to use. Click a button on the toolbar, then click "Add a desktop" and you've done it. It's just as easy to close them. Just click an X as if you were closing a windows.

Notifications are what they say --- notifications that appear momentarily onscreen then fade, about things such as the operation of your computer, messaging notices, and more.

Cortana

Cortana is Windows Phone's answer to Siri --- and it's much better than Siri, because it does far more, and does everything more accurately as well. In Windows 9 Technical Preview Cortana is expected to be incomplete. Still, Cortana is a winner, and its addition to Windows 9 is good news for Windows uers.

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