Microsoft’s Windows 8 is approaching its second birthday and the terrible twos. Even though Windows 8.1 was a major update, the OS is still an albatross around the company’s neck, according to many users. To remedy that Redmond is reportedly working on a new take on its operating system, called Windows 9, or Windows Threshold, which will address many complaints. Among other things, that includes offering three different versions of the OS for desktop, 2-in-1 and mobile users.
According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, each version of Windows 9 will work differently depending on the type of hardware. The desktop-specific variant, which will be designed for desktop and laptop PCs, will put more emphasis on the traditional desktop screen, rather than the tile-like Windows 8.1 Modern UI.
That also means users will be able to run Modern UI apps on the desktop screen – something that’s been rumored for quite some time. The fan-favorite Start Menu button that made an appearance at Microsoft’s Build conference will also return in the desktop version of Windows 9.
For 2-in-1 devices, like Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, a separate Windows 9 version will let users switch between desktop and Metro UI modes depending on whether they have a keyboard connected to their system. Tablet and smartphone users, on the other hand, will only have access to the Metro UI. That said, Foley reports that the OS will still allow users to run two apps on-screen at once.
Windows 9 isn’t expected to make its first appearance until later this fall. Until then, you’ll have to contend with Windows 8.1, downgrade to Windows 7 or switch to Mac.