If you’re trembling in anticipation for Windows 9 and the return of the almighty Start menu, you might be able to get your hands dirty with the software soon. Microsoft is reportedly launching a preview version of its Windows “Threshold” build by late September or early October, when users may get to test some of Windows 9′s new features.
According to ZDNet Microsoft guru Mary Jo Foley, multiple unnamed sources have hinted at the preview build’s arrival, with one source claiming that the beta will be available publicly. Foley notes that those who sign up for the preview will likely have to agree to receive automatic updates.
We’re not sure what this early build of Threshold might offer, but the revamped, Windows 7-style start menu for Desktop mode will almost certainly make an appearance. Previous Threshold screenshots showed off Windows 8.1 Metro apps running in resizable windows, and a recent Neowin report suggests that Microsoft’s mobile phone voice assistant Cortana will show up in the OS.
Windows 9 is also expected to adapt to the user’s platform. For example, a hybrid laptop might automatically enter desktop mode with the keyboard attached, and revert to tablet mode without one.
There’s no word on how long this preview build will last, or what exact features it will offer early adopters. Several rumors are pointing to a fall release for Microsoft’s long-awaited new OS, so we expect to hear official details soon.