Latest future Windows OS fan concept: Windows Red

Rumors about Microsoft's next plan for its Windows update beyond Windows 8 started leaking out even before Windows 8 officially launched. In August 2012, word first got out about "Blue", the code name for Microsoft's Windows upgrade plans. Microsoft officially confirmed the "Blue" code name earlier this year.

However, the launch of Windows Blue, now officially called Windows 8.1, is something that will refine the current Windows 8 Modern and desktop UI, rather than full sweeping changes. The Infoworld website apparently thinks Windows Blue-8.1 does not do enough to correct the current path of the OS.

The solution, at least according to Infoworld's team, is what they call Windows Red. The basic change is to ditch the Modern UI for desktops and regular laptops in favor of a new desktop UI, which they call Windows Red Pro. Touchscreen tablets would get a version of the Modern UI called Windows Red Mobile.

Finally, for notebook-tablet hybrid PCs, Infoworld proposes Windows Red Duo, which has both user interfaces. However, the Modern UI can only be accessed in tablet mode, while the desktop interface comes up only when used as a laptop.

The article is accompanied by a slide show that has concept images of how all these versions of Windows Red would work. Windows Red Pro can run Modern apps on the desktop UI, much like Stardock's own ModernMix program allows, but the Start screen and Charms bar are gone. However, much of the Windows 8 backend features would still be available for Windows Red Pro, including the improved Task Manager, Windows to Go and more. Windows Red Pro would also support Live Tiles, which in this concept would be displayed on the right side of the desktop.

While Windows Red Mobile would keep the Start screen and not have the desktop UI at all, it too would ditch the Charms bar in favor of putting those search features directly into Modern apps. The concept for Windows Red Mobile would also have a true touchscreen interface for Office, rather than the slightly modified desktop version.

The idea of basically splitting Windows 8 into three separate versions, depending on the form factor of the PC, is certainly interesting. It's more than possible that Microsoft could in fact have a similar scenario in mind for future versions of Windows beyond the launch of 8.1.

Source: Infoworld | Image via Infoworld

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rumor: Windows 8.1 to ship August 1st?

Next Story

Windows Phone 8 notifications center and UI changes appear in leaked screenshots

126 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

1) Why do people always have to slap "Pro" on the title? Windows 8 Red Pro!

2)That's really ugly. I get the idea of creating a concept for different experiences, but there's a reason designers are hired to do this stuff. I've seen fantastic concepts, but that's just terrible.

that has to be the ugliest thing I've seen. It's like mixing coke with tomato soup and hoping it will taste right because both are good on their own.

whoever did this better not be looking for a job because they just nuked their career.

Can people just accept and get over the fact that windows start menu, as we know, is gone? Infoworld redactors really have nothing better to do but write "windows rescue plan", they think only because windows returned start menu button visually , they may now bring back entire old start menu, because of some whining redactors, this just not gonna happen. These redactors are mostly to blame for scared users who afraid to upgrade to windows 8.

jackkk1 said,
Can people just accept and get over the fact that windows start menu, as we know, is gone? Infoworld redactors really have nothing better to do but write "windows rescue plan", they think only because windows returned start menu button visually , they may now bring back entire old start menu, because of some whining redactors, this just not gonna happen. These redactors are mostly to blame for scared users who afraid to upgrade to windows 8.

But... but... We all know the Start Menu will be coming back in Windows 9, along with aero glass, and drop down menus!

/s

Ah, a kernel of truth. Windows-9 will be oriented to those users who rely on keyboards and mice to get their work done--most businesses and serious consumer users. Let those who use their tablets for play (and possibly some work) enjoy Windows-8.

Jeez, and I thought the worst thing I read today was the article over at BGR stating that the iPhone 5S was delayed until October....

This Windows Red garbage is 10 times worse.

Seriously beginning to wonder why I keep reading this site.

I don't know what's worse....the concept or the fact that Neowin and this mindless twit of a "journalist" continues to post such rubbish.

WinMetro said,
My future Windows OS concept, cleaner than InfoWorld's. http://i.imgur.com/lwuyaMz.png

Cleaner, but functionally, no better. It still breaks Microsoft's Modern vision, and destroys compatibility with other devices. Microsoft wants to move forward, not push back the clock. Whatever comes next will be built upon the concepts in 8.1, not Windows 7.

If you're still confused, just look at this screenshot here: http://blogs.windows.com/cfs-f..._2D00_res_5F00_245E63FC.png THAT'S a Modern UX, the desktop isn't.

Another future Windows OS concept, that is more Modern (Metro). http://i.imgur.com/YeDrV44.png

New additions, going a step further with a transparent overlay of the start screen so you can see what apps are running behind so less jarring unlike a desktop background like MS is doing. And the new charms bar that is easier to use with the mouse where the all apps down arrow is, power, settings, share and more.

Windows 8, and soon 8.1 Start Screen meets my tastes, I adjusted to it, and Got with the Times, and now use Modern apps, and Desktop apps in 50-50 split, half time on Modern side, and half on Desktop Side, Don't look to Microsoft bringing back Start menu fully to Desktop, and you know what it's not needed in my opinion--(keyboard, and even Microsofts new mouse has a hardware start button on it--that should be good enough)

I bothered to check their article, and saw a bunch of screenshots of what seems to be a BLOODY Windows 8 ruined with tons of crapware trying to make it look like Windows 7.

I wonder why they call themselves InfoWorld, all their articles implies they still haven't found the shutdown button in Windows 8.

While I agree that screenshot is ugly, it looks ugly because everything is a garish red. Aside from that it appears to look like Windows 7 basically so I'm not sure why they would call that a new UI. I do agree that Metro is not suited for desktops but I doubt Microsoft will ever back down from it, they want to compete with Apple now and get control of the portable device market and have their own little app store to milk. They know the desktop market is fading away and they want something that will keep them going in the future. Too bad they goofed around and let other companies beat them to the mobile market years ago.

Oh boy that's terrible. The Start Menu isn't coming back. Get over it.

This isn't news, nor should it be on the front page because that makes it look like news.

I ran into this a couple of days ago.
It is just plain ugly. Why do people with the 'brilliant' idea of what Win8.x should look like always make it look like Win7 and disregard the whole idea behind windows 8. They want one OS that is useable for KB+M and touch at the same time.

I have a yoga. With this idea I have to reboot every time I flip my screen around? Useless!

Looks as though it was created by a Windows 8 hater, that has never actually used Windows 8, and is basing it off of what they've read online.

Atrocious. I saw the Start menu and laughed... now writing this comment. Still laughing. Good thing I haven't had breakfast yet, I might have thrown up looking at this 'concept'.

I think he is used to hearing that.

BUT hey! You need a guy like that to get people clicking to see how bad his next article is and that translates into revenue!

WOW! What a novel concept--three versions of the OS user interface, based on the form factor on which it is going to used. Why hasn't Microsoft either not recognized this basic truth or chosen to ignore it? (I'm not sure I agree with the proposed execution, but the concept is very valid.)

TsarNikky said,
WOW! What a novel concept--three versions of the OS user interface, based on the form factor on which it is going to used. Why hasn't Microsoft either not recognized this basic truth or chosen to ignore it? (I'm not sure I agree with the proposed execution, but the concept is very valid.)

You know how much work that is, and how damaging that is to current concepts? Microsoft is working to unify everything, not tear it apart.

Dot Matrix said,

You know how much work that is, and how damaging that is to current concepts? Microsoft is working to unify everything, not tear it apart.

Agreed.
The unification of all screens is what will keep MS dominant in this market space. Bring it on!

You can't unify everything, an OS is not a one fits all type of thing. Things that work well on a cell phone are just stupid on a large screen desktop.

TRC said,
You can't unify everything, an OS is not a one fits all type of thing. Things that work well on a cell phone are just stupid on a large screen desktop.

Unification doesn't mean having everything identical. It, surprisingly enough, means having things unified.

Therein is the problem Microsoft has created--trying to unify widely different form factors and user needs/requirement. One user interface will never work well. Much better idea is a user interface tailored to the major form factors and provide a relatively seamless way to "talk to each form factor."

TsarNikky said,
Therein is the problem Microsoft has created--trying to unify widely different form factors and user needs/requirement. One user interface will never work well. Much better idea is a user interface tailored to the major form factors and provide a relatively seamless way to "talk to each form factor."

There is no rule book saying Metro cannot be used on the desktop. Metro provides a base for computing going forward, and the PC needs it. The Start Screen provides more functionality than the Start Menu ever did, and it opens up the PC to more user input devices. For example, using my forthcoming Leap Motion device on Windows 7 will be most likely a train wreck compared to using it on Windows 8. You also cannot use touch with Windows 7 to a satisfactory degree. The PC needs these advancements, and you're never going to get them by clinging to an outdated UX.

InfoWorld? InfoWorld? really? these guys are the biggest trolls of tech sites. in fact,MS revoked their media access to them.

from one of their stories titled "windows blue.microsoft blows it"

Last week, Microsoft invited several members of the press for an on-the-record two-hour demo of Windows 8.1, code-named "Blue." Microsoft took me off its Christmas card list some time ago, but the reports among journos on the ground are telling: Windows 8.1 offers more of the same, with a few new twists for touch users, but nothing substantive for the Desktop.

no **** sherlock

Red is just not a good color for a desktop, it's pretty much the opposite of serene. Other than that, adding a start menu doesn't yield much compromise. The control panel mock up seemed interesting at least. Most of it is silly, I feel like we're being trolled, with a future Windows concept that is basically focused on making Win 8 look like Win 7, with a few minor and irrelevant differences, and InfoWorld thinking people are going to be fooled into thinking it's something more than win 7 nostalgia. Additionally calling it 'Windows Red: a serious plan to fix Windows' is like calling your art "Weiner on a plate: A good piece of Art"; We'll decide if it's good art, or a serious plan, thanks InfoWorld. :-/

I seriously hate Neowin more and more each day. I can't believe they would even give this crap the light of day. Between the constant joke front page news articles and the horrid in-line advertisements that constantly get in the way when trying to read.. it's just sad.

I can't take much more.

I do not need any more modifications on Windows 8.1, just bring the Aero Glass back.

I already cleaned the start screen from all METRO APPS

Google started distributing offline desktop apps from their store (for the DEV channel/Alpha) and by the end of the year there will be tons of offline desktop apps for all OSs.

Chrome OS will be in every Windows and Mac, all what I need from Windows is boot, see the hardware, a start screen, desktop, and a file manager.

If Microsoft lose the balls to innovate so badly that they bring back the god awful start menu that nobody with a brain has delved more than one click deep into since Vista, I'll get rid of every Microsoft product I have and go replace it all with Apple.

Get with the times techno dinosaurs.

It doesn't matter how hard people wish for the Start Menu to come back, it's just not going to happen. Why would MS after all the effort they've put into 8.1, suddenly decide to split Win8 into two (well 3 if you include the hybrid version) completely different versions for? if MS ever decide to do another 8.x release, it will further refine the Start Screen and other elements of the OS but it will NOT bring the Start Menu back as that would undermine it.

While I understand why people are so upset over it's removal and it doesn't make any sense to why they completely removed it in the first place (when in the past they always included the old way as an alternative), however, bringing it back now would not save it nor should it. The damage is done now just move on. That is my 2 cents, take with a grain of salt.

Do you guys know why it's named "Windows Red"?......Because if MS does adapt this concept, it would be the dominating color on their next balance sheets.

That leads to the question, why isn't Windows-8 being sold at Fisher-Price and FAO Schwartz outlets? It would be a logical extension.

I read that article. A lot of it is just self-congratulatory hyperbole. The only principle he seemed to talk about that actually seemed like a principle was "Shared Typography" which I completely agree with. Furthermore, why did Microsoft think they were doing so much wrong with Windows 7? Something I've noticed since Apple seemed to take an interest in flat design is how much some of the buttons in iOS 1-6 look like they're from Windows 7.

Pulagatha said,
I read that article. A lot of it is just self-congratulatory hyperbole. The only principle he seemed to talk about that actually seemed like a principle was "Shared Typography" which I completely agree with. Furthermore, why did Microsoft think they were doing so much wrong with Windows 7? Something I've noticed since Apple seemed to take an interest in flat design is how much some of the buttons in iOS 1-6 look like they're from Windows 7.

"Shared Typography/Iconography"

Pulagatha said,
I read that article. A lot of it is just self-congratulatory hyperbole. The only principle he seemed to talk about that actually seemed like a principle was "Shared Typography" which I completely agree with. Furthermore, why did Microsoft think they were doing so much wrong with Windows 7? Something I've noticed since Apple seemed to take an interest in flat design is how much some of the buttons in iOS 1-6 look like they're from Windows 7.

Windows 7 is a success in many ways, but at the same time, not mobile friendly. It holds onto outdated paradigms, that have run their course, and the time has come for new things.

Having AeroGlass optional and customizable. Letting the options to start programs shortened to a smaller size that doesn't take up the entire screen. Although I like what they've done in 8.1, I feel like the spacing issue is still a problem. A side bar version with borders. One mock up on Neowin had a taskbar that extended out and revealed the start options underneath which I thought was a very good usage of space and utility.

Pulagatha said,
Having AeroGlass optional and customizable. Letting the options to start programs shortened to a smaller size that doesn't take up the entire screen. Although I like what they've done in 8.1, I feel like the spacing issue is still a problem. A side bar version with borders. One mock up on Neowin had a taskbar that extended out and revealed the start options underneath which I thought was a very good usage of space and utility.

Aeroglass: Just like some people demanded LUNA (XP) during vista/7. Just like some people demanded Classic during XP etc.
If the theme bothers you that much, install stardock.

According to fits law, the entire screen launcher is better than start menu. It is also
- more useful
- live
- easier to use
- better for touch too

Start menu was a nice thing in W95.
It (all programs) became too much in 98.
ME tried to trim it (all programs) down.
XP tried to improve it (all programs) by adding pinned/recent in focus so you don't need to go there.
Vista/7 added direct search so you don't need to bother with the mess called all programs.

W8 is now totally focused on pinned (I would love a recent column) and search.
The all programs is available as all apps (improved in W8.1).

Edited by Crimson Rain, Jun 10 2013, 3:57pm :

I think one of things I like about windows and have for a while is the ability (though it should be encouraged and hasn't yet) to install complete themes. There are a lot of thematic choices for Windows 95 or Windows XP that still seem agreeable and since themes are something people can do why not incorporate it. This I think would strengthen Microsoft's position in design because, instead of it steadily being a game of one design versus another, Microsoft's design can become multifaceted and appease everyone.

Crimson Rain said,

Start menu was a nice thing in W95.
It (all programs) became too much in 98.
ME tried to trim it (all programs) down.
XP tried to improve it (all programs) by adding pinned/recent in focus so you don't need to go there.
Vista/7 added direct search so you don't need to bother with the mess called all programs.

^ This. Effing this.

Pulagatha said,
I think one of things I like about windows and have for a while is the ability (though it should be encouraged and hasn't yet) to install complete themes. There are a lot of thematic choices for Windows 95 or Windows XP that still seem agreeable and since themes are something people can do why not incorporate it. This I think would strengthen Microsoft's position in design because, instead of it steadily being a game of one design versus another, Microsoft's design can become multifaceted and appease everyone.

Me too though I don't bother with themes anymore.

Anyways, that's why we have programs like classic shell, stardock etc. They still work...

AeroGlass didn't die. It found it's way onto a f**king iPhone. I'm kind of ****ed about Apple's new look have a Microsoft Windows effect on it. Sorry.

Pulagatha said,
Can you explain why it's horrible? I can explain why the Modern UI is.

Completely inconsistent with Microsoft's Modern design principles, for one.

Oh my god, burn that crap with fire. That's significantly WORSE than Metro! At least Microsoft is trying to make the desktop accessible to touch screens, you've gone the complete opposite and ruined it for everything with those tiny elements everywhere.

I don't like Metro or the Modern UI. I like borders and separators. Paying attention to the tiny details is important. Everything in that mock-up is about the size of the end of a forefinger. A button. Besides, size is adjustable in Windows.

Dot Matrix said,

Completely inconsistent with Microsoft's Modern design principles, for one.

I hope so. I don't agree with everything they did. Just some of it.

Pulagatha said,

I hope so. I don't agree with everything they did. Just some of it.

I knew that had to be a skin. A skinned Windows 7 doesn't apply as a "mockup".

Read here to understand why your "mockup" just doesn't make the cut: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/stories/design/ What Metro is doing is trying to be modern, clean, sharp, and consistent. Your theme doesn't do any of that.

What Metro is is indirect and unprecise. Like a magazine article, ugly. And the two ideas I had in the mock up are tabs in the file explorer and the title bar and menu bar combined. That would save space, unlike Metro or Modern or whatever they want to call their magazine article style where there is extra empty space everywhere. Also, this absolutely unappealing to you downloadable theme was initially the Windows 8 developer theme. A good style they were working on and then abandoned for "fierce reductionism." which has even beta testers installing their own theme.

Pulagatha said,
What Metro is is indirect and unprecise. Like a magazine article, ugly. And the two ideas I had in the mock up are tabs in the file explorer and the title bar and menu bar combined. That would save space, unlike Metro or Modern or whatever they want to call their magazine article style where there is extra empty space everywhere. Also, this absolutely unappealing to you downloadable theme was initially the Windows 8 developer theme. A good style they were working on and then abandoned for "fierce reductionism." which has even beta testers installing their own theme.

Not only does this theme rely on small UI bits, it also brings back the Start Menu, which is not coming back. Worse, it also shows aero glass, which was killed because it added nothing of value to the UX, and was not mobile friendly.

This "mockup" does nothing but resurrect the very things Microsoft is moving away from, and in many ways, is also a step back from Windows 7.

It does rely on the small bits. I like a little subtlety in the interface. I disagree about Aero Glass especially on the Task Bar. There needs to be no other visual element besides the blur effect (and how does having only one color add to visualization of it?) I'd be happy with just icons though, but I still enjoy the blur effect especially on an operating system called WINDOWS. I like the idea of fierce reductionism, but that doesn't mean the first try was perfect by any means. Obviously, there are things Windows 7 did right and I think it's important not to overlook or FLAT out ignore (THANK YOU!!! Oh Roses, You're too kind.) what made it visually appealing.

It is not an instance of users not providing a "vision." It is an instance of users wanting a practical user interface with a new OS. One user interface can't, by definition, be very effective over multiple form factors.

TsarNikky said,
It is not an instance of users not providing a "vision." It is an instance of users wanting a practical user interface with a new OS. One user interface can't, by definition, be very effective over multiple form factors.

Point take. But, to users, what is practical would be what they already know - which is basically Windows XP's interface paradigms for the desktop and iOS-like paradigms for touch screens. Users aren't going to suggest anything new, for example, an interface that is effective over multiple form factors.

Another thing I want 'Search Providers' for the new search in Windows 8.1.

So I can download plug-ins from Google, DuckDuckGo etc and not only use Bing . . .

singularity87 said,
Another thing I want 'Search Providers' for the new search in Windows 8.1.

So I can download plug-ins from Google, DuckDuckGo etc and not only use Bing . . .


Good luck, you have noticed Google are being openly hostile to Microsoft and are refusing to make apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone, to the point they will not even grant them API access so Microsoft can make their own google apps.

Wouldn't mind seeing this option as well; federated searches are already available in previous versions of Windows, although not integrated as nicely as it looks to be with 8.1. Even works with Google since they support OpenSearch.

I'm sure the Windows 8.x user experience will eventually be very impressive, even if it's currently immature.

The thing I actually would most like to see, especially if the Desktop is eventually removed, is for Microsoft to either add a setting to easily support sideloading of apps not from the Windows Store, support for third party Windows Stores or indeed both.

I don't like the idea of not being able to install applications on my PC because Microsoft says no. I appreciate that Apple already do this with iOS but at least their devices aren't multi-purpose like the PC. I can understand the point of being able to ask a vendor to certify what I can run, but I also want to be able to make my own choice of what to do with my PC as an option.

Looks like the guy who did these is one of those twerps who tries to find anything to moan about and then exaggerated their return for a couple of Photoshop images. I mean... that is horrific.

This post should be renamed "Latest crappy Neowin post hating on Windows 8: Windows Red."

No, Windows 8 is not perfect, but butt-ugly crap like this will not improve it, no matter what you want.

2004 called, it wants its custom XP Theme back.

WizardCM said,
2004 called, it wants its custom XP Theme back.

There are some custom themes out there for Windows 8 that look rather nice, but yea, "butt ugly crap" sums this one up nicely.

Just bad. Seeing stuff like this makes me appreciate that MS didn't do that to begin with. Start menu is more or less the start screen now. Modern apps stay in their corner, desktop apps in theirs. It's better the way it is (for the most part). Win8.1 will bring a lot of nice tweaks. If people hate 8 so much, stay with 7 until MS can help meet in the middle. Also, doesn't hurt to learn a new way of doing things now and then eh?

I find this concept to be terrible. Which makes it clear why Microsoft will never be able to please all naysayers.

The concept is very valid--tailor the OS user interface to the platform on which it is installed. The execution being illustrated, however; could be better.

Please stop this ****. If you don't like the leaked screens of Windows 8.1, don't use it. Use Linux or Mac and stop moaning. Please. It becomes tiresome.

PS: Is that hard to install a program like Classic Shell or to spare 5$ for Start8?

I still looking for a concept or at least an idea, without Metro AND a "Desktop", something that include both parts in one, somehow. I still think that's not an impossibe mission, in general, and I guess that sooner or later we will get it from MS. Not today or tomorrow, but maybe with windwos 11? Windows red seems to me it's a dead end too.

Eh, I've got mockups like that on a flashdrive somewhere from an old experiment. I was convinced the key wasn't unifying metro and the DESKTOP as much as it was unifying the start screen and the taskbar, and I didn't like how valuable live-tile information was lost in desktop mode, so from there I started playing around a lot.

It seemed to me that the pinned apps on the task bar should represent 'far left' content on the start screen, and as much a mixture of desktop/metro apps as the start screen was allowed to be. Metro icons would be "tiny tile" sized, and hovering over them would pop out "medium tile" versions the same way thumbnails pop out for the desktop's running applications.

Clicking the start button would cause a transition that flung the icons up into their live tile form and populated the rest of the start screen tiles, while the start button, notification tray and clock stayed stationary.

I also thought about firing the clock into the upper right so the tray could be a pull-down notification center, but it was a little too Linux-y and I wanted the clock to stay put (there's value in consistency). I'd like to point out that in ALL of my mockups, there was a clock in the corner of the start screen. It continues to baffle me why we're expected to use a tile for this.

I haven't revisited the mockups since, but they sure were fun to draw up.

"Windows Blue-8.1 does not do enough to correct the current path of the OS." then sounds like they have failed to realise the path the OS is taking and these guys are the equivalent of peeps who stuck with Windows xp for 10 years.

Not surprising considering this comes from InfoWorld. TBH, I didn't know anybody bothered with that site any more.

The only thing I like about the concept is the colour of the store tile (that's partly because I absolutely despise the shade of green they've used for the current one).
Other than that...dear god. I mean, look at how big that power button is! Photoshop gone wrong right there.

I prefer Windows 3 over this. :') Damm, what an ugly thing is that! I've already seen this one and it is just crap! They just don't get it.

That's original, no one has said that before.

How far can we take that anyway? 1873 called, it wants its keyboard back?

That looks pretty bad, and takes the arrogant, heavy-handed approach a few people seem to be totally okay with by arbitrarily declaring the metro interface inaccessible when docked to a keyboard and the desktop inaccessible when not.

It is absolutely disgusting, what a useless post and a complete waste of my time. Wish I had never clicked it. Seriously am mad bro.

Joshie said,
That looks pretty bad, and takes the arrogant, heavy-handed approach a few people seem to be totally okay with by arbitrarily declaring the metro interface inaccessible when docked to a keyboard and the desktop inaccessible when not.

Yeah, that's really horrendous.