Rumor: Microsoft set to unveil ‘Direct Experience Platform' for Windows 8?

Even with Windows 8 still at least 2 years away, the rumor mill is beginning to pick up regarding what might be included. According to BeingManan, “That big Windows 8 leak and some patent applications show what Microsoft planned for Windows 8, my recent finding is titled ‘Direct Computing Experience’.”

This patent application discusses how a laptop is sometimes used simply for watching a DVD. However, the multiple functions of the laptop tend to get in the way when the user wants to complete a simple task like that. Apparently, in order to remedy that problem, Microsoft is planning to put computers into a state of reduced functionality or “Sandboxed Mode.” This mode will allow users to easily get to the task that they want to accomplish without the other functionality prohibiting it. A summary of the aforementioned patent application states the following:

“Briefly, various aspects of the subject matter described herein are directed towards launching a computing device into a special computing experience (referred to as a direct experience) upon detection of a special actuation mechanism coupled to the computing device. For example, a dedicated button, a remote control device, and so forth may trigger a different operating mode, such as by launching a particular application program. The special actuation mechanism may instead (or additionally) cause the device to be operated in a constrained, or sandbox mode, in which only limited actions may be taken, e.g., as defined by a manufacturer or end user.”

The primary idea behind this functionality is that you may not be required to login and await the loading of other programs and services prior to watching your movie. The process will supposedly be automated once you click a single button. The user would be able to push a button to cause the computer to lookup media (DVD, Music, Video Files, Pictures, etc…). The flowchart below illustrates what I mean:

 Direct Experience for Windows 8?
Image Credit: BeingManan

Another possible benefit of Direct Experience is the improvement of battery life on laptops. The platform could possibly be activated not only by pushing a button, but also plugging in certain hardware. Overall, this could prove to be a great enhancement to the everyday computing experience. 

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Not sure whether this'll work out any better than those goofy bootable minimal Linux-based partitions that come with some netbooks, where you can just run a browser, email, Skype and such.

That lasted a whole 8 minutes before I blew away. Then again, these days I have a machine dedicated to playing video on my projector. I suppose that would work out okay in a situation like this.

It sounds like something you need to do if your O/S gets in the way of simple things you may like to do without the antivirus and anti anti-spyware and software update etc kicking in.

Im guessing this will be big... until its pulled 6 months before release and scheduled for Windows 9 instead. Thats what usually happens with the good stuff lol

I just create an alternate user profile on my laptop that has all of the usual desktop startup programs stripped out. It's useful when traveling in particular.

excalpius said,
I just create an alternate user profile on my laptop that has all of the usual desktop startup programs stripped out. It's useful when traveling in particular.

This sounds a little more extensive than that. I wish they had better examples than simple DVD playback (not really something that catches a nerd's attention, yeah?), since I don't really do the optical media thing much anymore. But this sounds almost akin to sleep mode, where the only stuff that's even awake is what's necessary for the task.

But I didn't even look at the picture, so I could be way off.

Scenarios like going from watching a movie to using MS Office has to transition faily quickly and smoothly. I like the new MS of the last 10 years, thinking about security from the get-go... sandbox modes will be very important for security and stability in a system like this.

Might be interesting if they do it the right way.. The problem with this reduced functionality stuff is ithat if it strikes you to pause a movie and go look up something on the net or write an email, you might be stuck in this DVD-only mode. If MS can handle the Stripped ==> Full transition right and not intrusive, it might turn out great

I think my Dad has something like this on his Toshiba. He can pop in a DVD and play it independently of the OS. Sounds like this may be a software option designed to bring the feature to people without the hardware designed to do it.

Neb Okla said,
I think my Dad has something like this on his Toshiba. He can pop in a DVD and play it independently of the OS. Sounds like this may be a software option designed to bring the feature to people without the hardware designed to do it.

With that you need a special partition on the hard drive where the Toshiba software is installed and you can't activate that functionality from within Windows. The computer must restart and boot up on that partition.

It could be used for Microsoft to compete with the Chrome OS, but instead of being limited to Chrome, you can use any web browser!

Microsoft released an article on this back in November, stating they will be changing the way all the firmsware, drivers, and everything on the physical computer are handled, so that everything is modular. It's a great way of moving forward.

JustinN said,
Microsoft released an article on this back in November, stating they will be changing the way all the firmsware, drivers, and everything on the physical computer are handled, so that everything is modular. It's a great way of moving forward.

Like dropping BIOS support altogether and moving to EFI only.

dotf said,

Like dropping BIOS support altogether and moving to EFI only.

Um, unlike Apple, MS needs to support the 95% of computers in the world that use its operating system, so no, I don't think they'll be doing that.

This sounds good, but then they have more in the way of what people could potentially use to gain access to a booted machine.

For example, at present at the login screen people only have a login screen exploit possibility to gain access, however, if media player is able to function pre-login, then that adds an additonal possibility to exploit in order to gain access...

So basically this means Windows will be able to have dedicated applications that only load whats required?

I rember HP's QuickPlay used to have a feature like this, but it was a bit too much messing around..

Dell used to have something like this too. I think they called it Media Direct or something like that. I had it on my last Dell laptop. There was a button you pushed that would boot up a bare bones reduced mode of XP that would allow you to watch movies, view pictures, etc. You had to go into 'regular' Windows to configure what folders it would have access to. Of course it had access to the DVD drive automatically. Pretty slick but I never used it.