Windows Threshold: Charms bar is being overhauled

While there have been disappointingly no leaks of an actual Threshold build, information about the upcoming Windows OS has been trickling online, like yesterday, where we talked about virtual desktops starting to show up in early builds of the platform. But as Microsoft moves to position Windows Threshold as a more desktop centric OS, the charms bar will be getting reworked significantly for desktop users.

Here's the deal, the Charms bar, as you know it today in Windows 8, will be getting overhauled significantly with Threshold. Winbeta started to go down this path and from what we know, they are correct that it will be modified, we have also heard that the Charms bar is no longer hidden, nor is it a central navigation point for desktop users. We say desktop users because tablet users will still need a way to navigate using gestures, and the Charms bar could still be alive within that interface; Modern UI 2.0 features are being held a bit closer to the chest; more on that, later.

Now what is exactly happening to the Charms bar is still not entirely clear, but what we believe is happening - and this is subject to change - is that it will be moved, at least in part, inside the modern app windows; which means it could be entirely app centric. We've heard from other sources that the Charms bar has moved in previous builds, so this is not a one-off occurrence. Windowed modern apps have already been announced and to make these apps feel more self-contained they will get their own access, to some degree, of the Charms bar inside the windowed app. By doing this, it means that Microsoft can remove the Charms bar from the right side of the OS for desktop users. 

And why stop at the Charms bar? Again, for desktop users, modern apps, by default, will not open up in full screen mode; Windowed mode for modern apps is the current default, and that is unlikely to change.

This is just another few small tidbits about how Microsoft is changing up the desktop experience for Windows Threshold, and how it will help to make it feel more like Windows 7, but also blend in features from Windows 8 too. As always, anything could change before launch of the OS.

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I hate (1) the way the charms bar pops up over the desktop on my laptop when I try to move the cursor right to left on the touchpad, but start at the right of the touchpad. If it's a "feature" then it's a VERY annoying feature because it can so easily happen without intention.
And I even more hate (2) the fact that I can find no way to stop it doing this, and just get rid of the charms bar forever.

gb8080 said,
I hate (1) the way the charms bar pops up over the desktop on my laptop when I try to move the cursor right to left on the touchpad, but start at the right of the touchpad. If it's a "feature" then it's a VERY annoying feature because it can so easily happen without intention.
And I even more hate (2) the fact that I can find no way to stop it doing this, and just get rid of the charms bar forever.

You must be living under a rock or something....

Taskbar Properties > Navigation > [Deselect] When I point to the upper-right corner, show the Charms

Dot Matrix said,

You must be living under a rock or something....

Taskbar Properties > Navigation > [Deselect] When I point to the upper-right corner, show the Charms

That's not what he's talking about. He's talking about edge swipe, which is up to the touchpad manufacturer to disable in their drivers/software. I've seen some cases where the some touchpad manufacturers (I'm looking at you Synaptics) doesn't do it properly and the Charms bar still shows up even though I disabled it.

This ^. I use a t61p and can't disable that dreadful edge swipe.

Dot matrix, common courtesy mandates that you should read someone's post properly before accusing them of living under a rock. I don't.

Looks like that model isn't officially supported on Win8, maybe the generic ultranav driver still works (v2.16+)?

I hope it's not too drastic of a change. I'd actually like to see MORE functionality added.

Example: Why the hell do we have to go into Control Panel>Audio and then right click and set as default for audio devices? Wouldn't it make sense to have an Audio device section in the devices charm? And don't get me started on how much of a pain it is to connect and disconnect a Bluetooth device once it is paired.

Also, I get that people were confused by things not always being visible, but that shouldn't ruin everything for the rest of us. The biggest problem Microsoft had with Windows 8 was not educating people on how it works before just dumping it on them. Better tutorials when 8.0 was released, and things would've been far different. (Though of course, power users still wouldn't have been happy, but that's not as big an issue as the millions of regular users who are just confused by the OS).

Good news I'm just getting to a point where I really appreciate the charms bar and feel like it could be refined. The share charm is a must for me now and the search charm could use a little smartness but is still very useful.

As long as it remains centralized, and isn't removed completely. I use it too often to manage Metro apps, and share content.

Indoobidubly said,
Every piece of Windows 8 is being either removed or drastically altered with each release/update.

And not in a way the affects Microsoft's original vision, might I add (see Windows 8.1 for an example of this).

Ian William said,
And not in a way the affects Microsoft's original vision, might I add (see Windows 8.1 for an example of this).

Windows 9 will send you into suicide mode with that logic.

Sounds like it is being moved to function like the WIndows Phone menu. The APp menu in Windows phone is pretty much a "Charms Bar" for each app as you describe.

As for some charms being permanently on screen, this sounds like the new onscreen navigation buttons for Windows Phone.

In summary, Windows Modern 2.0 will function a more like Windows Phone today. Which is how it should have been done in the first place!!!

MS is currently living Ubuntu life, where there will be radical changes every major update. Its kinda scary because they havent even found a UI that works. I personally find Win8.1 disgusting, that charms bar is annoying when using dual monitor as it pops up randomly with my regular use (i know i trigger it, but i want to turn it off completely without it breaking something else). Metro is 100% useless with a mouse and keyboard as well.

"disappointingly no leaks"

Umm... I'd say that's a good thing there's no leaks. It's damaging to the company when there are leaks. Though, obviously some companies leak things themselves to see people's reactions.

Good, I hate the current charms bar (A LOT - not just on the desktop but more that once it's annoyed me on my Touch screen T100 Win8.1 machine) had more than one occurrence where I hit it and didn't want to or could not get it to come up as easily when I did want it.

I'm sorry but this is sounding like a hot mess. Sounds to me that Microsoft needs to add two distinct modes. Legacy Mode and Modern Mode. Make legacy mode work like Windows 7 and call it a day.
IMHO, the reason why the Modern UI was hated is because Microsoft released a new UI without a single meaningful application to showcase it's modern features. Seems to me that now they're focused on bringing Windows 7 features to Windows 8 instead of fixing the original problem of no real applications like Office, Photoshop, iTunes, ProTools, etc..

Sounds like you're getting messed-up over the description of a rumour - chill!

There is already a 'legacy mode' that works just like Windows 7... can you guess what it is?!

The meaningful 'application' of modern features was to enable hardware formats that had never been a good experience when used with 'traditional' Windows - MS have excelled at showing what is possible for the PC with these formats and it's hardly it's fault that iTunes or Adobe tools have not been ported.

Thanks for your concern, but I'm not nearly as bothered by this as you may think.

The "legacy mode" I was referring to is a mode where you boot you computer up and it looks and works like Windows 7, no modern UI or Apps in sight.

Microsoft did not excel and showcasing Modern applications. I also think Microsoft is to blame for no major modern applications. The WinRT API's a quite a bit more limiting than the Win32 API's. Not even Microsoft was able to release a Modern UI version of a major desktop application for the entire Windows 8 cycle.

Legacy Mode sounds like an even bigger hot mess. People complained that Windows 8 felt like two distinct operating systems, why should they give that here in Threshold? If you want "looks and works like Windows 7", then click the desktop tile.

Is WiFi and Sound not as much a part of Status as a Share or Search function? Those are as much a part of immediate function as the WiFi and Sound. I mean look at Facebook, it says, "Update Status" and people Share things.

Sounds good.
I am waiting to hear a confirmation on the Notification Center to (maybe) be integrated into the Charms menu. Like WP, they cannot have an App Centric OS without a Notification Center, and with the Windows One direction Microsoft will follow with their next OS meaning merging and sharing features between WP and Windows, this better be the case.

This is sorely needed. It wasn't a big deal before (Windows 7). But when you're working on the desktop, and some of your modern apps receive notifications, you're SOL if you missed them. You'd have to periodically scan your live tiles on the Start Screen waiting for a tile to flip. And that's if you remember to even check. A notification center similar to the one on Mac OS X would be nice.

xankazo said,
Cute. But make sure you get rid of the freaking Windows XP icons from the desktop.

Why "cute"? I care more about its functionality than its appearance . . .

-adrian- said,
I don't have one icon on my desktop .. you must do something wrong :)

You don't seem to understand what "desktop" means.

So tell me what desktop means. having randomized sorted icons in a 16x16 grid causing you to minimize all active windows to access them? Well you can install fances like people at work do and overload the desktop with 4x more icons. great job having a desktop :o

I'm really getting tired of Modern methodologies being changed or removed when using the desktop. I LIKE the modern methodologies. I've developed the muscle-memory and I don't want to lose that when I connect my type cover or turn on my Arc mouse.

In the unlikely event that anyone at Microsoft with any decision making power is reading this, MAKE SURE THESE CHANGES ARE OPTIONAL. If I'm running a desktop app and I can't swipe in from the right or move my mouse to the corners to get to Start or previous app I will NOT be happy.

And while you're at it, let me disable the stupid title bar at the top of store apps that keeps getting in the way of my remote desktop and Teamviewer sessions.

Forjo said,
I'm really getting tired of Modern methodologies being changed or removed when using the desktop. I LIKE the modern methodologies. I've developed the muscle-memory and I don't want to lose that when I connect my type cover or turn on my Arc mouse.

In the unlikely event that anyone at Microsoft with any decision making power is reading this, MAKE SURE THESE CHANGES ARE OPTIONAL. If I'm running a desktop app and I can't swipe in from the right or move my mouse to the corners to get to Start or previous app I will NOT be happy.

And while you're at it, let me disable the stupid title bar at the top of store apps that keeps getting in the way of my remote desktop and Teamviewer sessions.


MS hates hasn't been one as of late for the whole "optional" idea.. they would rather force you into something, then backtrack in the next release, than give people the choice in the beginning.

Ryoken said,

MS hates hasn't been one as of late for the whole "optional" idea.. they would rather force you into something, then backtrack in the next release, than give people the choice in the beginning.

A quick check of Neowin posts about W8 will show you that W8 zealots are not immune from such behaviour....

I know the UI is usually developing last, but I can't wait to start seeing the now look of Windows on the desktop.

I hope when they show it that they are reading the comments on NeoWin and WinBeta for any complaints. There's no reason they couldn't iron out the kinks before Windows 9 is released.

Avi Patel said,
I happen to use the charms bar frequently so this is good news.

I rarely use charms bar. So Good riddance I would say.

"we have also heard that the Charms bar is no longer hidden, nor is it a central navigation point for desktop users."

Does this mean always shown if enabled?

It's very much there on desktop computers while using modern apps. Though it's not very useful for the Desktop itself, other than to quickly access the control panel and change some settings.

Ideally, this overhaul would make the charms bar more useful on the Desktop (interacting with desktop applications, rather than just toggling settings).

Steven P. said,
It would make sense to have it as the "Modern" settings menu for windowed apps.

I agree. As it stands, using them with ModernMix is a chore.

InsaneNutter said,
Is this on a desktop or a tablet? I can't actually remember ever using the chimes bar on the desktop.

You didn't use it to shut down your PC pre-8.1?

Stokkolm said,

You didn't use it to shut down your PC pre-8.1?

No, I found it annoying having to hold the mouse to the right of the screen and wait for the chimes bar to appear, click settings, click power, then click shutdown.

I created a shortcut on the desktop to shutdown pre 8.1.

NeoTrunks said,
It's very much there on desktop computers while using modern apps. Though it's not very useful for the Desktop itself, other than to quickly access the control panel and change some settings.

Ideally, this overhaul would make the charms bar more useful on the Desktop (interacting with desktop applications, rather than just toggling settings).

Not even window X command gets u there even faster!!

InsaneNutter said,

No, I found it annoying having to hold the mouse to the right of the screen and wait for the chimes bar to appear, click settings, click power, then click shutdown.

I created a shortcut on the desktop to shutdown pre 8.1.

Well, use Winkey + C and your charm bar is there right now. I myself disabled all the gesture and only use keyboard shortcut to use them. I do use the charm bar on the desktop, although I would love to customize it and remove the first charm bar to only show the second, with control panel, volume, brightness, wifi....