Windows Threshold 'Technical Preview for Enterprise': Here's what to expect

Late next month, we fully expect Microsoft to release a technical preview of Windows Threshold and as we approach that launch window, we are learning more and more about the release and what all will be included. For starters, the current watermark for the builds that are circulating refer to the pre-release version as the "Windows Technical Preview for Enterprise" which should help you understand what Microsoft's intentions are for this build.

While early Windows 8 builds were called Developer Previews, the watermark is very clear in saying that these builds are for the enterprise and that it is part of a technical preview. There are a couple reasons for this, some of which we have learned recently, which ties into the upcoming release.

Microsoft will, in the very near future, start reaching out to key partners and informing them about the Threshold enterprise preview and will be offering up bits for testing, and around that time is when they will go public with their plans.

Why? Well, Microsoft knows that once the enterprise has the bits, NDAs never hold and the builds will leak. So, to avoid having all of their fun being spoiled (like this: 1 2 3 4 5), they will release a public version of Threshold for testing. The public version is what is being rumored for September 30th; what we don't know is if the enterprise preview will be the exact same build that is offered to the general public. We would think that it would be the same as it seems like a lot of work to have two separate builds to maintain while pushing the rapid release cadence - but crazier things have happened.

The enterprise preview is coming along nicely and the build number is now around 982X, and curiously, we have gotten quite a few questions about icons. Sadly, in the enterprise technical preview, as it is at the time of this writing, the icons are still the same as Windows 8. UI elements, especially icons, are generally updated closer to release, so this could still change.

Previously, we had talked about how the next iteration of Windows looks 'visually distinct' and what we are referring to will likely not be shown in the enterprise technical preview if it stays the way it looks in current builds. What we mean is that Microsoft has more ambitious update in the works for UI elements for the desktop but the technical preview will not include them. Of course, Microsoft could shove these out at the last minute but we are not expecting that to happen.

As with everything about Threshold, this information is accurate as of today but we can't predict where Microsoft will go with its previews and final releases. With that being said, Threshold is relatively stable right now and is on-track for a release in the near future. 

While Windows 8 may be starting to get pushed to the backburner for Microsoft, Threshold, no matter what it is called when it is released, will be a huge improvement for the OS.

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Will Windows 9 include the VB6 programming runtime ?
There is a lot of legacy Visual Basic programming on Windows XP and Windows 7 which needs updating.

here's to hoping the icons are updated and the desktop ui borrows a ton from the zune/metro ui. the start screen/menu and the desktop experience need to feel as One and look as One experience tied together.

I think you have a misunderstanding why its called Enterprise Preview. Its called that because Enterprise is the most complete edition of Windows client and has all the features found in Core and Pro plus specific Enterprise features such as App Locker, Branch Cache support, Federated. This means, 'Enterprises' and even non-enterprise users will be able to test all features of Windows. Windows 7 during its beta the Ultimate SKU was what users go to test, same, same with Vista, although initially it was Business. Windows XP beta was Professional. Microsoft always gives you the best SKU you test.

In this case it is. Microsoft is starting from a full featured base for developers to kick the tires and tinker with everything. If you want to test every feature of Windows client, the Enterprise SKU would be it. Also, note, its called Enterprise, Microsoft's most important customer base is Enterprise business. Type comment here...

Dammit, I've got this realy bad habitat of installing development builds as my main OS... Anyway, looking forward to do so agian. :)

I see Microsoft is saying nothing about what the new UIs are going to look like. Showing Windows-8 screen shots is not doing Windows-9 any favors. Why the secrecy?

TsarNikky said,
I see Microsoft is saying nothing about what the new UIs are going to look like. Showing Windows-8 screen shots is not doing Windows-9 any favors. Why the secrecy?

They said the same thing about Windows 7. All that went away after people actually used the OS.

New Rumors indicate massive UI changes:

*No desktop on some devices
*Interactive Live Tiles (but not feature rich)
*Live Folders
*More Start Screen options

- http://www.wpcentral.com/new-rumor-has-more-info-modern-ui-changes-windows-9-threshold

Jose_49 said,
Grab classic shell (Free), start8, or startisback. And say "Welcome" Windows 7.5

Ditto that, just upgraded my last system to 8.1. 10 seconds of tweaks, and the only difference now is the login screen looks different.. otherwise looks and acts exactly the same as before. Just faster and smoother.

I think the icons, as this is the most important bit apparently, should use the music theme from Win Plus 95.
That should make everyone happy.

Yeah, I'll be happy even if there's nothing aside from new screensavers. Actually, maybe they'll throw in a new sound scheme with audible whooshes for minimize/maximize animations. That'll be tops.

:p

It's going to be very interesting to see what they do with both the desktop and modern side going forward, I think the tiles have lots of room to expand and add more functionality, like the MSR video that leaked and was pulled for example.

Live folders that just made it into WP8.1.1 should also make their way to Windows as well, this is mostly how it goes, WP does something first and then they bring it to the modern UI for Windows. Same reason many expect a notification center and cortana and so on.

This is my hope as well... although there is an article on WPCentral stating that the Interactive Tiles will be there but not with the full functionalities demoed on the video.
We can just wait and see...
BTW the video is still available on YouTube in case you want to download it.

Cosmocronos said,
This is my hope as well... although there is an article on WPCentral stating that the Interactive Tiles will be there but not with the full functionalities demoed on the video.
We can just wait and see...
BTW the video is still available on YouTube in case you want to download it.

I expect that updates to the tiles will come in steps, little by little as they make the APIs better and open it up to 3rd party developers.

Quite probable but... Having the Interactive tiles acting like shown in the video right at the OS launch would make a bigger impression; adding capabilities down the road is a way to keep people happy but the first impression is always the most critical aspect.

fordcom said,
Learnt it will come with a notification center which is what I am excited about.

Isn't that just the newest rumor going out? I'm sure the odds of that are high but are we talking for the tablet (no desktop) version or for the desktop side as well?

Please tell me why does it say "Enterprise" to me and not consumer? There are still home users like me who moved to Windows 8.x to keep Windows up to date and there are people who are holding on to Windows 7.

They always develop the most feature complete version which is the enterprise edition and than remove features depending on the version with Windows with Bing at the low end and Enterprise at the top end.

realistically nobody cares about the icons. A customer isn't going to say, "oh hell no, I won't buy this because it has the same icons windows 7 did".

people care about the integration of the modern UI for non touch PCs and if their familiar desktop and start menu are there, or variations which make sense.

cut the icon chat. nobody cares.

no the icons aren't gonna stop anyone of buying the OS but that doesn't mean no one cares. the inconsistency looks bad. is it so bad asking for a little consistency in the UI?

... Execpt for the fact that loads of people clearly care. Maybe because they have this thing called "standards" and expect a polished product from the largest software company in the world.

I'd say it depends on who you're talking about, the more technical people like those around here care more, the more general public doesn't care as much if at all. It's really something that depends on the person in question, you can't use a blanket statement in this case.

I don't think the icons can really ever reach a high level of consistency, given that many of them come from third parties. With increased reliance on search tools to navigate, locate files, and launch programs, I think icons are starting to play a less important role in computing interaction.

Error1 said,
... Execpt for the fact that loads of people clearly care. Maybe because they have this thing called "standards" and expect a polished product from the largest software company in the world.

Spot on! That the Office team are able complete the fit and finish hat the Windows team seem to think unnecessary only acerbates this issue. We sit in front of this product for so many hours a day, we expect it to reward us aesthetically and look modern. It seems taking the hi-handed 'such fripperies are not important' view is good for self-validation of 'LEETness' but says nothing else. Many people appreciate aesthetic tech, as-per Apple sales during the golden age of 'Windows XP Luna'.

neonspark said,
realistically nobody cares about the icons...

cut the icon chat. nobody cares.

As I've said before: I'm nobody. So no, we won't cut the icon chat because we do care.

I don't expect the preview to include new icons. If there are new icons added (and there better be!) then it's always one of the last things MS do. The Win 8 preview did not include the updated flat window design for instance.

As long as it has the bits to make the universal apps API... universal, I'll be happy.

And will promptly install it in a VM to play around with.

greenwizard88 said,
As long as it has the bits to make the universal apps API... universal, I'll be happy.

And will promptly install it in a VM to play around with.

I'm with you, going to have vbox ready and waiting on that day.