We know Microsoft’s first major update to Windows 8 as ‘Windows Blue’, but know little about what changes the update will make – until now.
An early version of Windows Blue leaked online earlier this week, allowing us to catch a glimpse of what Microsoft has in store for Windows 8 users. The leak is a 32 bit 2.63GB file that can actually be installed onto a Windows PC with little to no hassle, so you can give yourself a tour of Windows Blue if you want to.
Microsoft looks set to blur the lines between Windows 8 and Windows Phone even further with this update, bringing across some of the new features in Windows Phone 8 to the PC platform. For example, the Live Tiles in the Windows 8 Start menu will now be resizable to smaller sizes.
The Start screen will be subject to plenty of new customisation options with Windows Blue, with options to choose a background colour and pattern as well as changing the colour of the accent.
Just like in Windows 7, you’ll be able to run two apps side-by-side with Windows Blue. This looks to be much the same in the way that it works, with users able to drag and ‘snap’ windows to two halves of the screen. You can also change the width of each window, so if you need to see more of one program and less of another you can easily tailor sizes to suit your needs.
Microsoft will also make changes to the Charms bar, adding a Play option under the Devices Charm and a Screenshot option under the Share Charm. The latter will make the process of taking a screenshot nice and easy, allowing the user to share their screen quickly.
Finally, a major change in Windows Blue will be the browser. Microsoft will usher in Internet Explorer 11 to take over from IE10, although at the moment we know little to nothing about the new browser.
Microsoft is expected to introduce Blue as a cheap digital download, much like Apple does with its annual OS X upgrades. We’re expecting the launch to take place later in the year.