Windows 8 Screenshots Leak, Show New Features

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 4, 2011
Windows, Windows 8

Several Windows 8 screenshots have leaked in the past, but they never revealed any new features of the upcoming Microsoft operating system. Some may have shown minor user interface changes, like the option to enable reboot after updates have been download and installed, but in general, nothing spectacular was shown.

This changed today with the leak of three screenshots on a Chinese Windows 7 website. What are those leaked screenshots showing?

The first Windows 8 screenshot shows the System Tray area of the taskbar. Notice the profile picture on the right of the tray icons? This icon indicates the logged in user. It is likely that it will load a user profile page of some sort when clicked on, maybe even offer fast user-switching capabilities. Interesting in this regard is the ability to log in with Windows Live ID credentials. It is not clear yet if those are somehow stored locally, or if an Internet connection is required to log into the operating system.

Linking the Windows Live ID could hint at additional features that are related to backups and online storage. Imagine how cool it would be to have all your profile data in the cloud if you want it, so that you could log into any other windows 8 operating system in the world. Windows 8 would pull the data from the cloud and you could use your desktop and tools. While this may or not be included, there will certainly be options to protect systems if it is implemented.

windows 8 taskbar

The second screenshot shows a window where user profile icons can be selected. Take a look at the second and third, notice that they are videos? It appears to be possible to use video avatars in Windows 8.

windows 8 video profile pictures

The last screenshot shows the taskbar again, this time during a driver installation. Notice the progress bar in the background of the icon? It is very similar to the progress bar that is displayed when files are moved or copied in Windows 7. It is likely that Windows 8 will show progress bars for all kind of installations and activities.

windows 8 driver progress

The article mentions other features. Windows 8 will feature a hard reset option to reset the operating system to factory default settings in two minutes. The Windows 8 installation will use considerably less time. The process has been reduced by the factor 2.5, or from 25 minutes to 8 minutes on Microsoft's test system (with 24 GB ram, 2TB hard drive, 8-core cpu).

Another addition is the Windows 8 app store which will be directly accessible in the operating system.

The faster installation time could be a blessing, provided that it does not only install a thin client but the full operating system.

Your take on Windows 8 so far? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. windows 8 wallpapers said on September 11, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    There are great features in Windows 8. Such as Tweaked Disk Cleanup.

    To help users manage disk space, Microsoft appears to have revamped the Disk Cleanup utility for Windows 8. Unlike the relatively simplistic tool in Windows 7, the enhanced utility showing up in Windows 8 pre-release builds includes options that let you sort files by size and type. This should make it much easier to reclaim disk space quickly by targeting temporary files and quickly spotting the biggest space hogs on your hard drive.

    ISO Mounting

    While other desktop OSes (Mac OS X, Linux) include the ability to handle disc images as a matter of basic functionality, Windows has lagged lamentably in this area. As recently as Windows Vista, users needed third-party tools to burn a disc image to a CD. And while Windows 7 can now write a disc image, it can’t mount and read one. According to a variety of rumor forums, however, this feature will finally come baked into Windows 8.

  2. windowswonder said on March 28, 2011 at 11:52 am

    i dont get all the hype.
    i am still usfing xp.
    vista and 7 just look like eye candy to me.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 28, 2011 at 11:54 am

      Windows XP is a fine OS, outdated though and reducing vista and 7 to eye-candy is not really fair. The first Vista, yes, Vista with the latest SP or Windows 7, then no.

  3. Nicolai said on March 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    “It is likely that Windows 8 will show progress bars for all kind of installations and activities.” … hmm, my windows 7 ALREADY does this, the program just have to support it. E.g. right now, I’m downloading some files via the FTP client “FlashFXP”, and just by looking at the taskbar, I can see that I’m half done with the download.

    1. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

      Nicolai, as I said earlier it means it will be more widely used.

  4. Threshold said on March 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    So far I am not really impressed to be honest.

    Where are those great MS innovations of the past like that animated staple that was impossible to turn off?
    Why not bring it back but in 3?! :D

    What I really would like is a self-rearing system since it’s 3 months that I am battling a Windows issue that i found out has been plaguing Windows since XP!

    Anyway I am curious if it is possible to turn the green progress bar to another colour.
    Any tweaks to do that?

  5. Gemini said on March 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    “It is likely that Windows 8 will show progress bars for all kind of installations and activities.”

    WIndows 7 already does this.
    The progress bar is a set of APIs that have to be called by the running installer, the OS does not magically do this on its own.

    1. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Gemini what I meant is that the feature will be extended.

  6. Miggs said on March 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Being a linux user, the only thing that impressed me was that testing system: 24 GB of RAM? No wonder is that speedy! Anyway, their tests on that beast shouldn’t be by any mean suggestive.

  7. Leslie M said on March 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    “Imagine how cool it would be to have all your profile data in the cloud if you want it, so that you could log into any other windows 8 operating system in the world.”

    Sorry mate, but that is NOT cool at all. IMO this cloud business is overblown and to be honest a huge risk for those compliance regulated industries such as financial services. Do you really trust these people to keep your data secure ?

    So, the sooner we get over this cloud business and get on with more important things the better. But my guess is that you are a fan of the .NET Microsoft Windows lock in as well, yes ?

    1. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      You read the “if you want it” part right?

  8. kalmly said on March 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    How clever, an avatar (all kiddie cute) to tell me who I am – and in video too! How have I ever survived without it?

    The ever growing taskbar. The ever increasing price. And, how are they doing with the ever decreasing options, I wonder.

    1. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      Well it is all the information we have at this point. I doubt that this is one of the “big” new features of Windows 8, just stay tuned and do not be so negative ;)

      1. Don_Ace said on March 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm

        You say don’t be so negative, but we all lived through the time where the best “feature” of Vista(Sorry don’t mean to swear) was that you could play a video and flip screens whilt the video still played. It was ridiculous, every Vista (sorry, again) launch I went to that was the number 1 feature. So I would be surprised if the same thing happens with 8. Don’t they learn, all we want is a fast efficeint OS. Look at the Apple IOS, and that is on a phone!!!!!

      2. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Hehe yes I remember that ;) But Windows 7 is great, and I believe that Windows 8 will be as well.

  9. Enigma said on March 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Windows 8 is so early in production I would not take any of these screen shots as gospel as Microsoft has a way of changing features and looks right throughout the development stage.

    1. Martin said on March 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Enigma, I agree. The article is a glimpse at the current state of development, which in itself can be very interesting. While I personally do not care about video avatars, which frankly reminds me a lot of Dreamscene, I like the progress bar when installing drivers. It is a minor change but one that makes sense, and probably should have been included in Windows 7. I’m curious how they plan to integrate Windows Live, could be awesome, but could very well be frightening as well.

      1. Enigma said on March 4, 2011 at 6:30 pm

        Yeah I agree the windows live stuff would be great, maybe if they actually embedded the GFWL stuff as well so it actually works would be nice too.

        Windows 8 could finally be what PC gamers need and want. The only thing I hate about new versions of windows is that you know MS will put in DX12 just so ATI/Nvidia can sell a bunch of slightly upgraded cards.

  10. hb860 said on March 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    moving myself to linux. don’t like clouds

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