Windows Blue build with minor improvements leaks

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 24, 2013
Updated • Mar 24, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

Rumors about Microsoft's strategy for the next version of Windows was all we had until recently. Some job postings highlighted that Microsoft is working on Windows 9 and Windows Blue. From the meager information that we have, it looks as if Windows Blue will be an update to Windows 8 while Windows 9 will be the next operating system the company plans to release. As always, Windows 9 is only a codename used during development. While it is unlikely that Microsoft will change the name, it is in the realm of possibility that the company will nevertheless.

Various Internet sites and forums indicate that a build of Windows Blue leaked on the Internet. If you have expected major changes in Windows Blue you will probably be disappointed as it seems to offer only gradual improvements over Windows 8. While it is too early to say if it will be an update - like a service pack with additional features - for Windows 8 or introduce major changes to Windows 8 that are implemented into later builds, it is clear for now at least that users should not expect too much from it.

A video was released on YouTube a couple of hours ago that walks you through Windows Blue build 9364.

The first thing that you will notice is that there is no start menu, and that the start screen is still there. If you had hopes that Microsoft would somehow reconsider some of its decisions that it made for Windows 8 you will certainly be disappointed by this. So what is new in Windows Blue?

  • Ships with Internet Explorer 11, the next installment of Microsoft's web browser.
  • Additional personalization options for the start screen. Direct access to personalization, more colors mostly

windows blue personalization

  • SkyDrive integration into the Start Screen control panel including Device backup option which can be configured to automatically backup OS settings and app data.
  • New Sync feature under Accounts, currently not implemented and not clear what it will do.
  • Additional privacy options, including webcam, microphone and custom peripherals listings that detail which apps are allowed to use them. With option to disallow the use.
  • Apps can now be displayed in a 50/50 ratio on the screen next to each other instead of the current option to display them in a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio on the screen. Also options to display more than two apps on the screen at the same time including three or four with them sharing the screen equally.
  • Different live tile sizes on the start screen. The new size that you can see in the videos is small, which lets you add more tiles to the visible area of the start screen. That's good I guess.

Many of the changes make sense and users of the operating system will likely welcome them with open arms. Critics of Windows 8 on the other hand won't be convinced by the changes to give the operating system a(nother) try as the current build is not changing any of the major points of criticism.

What's your take on the changes introduced in Windows Blue so far?


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  1. carloss said on March 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    it seems that windows blue will bring good new thing..not like windows 8espcialy in the new Metro ui…witn new apps.
    we just need to wait tell june as they said then Microsft will release the beta version
    wish if this can be really exited for it

  2. JohnMWhite said on March 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I’ve used 8 for months now, and overall I like it. It’s a little snappier and more stable than 7 on the same hardware, and that hardware’s starting to show its age. The new task manager is a boon, start-up is incredibly swift and painless, and it’s generally nice to handle. The main event, so to speak, is Metro, and I just don’t care for it at all. The apps are clumsy and mostly useless on a desktop. I haven’t found a single one I didn’t have a better alternative for already, and since they eat up the entire screen and hide the task bar, trying to use them just wrecks my workflow. They don’t even accept normal commands like Alt+F4 to close, meaning I keep having to remember to hit escape. Not a huge deal by itself but add all these quirks together and I do not see the point of apps on the desktop.

    It’s easy enough to say “just don’t use them, then” but I can see why some are frustrated by that kind of answer. It’s not a solution, it’s giving up. Why pay for and learn a new operating system if its primary new functionality is something that you just don’t even want to deal with? And do Microsoft really think they’ll make a lot of money from apps when just about every Windows 8 user I know ignores them? I’m happy with 8 as a desktop user, in spite of rather than because of the headline new features, but I don’t really think ‘in spite of’ should come into it. Lucky it was cheap, I wouldn’t pay two hundred bucks for a new task manager.

    The updates to Windows 8 seem to just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Perhaps that a little over-dramatic as a metaphor; I don’t think Microsoft or Windows are sinking any time soon. But it seems entirely pointless to fiddle with the Start Screen’s details when that interface itself is just awful as a concept.

    1. sades said on March 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

      I don’t have any problem learning things, in fact I’ve been learning Linux during Vista days while dual booting it (yes I use and have no problem with Vista, given adequate hardware).

      I just don’t want to “learn” something idiotic.

  3. Simon said on March 25, 2013 at 6:18 am

    First off, I am in love with Windows 8!

    My only major gripe is that metro applications doesn’t show up in the regular taskbar.
    Hopefully they will consider it for Blue or 9.

  4. iron2000 said on March 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Great for tablet users I suppose but I don’t spend much time on the Start screen at all :P
    Rather them include Stardock’s ModernMix and Start8 functions into Blue, then people might see it as a viable upgrade.

  5. sades said on March 24, 2013 at 8:59 pm


  6. rpwheeler said on March 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    My take is the same as for Win 8 and Metro: I don’t need this, so I won’t pay for this.

    I’m not going to use Metro where I’m not well-paid for it.

  7. Anon said on March 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    So it still turns a perfectly working computer into a oversized phone.

    1. Tim said on March 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm


      Not really, just ignore Metro apps. Just because they’re there, it doesn’t mean you have to use them if you don’t want to. You can just use your normal desktop applications instead.

      1. Anon said on March 24, 2013 at 10:02 pm

        And I can stay on Windows 7 and not pay for a downgrade.

  8. Wayfarer said on March 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Win8 is an even bigger turkey than Vista – and that’s saying something. MS needs to concentrate less on selling out its customers to industry and more on selling solid secure software to its customers.

    It’s the ivory tower syndrome – I saw it a lot in management. Bad production and marketing decisions taken because top management surrounded themselves with sycophants too afraid to tell the boss he was talking BS.

    Win9 could do a lot to recover MS’s fortunes if it recognises that the desktop computer is far from dead, and that for many people the functionally closer their laptop is to a desktop the better. The pad/touchscreen market is a different scene, and attempts to produce a composite OS are nonsense.

    And I agree with Georgia Bulldogs – Windows of any variety is and has always been indefensibly expensive. MS pricing structure actually encourages piracy. Get prices down to no-brainer levels (i.e. where the cost ceases to become a serious factor in choice of installation) and perhaps MS won’t need to wonder why half the planet’s Windows installations are hooky.

  9. dostiers said on March 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I think those waiting for Microsoft to abandon Apps on the desktop and return Win Blue or 9 to a traditional Windows OS complete with Start button are going to be continually disappointed. Microsoft has determined that apps are where the big bucks are, money it has to do very little to get, so it isn’t about to pass this up. Given how much money Apple and Google are raking in this business model is probably right, so it will push apps in our faces as often as it can.

    1. sades said on March 25, 2013 at 10:06 am

      Sure and they have the cash to do that, the question is for how long?

  10. Georgia Bulldogs said on March 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    It’s still too early to know what we may get in Blue, but if there isn’t any MAJOR improvements in what most folks have complained about, then Microsoft is hurting themselves even more, in my opinion. It’s obvious that Windows 8 hasn’t lived up to expectations. A simple Internet search will prove that a lot of folks are unhappy with Windows 8, so Microsoft should admit to dropping the ball with W8 and listen to customer feedback and address these issues. Force feeding us an over-priced OS that was CLEARLY intended for a tablet, was a huge mistake.

    Address our complaints Microsoft, and also quit charging so damn much for your operating systems! Apple seems to understand this. Why can’t Microsoft? Greedy, maybe?

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