Did Microsoft just give us a glimpse of the next Windows desktop?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 15, 2022
Updated • Oct 15, 2022
Windows 12 News
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Windows 10 is not the last Windows operating system. Microsoft released Windows 11 despite stating years earlier that nothing would be coming after Windows 10.

Now, the company appears focused on its new operating system Windows 11. New major updates will be released once a year and a new feature drop functionality will push new features to the operating system several times in-between.

Rumors suggest that Microsoft could be working on Windows 12 already. Nothing has been confirmed by Microsoft, and there is a chance that Microsoft will continue to evolve Windows 11 in the coming years instead of moving on to Windows 12 just years after the release of Windows 11.

A screen that Microsoft included in a presentation on this year's Ingnite event sparked the imagination of tech enthusiasts and journalists.

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microsoft windows 12 desktop
source: Microsoft

The screen shows a prototype of the Windows desktop. It features a floating taskbar with central icons, and several key elements of Windows 11's taskbar are now found at the top of the screen.

There is the Windows Widgets powered weather icon at the top left corner, and the system tray area with the clock on the top right.

While it is certainly possible that Microsoft is working on Windows 12, and that the desktop prototype shown is from that operating system, it is also possible that Microsoft just showed the next iteration of the Windows 11 desktop instead.

The usual development disclaimer aside, that everything may or may not be released in this state, what Microsoft has shown is certainly as disruptive as moving the taskbar icons, including the Start menu icon, to the center of the taskbar.

Apple uses a similar layout on macOS. The system has a taskbar-like floating area at the bottom and a top row that is displaying the time among other information. Microsoft's design is not copying the entire macOS desktop, but it certainly has similarities.

Zac Bowden over on Windows Central claims that he saw a similar design prototype some time ago, and that sources close to the matter told him that Microsoft aims to improve the upcoming interface for touch access.

How did the prototype image end up in an official presentation? There is a slim chance that the inclusion happened by accident. Someone did not pay attention and no one else noticed. More likely is a deliberate act to get initial feedback on the new design. With millions of eyes on every frame of the presentation, it was clear that someone would spot the new desktop, considering that it strayed away significantly from Windows 11's desktop.

Closing Words

Major design changes are often disliked by users. Workflows need to change and information is found elsewhere, all of a sudden. Microsoft does have the habit of removing features during design overhauls.

In summary, what Microsoft revealed is a glimpse of how the future Windows desktop could look like. Whether it could launch with Windows 12 or a new Windows 11 update remains to be seen. There is also a chance that the company picks another interface for the next desktop iteration entirely.

Now You: floating taskbar and elements at the top, what is your take on that?

Summary
Did Microsoft just give us a glimpse of the next Windows desktop?
Article Name
Did Microsoft just give us a glimpse of the next Windows desktop?
Description
Microsoft displayed a new Windows desktop interface during a presentation at this year's Ignite. Is it a prototype of the Windows 12 desktop?
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. userpassadmin said on October 15, 2022 at 9:48 am
    Reply

    Rapid releasing operating systems is stupid, and Microsoft is doing that. And from Windows 7 to Windows 10, they added no real new features, just higher system requirement, bunch of bloatwares, ads, trackings.

  2. Mystique said on October 15, 2022 at 10:21 am
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    No surprises here really. Windows 11 is as spiritually as dead as Vista if not more so but if you actually go back to Vista there are many redeemable qualities, Windows 11 on the other hand and whatever this monstrosity is… yeah you can go ahead and fire anyone that was involved in this heap already and start with your windows 8 – windows 11 team too… actually start with yourselves from the top because nobody should be approving, publishing or encouraging rubbish like this.

    1. John G. said on October 15, 2022 at 9:45 pm
      Reply

      +1

  3. How innovative... said on October 15, 2022 at 11:24 am
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    Did Microsoft just show us Elementary OS?
    Yes.
    Yes, they did.

    1. Anonymous said on October 15, 2022 at 1:11 pm
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      Microsoft’s EEE, except now with all the Linuxy stuff (virtual desktops,wsl, looks, etc) the second E stands for emulate not extend.

  4. Jek Porkins said on October 15, 2022 at 1:10 pm
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    like the comments above i also share the sentiments – microsoft has not done a lot to modernize windows or add much new features to it

    for me windows 7 was the peak of windows and after that it has been just a downgrade

    i have been using windows 10 and 11 for a long time and they are serviceable but not worth buying hence why i have not bought them

    1. Anonymous said on October 15, 2022 at 1:17 pm
      Reply

      98 – peak
      ME – trough
      XP – peak
      Vista – trough
      Seven – peak
      They had a pattern, but everything after seven seems to be dipping lower.

      1. ECJ said on October 15, 2022 at 5:57 pm
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        Sorry, but this doesn’t make much sense. Where is Windows 2000 – or are we only including select operating systems in order to fit some made-up pattern?

        Also, Windows Vista was a pretty revolutionary update and contained some important architectural changes; it was a better and more secure operating system than Windows XP and set the stage for Windows 7. If Windows 7 was released in the place as Vista, people would have had the same issues – such as incompatible drivers due to the driver model change, UAC prompts and PC manufacturers skimping on RAM. The security changes needed to happen and applications needed to stop running with high privileges unless there was a reason to.

        The only real “pattern” is with enterprise only updating to every other operating system due to cost and compatibility reasons (I.E. 95/NT > 2000 > XP > 7 > 10).

      2. Khai Bach said on October 15, 2022 at 7:43 pm
        Reply

        they’re looking at the series as a Consumer, not a Business User. 2000 was targeted to Businesses, not the home user.

    2. Anonymous said on October 16, 2022 at 3:07 am
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      For me XP was the best. The only thing missing from XP was one window file transfer progress.

      From Vista, the feature to manually arrange files in folder(like arranging icon in desktop) is gone. I used that feature a lot and still hoping someday the feature will be back.

      XP also has feature to sort files by date added to folder, newly added files will be at the top. From Vista above, the sort by date depends on the original file timestamp.

  5. Herman Cost said on October 15, 2022 at 2:23 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft seems to think desktop computers are primarily entertainment vehicles. But for many (most?) people they are used primarily for work or to important personal related tasks like investing, paying bills, obtaining valuable information, etc. That is why Microsoft’s incessant change for change sake in their operating system is resented by users. No one wants to be constantly having to deal with interface changes in an environment where being able to speedily and efficiently perform tasks is important.

    In Microsoft’s case, of course, the situation is even worse because a lot of their changes are clearly done for no good reason, and in way too may cases they are in fact downgrades. The only things you can really count on when Microsoft announces an ‘update’ is more telemetry, more data grabbing, and less privacy. And, oh yes, bugs as a result of inadequate testing.

    1. Henk said on October 15, 2022 at 4:25 pm
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      @Herman Cost: Yes you are right, Microsoft Windows system updates can be very disrupting and even counter-productive. But they are not a given fact of nature: because of their workflow- and habits-disrupting effects, you can also choose to just avoid them completely. This is my own policy, with all three Windows computers I still use at the moment.

      Every time I buy a new Windows computer, I fine-tune the entire system to my own particular needs (using various tweaking tools such as Microsoft’s own GPedit). I also make sure all drivers are OK, install my own software, VPN etc. And at the same time, right from the beginning, I do block Windows Update completely. For the entire lifespan of the computer, the system itself is not updated anymore (of course I do sometimes functional updates for specific non-Microsoft software, or antivirus updates).

      So, for example, I have a laptop still running Windows 10 v. 1803 from over four years ago, and as long as I keep using that laptop, it will never get a system update. For myself I much prefer this continuity of a never-changing system well-adapted to my own needs, over the returning hassles of major, disruptive, and usually unnecessary system updates once or twice a year.

      Some people will say this may be not quite safe. In theory, yes. But I’ve been doing this since the times of XP > Vista, all the way through computers with 7 and 8.1, and I’m pretty sure that over the years this no-system-updates policy has saved me a lot of time and trouble, while I never even once got a virus problem or safety breach.

      1. Mothy said on October 15, 2022 at 6:24 pm
        Reply

        I have had the same experience in using older Windows desktop operating systems (ex. 2000, XP, 7) without any system security patches/updates and never had an issue with malware of any kind. Updates are but one layer of security when you implement defense in depth (multi-layer) security posture where other much more important layers protect the system.

    2. John G. said on October 15, 2022 at 9:52 pm
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      Completely agree, W11 is not ready to let people to work, W11 is useless for productivity unless you install Startallback, Star11, Valinet’s Explorer Patcher + 7+ Taskbar tweaker and so forth third party software. It’s certainly amazing than Microsoft said that there is very difficult to reverse default configuration of W11 and then it appears half a dozen of third software that convert a W11 in more or less W10 with no major problem. Again, amazing and hilarious!

  6. Anonymous said on October 15, 2022 at 4:45 pm
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    I wouldn’t jump on Win 10 ship if it wasn’t for the sake of Adobe’s not keeping support for Win 7.

    I’m not going to do the same mistake not going to change 10 for some more crippled OS with useless interface and functionalities. So long M$.

  7. Flip3dee said on October 15, 2022 at 7:58 pm
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    Before it’s too late, Microsoft must make some significant personnel changes. I’m not sure who is in control of Windows’ user interface and user experience, but they are utterly ruining Windows with these ridiculous ideas. We would have purchased MacOS from Apple if we had desired it. Stop attempting to imitate Apple’s worst features, please! This ridiculous idea only uses up more room. All of these actions are already performed by the taskbar. To use adequate spacing, we may soon require 8K monitors at 50% DPI.

  8. John G. said on October 15, 2022 at 9:44 pm
    Reply

    OMG, the same useless taskbar at the bottom and now another one at the top, more wasted space. The most hilarious thing is that they don’t allow us to put the taskbar at the top! Amazing hilarious!

  9. yanta said on October 16, 2022 at 3:04 am
    Reply

    I am running 1809. I have just completed testing 21H2. After removing the bloat the only thing that is different is that some services which could be disabled in 1809 can no longer be disabled in 21H2 if you want to use the functions (Eg screen clip, clipboard history, settings>system>about), and 21H2 is noticably slower at opening programs and accessing network drives.

    That’s it. No new functionality. No new features. Nada. Nil. Zip…. and that’s 5 major releases later.

    I get no crashes, BSODs or anything with 1809… It’s stable. So it’s not as if 21H2 has improved on that either.

    What on earth did M$ spend billions doing?

  10. Mothy said on October 16, 2022 at 3:37 am
    Reply

    “Zac Bowden over on Windows Central claims that he saw a similar design prototype some time ago, and that sources close to the matter told him that Microsoft aims to improve the upcoming interface for touch access.”

    So Windows 8 all over again? They never learn, bunch of clowns running the show at Redmond. They have truly lost the plot with their desktop OS.

  11. Anonymous said on October 16, 2022 at 8:47 am
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    “Windows 10 is not the last Windows operating system. Microsoft released Windows 11 despite stating years earlier that nothing would be coming after Windows 10.”

    When did Microsoft ever claim that? Sure, Jerry Nixon made that one comment that could be (mis-)interpreted that way, but when did Microsoft itself ever say that?

  12. Mystique said on October 16, 2022 at 9:47 am
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    This is the problem and I was about to mention it further up here…
    Microsoft became absolute garbage when they began to blur the line between desktop OS and the idiotic tablet market. Nobody cares about the Surface or the windows OS as a tablet interface. The two are not interchangeable and especially the way they are doing it.

    Almost every garbage feature and removal of feature has everything to do with Microsoft trying to pander to that market.
    Nobody uses Windows for that reason.

    Windows as an OS that is capable of business tasks and every day home us including gaming and media is where it is at. Technically windows is well versed at being capable of that but its the overlay of stupidity that ruins it.

    They need to release the source for windows or build a stripped back version and understand that windows is not some multi-platform for idiotic devices such as touch screen tablets because as of right now its bad for both.

    If only reactOS was up to task and on par with windows in regards to compatibility and such then I am sure there would hundreds of people building upon it and it would be far better than windows.

    I often have to ask myself am I just getting old and complaining a lot more or are things truly going to hell in a hand basket but it seems others agree too.

    1. Scratch the surface said on October 16, 2022 at 11:19 pm
      Reply

      Tablets are cute when used as menus in restaurants or when kittens and frogs play games on them. That’s all. They are children’s toys, even if they have high end components. Adults don’t do any work on tablets.

      1. JodyThornton said on October 17, 2022 at 5:35 pm
        Reply

        @Scratch:

        That is rapidly changing. For most serious “consumptive tasks” (web browsing and email) they are as good as laptops, especially if I can browse the desktop site. But productivity is improving on iPad Pros by quite a magnitude. It’s just that millennials and GenZ’s will envision productivity differently that we do.

    2. Dr.Zoidberg said on November 13, 2022 at 9:43 pm
      Reply

      I’ve come to the same conclusion about Office a few years ago. I compared Word 2013 and Word 2016 and couldn’t find a single difference. The only new features were on the collaborative editing front, which is buggy garbage to boot.

      When ReactOS reaches feature level of Win7 they can basically stop development AFAIC I’ll switch to that and never need another OS again.

      @Jody I’m a millennial and I have no use for a tablet, especially an ARM tablet. I have no idea what kind of work could people who already own a phone, a desktop and a laptop, use them for. I have an eReader if that counts as a tablet, but it has an eInk screen which is really only useful for reading books.

  13. myfingergotstuck said on October 17, 2022 at 1:03 am
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    I’m waiting for Windows 13. Good luck!

  14. surf it now said on October 18, 2022 at 4:37 am
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    Windows 10 was the best version of windows. I tried windows 11 but had to return windows 10 because 11 was far less productive. For example, windows 10 context menu is one click, windows 11 is 3 clicks. I tried to use a utility to make windows 11 behave more like 10, but, it was only free for a couple of weeks. It was just easier to go back to the real thing.

  15. George said on October 19, 2022 at 5:55 am
    Reply

    Who would’ve thought Windows 10 becoming the new Windows 7…

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