Microsoft is preparing a new release of its desktop operating system to be released next year, according to reports.
Long-time Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott posted over the weekend details of what he has learnt about Windows 9, which is code-named Threshold, from internal company sources.
The feature set for the new version of Windows will be discussed at the Microsoft BUILD developer conference in April this year, with the new release coming out the year after, Thurrott said.
Key features of Windows 9 will be the return of the Start button task launcher, and a new Metro 2.0 user interface that has a windowed mode, to enable apps to run on the Desktop.
These and other changes are necessary to for Windows 9 to succeed, Thurrott says.
"In short, it [Windows 9], needs to be everything Windows 8 is not," according to Thurrott.
Calling the low adoptation of Windows 8 and the free upgrade to the operating system, Windows 8.1, "a disaster", Thurrott says the latter version is running on fewer than 25 million PCs currently.
In comparison, despite a faltering PC market, analyst firm Gartner estimates that the global installed base of desktops and laptops running other versions of Windows is over 1.6 billion.
The older Windows XP operating system that will cease to be supported by Microsoft as of March runs on just over 500 million PCs, according to Gartner.
Thurrott says that Threshold recasts Windows 8 as the next Vista, which was unpopular with PC users.
"There's no way to sugarcoat this," Thurrott writes. "Windows 8 has set back Microsoft, and Windows, by years, and possibly for good."