Disable the webcam on a Windows PC

Many mobile computers have webcams built-in nowadays so that users can use it for communication. Webcams can be used to video chat for instance using programs such as Skype.

While that is great for users who use it for that, others who never use a webcam may want to consider disabling it on the system instead.

Government agencies like the FBI have used computer cameras in the past to monitor users through webcams connected to computer systems, all without triggering the recording light that is usually on when the camera is in use.

The effectiveness of attacks targeting webcams depends on a number of factors including vulnerabilities in the software itself but also malware that is running on the target PC.

Hackers too can exploit these vulnerabilities as well and make use of malware.

Considering that there is no need to keep the cam enabled at all times or at all if it is never used, you may want to turn it off on your system instead to avoid things like this from ever happening to you.

Disable the internal camera

disable camera

Here is what you need to do to disable the internal camera of your PC running Windows.

  1. Tap on the Windows-key to open the start menu or start screen (Windows 8).
  2. Type Device Manager and select the first result from the list.
  3. If everything worked out fine, the Windows Device Manager should open.
  4. If not, try the following approach instead: Use Windows-R to open the runbox on the system. Type devmgmt.msc and hit enter.
  5. Locate Imaging Devices and there Integrated Camera. If it is not listed there, you may want to check under Sound, video and game controllers to see if it is listed there instead.
  6. Right-click on Integrated Camera and select disable from the context menu.
  7. Confirm the prompt that appears
  8. The camera has been disabled and cannot be used anymore unless it is enabled first.
  9. To enable it again, repeat the process but select enable from the right-click context menu to do so.

There are other options to deal with cameras. You can for instance close the lid of the laptop when you are not using it, put tape on it to block its view, or simply point it towards a different direction if you are in a situation in which you do not want to be monitored or recorded

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How to Set Time Limits in Windows Computer

As social media, video games and other computer-based distractions become more pervasive, many parents are finding it necessary to limit their child’s access to the computer, otherwise it may become too central of a focus in the child’s life as homework and social activities decline.

Apart from the above case. you would also want to restrict your younger brothers from using your PC no more than specific time. may be 1 hour or 2 hour. Microsoft implemented a variety of features for families in Windows 8, including the ability to set time limits for a child’s account.

You can choose which hours the account can be used on specific days, and the duration that the account can be used before it logs out. So let us see how exactly can this be done in Windows

Setting Time Limit in Windows

Step 1: Open the Control Panel by pressing the Windows key and the “I” key on your keyboard to open the Settings menu, then by clicking the “Control Panel” option on the menu that appears. The Control Panel will open.

Step 2: Click on “User accounts and family safety“. You will see something like below picture

Now click on “Family Safety.” Select the user account for which you want to apply a time limitation by clicking its icon.

Step 3: Select “Time Limits” To apply a certain time limitation on an account, click “Set time allowance” then use the drop-down menus provided to select a specific number of hours and minutes your child or Brother or Friend is allowed on the computer.

You can set a different time allowance for weekdays and weekends. In order to block certain spans of time, such as the hours during which your child/friend/brother is supposed to be doing homework, click “Curfew” then tap the white boxes for the hours you want to block on specific days.

For example, if you want to block the hour of 5PM on Monday and Friday, tap the hour block on those days to turn it blue, which will block it. So this was a simple tutorial to set time limits in windows computer that logs out your account after specific period of time that you set.

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5 Notepad Tricks That Can Amaze You

Best Notepad Tricks 1) Matrix Effect:

We Have Seen alot of times in movies some kind of numbers in Green Color Flashing really fast. Ever Wondered How they do it ?
Well, Today you will learn it. Basically its a Small Batch file that helps to do it. Just follow the Below simple steps to do it yourself.
Step 1: Open Notepad.
Step 2:  Now Copy the Below Code.
@echo off
color 02
echo %random% %random% %random% %random% %random% %random% %random% %random% %random% %random%
goto start
Also Read: 5 Best Command Prompt tricks 
Step 3: Paste the Code in Notepad and Save it by Clicking on File and then Save.
Step 4: You will be now asked the file name and Save as Type, So name the file as Matrix.bat and Choose All files in save as type.
Step 5: Remember the Destination where you save the file. Now Navigate to the Location where you saved this file. Double Click on it to See the Magic.

2. Ghost Keyboard Typing:

This is a Technique by Which you can make Notepad type Automatically whatever you want. That means i will share a script which you will use to Display anything you want to and Notepad will automatically type it for you.
Step 1: Open Notepad
Step 2: Copy the Below code.
set wshshell = wscript.CreateObject(“wScript.Shell”)
wshshell.run “Notepad”
wscript.sleep 400
wshshell.sendkeys “T”
wscript.sleep 100
wshshell.sendkeys “R”
wscript.sleep 120
wshshell.sendkeys “I”
wscript.sleep 200
wshshell.sendkeys “C”
wscript.sleep 100
wshshell.sendkeys “K”
wscript.sleep 140
wshshell.sendkeys “S”
wscript.sleep 100
wshshell.sendkeys “L”
wscript.sleep 50
wshshell.sendkeys “O”
wscript.sleep 120
wshshell.sendkeys “V”
wscript.sleep 170
wshshell.sendkeys “E”
wscript.sleep 100
wshshell.sendkeys “.”
wscript.sleep 120
wshshell.sendkeys “C”
wscript.sleep 160
wshshell.sendkeys “O”
wscript.sleep 200
wshshell.sendkeys “M”
wscript.sleep 100
Step 3: Paste the Code in Notepad and Save it.
Step 4: Name it Trickslove.vbs and Choose All files in Save as type.
Step 5: Double Click on the saved file to See this Live Notepad Trick

3. Make your Computer Speak:

In the Above trick we made notepad Type automatically but now we will our own text to Speech tool with the help of small script in Notepad. You will make your Computer Speak whatever you type. Excited ? Then follow the Below Simple Steps.
Step 1: Open Notepad
Step 2: Copy and Paste the Below Code in Notepad.
Dim message, sapi
message=InputBox(“What do you want me to say?”,”Speak to Me”)
Set sapi=CreateObject(“sapi.spvoice”)
sapi.Speak message 

Step 3: After Pasting the Above Code in Notepad, its time to Save the File. Save the File with name Speak.vbs and again choose All files in save as type

Step 4: Double Click on the File to See a pop up Window that looks something like this Picture

Now All you have to do is Type in Anything that you want it to Convert in Speech.

Then Click on Ok. Wait a second or Two and hear it do its work.

Also Check: How to Send Colorful Text Messages on Facebook

4. Keyboard LED lights Dancing Trick

This is another Fun Trick which will Make your Keyboard Lights ie: Numlock,Capslock and Scroll lock lights go dancing..

Step 1: Open notepad.

Step 2: Copy the Below Code and paste in it.

Set wshShell =wscript.CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
wscript.sleep 100
wshshell.sendkeys “{CAPSLOCK}”
wshshell.sendkeys “{NUMLOCK}”
wshshell.sendkeys “{SCROLLLOCK}”

Step 3: Save the File with the name Led.vbs and again choose all files.

Step 4: Double click the File to open, Look down at your keyboard to See the live performance.

How to Stop:

To Stop it just follow the Below Simple Steps.

  • Open Task manager by Pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE
  • Now Goto Process Tab
  • Scroll down and search for wscript.exe and End the Process.


5. 9/11 Attack.

Do you know that World Trade Center Attact can be Seen in Notepad? If you are not aware of this trick then here is how to do it.
Step 1: First of all you will Open new notepad file.
Step 2: Type in Q33N
Step 3: Click on Format > Font> and Select font as “Wingdings” now Increase the font size to 72
You will be Amazed to See What notepad Displays you.

So with this It Concludes the list of 5 Best Notepad Tricks for 2014. If you enjoyed it then please care to Share it on Social media using the Below Buttons.

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3 Things to know about Windows 9 before launch

Microsoft has decided to place its bets elsewhere after the bet that mobile-desktop fusions would actually pan out in the end. After suffering disappointment from public reactions to Windows 8 and its Modern/Metro interface, it’s decided to up the ante a little bit and release a completely new operating system that follows a different formula.

Sometime in 2015, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 9, and we’ve got a little bit of the scoop regarding what it will look like and how it will work. It’s time to put aside whatever we may feel about Windows 8 and see what Windows 9 might have to offer.

1: Windows 9′s Interface Will Adapt To The Device You’re Using

Windows 8 was a pretty stable system with some great features, but all of that mattered little when you were greeted by the “Start screen” or, as they call it, the Modern interface. Many users did not take kindly to the system when they first tested it, and the operating system’s poor sales were a reflection of the negativity surrounding this attempt to unify mobile and desktop experiences. Microsoft made a very risky bet, and it really didn’t pan out very well after the fact.

With Windows 9, however, it seems as if MS is rethinking its strategy and hoping to distance itself from the fallout that was its previous OS iteration. Windows 9, instead of offering both worlds at the same time, will change and adapt its interface according to whatever you’re running it on. Codenamed “Threshold”, this new operating system will detect whether you have a keyboard and mouse. If you do, you’ll be opted into the desktop experience. The absence of these peripherals (and the presence of touch-based hardware) will trigger Windows 9 to load up a mobile platform.

2: The Start Menu Will Return

Millions of people around the world were shocked to see that Windows 8 had no Start menu. It was perhaps the biggest flop in the entire operating system’s history. Microsoft recognizes that this was a mistake and has decided to bring the Start menu back in Windows 9, according to The Verge. However, this new Start menu will be just a little different. I think that an image will describe it better than words:

In case this new menu seems a little bit confusing, I’ll explain it to you. Windows 9 is introducing a menu system in which it will show you your desktop applications on one end and your mobile applications on the other. You’ll be able to open mobile applications in a window in case you prefer that over the full-screen setup that Windows 8 had until now. This still gives it a little bit of a mobile/desktop fusion flavor, but Windows 9 doesn’t forget that you’re still running it on a desktop computer.

3: It Might Be Free For Windows 8.1 Update 2 Users

If you’re using Windows 8.1′s Update 2, you might not have to pay for Windows 9. Instead, it will come as a free upgrade. However, the report from ValueWalk cites a leaking group called WZOR as its source. Although it has been reliable in the past, I’d recommend you take this news with a grain of salt. It’s nothing but a rumor until Microsoft comes out and confirms or denies it.

Launch Date?

Windows 8.1 Update 2 will be released in August. judging by this behavior, estimates of Windows 9′s release date vary, with the earliest date being somewhere in the end of 2014. Later estimates are putting the release date somewhere in April 2015. Reports also shows that the release date should come sooner than September 2015.

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Hackers find first post-retirement Windows XP-related vulnerability

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Microsoft on Saturday told customers that cyber-criminals are exploiting an unpatched and critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE) using “drive-by” attacks.

“Microsoft is aware of limited, targeted attacks that attempt to exploit a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, and Internet Explorer 11,” the company said in a security advisory.

According to Microsoft, the attacks have been launched against IE users tricked into visiting malicious websites. Such attacks, dubbed “drive-bys,” are among the most dangerous because a vulnerable browser can be hacked as soon as its user surfs to the URL.

All currently-supported versions of IE are at risk, Microsoft said, including 2001′s IE6, which still receives patches on Windows Server 2003. The same browser will not be repaired on Windows XP, as the operating system was retired from patch support on April 8.

The IE flaw was the first post-retirement bug affecting XP.

And that’s important.

Because Microsoft will eventually patch the drive-by bug in IE6, IE7 and IE8, then deliver those patches to PCs running Windows Vista and Windows 7, it’s likely that hackers will be able to uncover the flaw in the browsers’ code, then exploit it on the same browsers running on Windows XP.

Microsoft said that was the biggest risk of running XP — and IE on it — after the operating system was retired, claiming last year that XP was 66% more likely to be infected with malware once patching stopped.

Windows XP users can make it more difficult for attackers to exploit the IE bug by installing the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 4.1, an anti-exploit utility available on Microsoft’s website.

The security advisory included other steps customers can take to reduce risk. Among them is to “unregister” the vgx.dll file. That .dll (for dynamic-link library) is one of the modules that renders VML (vector markup language) within Windows and IE.

Another way Windows XP users can avoid IE-based attacks is to switch to an alternate browser, like Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox. Both will continue to receive security updates for at least the next 12 months.

Microsoft did not explicitly promise a patch, but it will almost certainly issue one. The next regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday is May 13, just over two weeks away.

The company has been very reticent of late to ship emergency patches, called “out-of-band” or “out-of-cycle” updates. In this case, the most likely scenario under which it would issue a quick fix was if the number of attacks quickly climbed.

Although IE6 through IE11 are vulnerable, the attacks seen so far have targeted only IE9, IE10 and IE11, according to FireEye, whose researchers spotted the active exploits. On Saturday, FireEye published more information about the attacks, which it labeled “Operation Clandestine Fox” on its own blog.

On that blog, FireEye called the flaw “a significant zero day” and said that the current exploits rely in part on the presence of Adobe Flash Player. “Disabling the Flash plug-in within IE will prevent the exploit from functioning,” FireEye wrote.

FireEye said the hacker group behind the IE exploit is a sophisticated gang that has launched browser-based attacks in the past.

“The APT [advanced persistent threat] group responsible for this exploit has been the first group to have access to a select number of browser-based 0-day exploits (e.g. IE, Firefox, and Flash) in the past,” Firefox claimed. “They are extremely proficient at lateral movement and are difficult to track, as they typically do not reuse command and control infrastructure.”

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Apple ‘Kill Switch’ Appears to Reduce iPhone Thieves

'Kill switches' on mobile phones have reduced theft. Photo / AP

The kill switch is working.

That was the message Thursday from law enforcement officials who said new statistics show iPhone thefts have declined since Apple introduced a stronger anti-theft feature in September. They said criminals are responding by targeting people who carry other smartphones that don’t have a similar feature to disable them if stolen.

In New York City, robberies involving Apple products fell 19 percent during the first five months of this year compared with the same period the year before, officials said. Meanwhile, violent robberies targeting people with Samsung smartphones, many of which do not have a kill switch, increased more than 40 percent in the city during that same period.

In San Francisco, iPhone robberies fell 38 percent during the six months after Apple released its new anti-theft feature, compared to the six months before its release, officials said. Robberies of Samsung devices increased 12 percent during that time, they said. In the corresponding period of time in London, iPhone robberies declined by 24 percent while Samsung thefts increased by 3 percent.

The new statistics were released by the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, a coalition of mayors, attorneys general, district attorneys and high-level police officials. While the statistics may prove that Apple’s kill switch is deterring thieves, smartphone thefts can fluctuate for other reasons. San Francisco police have found that iPhone thefts tend to rise in the summer, perhaps because more people are spending time outdoors with their devices.

Apple introduced its anti-theft feature, Activation Lock, last fall as part of the latest iPhone operating system, iOS7. It shuts down the phone when a thief attempts to turn off the Find My iPhone program that locates missing devices. Consumers must still turn on the feature, and police have expressed concern that many iPhone owners won’t do it.

Samsung introduced a kill switch for its smartphones in April, but at the time it was only available to Verizon and U.S. Cellular customers so far. AT&T made the feature available to Samsung Galaxy S5 owners last month.

In a statement, a Samsung spokeswoman said the company “will continue to work closely with [the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative] and our carrier partners towards our common goal of stopping smartphone theft.”

Law enforcement officials say if the industry introduced a universal kill switch that disables stolen phones, it could virtually eliminate thefts because criminals would no longer have an incentive to steal them.

They compare the kill switch to canceling a stolen credit card, and liken its potential impact to the anti-theft features introduced by the auto industry in the 1990s that led to a dramatic decline in car thefts.

But the smartphone industry opposed such a measure for months, claiming that hackers could exploit a kill switch to turn off phones, and lobbied against legislation that would have required anti-theft features in every smartphone sold in California. In April, smartphone makers and wireless companies announced a voluntary commitment to offer free anti-theft features on all phones made after July 2015.

Law enforcement officials say that the industry should implement a kill switch immediately and make it “opt-out,” meaning it would automatically be activated on a consumer’s phone.

“We can make the violent epidemic of smartphone theft a thing of the past, and these numbers prove that,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Thursday.

Law enforcement officials also said Thursday that Google and Microsoft had agreed to incorporate a kill switch feature into the next version of their mobile operating systems. Google’s Android operating system runs on more than half of smartphones sold in the United States last year. Microsoft’s operating system runs on all Nokia smartphones, which make up only a small sliver of the market.

“The statistics released today illustrate the stunning effectiveness of kill switches and the commitments of Google and Microsoft are giant steps toward consumer safety,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

About 3.1 million phones were stolen in the U.S. in 2013, nearly double the number of thefts from the previous year, according to Consumer Reports. A recent study found that consumers could save an estimated $2.5 billion each year on replacing phones and buying premium insurance if a “kill switch” technology significantly reduced thefts nationwide.

Earlier this year, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation in Congress requiring all smartphones sold in the country to include kill switch feature. Neither bill has been voted on yet. Last month, Minnesota became the first state in the nation to mandate a kill switch on all phones.

This story has been updated with a comment from Samsung.

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Mac OS X Yosemite details you probably don’t know about

Apple hasn’t yet opened up public beta testing for OS X Yosemite, but fresh information about the next generation of the Mac’s operating system slips out almost every day. I’ve gathered together a few details you probably haven’t come across before.


If the Yosemite installer sees that you’ve never used OS X’s Dashboard feature, it will automatically delete it to save you space.

iCloud everywhere

Yosemite lets users log into their Mac user account using their iCloud password instead of using the existing User account password system.

Currency conversion

Spotlight will convert currency for you.

Batch rename

Yosemite’s Finder brings the ability to rename multiple selected items using right-click.

Near networking

Apple’s move to open Multipeer Connectivity means Macs and iOS devices will be far easier to network together over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Cloud control

You can already see what pages you have open on all your Macs and devices using iCloud Tabs: In Yosemite, you can remotely close those pages.

New sounds

Apple has added a bunch of new alert tones to Messages.

Energy Saver

A small design feature — the Energy Saver icon in System Preferences now depicts an LED bulb, rather than the fluorescent one used in Mavericks.

Where’s that file?

Click on a file and hold the command key and you’ll still see where that file is located at the bottom of the window.


Apple’s Continuity features promise an amazingly integrated experience between Mac and iOS devices. However, it looks like only the following Macs will support Continuity, because the feature requires Bluetooth LE support:

  • MacBook Air (mid-2011 and above)
  • MacBook Pro (mid-2012 and above)
  • Retina MacBook Pro (mid-2012 and above)
  • iMac (late 2012 and above)
  • Mac mini (mid-2011 and above)
  • Mac Pro (2013 and above)

It is theoretically possible that a Mac-compatible Bluetooth 4.0 dongle may enable Continuity on unsupported Macs, though this is not guaranteed — don’t invest until it’s tested.

Create Yosemite boot drive

Erase and then create a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition on a USB 3.0 flash drive using Disk Utility. Launch the Yosemite installer and click the ‘Show All Disks’ button. Select your USB drive and install the system on there. You’ll need to enter a little more info. Now you have an emergency boot drive for your Mac.

Message sync

When your Mac and iOS devices are on the same network, the SMS and iMessage messages on your device will automatically sync to your Mac — this will be invaluable for those who need to get copies of messages.


Apple’s iOS/OS X Photos app will give users more granular controls over some of the app’s built-in image editing choices.

Transparency control

If you don’t like the new transparency effects in Yosemite apps, you can disable the feature in System Preferences>Accessibility>Display.

Control Center

It’s possible Macs will gain a swipeable Control Center app, similar to iOS 8.

Green button

As reported before, the green maximize button will now put supporting apps into full-screen mode — logical. If you don’t want to enter that mode and just want to make the window bigger (as in Mavericks), just press ‘Option’ when you click the green button.

Signature move

You can already take a photo of your signature to place in PDF documents using Preview. In Yosemite, you will also be able to sign your name using your finger on your Trackpad.

One more thing

Visit Apple’s Yosemite preview page and enjoy those gentle cloud motion effects.

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Microsoft Windows 9 Release Date Set On April 2015, Windows 9 to be similar to Windows 7 in look and feel

Windows 9 desktop concept ( credit: softpedia.com)

After a lackluster performance which resulted to plenty of negative feedbacks, Microsoft seems determined to quickly put Windows 8 back to the shelf. This OS hybrid which was designed to unite the world of PCs and tablets as a common platform being disliked by target audience and considered a failure in terms of sales. Between patches for Windows 8.1, designed to soften awaiting those who already use Windows 8, Microsoft is strives to bring Windows 9 to functional stage, ready to be officially unveiled in the first half of next year.

According to a Microsoft document quoted by a Chinese website, ‘the Redmond Company will offer to download Windows 9 Release Preview and Windows Phone platform in September for mobile devices in the range of Q2 – Q3 2015. As the name implies, Windows 9 Release Preview doesn’t represent the final form which Windows 9 will have, its role being to demonstrate the progress made by the new Microsoft platform and expose any problems that should be addressed.’

According to renowned blogger Paul Thurrott, known for the many revelations about Microsoft products, ‘the company will launch the next major release on Windows 2015, which means that Windows 9 should reach RTM stage shortly after the announcement of Release Preview version.’

The document mentions the existence of another unreleased Windows product, at alpha stage, called Windows 365. According to other recent rumors, this is the new version of Windows 9 subscription, which can be used by paying a license that must be renewed at intervals time. Another possible option is that it is actually a Windows version for free, with basic functionality and options that can be unlocked for extra fees.

Unfortunately not much has been revealed on how Windows 9 will look and what adds new, but the expectation is to address many of the dissatisfaction that caused the failure of Windows 8 platform. Unlike the current version, Windows 9 is expected to contain a fully functional Start Menu and other changes designed to eliminate the gap created between “modern UI” ecosystem for touch screen and desktop interface for PC with mouse and keyboard. Probably, the new software allows you to run “modern UI” applications directly in desktop mode and the taskbar and start menu will be friendly with them, eliminating the mandatory use of home screen on devices that do not include touch screens.

Windows 9 expected release date is April 2015.

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eBay breached by hackers in late February

FILE - MAY 20: According to reports May 20, 2014, eBay inc. said it's systems were hacked and client identity information was stolen. SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 22:  A sign is posted in front of the eBay headquarters on January 22, 2014 in San Jose, California. eBay Inc. will report fourth quarter earnings today after the closing bell. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Web auction site eBay said it’s systems were hacked and client identity information was stolen. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Global auction service eBay was hacked. The company began sending alerts to its users to change their passwords. The attack compromised the personal data of eBay users – names, (encrypted) passwords, email addresses, and phone numbers. However, the company assures that the financial information of users are safe, and there is no indication that the PayPal was hacked too.

Hacker attack was carried out in late February or early March and smaller number of accounts of eBay employees was compromised. This has enabled attackers unauthorized access to company’s network, through which they conducted the attack on the database. To attack the eBay learned just two weeks ago.

Currently eBay has 112 million registered users, and over the past year through the site was carried out $205 billion traffic.

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Leaked info about the Windows 9 release date and more

Windows 9


Windows 9 Threshold: All you need to know about the next Windows

When is Windows 9 coming out and what can you expect? We take a look at the expected Windows 9 release date, leaked Windows 9 screenshots and how the Windows 9 Start Menu looks set to change, hopefully for the better.

Windows 9, codenamed Windows Threshold, is a big deal for Microsoft. While Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 have done a little to repair the damage from its most recent, and largely unpopular, operating system, it’s clear Microsoft needs to pull a Windows 7 out of its hat, not a another Vista-style debacle.

The latest reports suggest a mid-2015 Windows 9 release date and a serious retooling of the Start Menu that would probably appease disgruntled Windows 8 users. One of the more interesting debates, however, centres on how Microsoft will sell Windows 9 and what the Windows 9 price could be, with some sources suggesting Microsoft could move to a subscription-based model.


Windows 9 Release Date: When is Windows 9 coming out?

There are a few schools of thought on the Windows 9 release date. One suggests it’s planned for April 2015, which would make it just under two years since Windows 8 was released. This is a reasonably safe bet for a few reasons:

  1. Windows 8 is struggling, so getting the ‘next version’ out of the door is important to make people forget
  2. It has been suggested that Microsoft wants to reduce the gaps between releases
  3. The original report came from respected Microsoft reporter Paul Thurrot.

Reasons against this theory include that there was no serious mention of Windows 9 at the recent BUILD 2014 conference, Microsoft’s annual developers conference. Microsoft did show a sneak peek of a new Start Menu, but this is expected to come in an update to Windows 8 (either as 8.1 Update 2 or Windows 8.2) later this year.

Microsoft didn’t mention Windows 9 at all at its recent developer’s conference

Another view suggests Microsoft is actually planning a much earlier launch. Renowned Russian pirate group WZOR, a notorious source of verified Microsoft tips in the past, recently tweeted that it believed the Windows 9 launch was coming much sooner, with an RTM (Release To Manufacturing) release towards the end of this year.

If this were the case, however, we’d expect to have heard a lot details by now, and it’s possible WZOR’s sources referred to the expected Windows 8 update planned for later this year and not Windows 9 itself.

Windows 9 Price: Could Windows 9 be subscription based?

We don’t know this for certain yet, but it’s reasonably clear that Windows 9 will see a change in how Microsoft sells Windows 9 and that the Windows 9 price may be significantly lower than previous releases.

The two sources for information on this topic are WZOR (again) and respected journalist, and Microsoft expert, Mary Jo Foley. WZOR believes the base operating system will be free, with certain features costing extra as part of a subscription. This could take the form of enterprise features costing extra in a similar manner to Office 365.

Foley, meanwhile, believes that Windows 9 will be free, but only without the desktop. This is somewhat consistent with current Microsoft policy whereby products of a certain size or price are effectively exempt from the licensing fee, though how Microsoft would charge for desktop versions and what it would charge remain up for debate.

These two ideas aren’t necessary mutually exclusive, either, and clearly show that discussions within Microsoft are ongoing.

Windows 9 Beta/Preview: When will the Windows 9 Preview be released?

Another reason to be sceptical about WZOR’s claims of a late 2014 launch is the lack of any preview builds. The first Windows 8 beta was released just a under a year before its full release, and while we don’t expect the Windows 9 beta to run for so long (it won’t be as radical an update) it’s reasonable to expect a few months of Windows 9 preview builds ahead of a full Windows 9 launch.

Ultimately, it’s hard to say exactly when the first Windows 9 beta will appear, but if we assume April 2015 is the ultimate target for release, a Windows 9 beta in early 2015 would seem likely. There’s even a good event to announce it at in the shape of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which happens every January.

Windows 9 Start Menu: What will it look like?

Most of the discussion about Windows 9 thus far has focused on the Windows 9 Start Menu and what changes Microsoft is expected to make to it. Indeed, Microsoft has fueled this by releasing the following early concept of what the future Start Menu will look like.

The Start Menu is returning in a serious way – it won’t just open the full ‘Modern UI’ as seen in the most recent Windows 8.1 update. Instead, it looks as though Microsoft will integrate elements of that UI, such as Live Tiles, into it.
Windows 9 1
It is expected that this Start Menu style will actually appear as part of a Windows 8 update, but it gives us a useful insight into the direction Microsoft is taking for the Windows 9 Start Menu and how it plans to win people over.

Microsoft is looking for a best-of-both-worlds approach. It’s also an admission that Microsoft went too far in axing the Start Menu entirely for Windows 8.

Windows 9 Screenshots: What else is new?

The above screenshot is the only official concept for a future Windows release at present, but it includes a few more clues than just what the Windows 9 Start Menu will look like.
Windows 9
Here you can see a Metro app and Desktop app on the desktop

Chief among these clues is the ability to pin ‘Metro’ apps to the taskbar and open them inside traditional desktop Windows. Arguably this is a more serious and more useful change than an updated Start Menu.

One of the many criticisms of the Modern Start Screen seen in Windows 8 is it forced people to use full screen apps when it wasn’t necessary. This idea works fine on a tablet, but it doesn’t make much sense when you’re using a 24-inch (or more) monitor. This change would allow more users to enjoy the benefits of these apps without the drawbacks.

What we want to see in Windows 9

Besides what we already know to be coming, there are few things we’d really like Microsoft to sort out for Windows 9

Better support for High DPI monitors

Currently, Windows 8 is rubbish on high DPI displays, such as the 3,200 x 1,800 resolution display found on the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus or the 10-inch, 1080p screen on the Surface Pro 2. One these devices, desktop apps often have implausibly small text or UI elements, which completely defeats the object of having nice, crisp high DPI screens.

Fewer hidden UI elements

One of the more irritating habits of Windows 8 was using hidden elements, such as hot corners, to access certain features. Again, many of these ideas worked great on tablets, but were an utter pain on laptops and PCs.

More Metro apps

An obvious one, this. Even now the Windows Store lacks a little depth beyond the big names, and it’s an area that needs to improve. Unifying the app process between Windows Phone and Windows 9 would help this, and it’s widely believed to be what Microsoft is working on.

Reduced OS size

Windows remains a somewhat bloated operating system. That’s fine if you’re using an old-school PC, but on an Ultrabook or tablet with limited space, handing over 30GB or so to the OS is a major pain.

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