Windows 8: A look-back at 2011 and all the juicy details that came with it

This year has gone by very quickly and it is hard to believe that back in January, everyone was scratching and clawing just to get a little bit of knowledge on Microsoft's then-secretive project known as Windows 8. As the months went by, more and more juicy details were either leaked or revealed by Microsoft. Lets look back at a quick timeline of Windows 8 events for the year of 2011.

January 2011

In January, we learned that Windows 8 had reached M2 (Milestone 2). At the time, all anyone knew about the operating system was the possibility of a new three-dimensional user interface dubbed "wind", a possible gaming focus, and "desktop as a service" in the virtualization front. Intel even went as far as saying that they were going to put Windows 8 on phones. A rumor from a previously credible source claimed that Windows 8 would RTM around December of 2012 with an official retail release in January of 2013. We also learned about "Jupiter" which was described as a new "application model" for Windows 8.

February 2011

In February, the trend of very little Windows 8 information was now in full effect. Microsoft was very hush hush about the operating system and numerous sites fought to leak any sort of information about Windows 8 to keep interested folks jumping in their seats. We got to see a timeline of Windows 8 milestones which gave us a taste of what was to come.

March 2011

In March, we got to see the left side of the Windows 8 taskbar in a leaked screenshot. On top of that, we learned that Windows 8 would have an improved progress indicator for file transfers. On top of that, more screenshots were leaked showcasing the taskbar containing the Windows Live ID login and user picture. We also learned about a new system reset feature allowing a quick restore of the OS within minutes. We finally learn that Windows 8 will have similarities to Office 15 and the Metro UI look was obvious in the operating system install experience.

April 2011

In April, we learned about Windows 8 having a secondary tile-based UI that will support tablet devices. We also learned about an "App Store" that would be in the operating system. News about a Ribbon-based user interface in Windows 8 was also revealed in April. We also learned about Internet Explorer's Immersive UI and a Modern Reader with native PDF support. Milestone 1, build 7850 was leaked to the internet showcasing an older build but still the first Windows 8 build to be leaked. We also got our first glimpse at the Modern Task Manager as well as Hybrid Boot. We also got to see a second leaked Windows 8 build, this time Milestone 2, build 7955 was leaked and it showcased some new eye candy that had to be unlocked.

May 2011

The very first day in the month of May brought us Milestone 3 Build 7959 of Windows 8. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer openly discussed the next version of Windows and officially referred to it as "Windows 8" and that it would launch in 2012. The next day, Microsoft issued a statement retracting Ballmer's words and calling them a "misstatement." In May, we learned about a new file system called "Protogon" but no one really knew exactly what it was.

June 2011

In June, Microsoft spoke about Windows 8 during the D9 conference. Microsoft mentioned integrating a touch-centric interface for apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript that would run on top of the existing Windows platform. "We tried with Windows 8 to re-imagine how you work with a PC," Microsoft stated. Microsoft also begun its Building Windows 8 blog and we finally got our first official peak at the new Start Screen. After all the news about HTML5 and JavaScript, Silverlight and .Net developers begun to worry about exactly what platform Microsoft was going to go with. We also learned that Windows 8 would have Xbox Live integration as an entertainment service. Microsoft also revealed in June that the company had been working on the Windows 8 user interface long before Apple even launched the first iPad. Microsoft also admitted that the company needed to speed up the process of moving projects from research and development to product launch. We also got to see the leak of build 7989 and we learned of Hyper-V 3.0 and the VHDX format.

July 2011

In July, a daring techie decided to email Microsoft and offer a suggestion for Windows 8, based on the Windows 7 "It was my idea" commercials, only to get shot down by the company. During the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft revealed details on the next server operating system, Windows Server 8. During the middle of the month, we wrote an opinion piece on why Microsoft should create a web installer for Windows 8, right before Microsoft revealed that the company was working on such a feature. Towards the end of the month, we learned about a few tablet gestures for Windows 8 via patents that were filed by Microsoft.

August 2011

In August, we learned that Dolby was excluded in Windows 8. On the 15th of August, Microsoft officially went live with its Building Windows 8 blog. "We've been hard at work designing and building Windows 8, and today we want to begin an open dialog with those of you who will be trying out the pre-release version over the coming months," Microsoft stated. We also learn that there are 36 different teams working on Windows 8. We also learn that USB 3.0 will be supported by Windows 8 as well as an optimized and re-designed file conflict dialog. We also get an official look at the new Ribbon interface as well as native ISO and VHD mounting. Build 7923 makes its way to the internet as well. Microsoft finally details the new Metro Start interface right at the end of the month.

September 2011

At the beginning of the month, Microsoft responded about negative criticisms of the Ribbon UI and the importance of the Metro UI in Windows 8. We learned that Windows Media Center would indeed be in Windows 8, after rumors were circulating stating otherwise. Microsoft also details Hyper-V and what it means for virtualization. Microsoft also gives us a video of Windows 8 booting in less than 2 seconds. During the Build Developer's Conference, Microsoft made available build 8102 (Developer Preview) of Windows 8, in which it was downloaded over 500,000 times in just 24 hours. We also learn that Windows 8 will have a sad face in the new blue screen. Microsoft also revealed that the popular Windows Defender tool would be enhanced with features from its free Security Essentials product. The company also details Windows Live ID integration with Windows 8.

October 2011

In October, Microsoft flooded us with more information regarding Windows 8. We learn about the evolution from the start menu to the start screen, as well as more official details on the new start screen. Microsoft also revealed new features in the new task manager as well as the new search experience in Windows 8. We also learned about Windows 8's comfort in any screen orientation. Windows 8 was looking good for many tablet manufacturers, especially Dell and HP, who both decided to stick with Windows 8 for their tablet focus.

November 2011

In November, Microsoft revealed via the Building Windows 8 blog that Windows 8 would have effecient power management, a less disruptive Windows Update process, the ability to install Windows 8 via the web, and large hard disk support. We also learned that the new Start Screen background can be changeable. Microsoft also revealed Windows 8's cloud storage plans with SkyDrive.

December 2011

In December, it was revealed that the Protogon filesystem was no more and was replaced with ReFS. We got to see screenshots of the "Charm Bar" in build 8158 as well as new details on the Windows Store for Windows 8. Microsoft opens up and reveals more details on secure digital identity protection in Windows 8, store passwords in the cloud, as well as the ability to sign on to Windows 8 using a picture password. Images of a new touch keyboard were leaked as well as screenshots depicting a possible beta build of Windows 8. So there you have it. Of course, there were more Windows 8 news that took place in 2011 and we only covered the most interesting of the bunch. The year started off with little detail on Windows 8 until Microsoft decided to launch the Building Windows 8 blog. Then we were flooded with Windows 8 news. Here's to a great year of Windows 8 news and we cant wait to see what 2012 has in store for us. Let us know your favorite or jaw dropping Windows 8 moment for the year in the comments below. Doesn't matter if you were happy to hear about the new Charms Bar or if you went giggity over the new start screen, let us know below! You can take a look at all the Windows 8 news we covered this year right over here.