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.
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.
- Intel to put Windows 8 on phones
- Rumor: Windows 8 to be released on January 7, 2013?
- More on Microsoft 'Jupiter' and what it means for Windows 8
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.
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.
- Leaked Windows 8 Screenshots Show Improved Taskbar
- Two more Windows 8 screenshots leak
- Windows 8 System Restore Screenshot Leaked
- Leaked Windows 8 screenshots showcases upgrade process
- Windows 8 Screenshots, M3 Wallpaper Leaked
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.
- Windows 8's Tablet Shell logon screen revealed
- Windows 8's Windows Explorer Ribbon UI Revealed
- Windows 8's Modern Reader to provide native PDF support
- Windows 8's Internet Explorer Immersive UI
- Windows 8 M1 Build 7850 Leaked
- Windows 8 Modern Task Manager screenshot revealed
- Windows 8 Cloud features and "Hybrid Boot" revealed
- Windows 8 Build 7955: Updated Ribbon, Refined Task Manager
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.
- Windows 8 M3 Build 7959 Leaked
- Microsoft Retracts Ballmer's Windows 8 comments
- Windows 8's 'Protogon' file system
- Microsoft demonstrates Windows 8 with HTML5 apps
- Windows 8: New Interface and Hardware Recommendations
- Silverlight and .Net Developers Worried About Windows 8
- Windows 8 to have Xbox Live Integration
- Microsoft: Windows 8 UI was designed before Apple launched iPad
- Windows 8 M3 Build 7989 Leaks
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.
- Windows 8 Is Not Your Idea
- Microsoft shows off early peek at Windows Server 8
- Windows 8: Build 8047 and More
- Microsoft patents reveal new Windows 8 tablet gestures
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.
- Microsoft excludes Dolby from Windows 8
- Microsoft Launches 'Building Windows 8' Blog
- Microsoft: 36 Different Teams Working on Windows 8
- Microsoft confirms USB 3.0 support in Windows 8
- Windows 8 Offers Optimized and Re-designed File Conflict Dialog
- Windows 8: New Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer
- Windows 8 M2 build 7927 Leaks
- Windows 8: Native ISO and VHD mounting support detailed
- Microsoft details its Windows 8 user interface
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.
- Microsoft talks about Windows 8 Ribbon and Metro UI
- Microsoft: Windows 8 will have Windows Media Center
- Microsoft confirms Hyper-V in Windows 8
- Microsoft demos fast boot times in Windows 8
- Microsoft's Highlights Windows 8's New Features
- Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Screenshots
- Windows 8 Blue Screen now has a Sad Face
- Windows 8 to offer built-in malware protection
- Microsoft Details the Windows 8 Boot Experience
- Microsoft details Windows 8 Live ID integration
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.
- Microsoft talks about the evolution of Start Screen to Menu
- Microsoft details the new Windows 8 Start Screen experience
- Microsoft details new features in the Windows 8 Task Manager
- Microsoft details Search experience in Windows 8
- Microsoft: Windows 8 designed to be comfortable in any screen orientation
- Windows 8 Task Manager improved to show multiple processors
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.
- Microsoft talks about Windows 8 power management improvements
- Windows 8 to have changeable Start Screen background
- Windows 8 to have less disruptive Windows Update process
- Windows 8 can now be installed from the web, no longer requires physical media
- Microsoft talks about its personal cloud storage plans with SkyDrive
- Microsoft talks about handling large hard disks in Windows 8
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.
- Windows 8 Protogon filesystem gone, replaced by ReFS
- New Windows 8 build 8158 Charm Bar images leak
- Microsoft releases details on Windows Store for Windows 8
- Microsoft implements easy and secure digital identity protection in Windows 8
- New Windows 8 App Store images leak
- Windows 8 now allows you to sign in via a picture password
- Windows 8 Credentials Manager to utilize Live ID, store your passwords in the cloud
- New leaked Windows 8 images show of new Touch Keyboard feature
- New Windows 8 beta images leak onto the web
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.