Windows 9 Technical Preview Virtual Desktops and Notification Center Video Leaks: An Analysis

Windows 9 Technical Preview Virtual Desktops and Notification Center Video Leaks: An Analysis

Some steps forward from Windows 8.1

Not surprisingly, the leakers who have been dribbling out details about the Windows 9 Technical Preview have provided a few more videos over the weekend. These show the new virtual desktops and notification center functionality in Windows 9. So let's take a look.

Virtual desktops

According to a new video of the leaked build, the new virtual desktops functionality in Windows 9 starts with a new application that is pinned to the taskbar.

When you click this, a Metro-style notification band at the bottom of the screen.

You can then click "Add" repeatedly to add multiple desktops.

While there is almost certainly some kind of a keyboard shortcut for accessing virtual desktops, you can of course click the application's taskbar button to access the various available desktops as well. A new Task view appears to combine the virtual desktop user experience with the Windows Flip (ALT + TAB) UI, too, providing access to each virtual desktop and their open windows and applications.

You can also close a virtual desktop by clicking its thumbnail's Close box.

Notification Center

As noted previously, Windows Phone 8.1 introduces a notification center feature called Action Center. But I was curious what they would name this feature in Big Windows since we've had a feature there called Action Center since Windows 7, and it has nothing to do with notifications. Based on a new Winfuture.de video, the new notification center in Windows 9 is not called Action Center. It's just called ... Notifications.

This notification center commingles classic desktop notifications ("Safe to remove hardware," and so on) with Modern app and system notifications. And its access through a system tray icon that, yes, is identical to the Action Center icon in Windows Phone 8.1. When you click it, the Notifications window appears.

All notifications now appear as Metro-style banners in the upper right corner of the screen, even desktop notifications. This is nicely consistent, and it means that system, Modern app and desktop notifications all appear in the same place.

If you miss a notification, you can of course see it later in the notification center. This is a big issue today with Windows 8.1 system and Modern app notifications since once they come and go there's no way to even know they happened.

As with Windows Phone 8.1, you can remove notifications from the notification center individually if you wish. Or you can click Clear All at the top of the window.

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