While the first screenshots of the upcoming Windows 8.1 update didn’t seem to promise too many drastic changes, this week, we’ve seen newly leaked images surfacing – and these imply better interaction between Windows 8’s “Metro” and desktop environments.

WZor, a Russian site that shows leaked product images, has published screenshots showing Metro apps pinned to the taskbar part of the desktop in Windows 8.1, update 1. It seems as though there’s also an option to “show store apps on the taskbar,” writes Tom Warren for The Verge. He notes that though these don’t seem like monumental changes, they seem to hint at what Microsoft might be planning for Windows 9 – a possible fusion of Metro and desktop.

(Image: WZor.Net). Leaked image of Windows 8.1 update. Click to enlarge.
(Image: WZor.Net). Leaked image of Windows 8.1 update. Click to enlarge.

With industry onlookers expecting Microsoft to release Windows 9 in April 2015, many also believe it’ll be adding “Metro 2.0” improvements allowing users to run Metro apps in separate windows on the desktop. There’s no word as to whether Microsoft will be making any more changes to Windows 8.1, update 1, but breaking down the barriers between the Metro environment and the desktop environment would improve Windows 8’s functionality. To do that, users need to be able to run Metro apps on the desktop, Warren writes.

(Image: WZor.Net). Leaked image of Windows 8.1 update. Click to enlarge.
(Image: WZor.Net). Leaked image of Windows 8.1 update. Click to enlarge.

While Windows 8 was a point of contention among many users, especially once Microsoft took away the Start button, Windows 8.1 was welcomed as both an update and an improvement. However, there’s still the problem of integrating the Metro environment and the desktop environment, as it’s jarring to switch between the two – a problem that should be solved with the release of the new update to Windows 8.1. That’s expected to be released at Microsoft’s Build developer conference this April.

As for Windows 9, rumour has it that Microsoft will start working on that after the conference, using the conference to draw buzz to its new iteration of the operating system and to get people excited about it – and to put some distance between Windows 9 and the criticisms levelled at Windows 8.

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