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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Leaked Screenshots: Windows 8 Has Improved Taskbar, Installs Faster [PICS]

Tantalizing clues about the upcoming Windows 8 are accumulating. The latest addition is the screenshot above, which was leaked Friday.

You can thank whomever leaked this screenshot for ignoring Microsoft’s admonition, “Let’s not leak our hard work,” because for the first time, here’s the left side of the Windows 8 taskbar. The useful progress indicator of Windows 7 will reportedly show additional functions beyond the usual file transfer progress it shows now. In Windows 8, there will be progress indicators for hardware installation — here you can see it indicating progress while installing a mouse.

According to Win7China, Windows 8 will be a speedy install, taking a mere eight minutes, which the site says is 2.5 times faster than Windows 7. Keep in mind, though, according to Windows 8 News, Microsoft is using a fast PC with an eight-core CPU to get those numbers.

The leakers say that Microsoft has expanded its System Restore capability. Now it’s referred to as “Factory Restore,” a hard-reset function that rolls back Windows 8 to its original state in two minutes.

This next screenshot shows the bottom right part of the Windows 8 desktop, focusing on the system tray area. A new addition is a profile picture on the bottom right, reportedly displaying an avatar for either a local account (where you’ll also be allowed to use video avatars) or a Windows Live ID account. According to Win7China, this means users will be allowed to use their Windows Live ID to log into Windows 8, hinting that there will be further integration of Windows 8 with the cloud.

So when can we see more and get our hands on this new operating system? There’s no firm release date set yet, but Windows 8 News reads the tea leaves, looking at leaked information about when the Milestone 3 build was compiled (they’re saying it was on February 28, 2011). From that info they extrapolate the first beta of Windows 8 will appear around June or July, 2011, with a possible release in early 2012.

Images courtesy Download Squad and Win7China

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