Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks


In this post, we dig into the details of how we have re-engineered the wireless networking stack to optimize it for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks. We’ve done a ton of work to enable mobile broadband providers to make it easy for you to use 3G and 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi in Windows 8. In addition to this architectural work, we’ve worked on keeping Windows connected to a network even when in a low-power state (when the screen is off, for example) when running on supporting architectures/PCs. You can learn more about this in the //build/ sessions on connected standby. Billy Anders, a group program manager on our devices and networking team, authored this post.
–Steven

People want similar mobility on their PCs as they get on their smartphones.

It is unlikely that your end goal is just to get connected to the Internet. Instead, connecting to the Internet is a step (or a hurdle) towards what you really want to do, like surf, socialize, or explore, and you would prefer that your PC is connected and ready for you to use whenever you want and wherever you are.

We looked at the fundamentals of wireless connectivity and re-engineered Windows 8 for a mobile and wireless future, going beyond incremental improvements. This is a good example of work that requires new hardware to work in concert with new software in order to realize its full potential.

Simplifying your mobile broadband experience

We knew that if we were to give you true mobility, that Wi-Fi alone would not be enough. Therefore, for Windows 8, we fully developed and integrated mobile broadband (MB) as a first-class connectivity experience within Windows – right alongside Wi-Fi.

We first included mobile broadband in Windows 7, but if you were a mobile broadband user, you likely had a number of hurdles to overcome before connecting with mobile broadband. Yes, you needed the requisite mobile broadband hardware (e.g., mobile broadband dongle or embedded module and SIM) and data plan, but you also needed to locate and install third-party device drivers, and in some cases software, before ever getting your first connection. If the drivers for your device and software from your mobile operator were not available locally, you had to find another connection type (perhaps Wi-Fi) to the Internet to search for software on the websites of the PC maker or mobile operator. This placed a sizable hurdle in front of users trying to connect with mobile broadband, right when they most needed that connection.

We wanted to eliminate the guesswork in locating and installing device drivers for mobile broadband. We did this by working with our mobile operator and mobile broadband hardware partners across the industry, designing a hardware specification that device makers can incorporate into their device hardware. In Windows 8, we developed an in-box mobile broadband class driver that works with all of these devices and eliminates your need for additional device driver software. You just plug in the device and connect. The driver stays up to date via Windows Update, ensuring you have a reliable mobile broadband experience.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) recently approved the Mobile Broadband Interface Model (MBIM) specification as a standard, and major device makers have already begun adopting this standard into their device designs, including some designed for other operating systems. For more information on the specification, see the USB-IF press release.

Helping you manage your connections and radios

Typically, mobile broadband devices come with radio and connection management software. Device manufacturers, PC manufacturers, and mobile operators all develop, distribute, and support these applications for you to connect to their networks, turn radios on and off, configure connection settings, and get contact information for help and support. Prior to Windows 8, you needed these applications to compensate for functionality not provided natively in Windows. This additional software confused and frustrated users by conflicting with the Windows connection manager, showing different networks, network status, and a separate user interface. Windows 8 eliminates this confusion by providing simple, intuitive, and fully integrated radio and connection management.

The new Windows 8 network settings allow you to turn individual radios on and off (Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, or Bluetooth), as well as disable all radios at once with the new “airplane mode.” Windows 8 provides native radio management to eliminate the conflicts and confusion, and to provide a consistent experience for controlling your radios without the need to install additional software. This is new for PCs even though it has obviously long been available on today’s mobile phones (or Windows Mobile phones, going way back).

Selected in PC Settings: Wireless - Turn wireless and airplane mode on or off. / Wireless - Airplane mode - Off  / Mobile broadband - On / Wi-Fi - Off / Bluetooth - On

You can turn airplane mode on or off in one click

The new wireless network settings in Windows 8 allow you to see and connect to all available MB and Wi-Fi networks from one convenient user interface. We made sure that this interface is consistent and allows you to think less about which network you want to connect. Windows does this by starting with the right default behaviors, and then it gets smarter by learning your network preferences over time.

One of those default behaviors is to prioritize Wi-Fi networks over broadband whenever one of your preferred Wi-Fi networks is available. Wi-Fi networks are typically faster, with lower latency, and have higher data caps (if they are not free). When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, we automatically disconnect you from your mobile broadband network and, when appropriate, power down the mobile broadband device, which also increases battery life. If no preferred Wi-Fi network is available, we automatically reconnect you to your preferred mobile broadband network.

To make sure we connect to the right network when multiple networks are available, Windows maintains an ordered list of your preferred networks based on your explicit connect and disconnect actions, as well as the network type. For example, if you manually disconnect from a network, Windows will no longer automatically connect to that network. If, while connected to one network, you decide to connect to a different network, Windows will move the new network higher in your preferred networks list. Windows automatically learns your preferences in order to manage this list for you.

When you resume from standby, Windows can also reconnect you faster to your preferred Wi-Fi networks by optimizing operations in the networking stack, and providing your network list, connection information, and hints to your Wi-Fi adapter. Now when your PC resumes from standby, your Wi-Fi adapter already has all the information it needs to connect to your preferred Wi-Fi networks. This means you can reconnect your PC to a Wi-Fi network from standby in about a second –oftentimes before your display is even ready. You do not have to do anything special for this – Windows just learns which networks you prefer and manages everything for you. This work was a major part of the architectural work we did in the networking stack and with our hardware partners.

Greatly reduced connection time represented as bar graph. Windows 7 takes overall about 11.5 seconds, with 8 of those seconds as scanning; Windows 8 takes overall just over 1 second.

Getting connected to mobile broadband

Even with its broad availability, Wi-Fi by itself does not enable the ubiquitous Internet access that users increasingly want. True mobility requires mobile broadband, which provides connectivity over cellular networks (the same networks as your smartphone). However, just including mobile broadband in Windows 8 was not enough. We also wanted to remove any hurdles to getting you connected to mobile broadband, making it simpler, more intuitive, and more like Wi-Fi.

We made things simpler and more intuitive by fully integrating mobile broadband into Windows 8. When you’re ready to connect to a mobile broadband network, you simply insert your mobile broadband device or SIM card into your Windows 8 PC and we take care of the setup.

If you have a carrier-unlocked mobile broadband device that supports carrier switching (this includes most mobile broadband users outside the US), Windows 8 has native support that allows you to select and connect to any supported carrier from within the Windows UI.

Networks / Mobile broadband / AT&T (Connected icon)/ Sprint / Verizon / Wi-Fi / Anders Home (icon: signal strength good) / Public Hotspot (icon: signal strength good, but network insecure)/ Other Network (icon: signal strength good)

Selecting from available carriers (with supported hardware)

We’ve already talked about how we removed the need to install a driver, or a radio and connection manager. We also automatically identify which mobile operator is associated with your device (or SIM card), brand it in the Windows connection manager with the mobile operator’s logo, configure the PC for connecting to the mobile operator’s network, and download the operator’s mobile broadband app (if they have one) from the Windows Store.

If you purchased and activated a data plan along with your SIM or mobile broadband device, all you need to do is connect to the network and we get out of the way, allowing you to do what you want to do.

Networks / Mobile broadband / AT&T / View my account / Estimated usage 107.79 MB since 1 hour ago / Reset / Connect automatically / Roam automatically / Connect button / Wi-Fi / MSFTGUEST

Getting connected via mobile broadband using an AT&T SIM card

If you don’t already have a data plan and would like to purchase one, then simply click the “Connect” button for the mobile operator you want, and we automatically direct you to their mobile broadband app or website, where you can select a data plan (for example, a time-based, limit-based, or subscription-based plan). 

ATT app

AT&T’s new mobile broadband app walks you through purchasing a data plan

After you’ve purchased your plan, your mobile operator provisions your PC over the air for their network, including information about your data plan details and Wi-Fi hotspots.

Networks / Mobile broadband / Vodafone UK - Connected / View my account / Estimated usage 245.40 MB since 16 days ago / Reset / Disconnect button / Wi-Fi / Other network

  Usage details are shown with the connected account

Behind the scenes, Windows identifies the mobile broadband subscriber information, looks up the mobile operator in the new Access Point Name (APN) database, and pre-provisions the system to connect to the operator’s network. Meanwhile, your core connection experience stays the same.

The operator’s mobile broadband app is available via the “View my account” link, or from the app’s tile on the Start screen. Here, you can see how much data you’ve used, pay your bill, manage your account, and get customer support.

Overview / Current Plan - 2 GB / Usage Summary 50.25MB out of 2 GB / Messages - Congratulations! Your DataConnect Pass activation is complete...

AT&T mobile broadband app, account overview

Avoiding “bill shock”

Many of us have read headlines about people receiving surprisingly expensive bills from their mobile operators. The industry has termed this bill shock, and the problem has received enough attention that some governments have begun taking regulatory steps that ask mobile operators to alert their customers when their data usage reaches a certain threshold. Today, mobile operators all have different ways of responding when subscribers exceed their data usage allotment. An operator may block your Internet access, throttle (slow down) your data speed, or simply begin charging you per kilobyte or megabyte. If you are unaware that you are over your data usage limit, you will likely continue using your data plan and rack up additional charges, resulting in shock when you receive your bill.

Prior to Windows 8, we maintained consistent behavior on all types of networks relative to bandwidth usage. With Windows 8, we now take the cost of the network into consideration: we assume that mobile broadband networks have restrictive data caps with higher overage costs (vs. Wi-Fi), and adjust networking behavior with these metered networks accordingly.

As mentioned earlier, we automatically disconnect from mobile broadband and connect you to your preferred Wi-Fi networks whenever they’re available. This reduces your data usage on mobile broadband when possible.

Because many of us use public Wi-Fi, Windows 8 includes support for popular Wi-Fi hotspot authentication types, including WISPr (Wireless Internet Services Provider roaming), EAP-SIM/AKA/AKA Prime (SIM-based authentication), and EAP-TTLS (popular on university campuses). Windows manages the authentication for you when you come within range of a Wi-Fi network that uses one of these methods, so you won’t have to re-authenticate each time (for instance, by going to a web page). This means you get the same automatic behavior at a public Wi-Fi hotspot as you would at home or the office.

On a PC that has both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi, we’ll move you from MB to the less costly Wi-Fi network automatically whenever Wi-Fi is available, again reducing your mobile broadband usage and your potential for bill shock.

Networks / LL-WISPr / Sign in to connect / User name: - / Password: - / Sign in / Cancel

Another way we optimize your bandwidth usage is by changing the Windows Update download behavior. For a majority of users, who have turned on automatic updating, Windows Update will defer the background download of all updates until you connect to a non-metered network, such as your home broadband connection. There is one exception, as noted in our earlier post on Windows Update, and that is in the case of a critical security update to fix a worm-like vulnerability (e.g., a Blaster worm). In that case, Windows Update will download the update regardless of the network type. You can always override the deferred download by launching Windows Update and manually initiating the download of updates at a time more convenient to you. Again, you are in full control of your device.

We recognize that most fixed-line broadband plans also have data caps and overage fees. Those data caps are typically much higher than mobile broadband, and therefore we do not change the behavior for these connections. You are always in control and can always mark any wireless network as metered or unmetered by selecting “reduce data usage” in the right-click (or tap and hold) menu for that network.

Network context menu with these options: Reduce data usage / Show estimated data usage / Status / Properties / Remove connection profile

Marking the Wi-Fi connection as “metered”

We also want Windows applications to behave well on metered networks, so we’ve provided a new set of developer APIs within the ConnectionCost class of the Windows.Networking.Connectivity namespace. If you are an application developer, we encourage you to leverage these APIs and adapt the behavior of your app, such as allowing a low-definition vs. high-definition video stream, or a header-only vs. full-sync of email, depending on the network type. We believe that this adaptive behavior is critical, as it results in actual cost savings for end users. All Metro style apps in the Windows Store must implement these APIs if they use the network.

Even with Windows and other applications behaving smartly on the network, you still may to want to know how much data you have consumed. Windows 8 provides local data usage counters right within the network settings. These counters provide real time local data usage estimates for Wi-Fi and mobile broadband network connections.

Estimated usage 174.41 MB since 3 hours ago / Reset / Disconnect

Local data usage estimates

The local counters keep track of the amount of data used on each individual network type so you don’t have to. You can reset the counter whenever you want, which may be useful if you want to monitor your usage month-to-month or even within a session. Although you should think of the local data counters as a quick way to determine your usage, they are not a substitute for what mobile operators report as their usage, which may vary slightly, and should be available in the operator’s app.

Another way we help you manage your mobile broadband data usage is by allowing mobile operators to alert you as you approach your bandwidth cap. Some countries have already begun to mandate that operators send messages to subscribers as they approach their bandwidth cap, or once they begin roaming to a different network. The mobile operator sends you an SMS or USSD alert as you approach your bandwidth cap (e.g., 70% used, 85% used, etc.), and the MB operator’s app notifies you and updates its Start screen tile. The following screen shots show what is already available in the Windows Developer Preview (and on the Samsung Preview PC that had an AT&T SIM and plan).

Notification: You have reached your plan limit. Check your data usage.

Data usage notification, bottom right.

App tile reads: Usage / 50 MB out of 2GB used / 14 of 30 days / 0KB used while roaming

Data usage information on the mobile operator’s app tile

The Windows 8 task manager provides more granular information if you want to know how much data a particular app has consumed on the network. Here, you can see the approximate active and historical data consumption of any process over metered and non-metered networks. With this information, you can take control by identifying which apps are consuming the most bandwidth and taking action if needed.

AT&T Mobile Broadband app / CPU (Time) 0:10:53 / Network (MB) 1.9 / Metered network (MB) 0.1 / Tiles (MB) 0.

Data consumption information in the Windows Task Manager

Here’s a short video that demonstrates some of the new wireless networking features and enhancements in Windows 8.


Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

We designed Windows 8 with you—and mobility—in mind. We set out to simplify your experience with getting and staying connected across mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks, removing hurdles and whenever possible, doing the right things automatically for you.

– Billy Anders

Comments (132)

  1. Santiago S. says:

    Can't wait to get my hands on this!

  2. Will says:

    What about us? Desktop users? Will you just forget us?

    Since the first time i've read this blog, the only interesting news were about the enhancements on windows explorer and ReFS and also storage spaces… all the rest is just about tablets, touch…

    Please steven… don't lose your users…

  3. Nice features, can't wait to try this all out.

    But what about thetherd WiFi? I couldn't se any info on this post on how I can tag a WiFi profile as Mobile Broadband. What if I have a mobile 3G accesspoint (I have one from ZTE) that is converting my 3G account to WiFi so that my laptop and mobile phone can make use of its Wifi. How can I prevent Windows 8 from downloading for example Large Windows Updates, or large files through the such WiFi connection?

    The laptop see the connection as a normal WiFi. I will rather you give us a chance to tag a WiFi profile as going through mobile broadband, as such, Windows 8 will be throttling data usage on such a connection, and will NEVER download windows updates via the connection, else I will be through my data plan in no time.

    Thanks for you consideration.

    @McAkins

  4. asdf says:

    @Steven Sinofsky: can you do a blog post about windows 8's battery life on tablets with stable (e.g. e-ink or mirasol) displays?

    In other words is Windows 8 + the default ebook reader program competitive with a dedicated ebook reader's battery life? I think the kindle's battery can last for a whole month.

  5. rikkit says:

    Will: do you want them to just not talk about features like this?

    This looks awesome by the way, much needed for tablets (and would be pretty handy for laptops too). Keep up the good work.

  6. Pusher Robot says:

    @McAkins: it says right in the post that you can tag any arbirtrary network connection as "Reduce usage" to treat it as a high-cost network connection.  "You are always in control and can always mark any wireless network as metered or unmetered by selecting 'reduce data usage' in the right-click (or tap and hold) menu for that network."

  7. maciekpak says:

    Great idea, Plus GSM or P4 will work?

  8. Sam Sabri - GoWindowsGo.com says:

    Awesome, super handy to have the usage built in.

  9. FremyCompany says:

    Great! I hope you'll be able to bring that level of functionnality outside US, too.

  10. James Salsman says:

    As a shareholder, I am very concerned about these news items:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/…/windows_8_linux_secure_boot

    http://www.zdnet.com/…/10132

    Can you please assure me that you are not hurting the stock price with these attempts to monopolize hardware?

  11. bystander says:

    Am I the only one who thinks all those new screens are ugly? I mean, seriously, who thinks that the green "Networks" screen shown here are nice to look at?

  12. Matt says:

    @James: Come on, dude.  I'm a faithful Linux user, but your post is so poorly veiled it's embarrassing.  If you want to make sure Win8-targeted hardware doesn't impede Linux booting, why don't you just ask that?

  13. @James Salsman says:

    Monopolize hardware? I. They have explained already why they are requiring UEFI – it is a security method and as a share holder you should expect Microsoft to provide optimal security on its devices. As a share holder you should understand that Windows needs to be a leader in security and although this will make it more difficult to load alternate operating systems on a Windows Arm tablet, I would prefer my experience not be compromised because some are misinformed.

    PS) You could always buy a tablet that already runs an alternate operating system or use virtualization. It is 2012 and Microsoft does not have a Monopoly on Tablets.

  14. John Tran says:

    @McAkins

    You can turn off Windows Update and stuff, I believe. A little digging required, though.

  15. @asdf

    Your comment made me thing of how nice the screen on the Kindle is. I would love to have Windows have a mode and an API that would allow an application implement an interface that is suitable for eink screens. Of course, it would have to have no animations and paging would have to work differently, but with all the recent talk of textbooks on tablets I think a mode like this would be quite useful. I, for one, never want to be forced to read a textbook on a LCD screen, even if it has extremely high resolution. There really is no better display technology for reading volumes of information than an eink screen.

  16. 6205 says:

    That UI is so horrible that i cant stand to watch entire video..

  17. I have to say, this isn't a feature that I would have expected to see. 3G/4G tablets haven't been a major success due to data plan costs, and it's impractical to connect a computer to a 3G/4G network when there is Wi-Fi available. That ignores, of course, the situations where 4G might be faster than Wi-FI (especially in slow public hotspots) or when using the Internet on a tablet or laptop in an area with no Wi-Fi is important. While I don't expect to make use of this feature myself, I'm glad to hear that you're supporting it.

  18. Greg says:

    I'm glad things are more simple and streamlined in Windows 8, especially when it comes to wireless and mobile experiences.

    This isn't related, but it's been in my mind since Windows 8 was introduced: We WILL be able to change the green background color, right?

  19. "This means you can reconnect your PC to a Wi-Fi network from standby in about a second –oftentimes before your display is even ready. "

    It's about time a system implemented this. On my Windows Mobile phone I NEVER use WiFi because it takes forever to reconnect and I have an unlimited plan. Though, I would love to get off AT&Ts network, I can't be bothered to wait 10-30 seconds for WiFi to connect to refresh my weather app just to save .5 seconds of load time.

    If WP7 doesn't do this you need to port this over, or at least bake it in to Apollo!

  20. B8Blog says:

    @Greg — this might answer your question about colors http://www.theverge.com/…/windows-8-build-8175-pictures-video

  21. Will is right says:

    Will said: "What about us? Desktop users? Will you just forget us?

    Since the first time i've read this blog, the only interesting news were about the enhancements on windows explorer and ReFS and also storage spaces… all the rest is just about tablets, touch…

    Please steven… don't lose your users…"

    I agree.

    Windows 8 is just a tablet OS like iOS.

    Period.

  22. @Steven Sinofsky

    While you're at it, you should add an option to turn off the Metro UI and Metro-style UI mechanisms for those devices for which Metro is an inferior interface (letting Metro apps run in windows on the desktop).

  23. Right now, I do have a few issues with Internet connection in “Windows 8” (Developer Preview). Yes, when my PC resumes from standby, hibernation, or shutdown, it automatically connects to my default Wi-Fi connection; however, the Internet connection always fails. In fact, the connection is not working at all. I’ve to either disable and re-enable the LAN device in “Change Adapter Settings” of “Network Sharing Center” or simply restart the PC. Furthermore, it appears that the bandwidth consumption meter is very inaccurate, to say the least. Well, at this point, I do not care much about “mobility” personally; I pay more for “unlimited” fixed-line bandwidth at home, where I most often get online.

  24. I have a Windows 8 dev preview desktop that has a USB Wi-Fi dongle plugged into it. Please tell me why EVERY SINGLE TIME I resume from sleep, I'm disconnected? When I click Troubleshoot/Diagnose, I'm told the Windows Wireless Service is not running. Sometimes this service even stops working in the middle of a session.

    Please tell me it's a bug that will be fixed in Beta.  For all the talk here of WiFi resuming in a second, it doesn't look good that my wireless keeps failing. I have no other way to report it.

  25. Ryan Miller says:

    Awesome.  Love that task manager.  2 quetions though.

    1) what if I walk from one network to another without putting it to sleep first?

    2) Is there anything that automatically connects to a VPN over the various networks?

  26. Jon Grant says:

    Two things that are important to me, based on experience:

    Often my phone will connect to a BT Openzone WiFi hotspot as preferred to 3G, but unfortunately in the UK these are often misconfigured or overloaded and provide no internet connectivity despite it being included in my operator's plan. I believe this is also due to them having a two-tier service where some hotspots (with the same SSID) allow me to use them and some don't. I really hope that Windows 8 will detect whether there is *actual* internet connectivity before dropping my 3G connection, or at least giving me the opportunity to log in or decline before simply causing me to lose connectivity by preferring a wifi network that sometimes works and sometimes (often) doesn't.

    Secondly, give me an option to automatically reset my data usage on a recurring basis. E.g. monthly on the 15th of the month, or daily, or whatever. This is surely (relatively) simple to implement and makes usage tracking infinitely more useful in real world scenarios. I don't think I have ever remembered to reset the usage counter on my iPhone.

  27. Lisa Stanley says:

    I have a USB 2.0 external hard drive (and Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 and all the patches as of last tuesday).

    Sometimes it won't disconnect and I have to reboot Windows to detach it; changing user doesn't do the trick, it's absurd!

    It displays a message that it is still in use, and to close programs that are using it or something not true like this one…

    This kind of things you MUST fix, we're in 2012… I think Windows 8 would do the same…

  28. Will, Will is not right says:

    He isn't right because I am running the WDP and I can install desktop applications.  I installed Audacity and started editing audio.  Now, install an iOS app on a Mac or vice versa.  It won't work.  Win8 looks to be a great tablet OS but it's so much more.  I wish people could actually see that.  /sigh

  29. abdo says:

    every day microsoft in windows 8 show us new things …dont know how many secret still in this OS..even i tried many times to virify any thing and post it on my site  hope can get every thing and be pro in this new OS

    http://www.full-windows8.com/

  30. @Steven Sinofsky

    I already watched the windows 8 demo at CES, however I hope there will be some changes for beta coming this February.

    1) Remove the black box behind the flag on taskbar (transparent and solid theme look unfitting)

    2) New beta desktop background (the current one is  windows 7 installation background–OLD)

    3) Since windows 8 has just updated task manager look….I'm looking for new icons and fresher UI on some old system applications such as registry editor, direct x dialog…

    4*) Better graphic performance  in metro environment…I know this is a hardware accelerated platform however some games such as Tinker was so slow and lagging compared to it desktop version.

  31. B8Blog says:

    @nowuniverse  – Were you running in a VM or with the default Windows software rendering driver? (your #3 and 4) The desktop bg is customizable by you :-)

  32. B8Blog says:

    @Will, @Will is right – We don't think every post would be interesting to every individual as there are tons of unique usage patterns.  But if you count yourself in folks interested in desktop features, as we've said quite often more than half the posts are straight "kernel" or desktop features where we have invested a ton of energy.  We can debate whether WWAN is a desktop feature or not (since laptops have the desktop, and 70% of machines are mobile and more and more people are experiencing metered networks even at home).  But here are a few of the posts that are in line with the ones you cite:

    Enabling large disks and large sectors in Windows 8

    Improving the setup experience

    Minimizing restarts after automatic updating in Windows Update

    Building a power-smart general-purpose Windows

    Using Task Manager with 64+ logical processors

    Refresh and reset your PC

    Optimizing for both landscape and portrait

    Windows 8 Task Manager

    Reducing runtime memory in Windows 8

    Signing in to Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID

    Protecting the pre-OS environment with UEFI

    Reengineering the Windows boot experience

    Running Windows 8 Developer Preview in a virtual environment

    Protecting you from malware

    Delivering fast boot times in Windows 8

    Bringing Hyper-V to “Windows 8”

    Accessing data in ISO and VHD files

    Improvements in Windows Explorer

    Designing the Windows 8 file name collision experience

    Improving our file management basics: copy, move, rename, and delete

    Building robust USB 3.0 support

    We're trying to be balanced in what we cover and have been focusing on these low-level topics a lot more at the request of readers.  

  33. James Salsman says:

    @Steven Sinofsky: My concern with UEFI is sincere. Is there someone else to whom my questions should be directed?

  34. B8Blog says:

    @James — I understand.  There are plenty of reporters who have talked about this at length.  For example: http://www.zdnet.com/…/4343 or arstechnica.com/…/windows-8s-locked-bootloaders-much-ado-about-nothing-or-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it.ars  which are just a couple.  

  35. @James

    As far as the UEFI issue goes, I'm not that conceerned. Microsoft's latest Windows Logo requirements state that OEMs must allow users to modify or disable Secure Boot on x86 PCs (which currently includes every device that runs Windows, except versions running in emulation), and although Microsoft will not allow users to disable Secure Boot on certified ARM devices, I don't consider that a problem – ARM won't be a good platform for desktop computers and higher-end laptops. Most users who will want to install an alternate operating system won't buy an ARM PC anyway. Complaining about only Windows 8 (or possible upgrades) running on a Windows tablet is like complaining that the iPad only runs iOS. Nobody complains about that, so why would secure boot on ARM be a problem?

  36. TheCyberKnight says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    This is all great news.

    Meanwhile, there is one important topic that was not covered in this article and that directly relates to the mobile network experience. Windows 7 (and prior versions) currently associate the network proxy settings to the Internet Explorer setup, which makes it very annoying with a mobile device.

    Will the revised model for Windows 8 mimic the Windows Phone model where the proxy settings are attached to the network connection?

    Thanks in advance for clarifying this point.

  37. Very easy to manage my wireless connections! I like it!

    @Steven Sinofsky Today is a request day i think, thats what i see from previous comments ;)

    So when do we hear more about the Windows Media Center intregation?

    Is it still an important application for Win8? i saw the MetroStyle Video Player at a CES Demo video and the intregation is so good. So please make an TV App or so!

    (ok i have patient for more about MCE topic, keep your way you decide to post the new information about win8 , i am really happy to have this blog.)

  38. davis says:

    As TheCyberKingt says, I'm interested if per-connection proxy settings (or a per-location proxy setting with a given connection being able to be assigned to a particular location) are now available.

  39. winchrs says:

    please allow user to buy apps using operator’s network credits from the data/voice/text plan this going to make easy to buy apps despite the country or region. Again please allow hardware specifications to allow 3 or more sim cards to be used at a time. Preload skype with OS (voice calls, video, txt masages etc) pegged with outlook and hotmail.

    off topic why doesnt windows 8 look like this? http://www.winsupersite.com/…/doesnt-windows-8-141886

  40. NPeete says:

    Another great feature would be prioritizing ETH over wifi (my Win7 always says it is connected to wifi when I am using both networks), and in addition a manual priority list for the mobile and wifi networks. Thanks anyway, keep up the work!

  41. Mark says:

    >> We designed Windows 8 with you—and mobility—in mind

    Definitely not! Metro stuff definitely wasn't designed with me in mind.

  42. peter says:

    This is interesting. You mentioned again, how much faster Win8 will be compared to Win7 (boot time, resuming from standby, reconnecting to WiFi, …).Yet my few years old notebook with Win7 and no exceptional hardware performs much better than Win7 in your graphs.

    For example, I have never waited more than 8 seconds to reconnect to WiFi, including waking up from standby and typing my password.

    This makes Win8 look like it'll be many times faster than Win7, even if it's not completely true. Don't get me wrong, I like the speed improvements. But don't make people think it will be that much faster.

    On the other hand I am really glad that I'll be able to get rid of OEM's Bluetooth software.

  43. @winchrs

    The reason that Windows 8 doesn't look like that is that it isn't possible to implement what they wanted to implement with a mixed desktop/sandboxed experience.

    I've used Windows 8 a lot, and the start screen that takes over is just fine.  I've got no problem switching between with either mouse or keyboard or touch.

    I expect that people will get used to it, and others who don't will just tweak the registry if there is no setting.

    The more people who turn off the sandboxed start screen, however, the less users and possible buyers for Metro Style apps, and the intention of Microsoft is to create another, larger developer ecosystem.

    @salsman

    Allowing open booting will limit what can be done securely.  People want secure PC's and tablets, and if one opens the most intimate software to changes like that, you can forget about security.

    I applaud Microsoft for its efforts, and the stock is up 5.65% today.

  44. This interface is SO ugly, can you AT LEAST center the popup windows? (That shouldn't even be popping up, they should move into and out of view like Mac OS System Preferences, but whateve, you're much too lazy to do anything correctly.)

  45. Joao M Correia says:

    Sorry, i got distracted while trying to read the article by all the large ugly squares everywhere. I couldn't quite get a word through while attempting to navigate this post.

    Very much alike the experience of trying to get anything done when you get huge ugly squares on your 24" non-touch monitor, that also blocks whatever you were doing before hitting the start menu. But hey, thats just me, right? I mean, everyone else must love losing context just to find another program.

    Joao

  46. Hello,

    -May I know whether Windows 8 will be able to use and manage mobile broadband connections (create, modify, connect/disconnect, view usage, remaining quota/time, etc.) WITHOUT installing any vendor-specific app? Yes, since Windows XP, we're able to use dial-up networking to bypass these proprietary software, but it's for some device models only.

    -Is it possible? I mean to do most commonly performed tasks with built-in Windows feature (like with Wi-Fi since Windows  XP SP2):

    1. Disconnect after specific period, for time-based subscription (e.g. hourly/daily/weekly plan);

    2. View remaining volume, for quota-based subscription;

    3. Switching between network modes manually, eg. forcing from GPRS/EDGE to 3G/HSDPA/LTE/etc.

    Thanks & regards,

    -Musafir_86.

  47. Atif says:

    Hey guys,

    I think you are on the right track with the addition of useful features.

    Maybe you guys have thought about it but please do include an option to specify which Wifi connections are actually mobile devices as many people use their limited mobile broadband to make Wifi hotspots

    Another thing, the metro UI concept is great but only on tablets and phones. This looks horrible on the desktop.

  48. Guys why are you still complaining about Metro UI? Think of it as a base where you start off your mission! This is my opinion. (Desktop users): If you're just up to doing some light stuff you can dwell on the Metro start-screen, make use of the Metro apps like RSS readers, stock apps, etc (Or optionally go into regular Windows mode right away if you don't want to) Otherwise if you want to get to work simply to get to the heavier apps in normal windows mode and you won't even have to see a trace of Metro. Also Metro UI just takes getting used to and overall it's gotten pretty much critical acclaim for it's innovative design and new way of getting access to your info. And if you already know that there will be a way to disable it why waste space here complaining about it? Also remember we're still in Beta so there is still room for fine-tuning.

  49. @Adriel Mingo

    My usage patterns in Windows rely on UI mechanisms that are removed in Windows 8.

  50. Steven & Billy, thanks for the very interesting post. If one of you (or another blog reader) have a moment please, is there a valid analogy between (a) auto-switching between wireless networks, as you discussed in the post & (b) network connection failover, where an alternate network connection is established when the current one stops working..?

    Your blog posting describes a rules-based framework where two or more wireless network connections can be available at the same time & the rules are applied to choose the "best" network to connect to. Presumably, the network-preference rules also automatically handle situations where the preferred network connection becomes unavailable (i.e. "fails") & the next-best connection is immediately enabled, transparently to the user..? Is this in fact the case, or does the user have to manually select a new connection..?

    If wireless auto-failover is envisioned for Windows 8, what about wired auto-failover..? As the following forum discussion suggests, wired auto-failover is not implemented in Windows 7.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/…/33553-42-dual-desktop-automatic-failover

    Hoping you might have a word or two on this,

    sincerely,

    brad

  51. Mark says:

    @Adriel: " if you already know that there will be a way to disable it why waste space here complaining about it?"

    Nobody knows that. for sure, but what I've been hearing is that it's gone from the Beta, for good. Of course if we could just disable it, then I'd happily line to up buy Win8.

    "go into regular Windows mode right away"

    There is no such mode anymore. The start menu is gone.

    And critical acclaim? You gotta be kidding.

  52. Hello Microsoft,

    Just an idea for the full screen metro apps.

    I like the full screen idea, but I do like having the topic "X" button in chrome style apps to close the app.

    Maybe you could do an auto hide for it.

    So whenever I move my mouse arrow to the upper right hand corner of the screen.

    A somewhat transparent looking "X" would appear.

    This way, I can close down the app.

    This might keep some consistency for users who are use the Windows 7 styled apps.

    Just my two cents.

    Mark Richardson

    Richardson's Technology Group

    http://www.richtg.com

  53. sreesiv says:

    Have seen this in action in Build conference videos. It is really cool. I have been using 3G network as my one and only means to connect to the internet on my laptop, and it is a PITA to use the idiotic driver and connection management software from the dongle vendor and operator.

  54. @Steven Sinofsky

    I installed Windows 8 right into my system (not VM) with graphic driver installed properly. I'm wondering are there any differences of the graphic performance between core desktop program and metro app (Copper game).

    My experience of lagging and slow graphic is similar to this video at 4:30

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

  55. far says:

    you actually used a script to put the PC into sleep in windows 8 desktop when it could so easily be done windows 7 taskbar…. feels like windows 8 is 1 step forward and two step backwards in terms of productivity

  56. ShaneM says:

    I think I've finally worked out what the problem with Metro is.  After spending a lot more time and effort on using W8 in a VM, I am able to run it as a professional system ok.  The key issue, is 'discoverability'.  I am constantly trying to remember how to do things with a mouse and keyboard.

    One very simple example.  After I was finished with some work, I wanted to shut down W8.  In W7 it is just a matter of clicking on the start menu and selecting shutdown.  But how do you do it from the W8 start screen?  I tried right clicking, but nothing happens, I try left clicking in a blank area, and nothing happens. I try right clicking on my name in the top right and nothing happens, Finally I left click on my name and the options include log off but not shutdown.  So I click log off. Now I have to slide the lock screen up and then left click on the power button.  It is a process that is difficult to discover and too much mouse movement and clicking.  I know there are other ways, but how does someone discover them?  

    Mouse and keyborad users shouldn't need keyboard shortcuts for simple tasks.

    Another example, I use my mouse to click on the Metro control Panel.  Once I'm done, I want to get back to the start screen to click on another app.  How do I do this without taking my hand off the mouse? Try right clicking in Control panel, nothing happens.  There is no close button, or back to start screen prompt.

    Please think about discoverability for mouse/keyboard users.

    I'm sure a lot has changed in the Beta, and now that I am familiar with the shortcuts, I think Metro is really going to work well, but it is still very rough in the Dev Preview with regard to discoverability.

    Thanks,

  57. @Steven Sinofsky

    Additional question and 10 suggestions:

    Will the team continue to add/revise more free features for metro UI (not for desktop's functionality)  after windows 8 is shipped ? (similar to free upgrade from iOS 4 to 5 or Android 3 to 4 with new features for each upgrade)

    And here are my 10 suggestions:

    1 Notification CENTER (not just notification for each app alone).

    2 Light weight file management inside metro UI (metro version of Windows explorer).

    3 Totally overhaul/ smarter voice recognition system for both desktop and metro environment.

    4 More power to back up and sync files to Skydrive.

    5 More intelligent troubleshooter for both desktop and metro.

    6 Various graphic modes for gaming and graphical app experience based one ability and  score of user's system (low/medium//high/ultra).

    7 Weather app will have alert/warning for emergency situation (storm/flood/earthquake) or special astronomical event such as eclipse or meteor.

    8 Ability to visually highlight or glow the running app's tile (both metro and desktop) as well as live tile and notification support for desktop program.

    9  (for Desktop apps only) I see DESKTOP app's tiles sit with boring default color (not like metro app with their own color), so I want the tile to have the ability to adapt the base color of  its icon (similar to windows  taskbar icon color adaption) .

    10 More animation styles for live tile (not just sliding or fading) animations such as flipping or rotating like the one in Windows Phone Mango (will make it looks more dynamic).

    Oh! I forgot for the desktop background thing: I know we definitively can customize it  but I always love to see something originally comes from Microsoft. Ex: Metro Windows Flag with teal solid background or what ever doesn't matter but not the one in developer preview. I request this because I want  the team to remind and emphasize beta testers that this is windows 8 not 7 even though the way it works on desktop is similar.

  58. sreesiv says:

    One simple query?

    The talks at the Build conference mentioned that the Mobile Broadband class driver in 8 supports the upcoming NCM 2.0 specification. Now this post mentions the newly ratified MBIM 1.0 specification.

    From a MBB USB device standpoint, are these specifications complementary OR competing? NCM builds on ECM, and MBIM seems to working directly with IP frames. Does the new inbox MB class driver implement the MBIM v1.0  spec? A bit more elaboration on this topic would be nice.

  59. Overall improvements to Windows being marred by forced Metro UI to desktop users.

  60. Jesper says:

    @sreesiv: USB profiles are complementary and modular. A USB broadband modem could implement both NCM 2 and MBIM, and upon connection the computer (or in some cases the user) will decide which to use. I suspect the Windows driver will work with as many profiles as possible.

  61. Are we going to get support for proxy servers per-network in Windows 8? I constantly move between home and work, and having to toggle the proxy each time is a real chore.

  62. Alvaro says:

    @MSFT

    1.About priority order within multiple connections

     "To make sure we connect to the right network when multiple networks are available, Windows maintains an ordered list of your preferred networks based on your explicit connect and disconnect actions" – Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks

    Thats great, but remember what  you said in another post about guessing what we want:

     "rather than trying to guess what is important through software heuristics or having important items mixed with less important items."   – Evolving the Start menu

    i think the same logic apply here (when stableshing an order of network conections) … Windows 8 should give the users an option to manually establish this order.

    2. About `wired`connections

    Please don't forget this ones, many people a laptops still use eth cables to connect , and when they roam between different places they have to manually change the IP and proxy settings. For example lets say inn my home i have an static IP with no proxy, but in the office we have DHCP and a proxy.

    Changing this settings, manually each time it's a pain in the a** …

    The default priority order should be Ethernet>Wi-Fi>MB , in function of the available BW, associated costs and security.

    Alvaro

  63. Wow.

    I think Win 8 is going to make us feel weird using the computer with a mouse.

    It's so touch oriented…  :-)

  64. Waseem says:

    It's really irritating to read many of the comments!

    Obviously many of the people commenting don't read the full posts, or not keep up with all the posts. What's even worse is the metro UI haters that think enhancements to the mobile broadband is not a relevant feature for the desktop.

    I believe that many of those (that are obviously very knowledgeable in Computer science or computer engineering :P) will be proven wrong once the product ships !!

    *On a side note It would be nice if the small square tiles were also live tiles rather than just the large ones being live !

    Great job @Steven

  65. C Johnson says:

    Obviously there is some SMS integration here – how deep does it go?  Is there an API that allows apps to send SMS messages?

  66. @TheLoz

    For Windows 8, we focused on speeding up, parallelizing and increasing the reliability of automatically discovering proxy servers using the Web Proxy Autodiscovery Protocol (WPAD) and proxy auto-config (PAC) standards.  Both of these standards are widely deployed and easily managed when compared to non-standard methods of proxy client management.  

    Windows 8 users that travel between WPAD-enabled proxy server environments and direct connection (non-proxy server) networks should see noticeable speed improvements from Internet Explorer and their metro-style and desktop applications.  

    Look into whether adding WPAD to your networks is possible.  It is easy to setup, works across almost all clients, and involves little ongoing management.

  67. stephennwin says:

    msft and its OEM,s must promote products like Asus ep121 slate or b121 and sumsung 7 series becuase users are moving over to other platforms becuase of lack of information on windows 7 tabletpc/slate (also due to miss directed and/or misinformed media) that are already on the market and are way better than products from the fruit company or 10^100. Please rev up your marketing and PR teams (inlcuding OEM's marketing and PR teams) before the user base of this platform disappears and no longer reconsider the lastest offering (windows 8) from msft and its OEM's, since they will be locked in and therefore harder to change back to this platform. My point is In the meanwhile put windows 7 tablets/slates in the spot light so this platform remains relevent in consumers eyes.

  68. Raymond says:

    Speaking of networking fingers crossed the x64 build will be able to index network shares, It is 2012 after all and gigabit ethernet is virtually everywhere.

  69. @ [rono]

    I agree. They need to improve a lot on mouse and keyboard experience. I would like to see how well and smooth I can play Cut the Rope or painting app using the mouse.

    @Steven Sinofsky

    At CES 2011, I saw Microsoft gave demo on Windows 8 ARM machine that has desktop UI and Microsoft Office running. Why I didn't see you guys demo desktop UI and Office running on ARM  at this year's CES ? I didn't even see the desktop tile on showcased ARM devices. Were these features removed?

  70. Posting this again in hope of one day getting an answer.

    Sort of off-topic but since the answer remains elusive……There is only one question I would like answered(assuming this post like others doesn't disappear)  and its the one Microsoft are doing their best to avoid and that is if the metro UI/Start screen and be turned off. All these advancements under the hood are great but its no good building a great motor hen trying to run with square wheels. I will reserve my final judgement until I see the beta but based on current indicators I can see me giving Win 8 on a PC a miss. I have already not renewed my Technet sub purely based on the direction wndows 8 is going.

  71. Nirav Patel says:

    Windows 8 is amazing yes but the one thing its missing is a courier app if Microsoft creates a courier app or integrates it into some way it would absolutely sick and amazing they would sell tablets just based on that

  72. osu9400 says:

    agree with some of the posters here.  Is there any love for the traditional desktop?  I manage 6800 desktops in a corp environment  Only a few of these will be touch enabled.  What will Win8 do for me?  Are there any changes to the desktop?  I would like to see a trash can pinned to the dock by the clock for example.  

  73. That is pretty darn cool. Now, with instant connect and fast booting… all we need to do is fix lag executing group policies and/or "Waiting for the User Profile Service" issues and it will be a fast OS. Yay.

  74. chentiangemalc says:

    This is really great. Although Win7 had some in-built ability to connect to Mobile Broadband we found many h/w didn't support this type of driver and we had to use 3rd party software which is often unreliable (i.e. ISPs mobile broadband connection software) i really hope to see this completely eliminated in win8.

  75. Steven and Billy, firstly, thank you! Introduction of class driver, integration in VAN UI and metered network usage reduction and basic monitoring is simply FANTASTIC! All of these are welcome improvements. And I also love the balance of topics on this blog. Now the usability annoyances that need to be addressed and FAQs that need to be answered:

    1.  What control path features does the class driver support? (SMS, PIN, service activation, roaming config??)

    2.  Again you are mixing Metro style UI even on desktop interface. Or is there still going to be the very nice Aero UI for View Available Networks when in desktop mode? See social.msdn.microsoft.com/…/9f496b3a-8c0a-420f-b6fa-33ff3f1b44a8 . And no, allowing us to set a different color doesn't help as Metro style looks out of place on the desktop. On the desktop, the UI on the left in that first image should be shown, on the Start Screen, the Metro UI should be shown. I don't have a problem with the Metro UI when I am on the Start Screen, I have a huge problem with it if it's going to be shown this way on the desktop.

    3.  Where is the equivalent in the Desktop Control Panel to configure mobile broadband and Airplane mode?

    4.  Microsoft has ignored our plea to give 1-click access also to Ethernet connections from View Available Network (VAN) UI since Vista and again in Windows 7. Windows XP gave 1-click access to Ethernet connection enable/disable, connection status and Properties, firewall settings. Ethernet connections just show in the VAN UI when connected but you can't do ANYthing with them like Enable/Disable, View status and Properties like you can for Wi-Fi, dial-up and VPN networks. Please ease our lives and restore this feature. Quick access to Ethernet connections is just as important so we don't have to go every time to Network and Sharing Center or Network Connections. See an image of what I am requesting since Vista: http://i.imgur.com/GgPTg.png

    5.  The UI to rename the network, mark it private or public, change its icon and the Network Map is all missing in Windows 8 Developer Preview. Instead, there is just an option to share or not share files. What gives? Please make like Windows 7.

    6.  How about a tile in Windows Mobility Center to manage mobile broadband connections?

    7.  Please consider a sound event in the Sound control panel for when internet connectivity is lost, the tiny icon in the notification area is not enough. This sound will also help when it fails over from MB to Wi-Fi silently. Those who are annoyed with sounds can simply assign no sound to "Connectivity lost" event.

    8.  You support WISPr. What about WPS? Why was Wireless Provisioning Services support removed in Windows?

  76. Tom Servo says:

    Here's for something completely unrelated: When are the beta invites going out? Since the beta's supposed to be released mid to end of February (ostensibly, anyway)? I know that the plan's to go public immediately to get people a taste and get developers (such as I am) going, but there has to be a better feedback channel, something like a tech beta?

  77. fanti says:

    you are best :)

    But  after  windows vista (vista & seven) , windows environment is opaque :(

    is this through Clear type or etc ?

  78. mayhemm88 says:

    @SAPAleale2

    I also manage around 200 PCs, and to me this metro interface offers nothing for about 95% of my users. The only users it would seriously benefit are my "on the go" road warriors wanting a smartphone and/or tablet. As far as I'm concerned this is nothing more than an effort at a "lowest common denominator" interface which will turn my high-end CAD workstations and servers into a phone.

    It is also an effort to shift users into the "app store" paradigm/trap, which I think should stay far away from PCs.  In my mind, Windows 8 Metro  is looking to create a closed, tightly controlled space that in the end will restrict user choice.  Any app not approved by Microsoft is no longer going to be able to be installed. Any app deemed to be "malware" can be  remotely erased from the user's PC. Sounds great until you ask the question "What does Microsoft consider Malware?"

    In short, I don't think there will be a way to disable metro entirely in Win8, and I feel Windows 9 will be entirely metro. In my mind It is all about profit, they don't care at all about end users feedback. Microsoft is becoming just like apple, they want to restrict their user base to run only "Microsoft approved" applications. If we don't like metro and don't want appstore only applications on our desktops… too bad… "its the way of the future, get used to it"

    I for one will be sticking to windows 7 for as long as humanly possible, and hoping that Linux will evolve to become a real alternative for Microsoft products…  If they don't give me the option to disable metro they have lost a customer… I don't care to get a tablet anytime in the future… they are not powerful enough for my needs and I HATE touch screens on anything except a phone!!!

  79. Quppa says:

    These improvements are welcome – particularly the reduced connection times. In the Windows Developer Preview I seem to have to reset my wireless adapter every time I restart the computer, but hopefully that issue will be gone in the final product.

    I have to agree with xpclient's comments about mixing the Metro interface with the desktop interface. The Metro network manager obscures the notification area (and a significant portion of the screen) and is frankly much less appealing than the equivalent Windows 7 interface. Maintaining two UIs that perform the same task is perhaps not ideal, but the effort would pay off in this case.

    I see that the empty tab control in the Windows 8 Task Manager is still there :(

  80. kyoto says:

    I don't get this greatly reduced connection time. This just looks like a marketing image. What technical improvements have you made to reduce this time? Windows has already had options to connect automatically when a network is in range. As peter says, there is no significant delay in Windows 7.

  81. Yaniv says:

    Hi,

    In the article you said:

    "If, while connected to one network, you decide to connect to a different network, Windows will move the new network higher in your preferred networks list."

    Shouldn't you prioritize the networks also based on signal strength. I often disconnect from one hotspot and connect to another due to limited range of the previous network.

    I wouldn't want Windows to prioritize the last network I connected to higher in the list, and connect to it automatically while I'm in the region of the first network.

    I thought this is how it worked in Windows Phone as well.

  82. ByronG says:

    great work. suggestion: make windows 8 satellite broadband network ready too (like satelite phones). allow Carrier Billing to buy apps from the new store (both metro apps and desptop apps usig Affiliate commission model for desktop apps). complain: full screen metro start menu not acceptable, activating the desktop can have the same effects right?

  83. Fernando says:

    I think there is problem….

    and that is it seems that there isn't any clear idea to how metro and desktop must interact!

    somewhere we see a total separation between them and somewhere else we see some kind of integration!

    this will be confusing for users surely!

  84. amuser! says:

    i agree with kyoto… can you explain what tricks were used for reducing 11sec -> 1 sec in Connection Time?

    Thank you nice progress Windows 8 Team!

  85. kaniso says:

    I want to vomit.

    If you guys want me to switch to W8 from W7, I need those setting in desktop mode, in a windows, where I can resize it, without the metro, and I NEED my control panel on desktop in the START menu. I am so disappointed in W8 as a desktop user, I will never buy it if you keep pushing this metro design.

  86. chripi says:

    Will it be possible to keep the ip, netmask, gateway and dns preferences saved for each network or do we have (like we need now with w7) to manually change them every time we change network?

    Thank you!

  87. afree10 says:

    It would be nice if ad-hoc networks connected near instantly (sorry iff this has already been talked about) they take ages to indentify properly

  88. Useful Windows says:

    I really hope this makes adding an air card easier, they are such a pain and I'm not sure if it is the device that just sucks, the service, or the software provided by the providers, hopefully this will make them more user friendly and reliable with some form of integration into the OS.  

    ~Bryan http://www.usefulwindows.com

  89. Ken says:

    If there is no way to disable Metro then our site and its 2000 desktops won't ever upgrade to Win8. It's that simple. Using touch-screen phone UI on a desktop or laptop doesn't make any sense. Not being able to disable it would be a disaster.

  90. I am Windows @Steven Sinofsky says:

    Please use this:

    Nearly Optimal Sparse Fourier Transform

    arxiv.org/…/1201.2501v1.pdf

    It's very fast.

  91. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    Windows 8 is the bestestestestestestestestestestestestestestestestest OS EVER

  92. NoP says:

    @Ken: agreed. Win8 devices (except for tablets) should be able to run WinRT/Metro apps in a resizable window _on the desktop_. As far as we know, the scaling ability is built in already – as every Metro app is full screen w/o respect to screen resolution. So they _are_ scalable after all.

  93. Tang11 says:

    Great work MSFT!

    Frankly, I'm sick of "Turn off Metro" trolls here. They never have constructive feedback, they just fill the comments with c**p.

    I love the way you are going with metro n win 8, I'm dying to get my hands on the beta

    Cheers

  94. NP says:

    Currently, in Windows 7, when I have my laptop connected to my home router using the Ethernet connection while at the same time having my home's Wi-Fi enabled, it seemingly connects to the Internet using both the Ethernet and the Wi-Fi connections. In other words, when there are multiple connections of different types (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc) available, Windows currently seems to connect through all of them.

    What I want to know is if there is, or you are planning to add, a way to set a preference on which connection type, e.g. Ethernet, should have the highest priority, or if such a setting is already present in Windows 7 and I simply don't know about it. In the case where a priority has been set, I don't want windows to connect through different connection types all at the same time, but I want it simply to connect e.g. through the fastest one (Ethernet) and disconnect from the rest (Wi-Fi).

    Secondly, if I choose to have Windows connect through multiple types of connections simultaniously, as it seems to be the behavior now, if there is, or if you are planning to add, a way for me to designate which applications should use which connection type. For example, I might want my Internet downloads or streaming video applications to use the Ethernet connection, whilst at the same time use my Wi-Fi connection for my e-mail application and for casual browsing. This is because overall I might get better bandwidth due to the fact that the Ethernet and the Wi-Fi connections might be from two separate providers, e.g. a home Internet connection and a neighboring public Wi-Fi network.

  95. @Nirav Patel

    I agree, but I imagine MS will continue to grow and expand OneNote to support Currier-like functionality for use in the new flexible displays.

  96. Aethec says:

    @Tang11: I agree that some people here are either blind or stupid (of course you'll be able to disable Metro…d'oh). But some of us provide constructive criticism and ideas to make Win8 better, such as running Metro apps in windows on the desktop.

  97. Windows7 says:

    @Aethec: You're making an unfounded assumption about disabling  Metro. I hope it's true, but there is not one shred of evidence anywhere to suggest it. If all us non-Metro users have missed it, then please tell us how we can disable it?

    P.S: People aren't stupid nor are they trolls for wanting and asking for a non-gimmicky, non-touchy-feely UI, which Windows has offered serious PC users since 1985.

  98. ByronG says:

    great work. suggestion: make windows 8 satellite broadband network ready too (like satelite phones). allow Carrier Billing to buy apps from the new store (both metro apps and desptop apps usig Affiliate commission model for desktop apps). complain: full screen metro start menu not acceptable, activating the desktop can have the same effects right?

    off topic: to increase momentum on this platform, please discount (or free if possible) advertsing credits on microsoft adversting services (SEM, xbox, skype, websites etc) for EOM's, windows apps developers, msft services parnters etc. the fruit company sold 350 000 ebooks in 3 days, but windows 7 (tabletpc) users already have access to content readers and creation apps but seem to be in the dark when purchasing tablets, the products (hard and software) and services that are avialable in this platform versus competition. please note that the fruit compnaies products are all over tv shows and movies, andriod got popular becuase 10^100 is an online advertisng company. my point please use msft advertisng unit to inform and advertise this platform, 3rd party apps and services by discounting online adverting credits

  99. Mohammed Hassan says:

    Sometimes Microsoft do a good things and sometimes Microsoft innovations achieves more than we expect.

    BUT

    More times we got stuck because some dump ideas Please MSF Please go ahead with Windows 8 ( we have no choice ) but Dont give us another VISTA.  

  100. Tang11 says:

    @Windows7  the topic of the blog post is "Engineering Windows 8 for mobile networks"

    What I'm searching for is relevant feedback n questions from readers n answers from microsoft in the comments. Not metro-haters whining about the same thing, repeating the redundant line over and over again in every post. Completely irrelevant comments making the discussion unhealthy and unpleasant.

    Bringing up UEFI and linux in this post? My foot.

  101. Richard says:

    In windows 7 My WiFi shows if its public or home group. Where is it in Win8?

  102. Nuntawat says:

    What about switching between wired and wireless connectivity? Is there any mechanism like switching between Wi-Fi and mobile broadband that you mentioned?

  103. @BradStiritz

    If the current wireless network fails, we automatically connect to the next highest priority wireless network.  

    For wired connections, Windows 8 Server now has inbox support for load balancing and failover between multiple physical NICs in the system.  Please see this //Build talk (channel9.msdn.com/…/SAC-433) that provides much more information on our Network acceleration and NIC technologies for the data center.

  104. @Tang11 if I wish to whine about metro I will I really don't care what you think. I will stop repeating the same thing when Microsoft answer the question and since they wont I will keep asking. If you don't like it don't read it.

  105. @Atif

    Windows 8 allows users to designate any MB or Wi-Fi network as a “metered” connection.  Windows then adapts its behavior and makes this information available to apps for them to adapt as well.

  106. Mark says:

    @Tang11: so nobody should complain of issues you don't personally have? Sure!

    We'll just sit idle without complaining, while MS is going to dump this Metro atrocity on us, right.

    All we need to hear is "yes, you'll be able to disable it" and we'll all be happy. But from what I heard from more than one source, the traditional start menu is gone for good, and that's very worrying. I'll sooner switch to a Mac than a Metro-only Win8.

  107. Fordp says:

    The comments about Metro will not die down because it affects every single part of the UI. If it's a post purely about low level infrastructure (like improving boot times, USB3 support etc) then its fine. But with any change that has UI, the UI matters just as much as the actual feature, probably a lot more, and that's where Metro comes in. So the complains are perfectly legit.

    There's good precedent for this. Windows has some terrific technology – e.g.  Previous Versions. But its surfaced in a hideous user unfriendly non-intuitive UI, and as a result no one uses it.

  108. @C Johnson

    Yes, Windows 8 provides APIs for sending and receiving SMS and USSD messages.  For SMS, please see the MSDN documentation in the Windows.Devices.Sms namespace. msdn.microsoft.com/…/windows.devices.sms.aspx

  109. @sreesiv

    Yes, the inbox MB class driver implements the required capabilities in the host, for devices that are compliant with USB-IF’s MBIM 1.0 spec.

    In the recent past, around the //Build conference timeframe, NCM2.0 was a placeholder name for the hardware interface specification developed by the NCM (Network Control Model) DWG (Device Working Group) in USB-IF.   Later, the DWG decided for the official name of “MBIM (Mobile Broadband Interface Model) v1.0 specification”, to reflect its targeted device class usage and to avoid confusions with NCM backward compatibility (which deals with Ethernet frames as you rightly mentioned).  

    MBIM is developed by the NCM DWG which was earlier responsible for the NCM 1.0 specification.   NCM 1.0  is one of the several device sub-classes developed under the CDC (Communication Device Class) working group.   MBIM is yet another of the  sub-class specifications developed under CDC WG, along with others like NCM, ECM, ATM, WMC etc..   Each sub-class specification is targeted for a specific device class.  For example, ECM for Ethernet, ATM for, well,  ATM, WHCM for mobile phones.   While NCM uses Ethernet payload, MBIM is optimized for Mobile Broadband protocols like 3GPP and 3GPP2 where IP frames are used directly for the communication.  

  110. @Nuntawat

    We recognize some users like managing their Ethernet connection from the connection manager.  However, in Windows 8, we wanted to keep the user operations simple by not adding connect and disconnect software operations on top of Ethernet’s insert/removal cable operations.

  111. Pekka Niikkonen [MSFT] says:

    @xpclient – We received a lot of feedback after //build about making the Airplane mode control more available. As a result, we have now added a switch for Airplane mode in the Networks flyout  (a.k.a. View Available Networks UI) right up at the top. As you point out, this UI appears even when using the Windows desktop experience. Also, please note that mobile broadband connections appear in the same UI well and can be managed there.

  112. Roger says:

    Why does the Metro Start screen and things like the network connection popup cover the entire screen?  It's completely obscuring all the content that is there on the desktop!

  113. @alvaro, @NPeete

    Windows 7 prioritizes connections based on link speed.  This means that except for some corner cases (802.11n at 140Mbps vs. 100Mbps Ethernet), Ethernet is already preferred over Wi-Fi.  In Windows 7, the network icon continues to reflect Wi-Fi so that you can see your signal strength at a glance.  

    We understand that this caused some confusion, so in Windows 8 the network icon always reflects the current preferred interface with Internet connectivity and Ethernet is always preferred over Wi-Fi regardless of link speed.

  114. @Jon Grant

    Existing connections don’t get terminated when we switch to a more preferred network.  However, any new connections will go out the new interface so that you can get to the hotspot’s web site to log in if needed.  We’ll disconnect from the old network only if the new network offers the same level of connectivity.

    If you manually disconnect from the network, Windows will remember that and not automatically connect you to that network in the future.  If you find that your provider’s Wi-Fi hotspots are unreliable, disconnect manually, and Windows 8 will not connect automatically to these networks.

    The Windows 8 connection manager provides only a manual reset.  Your operator's metro-style app knows your billing cycle best and provides your billing cycle's accurate count on its start screen app tile.

  115. @NP

    Windows 7 handles each media type independently.  You are connected over Ethernet, WLAN, and Mobile Broadband simultaneously.  However, the default route follows whichever interface has the highest link speed.  Although connected, the other interfaces remain idle unless an app explicitly binds to them.

    Windows 8 adds additional logic around selecting a default network (generally Ethernet > Wi-Fi > MBN), and will soft-disconnect the other networks.  So the expected behavior would be that ~30 seconds after plugging in your Ethernet cable, Wi-Fi will disconnect unless it’s being used.  If you choose to use multiple connections, you can – just manually connect Wi-Fi, and Windows will keep the connection up in parallel with Ethernet.  If the app developer chooses, an app can opt to use a particular interface.

  116. @Billy Anders [MSFT],

    " We recognize some users like managing their Ethernet connection from the connection manager.  However, in Windows 8, we wanted to keep the user operations simple by not adding connect and disconnect software operations on top of Ethernet’s insert/removal cable operations. "

    Why does Microsoft not understand and listen to feedback for Windows 8 that Ethernet connections *need to be manageable* from View Available Network (VAN) UI. Just allow us to enable/disable Ethernet, view connection status and access Properties from the VAN UI! What's the point of just showing an Ethernet connection if we can't do anything with it from the VAN UI? You are merely increasing the number of steps to get to Ethernet connections. Please give us a context menu like we already have for Wi-Fi for Ethernet connections (http://i.imgur.com/GgPTg.png) and an Enable/Disable button in the VAN UI.

  117. @Mike Bishop [MSFT] says:

    "Windows 7 prioritizes connections based on link speed.  This means that except for some corner cases (802.11n at 140Mbps vs. 100Mbps Ethernet), Ethernet is already preferred over Wi-Fi. "

    this is not true!!!!!!!!!! Connect a 54MBit Wifi and a 100/1000MBit Lan and Windows uses WiFi by default. You have to change the priority via ncpa.cpl to prefer LAN!

  118. Andreuka says:

    на русском читать вот <a href="windows-8.org.ua/…/a>%D0%B7%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%81%D1%8C

  119. MBN says:

    Will you have any generic Metro apps to support operator that won't have any Connection manager in Metro style ?

    If yes will you support SMS/USSD notification inside ?  

  120. NTFAN says:

    Does this along with the fact that Windows 8 runs on ARM mean that Windows 8 could also come to mobile phones? Also, on an unrelated topic I was wondering if new metro apps use the registry as their dependency system, can anyone elaborate on that?  

  121. Thierry Lacombe says:

    I hate the double-interface. Why don't you just merge the windows explorer interface (desktop being only a fullscreen folder running in background) into the new metro, and also convert that taskbar into a metro-like side interface. Please don't wait Windows 9 for that.

  122. @Thierry: Including Metro into Windows 8 is a very big leap for the most Windows users. They need time to adapt and a further, more tremendous change therefore could not be acceptable to the majority which has not tried the Developer Preview out, yet.

    Thus, let them the time they just need.

  123. Jason says:

    I would hope that in terms of battery life conservation, if a device was on mobile broadband (at least having access to coordinates of cell towers), and those were outside of the expected range of a known access point (i.e. my home or work wifi), that wifi could be automatically disabled.  It could be re-enabled when brought back into range.  Such behavior, especially when pushed into Windows Phones, would very much increase battery life and keep you on fast connections.

  124. pmbAustin says:

    Yes, NTFAN … Paul Thurrott has already confirmed that Metro under Windows 8 uses the Registry (unfortunately).  It uses it for registering interfaces like the "share" integration, etc… among other things.  If you go to his WindowsSuperSite.com blog and search, you might be able find the article discussing this.  I don't have a link handy.

  125. Chris Hynes says:

    Please make sure to automatically switch back to the mobile broadband network if the WiFi connection seems to be available but isn't actually transacting data.

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves with phones — you'll be on the edge of a WiFi network, so you'll get a bar or two — enough to make the phone turn off mobile broadband, but not enough signal to actually do anything. Instead, it should stay connected to mobile broadband if the WiFi network is slower than the broadband or is dropping more packets.

    This makes me end up running around with WiFi off most of the time so I know I always have a connection, rather than having the device be able to automatically switch back and forth to the fastest network device.

  126. @Peter @Kyoto

    The graphs show the high-level network operations and typical timings for when users resume their laptops from standby.  We’ve lowered the overall Wi-Fi connect times by reducing the number and timings of these operations,  how these operations were serialized behind one another, and by working with our Wi-Fi device partners on connection ‘hints’ (for example preferred SSIDs), allowing the Wi-Fi hardware to begin operations much sooner and complete more quickly.  

    Please see this //Build conference presentation on Understanding Wi-Fi networking in Windows 8 (channel9.msdn.com/…/HW-342T) for more details.

  127. Like it says:

    Like it.

    A quick facebook like is helpful for some of these blog entries…

  128. @xpclient

    >>> 1.  What control path features does the class driver support? (SMS, PIN, service activation, roaming config??)

    Windows 8 supports all of the control path features introduced with Mobile Broadband in Windows 7 to manage device, connection and radio states, pin, SMS, provisioned contexts etc.,  

    In addition, the following new capabilities are introduced with Windows 8 for Mobile Broadband control path -

                –    USSD

                –    Network selection (for carrier unlocked devices),

                –    SIM based authentication (EAP-SIM/AKA/AKA') for Wi-Fi networks

                –    Multi-mode networks (3GPP + 3GPP2 for CDMA networks adopting LTE for 4G)  and

                –    “Device Services” enabling device makers to extend with custom commands to fit their needs.

    Introduction of the feature rich “Device Services” extensibility framework in MB Class Driver supersedes the VendorSpecific control path feature of Windows 7.

  129. Mark says:

    I love all of this!

    Especially metered networks… It is one of my biggest worries whenever I connect to 3G on my Win7 laptop. I always worry that there are applications needlessly using up bandwidth. Please make a UAC Metered Bandwidth prompt for any application that does not utilize the new API. If some clunky application wants to connect to the network over 3G, it should require user authorization.

    I think most of us would like to know when an older application wants to use bandwidth. I think there should also be separate firewall rules as well, just as there are different firewall rules for Public and Private networks.

  130. @Pekka Niikkonen and @Srini Malayala, thanks for the replies.

    @Windows mobile networking team, one very important feature request I forgot is about IE's RSS feed synchronization and low bandwidth networks. Can you make IE not sync the feeds and delay it to when I am on a high speed network if "Reduce data usage" is checked? Often I find feed synchronization taking a lot of time and bandwidth with many subscribed feeds.

  131. In fact internet communication for any feature mentioned here (technet.microsoft.com/…/cc766257(WS.10).aspx) which is not important should be disabled when "Reduce data usage" is checked.

  132. I'm happy to see the effort that has gone into streamlining the process of connecting to all types of networks, as well as making Windows more aware of the type of network it's connecting to (and whether it is a metered network).

    In fact, everything else the developers have done with Win8 has been fantastic. They've really put out some of their best work the last few years (Win8, Win7, and the behind-the-scenes stuff in WinVista).

    Except… the Metro UI. The screenshots and video in this article and others makes it painfully obvious how awkward it is.

    It appears as though some accessibility feature for the visually impaired is stuck on. All the menus, icons, and controls look like they are right out of an MS-DOS program (this extends to Windows Setup as well unfortunately). It requires so much effort for the eye to make sense of it all, that I can't use it for very long at a time. And slime green as the default background?? I was hoping the Beta would have some enormous visual improvements, but after seeing the state of Win8 at CES, I'm getting worried. I never thought I'd see the day when a Microsoft UI would make me feel envious of your average Frankenstein-like Linux monstrosity.

    The tile system itself is great though. Tablets have a lot of limitations compared to desktops and notebooks, and on that platform the Metro UI really works great. It even makes a lot of sense to have the same ecosystem of Metro style apps available on more capable systems as well. But Metro style apps should be able to run in a window like any modern multitasking OS is supposed to be able to accomplish. Let's not erase the last 20 years of progress. This is also why it's a horrible design choice to enter the Metro UI just because someone pressed the start button. It makes no sense whatsoever to mash together those two completely different UI's. It's extremely disorienting and breaks the multitasking paradigm. It seems like the UI team has suddenly become completely obsessed with number of clicks and so forth (or maybe just promoting the Windows 8 Store?), while completely losing sight of usability. They can't see the forest for the trees. Win8 should give you the choice during setup, but the default selection should be Metro UI for touch devices only. In it's current form, I can't imagine recommending Win8 to our home or corporate clients, or making it the default option on our desktop or notebook systems (last time we did that was with Vista, and we sold zero systems with Vista installed). I've also put plans for developing any Metro style apps on hold since it will simply be too frustrating to use one on anything but a tablet system. It's a real shame.