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Main - General Forum - Windows 8.0 Development
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Posted on 06-12-23 01:43 AM Link | ID: 169885
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Windows 8.0 had a very interesting development to say the least. When inspecting the earliest known builds of 8.0, it is clear that Microsoft had the features that would become the hallmarks of the released version of Windows 8.0 in mind from the get-go, with the exception of the theme. Below, we will take a tour of sorts of the mostly straightforward, but at times confusing, development of 8.0.

Windows 8 Build 7652

This is the earliest known build of Windows 8. Based on the only known images Metadata, this build was compiled before November 24th, 2009, but after Windows 7's RTM. This build has been confirmed to be a Windows 8 Build as it features very early ARM architecture support. There is currently no evidence to support this build being a Beta version of a scrapped Service Pack 2 for 7 with ARM support, as the build number would be 7602, not 7652 (maybe this is Windows 7 Service Pack 52, lol).

Windows 8 Build 7700

This build is notable for being the first leaked Windows 8 build. On the surface, nothing screams Windows 8, you might even think this is a post-RTM build of Windows 7, as it still bears the 6.1 version number, still features the Windows 7 bootscreen, and the Windows 7 branding everywhere, but it is a Windows 8 Build as under the hood, several changes that would persist into Windows 11 appeared here, plus a very early version of Internet Explorer 9 (Still known as Internet Explorer 8, and would not ship with Windows 8 RTM) appears, although it is unstable once loaded into Internet Explorer 9 Mode. It also includes the first references to Windows 8 within Group Policy Manager.

Windows 8 Build 7746

Not much has changed except for minor things. Some drivers for Realtek and Intel were added, the Windows 7 RTM wallpaper is back as is the Send Feedback button (albeit with a broken UI), Internet Explorer 9 is newer and will not crash on most sites, and some bugs were introduced.

Windows 8 Build 7777

The first hints of Windows 8's Metro interface would appear here. While the Start Screen and other items are not yet present, twinui.dll and twinapi.dll appear here, which would facilitate Metro in later released, as stubs. It does, however, include a very early version of the Windows Store. Accessing it will fail as it relies on an internal Microsoft Intranet server. This can be patched, but all you'll get is an offline message. The first appearance of Internet Explorer 9 branding appears here as well. It still uses IE8's interface, but the IE9 interface can be enabled. Despite all this, it is still branded as Windows 7 and has version 6.1.

Windows 8 Build 7779

Everything is still version 6.1, but the Start Screen can finally be enabled, although it only says (launcher). The ribbon interface can also be enabled, but is very buggy, and will show you all the options, even if they don't apply to the folder you're in. This is also the last build to include Windows Classic. It also introduces center window text, unless Windows Classic is used.

Windows 8 Build 7814

The version is still the same, but the Start Screen now somewhat resembles what it would look like in the RTM in that programs are littered on it and can be opened. The Charms Bar also appears here as well. Windows Classic has been removed from this build as well.

Windows 8 Build 7875

The first Windows 8 Build to include the 6.2 branding. Several enhancements were made to the Metro interface, although it is still Aero-fied. What would eventually become Search Everywhere is included, and invoking it, it has a very Aero interface. This suggests the RTM interface was an afterthought and that Aero was intended to be used in the RTM, before being removed in favor of the RTM interface.

Windows 8 Build 8102

This is the first build to enable the Metro features like the Start Screen from the get-go. Despite this, they can still be disabled and the Windows 7 shell re-enabled. Metro has also been updated, loosing the Aero interface, and making it more in line with the RTM. The Aero theme is still used elsewhere, however.

Windows 8 Build 8128

This is the first build to entirely remove the Windows 7 interface, meaning it cannot be re-enabled anymore. The start button is still included, but is flat.

Windows 8 Build 8277

Nothing really special about this build other than it is my go to build as it features a perfect mix of Windows 8 and Windows 7 (albeit no start menu).

Windows 8 Build 8432

This is the first Windows 8 build to remove the Aero theme, with the theme now resembling the RTM. It is also the last build to include the desktop gadgets.

Windows 8 Build 9200, the RTM

This is the RTM build. A year later, everyone on this build would be upgraded to Windows 8.1.

Now that a brief history of Windows 8's development has been given, let's talk about it. Why did the Aero Glass effects persist so long into 8's development before being removed. I hinted that it was intended to be the RTM interface before they decided to remove it and use the flat interface. It is also curious that you could disable the Metro interface and re-enable the Windows 7 interface such as the Start Menu with a registry key. Was this, at one point, intended to remain in the RTM, with the user being able to toggle between the two via Taskbar and Start Menu properties? It should be noted something similar appeared in the early Windows 10 Builds (when it was still version 6.3), where you could switch between the Start Screen or the new Start Menu. Give your thoughts below!

There are a few builds of Windows 8 that I have not tried, but plan on doing so. I want to try Windows 8 Build 7779 with the Windows Classic theme AND the ribbon interface enabled. I also want to try Build 7814 and see if Windows Classic theme can be enabled by simply copying its theme file over.

Posted on 06-12-23 01:47 AM Link | ID: 169886
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I remember there was a Windows 8 development blog called "Building Windows 8"; unfortunately I think the Windows team blogs were purged at some point :(

Posted on 06-12-23 04:22 AM (rev. 2 of 06-12-23 04:35 AM by Moline) Link | ID: 169887
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Posted by Nicole
I remember there was a Windows 8 development blog called "Building Windows 8"; unfortunately I think the Windows team blogs were purged at some point :(

I think if you use, you can find them there, provided you know the URL. AFAIK, they never did provide a reason for why the Aero Glass effects were removed. They were included until very late into Windows 8's development, and initially, in the early builds that Metro interface can be enabled, it also had a very Aero Glass effect before they made it more in line with the RTM build. Of course, when Metro came into force, the Glass theme became squared. In the builds where Metro is not enabled oob, it is rounded, but turns square when enabled. In the lone build where Metro is enabled oob, but can be disabled, the theme is square, but can be made round by disabling Metro and restoring the Windows 7 shell.

My question is, why Aero Glass the Metro features such as the Start Screen and Search Everywhere screens, only to make it flat, and then eventually remove the glass effects altogether? A lot of the Metro features were given this treatment before being made flat. This leads me to believe that the flat theme of the RTM may have been an afterthought. Given how long Aero Glass persisted into 8's development, it does not seem like something they had in the works since the beginning, especially since the Glass theme was squared when Metro became the star of the show.

Windows 8 Build 8277. HP 15-f233wm and Acer Aspire E1-531 work great with this build!

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