Windows Blue Has Leaked, Part 2 – What’s New

Microsoft’s Windows 8 update, which has been code named Windows “Blue”, has been outed to the world well ahead of the company’s planned release, which is rumored for August of this year. If you feel ambitious, then you can grab a copy and see what you think of the next Windows version.

In part one of this we looked at setting Windows Blue up using virtual software — in this case Virtual Box from Oracle — and the new settings options that are included, such as new colors and other options that have been built into the next Microsoft operating system.

Now, in part two, it is time to look at the new apps and software updates that have been built into Windows Blue, and if you think the setup and customization options were different, then you have not seen anything yet.

The Change PC Settings Panel Gets SkyDrive

Microsoft made the cloud a priority in both Windows 8 and Office 2013. Now the company is taking another step towards integrating its cloud storage service, SkyDrive, into its operating system. With Windows Blue, the cloud has come straight into the Modern UI version of the Control Panel.

While Windows 8 has a traditional Control Panel, it also has a similar, but somehow different version, of the app also included. It is accessed by heading to the Charms menu, which can be done by hitting the Windows-C buttons or by moving your finger (touchscreen) or mouse pointer to the top or bottom right corners of the screen.

Once you have the Charms menu then you can hit “Settings” and then choose “Change PC Settings”. This brings up the Modern UI version of the Control Panel.

Options are listed down the left column and Windows Blue has an entry for SkyDrive — something you will not find in the current Windows 8.

Bear in  mind that Windows Blue Build 9364 is buggy. It is a very early build and was not intended for the masses, though I have reason to believe that Microsoft themselves leaked this for promotional reasons — and got their money’s worth from it as well. With that said, there are things that simply do not work here.

SkyDrive in PC Settings is one of those things. There are three options in the left column — Storage Use, Device Backups and Files. The first two are dead at the moment, but Files seems to actually be up and running.

Files lets you set photos and videos to upload to the cloud automatically. You can choose between image quality so that bad quality media does not waste your precious SkyDrive space.

Alarms, Calculate and Sound Recorder, Oh My!

Three new Metro, or Modern UI, apps have made their way into Windows Blue. They can not be missed, as they show in gray, which stands out from the other colorful icons on the Start screen.

The new apps contain two things that were previously built into Windows, but not a part of Metro. Those are the calculator (now called Calculate) and the Sound Recorder. A new app called Alarms has also been added.


As the name implies, the Alarms app allows you to set times and dates on your computer for when the alarm will go off. When first launched the app will  ask for certain permissions — do not panic, these are rather important to the functionality of the app. In other words, you need to grant the app access or it will not run.


Windows has long come with a calculator app. It is simple, but works extremely well and includes a number of features that most users probably do not even notice.

Now Microsoft has moved the app into the Modern UI realm and altered the name just a bit — it’s now called Calculate. The features are all still there, including the basic functions, scientific and converter.

Sound Recorder

Sound Recorder is another feature that has long come built into Windows versions, but has now made the move to the Windows 8 Start screen. This is a very early build of the Windows Blue update and, consequently, it is a bit buggy. I say that because Sound Recorder is the only one of the three apps that I could not open. The splash screen appears, but then the app closes again. It’s part of the joy of running test software like this.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 10 launched with Windows 8 last October. Recently the company even made this version of the browser available on the Windows 7 operating system.

With the new Windows “Blue” the company has updated the browser to version 11. The upgrades are pretty much all behind the scenes here, as there is little in 11 that jumps out at the user from and differs from IE 10.


Windows Blue, which will be renamed before its release, is expected to become available sometime later this year — August if the rumors are correct. However, Microsoft has announced that it will release a preview version at its BUILD conference, which takes place in June.

There is an awful lot to look forward too in this next iteration of Windows. New customization features, new apps and new cloud integration to name just a few things.

While the operating system is certainly not ready for Prime Time at this point — some apps like Sound Recorder simply do not launch —  and it can be slow or completely unresponsive at times, it is still the next Windows. That alone makes it interesting for all of us. After all, we need to know what Microsoft plans to throw at us next.


Windows Blue update to Windows 8

  • Windows 8
  • Microsoft