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Next version of Windows shown off in alleged screenshots

Apparently leaked screenshots of the next Windows reveal the upcoming new Start menu and a resizable Windows 8 app running on a desktop.

Screenshot of a desktop running a mockup of the next Windows, shown off by Microsoft in April and again in mid-July. Microsoft

The next version of Microsoft's operating system is purportedly on view in two leaked screenshots.

Posted on Monday by tech blog Myce, the screenshots don't by themselves reveal anything new about the next version of Windows -- aka Threshold or Windows 9 -- but do show off a couple of key features. One screenshot depicts the return of the Start menu, which Microsoft itself has already officially revealed.

The Start menu in the alleged screenshot displays the new two-column format with shortcuts to your desktop applications on the left and with settings, live tiles, and other Metro -- aka Modern -- apps on the right. In this regard, it mimics the Start menu seen in the image above revealed by Microsoft in April and again in mid-July.

Given the weak response to Windows 8, most notably among desktop users, Microsoft has been under pressure to make the next version of Windows more PC friendly. Toward that end, the software giant plans to restore the Start menu. The new version will also likely let you run and resize Metro apps in the desktop so you can work with desktop programs and Metro apps side by side in one single environment. In short, Windows 9 will represent a return to some of the elements of Windows 7 with much of the flair of Windows 8 and Windows 8 apps still retained.

The second screenshot posted by Myce displays the Windows Store app running in a resizable window on the desktop. In the latest version of Windows 8.1, you can run Windows apps from the desktop but they are displayed in full-screen mode.

The first screenshot does still show Windows 8.1 as the version. Microsoft initially planned to reintroduce the Start menu in the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2 but then changed its mind. So far, the next version of Windows is codenamed Threshold, which may officially be renamed Windows 9. Whatever it's called, the next version of Windows with the Start menu in tow is expected to arrive in April.

Although the features seen in the screenshots are likely destined for Windows Threshold, the screenshots themselves may or may not be the real deal. Myce didn't say where or how it obtained the screenshots. The site said it believes the images to be legit but still advised people to take them with the usual grain of salt.

Assuming the screenshots are for real, the Windows build depicted was compiled on July 13 and purportedly comes from the Microsoft team responsible for the Start menu, apps displayed in resizable windows, and other changes to the user interface.