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is combining the old with the new in an attempt to win back desktop users from Google, while making Internet search a key component of the operating system. Microsoft Corp. Can Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) win back former users lost to Google Inc. (NASDASQ:GOOGL)? Images of a Windows 9 preview that leaked online Thursday reveal how the software maker plans to try. Screenshots for a preview version of Windows 9 released by a pair of German tech blogs (via The Verge ) show that Microsoftis hoping to please PC users who were turned off by its touchscreen-centric approach to Windows 8: by integrating some of its new features into something that looks more like earlier Windows versions.Microsoft will also integrate Internet search into the Windows 9 desktop, with a new search button placed directly next to the Start button. The button gives users one less reason to open up a browser window and conduct a Google search, similar to how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is adding more Web-based information to its desktop search with OS X Yosemite.Microsoft disclosed earlier this month that the next version of Windows, codenamed “Threshold,” will most likely be called Windows 9 . The screenshots confirm earlier reports that Windows 9 will include an actual Start menu, as opposed to the button that only allowed users to alternate between Windows 8s Modern (or Metro) user interface and a more traditional desktop. Leaked screenshots of a Windows 9 beta preview confirm Microsoft’s plans for a traditional Start menu. On the right of the Windows icon, a search button will also give users one less reason to open a browser window and conduct a Google search. Microsoft Corp. Apps made for the Modern user interface are now able to run inside of a window, as opposed to taking up the whole screen, and a new button in the window for Windows Store apps lists previous Charms bar functions like search, share and play.Windows 9 will also allow users to switch between multiple desktops, each with their own layout and apps, as they can with Ubuntu Linux Workspaces. A button on the right side of the taskbar will also list messages from apps, similar to the Notifications bar in OS X. Since this is an early preview of Windows 9 in an unfinished state, any of these features could change before Microsoft officially releases the OS. It is expected to release a public beta of Windows 9 later this month . Images of a preview version of Windows 9 leaked online Thursday, showing Microsoft is mixing up new (Windows 8) features with a classic (Windows 7) look. The software maker is also lowering its minimum resolution requirements and licensing fee to help create less-expensive Windows devices and combat the rise of Chromebooks and Android tablets. Microsoft Corp. In efforts to compete better against Googles Chromebooks and Android devices, Microsoft reduced the minimum resolution for Windows 8.1, to allow it to run on low-end tablets like Toshibas 7-inch Encore Mini ($119) earlier this week. It has also reportedly lowered its licensing fees close to zero in the past few months so that manufacturers could produce cheaper Windows 8 devices, according to ZDNets Ed Bott .
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