Russian Microsoft leaker WZOR has resurfaced three months after going into hiding with new information on Windows 8.1 Update 2, as well as details on new security measures at Microsoft and Windows 9.
WZor, now thought to be a group of people and not one individual, had a devastatingly accurate track record when it came to inside information on Windows. However, the group vanished off their blogging host LiveJournal and Twitter following the arrest of a Microsoft mole in its Lebanon office.
The group resurfaced on a Russian board recently and unloaded a whole lot of news on Windows. First, it confirmed that Windows 8.1 Update 2 should be released in August or September this year and will be a free upgrade for existing users.
Users who install Windows 8.1 Update 2 from scratch will need new license keys. They said, assuming Bing translated it all properly, Microsoft will offer two options to users who are still on Windows 8.0: update to Windows 8.1 Update 1 and then to Windows 8.1 Update 2, or for likely a small fee, purchase a direct update to Windows 8.1 Update 2 from the Windows Store.
Wzor didn't have one rather important detail: features of Update 2. People are dying to know when the Start button will return, of course, so that's an important detail. The group said Microsoft has made some internal changes to put a stop to the constant leaks. For example, testers of upcoming Windows releases need to request a test build using a special internal tool, and every test build has some kind of individual markings, so if there is a leak, Microsoft knows where it came from.
These changes have impacted many foreign Microsoft offices, especially Microsoft's office in China. Considering that China leaks like a colander, that's no surprise. Most of the build screens of Update 1 and earlier came from China.
Wzor also brought up the Chinese government's decision to forbid Windows 8 on government computers, and said Microsoft is in "panic mood" about the fate of Windows 9. They did not elaborate except to say that it is likely the client version of Windows 9 Enterprise for China that will come without integration with Microsoft cloud services.
They also said the ability to disable the old Metro interface is being actively discussed internally at Microsoft. Other gossip sites are reporting this as well. Neowin has a long piece on how Windows 9, aka Threshold, will boot to desktop, just like you can do now with Update 1, and have the Modern UI disabled. As in completely disabled, unless you go into settings and turn it on again for Live Tiles apps.
However, Windows 8 would know if it's running on a tablet/phablet or two-in-one, the laptops with detachable screens that become tablets, and automatically boot to the Modern UI.
Windows 9 won't show its face, whatever face it has, until 2015, so there's plenty of time for more leaks and rumors.