Windows 8 Build 7989 Overview

As many of you will already know, a few days ago a new Windows 8 build leaked into wild and rapidly became available on FTP servers and Torrent sites.

Build 7989.winmain.110421-1825 which is newer than the previously leaked builds 7955 and 7959 but is still part of the Milestone 3 phase of development and is therefore is very similar to the previous two in terms of functionality and performance.

Build 7989 boosts a few more changes this time around compared to 7955 and 7959, some of which I briefly cover.

 

New Boot Screen:

This build features a new boot screen which brings back the famous Betta fish that was present during Windows 7’s development. It is complete with an animated loading circle accompanied by the words “Welcome” This is a sign that Microsoft are getting ready for the Pre-Beta – Beta phase of development.

Build_7989_Boot_Screen

[Image Courtesy of Snuffy]

 

Aero Lite with transparency:

In the previous builds a new visual style known as Aero Lite was present. Although the visual style supported desktop composition based animations it lacked support for the transparency effects which we have grown to love since the early days of Windows Vista. In build 7989 the Aero Lite visual style now fully supports glass and has also been tweaked slightly.

7989_aerolite

Its also worth mentioning that the Basic theme now has the option to add transparency to both the taskbar and windows, however certain elements such as the start menu still retain the basic grey style, similar to what would normally be seen in the Windows Classic visual style.

 

Windows Phone 7 inspired Tablet Keyboard:

By default the Tablet PC Input Panel feature is installed upon first boot into desktop. This features a new keyboard which is somewhat similar to the touch screen keyboard in Windows Phone 7. It also includes the ability to switch to the split keypad view for thumb typing, which was first shown off at the All Things Digital conference earlier this month.

7989_keyboard1      7989_keyboard2

7989_keyboard3     7989_keyboard4

 

Updates to History Vault:

History Vault was first discovered in build 7955 but was somewhat unusable to an extent with no clear indication of it’s exact purpose. In build 7989 History Vault has been updated quite a bit and now includes a set of advanced configuration options. I am also told that it is in fact fully functional in this build although I have yet to test it myself.

Microsoft appear to be incorporating more a more extensive set of disaster recovery tools into the next version of Windows.

7989_historyvault1     7989_historyvault2

 

Windows SmartScreen settings:

Many of you who use Windows Live Messenger will probably be familiar with SmartScreen. That all so annoying URL that you are taken to after clicking a web link from within Messenger warning you that you are leaving Windows Live to visit another site? Yes that one.

SmartScreen now appears to be built into Windows 8 and was also present in build 7955 and 7959. In this build SmartScreen now has its own settings panel which can be accessed via the action pane from within Action Center.

7989_smartscreen1      7989_smartscreen2

 

Portable Workspace Creator:

Another interesting feature possibly making it’s way into Windows 8 is Portable Workspace Creator which enables Windows to be run from a USB drive. Again, this feature was also present in build 7850 and 7955 but has been updated slightly in 7989. As you can see from the shots below it now requires at least a 32 GB USB drive compared to the previous 16 GB.

I’m interested to see how this feature will work and may even test it later once I actually get a hold of a 32 GB flash drive.

You can find this tool under System32 by the name pwcreator.exe

7989_portableworkspace      7989_portableworkspace2

 

Metro styled Control Panel:

What’s Windows 8 without a bit of Metro eh? The “Immersive” based applications present in the OS resemble somewhat of a Metro look at feel to them, the new start screen is a perfect example. Microsoft are drastically changing elements of the UI to give it a more modern appearance much like the Windows Phone 7 OS.

Hidden within certain areas of these builds are elements of this UI, one of them being another Control Panel. Although already present in build 7955 it has been changed slightly here, but still requires desktop composition to be disabled in order for it to successfully launch.

controlpanel_immersive1     controlpanel_immersive2

The only downside is that it somewhat broken (as you would expect for now) therefore I have only decided to take a couple of shots. However, here is a complete list of what options are available from within it:

  • Activate Windows
  • General
  • Ease of Access
  • Search
  • Wireless
  • Devices
  • Privacy
  • Notifications
  • Windows Update
  • Desktop Control Panel (Default Control Panel)

The Metro Control Panel can be found under System32 by the name SystemSettings.exe

 

 

Hyper-V 3.0 and new VHDX Virtual Hard Disk format:

Rob McLaws recently discovered a bunch of Hyper-V 3.0 based features within 7989:

 

Storage

  • Virtual Fibre Channel Adapter
  • Storage Resource Pools
  • New .VHDX virtual hard disk format (Up to 16TB + power failure resiliency

Memory/Processor Enhancements

  • Support for more than 4 cores
  • NUMA – Memory per Node, Cores per node, Nodes per Processor Socket

Networking Enhancements

  • Hardware Acceleration (Virtual Machine Queue & IPsec Offload
  • Bandwidth Management
  • DHCP Guard
  • Router Guard
  • Monitor Port
  • Virtual Switch Extensions
  • Network Resource Pools

7989_vhdx

 

Changes to the Logon Screen:

Those who used builds 7955 and 7959 will remember the Metro inspired logon screen, which in a way resembled the Windows Phone 7 lock screen.

On a laptop system the logon screen would display the battery status along with the date and time. In 7989 it now also displays the Wireless network status.

7989_logon

 

Anti-Malware startup driver:

Another interesting find lies within the boot options for the OS. Simply hitting F8 to enter the OS boot option choices and you will come across an option to disable early launch of an Anti-Malware driver.

7989_bootoptions

Are Microsoft aiming to add another layer of protection to Windows? Perhaps a level of Rootkit protection? No one can really say for sure but certainly very interesting.

If I find anything else regarding this then I’ll be sure to update.

 

 

Tip: How to fix the User Tile and some “Immersive” applications

Anyone who has currently tested this build will probably be aware that the User Tile down in the right hand corner appears to be broken, and does nothing when clicked on.  The Immersive Browser also fails to launch.

The reason for this is because several system files in this build appear to be corrupted. 7989 originally came from a machine which was sysrepped and obviously during that process some things didn’t exactly turn out right. Luckily there is an easy fix.

  1. Launch Command Prompt as Administrator
  2. Type the command “sfc /scannow” (without the quotes)
  3. Wait for the verification process to complete
  4. Reboot the machine to complete the changes
  5. Done! The User Tile and Immersive Browser should now work properly.

Note: If you are using any of the RedPill or BluePill patches then please make sure to disable them before applying the above fix, as you will loose all unlocked features.

 

That’s all for now folks, if I stumble across anything else I’ll update on my findings. If you have found anything else in this build that I’ve not mentioned here then please feel free to contact me or leave a comment and I’ll be sure to add it here.

 

-Greig

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