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Microsoft Is Testing a Return to Windows Desktop

Stocks in this article: MSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) may be in the process of burying its tile-laden "Metro" screen allowing the next version of its computer operating system to boot to the tried-and-true Windows layout, according to multiple reports.

The Verge reported Microsoft, aware that users never really took a liking to the idea of Windows 8 opening to the new tiled Home interface, is currently testing an update which could bring back the iconic screen first made famous with the release of Windows 95 some 18 years ago.

Microsoft stock was advancing 0.52% to $37.05 in early New York trading on Friday.

Microsoft research showed that Windows users still overwhelmingly depend on a keyboard and mouse to control desktop applications despite Windows 8 being designed for touchscreen navigation.

A few months ago when Microsoft released the first version of Windows 8.1, users were given the option to flip a switch and have their computers boot directly into the classic interface.

Microsoft also realized it has to do something for its large base of enterprise customers who have been hesitant to upgrade to Windows 8. Many of those users are still dependent on Windows XP. Microsoft is hoping to steer them toward upgrading to Windows 8.1 when official support for XP finally ends in April.

For the record, Windows XP (Windows 5) was first released for sale in October 2001. Microsoft officially followed XP with the disastrous Windows Vista (Windows 6) in January 2007 and the much-improved Windows 7 in October 2009.

According to Russian blogger WZor, the next version of the OS could allow those new Metro-style apps to run in special new windows on the traditional desktop interface. Improved power management and desktop scaling for high-resolution monitors are also reportedly being tested at part of the upgrade.

This newest software revision is said to be named "Windows 8.1. Update 1" and is expected to be released in early March.

The next big overhaul of the OS, Windows 9, will reportedly be announced at Microsoft's planned "Build" conference for developers scheduled for April 2-4 in San Francisco.

 -- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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