Windows 8 Build 9374 brings 'Kiosk' mode, confirms 8.1 name

Microsoft continues to build and leak Windows Blue at a solid rate. Last month we toured build 9364, and now 9374 is out. There are plenty of rumors about where "Blue" is headed, including even, oh the horrors, bringing back the Start menu and adding a boot-to-Desktop option. With 9374 now out on the web (BN can not tell you where to find it, but I am sure you will stumble upon it if you look), I decided to see what changed.

Before we go any further, just for the record, this installation is 32-bit only and you will need to choose "Custom" when running setup -- an upgrade does not work. I installed in Virtual Box, and I recommend you use some sort of virtualization software as well. This leak is certainly not ready for prime time just yet.

What is New?

First and foremost, you will notice that the version is now, indeed, listed as 8.1 Pro Preview. Honestly, you cannot miss this because the name is on the Desktop in the lower right corner and listed within the computer properties screen.

Despite recent rumors, there is not, at least yet, any Start menu or a boot-to-Desktop option, though those may perhaps still be in the works. Personally, I do not miss those things and could care less if they are added or not, but many users will no doubt want them.

The biggest addition to this latest build is the new Kiosk mode, which can be accessed from the PC Settings found in the Charms menu. The option is listed under the User setting. Kiosk mode allows you to lock down user accounts to certain functionalities that you choose and also makes it possible to set an app to launch upon Startup -- possibly a reason for HTPC fans to finally move on from Windows 7, as 8 previously had no option for starting Windows Media Center upon boot (though some hacks existed to make it possible). Kiosk mode looks incomplete at this point. The feature is tailor-made for parental controls and also for computers located in retail locations that wish to have a dedicated store app.

The Search option also is changed slightly, and no longer displays the app list behind it, but only the actual Search column on the right of the screen. This also looks incomplete -- I could only access from the Start page, while the Desktop brought up only an empty column -- no search box in it.

Conclusion

There is not really much to see here. Only the Kiosk mode and Search screen are really new, and neither feels complete at this point. Given that 9374 is a leaked build this is not a big surprise, and bugs are to be expected, too. The OS is certainly not ready for anything close to production use and should only be run on a test system or in virtual mode.

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