Sometime in 2012, Microsoft is expected to announce its next major version of Windows for the client platform. It has the working name "Windows 8", and was previewed to developers at the BUILD Conference, this September. A member of Chinese tech site PCbeta community got to play with a newer build of Windows, build 8172. Screenshots of its most common user interface elements, such as desktop, Windows Explorer, PC Settings (control panel), etc., were posted. Engadget notes that these screenshots don't reveal much else from the Windows Developer Preview shown at the BUILD Conference.
The first screenshot above reveals the Start screen featuring Metro UI design elements (which replaces the Start Menu), the second reveals PC Settings screen, which serves the purpose of the Windows Control Panel, and the next two screenshots reveal the Windows Explorer user interface with its "ribbon" element collapse and expanded.
The next screenshot (above), reveals the new file transfer dialog, which provides a little more information than just a progress bar, an animation, and a few numbers. The progress bar embeds a graph that reports transfer speeds in real time. Next up, is the new Task Manager, which gives greater control over running tasks and processes; and the final screen reveals the new sidebar, which makes the taskbar optional. In all, Microsoft plans some major UI changes, while retaining compatibility with many of the elements found in Windows 7, to ease the transition. The window titlebars themselves look identical in function to the ones Windows 7 gives you, but that there are some aesthetic changes. Basically every rounded-edge is sharpened out. The PCbeta member who leaked these screenshots confirmed that build 8172 is still pre-beta.Sources: PCbeta, Engadget