Microsoft on Wednesday confirmed my previous reports that it would ship a Windows update that brings back the Start menu as an option and lets users run Modern apps on the Windows desktop in floating windows. What's interesting about this development, however, is that the firm was deliberately vague about how and when this update would ship. Is this happening next April in Windows 9? Or is a Windows 8 Update 2 in the works?

Screenshot courtesy of Brenden Howser ‏(@pouletfou51)

As a backgrounder, I previously wrote that Microsoft would ship a Windows update codenamed "Threshold" in April 2015, adding, among other things, the return of the Start menu and the ability to run Metro-style apps on the desktop alongside desktop applications. But before that, I wrote about the return of the Start menu and the floating Modern apps in Further Changes Coming in Windows "Threshold".

These are both happening. But ... the way that Microsoft's Terry Myerson worded the announcement was, as it turns out, deliberately vague. He said that a coming update to Windows 8.1 would include the new Start menu (as an option) and the ability to run Modern apps in floating windows on the desktop. But he didn't say when this would happen. Or what update would include these additions.

I asked about this and according to a spokesperson, Microsoft doesn't want to promise what this update will be named—Update 2 or Windows 9 or whatever—or even a general schedule. It could be this fall. It could be next year. We'll see.

But they're happening. Good news!

The Start menu:

Floating Modern app window: