Microsoft has confirmed that it is to unveil its Windows 9 "technology preview" on 30 September.
It follows reports indicating that the software giant was planning to rush out an early release of its next operating system after the poor reception given to Windows 8, and its update Windows 8.1, which was intended to address some of the most stinging criticisms of Microsoft's touch-friendly operating system.
According to reports, the next release has been labelled "Windows Threshold" and will be available for developers to familiarise themselves with from 30 September. They will, however, be obligated to take regular, monthly updates from Microsoft.
The new operating system will herald the return of a "mini start menu", while the unloved "charms bar" will, mercifully, be expunged. There will also be several user interface changes intended to improve usability. In addition, Microsoft is planning to integrate the Cortana voice recognition tool into the new operating system.
Reports also suggest that Microsoft is - sensibly - planning to combine Windows RT, the version of Windows intended for non-phone ARM mobile devices, and Windows Phone. In other words, Microsoft's PC and mobile operating system split will mimick the split between Apple OSX and iOS.
The release comes as speculation is growing that future iterations of Windows will be offered in a form of subscription, with low-end versions going free, but customers forced to pay a monthly fee for extra services.