Lost Windows feature: The Horizon

Raymond Chen

During the early explorations for what became the Windows 8 user interface, one of the major questions was what system affordances, if any, would remain on the screen when an app was running. And one of the leading candidates was a concept that was known as the horizon.

The horizon was a small band of information at the bottom of the screen. It would have the current time and date, battery charge, network connectivity, that sort of thing. It provided quick-glance access to the information you wanted regardless of what programs were running.

I assume that it was called the horizon because it was a horizontal line that stretched across the entire view, the same way the earth’s horizon off in the distance spans your view from left to right. The Windows 8 horizon is at the bottom of your field of view, just like the earth’s horizon (assuming you’re looking at the sky). The difference, though, is that the earth’s horizon is far away, but the Windows 8 horizon was close by.

Furthermore, you could grab the horizon and drag it upward, and connected to it was the Start screen.

The horizon was eventually abandoned, but the time, date, battery, and network indicators set up their own spinoff band, known as TDBN.


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  • M. W. 0

    So… basically the Windows taskbar and notification area? 🤨

    • anonymous 0

      This comment has been deleted.

    • Stephen MAnsfield 0

      And then you could have had the option to pin app icons to it! And lots of other third-party things would have finagled their way into the TDBN box!

      We still have some 2012 servers hanging around and I go onto them just infrequently enough to spend a happy few moments clicking the taskbar Windows icon, then the Desktop panel, then the Windows icon, before I remember the way to actually get at the apps I need. Grrr …

  • Roeland Schoukens 0

    There used to be something called a Charms bar which I think did a similar thing.

    I don’t remember the canonical way to make it appear, but at least one touchpad manufacturer decided to implement a shortcut using a touchpad gesture: swipe into the touchpad with one finger from the right (starting outside it). Unfortunately that is already the gesture for a very common and mundane thing: “I want to move my cursor to the left a lot”.


    • David Trapp 0

      That was the canonical way, I believe

      • Roeland Schoukens 0

        That was probably on tablets with a touch screen, similar to how Android users swipe down from the top. But most definitely not with the touchpad on a laptop.

        It was almost impossible to work on the laptop because the charms bar would pop up every time you want to move your cursor to the left. Until I disabled that setting in the touch driver setting. For those with a computer mouse or similar pointing device, you had to move the mouse to one of the corners.

    • Christopher Benson 0

      The keyboard shortcut to activate / display / summons / descry / dredge up / entice the Charms bar on WIndows 8.X is apparently:

      WIndows Logo Key + Shift + C

      Never having actually used Windows 8 or 8.1, the things a Charms bar might entail have been left to my imagination (hence my difficulty choosing an appropriate verb).

  • cheong00 0

    Just like the system state monitor gadget on Vista, that’s something that some system admins missed.

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