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TV ads touting Microsoft's Windows 8 leak to Internet

Focus of the four ads is on the 'Modern' UI, with just one glimpse of the traditional desktop

Four purported Microsoft TV advertisements for Windows 8 have leaked to the Web, and strut the operating system's new "Modern" user interface (UI).

The ads, which each run 54 seconds, were first revealed by the Israeli TechIT website.

Microsoft will launch Windows 8 at a New York City event on Thursday, Oct. 25, and start selling the upgrade -- with computer makers pitching in with new PCs and tablets -- on Friday, Oct. 26. The company has yet to air any advertisements in the U.S. touting the operating system.

The ad quartet uses phrases like "Work hard, play hard" and "Surf, search, share, explore," along with fast-paced editing and a catchy soundtrack to strut some of the touch-first qualities of Windows 8. They focus almost exclusively on the Modern UI, formerly known as "Metro."

Among the features the ads highlight are Windows 8's Picture Password -- a log-in option where users touch pre-determined spots on a photo -- Snap, which lets users view two Modern apps side-by-side; and the dynamically-updated tiles on the Start screen that show, for instance, incoming messages and current weather conditions.

They also demonstrate navigation of the Modern UI, including using Search, swiping to bring up menus and browsing the Windows Store for new apps.

But while the ads briefly give a single glimpse of the traditional Windows desktop, they do not bother showing how users return to the Start screen from there, or -- not surprisingly -- highlight that the iconic Start button and Start menu are absent from the desktop.

Microsoft has been criticized for not including tutorials with Windows 8; the sole exception to the "out-of-box experience" is a short animation that shows users how to access the Charms menu on the right side of the screen. The ads may be Microsoft's answer.

The ads were polished, and if not the real deal, show that someone spent serious time faking them.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request to confirm the ads came from the company.

This is one of four purported Microsoft ads touting Windows 8 that have leaked to the web.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.

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