Microsoft may release a technology preview of the Windows 9 operating system in September. Reuters

The next major update of the Windows operating system should be available as soon as September. Reports indicate the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) may begin offering a so-called technology preview of Windows 9 in late September or early October.

Sources told ZDNet the new OS, codenamed Threshold, should be officially available in spring. However, users should be able to access the preview to test the new features of Windows 9. Users who agree to be a part of the technology preview will reportedly receive software updates automatically.

Pointing to the Windows 8 preview period in 2012, ZDnet said users should anticipate at least three so-called milestone updates of the Windows 9 preview before it officially launches. CNet said Microsoft has declined to comment on most aspects of Windows 9, including its release date, official name and cost.

Among the prospective Windows 9 features are the return of the menu, which was removed in the Windows 8 version. The feature is being called something like Mini Start Menu, and it is expected to be a Windows icon, which will open the start menu. A leak in July depicted what the Windows 9 Start Menu might look like. Windows 9 may keep the Metro-style user interface that was introduced in Windows 8, but might get rid of the Windows 8 Charms bar. ZDNet said the new OS may also include virtual desktops, which would allow users to run applications in different areas of their desktops, as well as integration of Windows’ virtual personal assistant Cortana.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said Windows 9 will be an all-around OS that will be compatible with personal computers, tablets, smartphones and video-game consoles. In particular, differences between Windows Phone software and standard PC software should be removed.