We cover Windows 8 like the plague here at TNW, as it is Microsoft’s most important project. If Windows falls, Office falters, and the entire Redmond truck slides off the edge of the road; given the risks that the company is taking with the new operating system, we are taking its every step quite seriously.

Today we have yet another sheaf of screenshots of the software, which show a perhaps incremental improvement to its overall look and feel. They also confirm that the ‘ribbon’ interface remains in Explorer, but hint that it might be ‘folded’ by default.

Now, onto the images themselves:

settings 520x416 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

explorer no ribbon 520x416 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

explorer ribbon 520x416 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

transfer 520x338 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

transfer 2 520x348 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

build proof 520x416 New Windows 8 screenshots confirm Explorers ribbon

The last image contains ‘proof’ of the build.

What to make of these images? The only takeaway that we would hazard is that Microsoft appears to be making, still, few changes to the ‘normal’ side of Windows. That is to say that the current desktop Windows should make it into Windows 8 unharmed; if you like Windows 7, Microsoft is set to keep you content.

The question becomes how the new UI elements of Windows 8 will translate to non-touch interfaces, and if they will ignite on tablets themselves. That should be answered by the beta, essentially. Given that there are less than 50 days (most likely) between us and that beta, it’s game time. Expect more leaks, and expect us to bring them to you.

All images via PCBeta.