Hands-On With Cache: The Latest From Microsoft Garage


Back in August, Brad wrote about an upcoming Microsoft Garage app called Cache. If you were a bit confused then, don’t feel bad. Cache is a fluid research project right now and pinning down what it’s meant to be is a bit difficult. But we can say in its current iteration, the premise is simple: to help you organize your, err, stuff. It’s similar to Microsoft’s OneNote app with its Notebooks concept but simpler in appearance and functionality.

Of course, as development continues, things will change.

Today, we got our hands on a snapshot of what Microsoft has so far – a .NET (WPF) desktop app – and, with some small tweaks to its beta user authorization code, took it for a quick spin and snapped a few photos along the way.

Hold on to your butts!


Welcome to Cache.

After a simple Microsoft Account-based login flow, you’re dropped into a blank home view. This is where you create your first collection. (Microsoft did a decent job at making this app appear modern, though is a crusty old .NET WPF app under the covers.)


You can create a new collection one of two ways: Click the + (plus) glyph or type CTRL+N.


Before we create a new collection, it’s worth noting Cache can automatically monitor your clipboard and save what gets put onto it. (You may remember Microsoft Office had a similar clipboard back in the day.)


It can also collect which websites you visit. (Though we couldn’t get this working.)


And any documents you work with. (We couldn’t get this feature working either.)


Let’s create a new collection.

In the new collection view, you can drag and drop files into the window, or use the clipboard to paste content directly into the collection. This is very useful for little scraps of text that don’t necessarily have a file-based home.


You can change the cover art to help you categorize what’s inside. Or to simply snazy up its appearance.


I was able to drop photos, a PowerShell script, and a random Win32 app I had lying around. There really is no discernible limit to what you can put in a collection.


The app has the notion of sticky notes, which are text scraps but with a yellow background.


Clicking the ellipses reveals a number of actions you can perform on an item.


Like preview, that displays some basic metadata and allows for annotation input.


Working with the app in windowed mode means you have to move it around when other apps get in the way. Or you can dock the app to the side of your desktop (as an appbar).


An app isn’t an app without it’s share of configurable bits and bobs. The general tab has your usual check for updates button, some diagnostic buttons and legalese.


Options surfaces most of Cache’s configurability. Here you can turn on/off the clipboard, web, and document monitor mentioned earlier. You can also archive — hide — collections, re-order them and block data capture from specific applications (extremely important for LastPass, which relies on the clipboard a lot for password transport).


And last but not least, a help area if you get stuck.

It’s still early days for Cache but we’ll keep an eye on it and let you know when things change. You can apply for a beta invite by filling out a simple form on its web page.

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Conversation 9 comments

  • 5554

    19 October, 2016 - 2:50 pm

    <p>Good lord, that monochromatic Metro UI is ugly as ever.</p>

    • 5530

      19 October, 2016 - 3:04 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#21543">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/PeteB">PeteB</a><a href="#21543">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>It’s a matter of (acquired) taste. I like it.</p>

    • 2175

      20 October, 2016 - 9:11 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#21543">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/PeteB">PeteB</a><a href="#21543">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Agreed. I mean, they could at least add some variation such as shapes or pattens on the background. Just subtle ones, to give some contrast and complexity to the scene. A blank black screen and grey menu bar are about as plain as looks can get</p>

  • 300

    Premium Member
    19 October, 2016 - 5:58 pm

    <p>Thanks for the article Rafael. OT your example ignored applications has lastpass and keepass. I’m curious, do you use two password managers or was this just illustrative? If you use them both… how does that work?</p>

    • 96

      Premium Member
      19 October, 2016 - 6:11 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#21566">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/shacoa">shacoa</a><a href="#21566">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>The app shipped with these exceptions by default!</p>

  • 2362

    20 October, 2016 - 5:55 am

    <p>This is pretty cool. Does it make a copy of files&nbsp;you add to a collection or is it more like a link to the original object?</p>

  • 5234

    20 October, 2016 - 8:42 am

    <p>I can only imagine that they’ll kill off this app and the functionality will be subsumed into OneNote. &nbsp;But as is always in true Microsoft fashion, not all of it.</p>

  • 6988

    20 October, 2016 - 10:40 am
  • 4094

    21 October, 2016 - 12:25 am

    <p>Interesting, but many/most of the Garage ideas go the way of the Dodo. &nbsp; Who knows, maybe this will catch on. &nbsp; Not a fan of the black background though.</p>


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