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Change may be less extreme than some expected, but may leave some unhappy campers

You don't put desktop in the corner.

That sentiment is at the heart of much of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) faithful’s increasing frustration with Windows 8.  Loyal Windows blogger Paul Thurrott went as far as to compare it to the much loathed Windows ME ("Millennium Edition").  Others have been more charitable, praising its strong touch support.  And manufacturers seem to be on board with Microsoft's message, at least, showing of a slew of hybrid notebooks and tablets [1][2][3].

When word leaked that Microsoft had snipped out the code that allowed the Start Menu to be re-enabled on the desktop via third-party hacks, many commenters flipped out and let their rage be known.  They weren't much happier when they heard that the Aero UI theme found in Windows Vista and Windows 7 desktops would be replaced by a Metro UI alternative.  (The current publicly available Release Preview retains the Aero UI theme.)

So how bad (or good) is the new Metro desktop makeover? Judge for yourself from these screenshots from WinUnleaked.

Windows 8 Metro Desktop

Windows 8 Metro UI Windows 8 Metro Desktop Windows 8 Metro Desktop Windows 8 Metro Desktop

Windows 8 Metro Desktop
(Click any image to enlarge) [Images Source: WindowsUnleaked]

While there's no real reason to doubt the authenticity of these shots, bear in mind that the leaked OS is a pre-RTM (release to manufacturing/marketing) build.  Even the poster "canouna" warns, "Please keep in mind this is not the FINAL theme."

Some people have already (for better or worse) drawn comparisons between the Metro theme and the Windows XP Water Color theme:

XP Water Color
 [Image Source: "The Rock"/WindowsUnleaked]

Of course, the bad news is that Microsoft appears to be locking the Desktop to Metro UI, though there's faint hope that it might leave in legacy code allowing transparency to be re-enabled.  Desktop Windows Manager (DWM) is still running on the test builds, but there's no telling if it will contain the Aero code any more.  Microsoft has stated before that Aero wastes battery life and consumes extra processing power versus the cleaner Metro UI, so that may be justification in Microsoft's mind for the switch.

As far as further changes to the desktop, the top two rumors are that Microsoft may complete the Metro makeover with new Metro-styled icons.  A second rumor is that the Office-esque "Ribbon" will be added to more of the menus, as this was the case in certain early builds.

So what do you think?  Is the Metro desktop in its current form a stud or a dud?

Source: WindowsUnleaked

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RE: Looks like...
By retrospooty on 6/14/2012 11:34:40 AM , Rating: 3
I dunno... Its great for touchscreen devices, but I can't see the point in disabling the option to get the old desktop back for standard non-touch laptops and desktops.

RE: Looks like...
By datdamonfoo on 6/14/2012 11:37:25 AM , Rating: 2
Except the old desktop is there. In fact, the pictures on this page prove it.

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 11:58:16 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, if this leak is accurate. I am bemused by the taskbar. Look how it's returned to the Windows XP days. Better for touch devices by a lot, but I actually liked the popup system of the current taskbar on the Windows 7 desktop.

It's hilarious how we are swinging right back into the past, just with more color saturation.

RE: Looks like...
By 3DoubleD on 6/14/2012 12:12:37 PM , Rating: 4
This is my point. Metro GUI... fine. Just give me the same Windows 7 GUI as well, but with the new features... Windows 7 SP2

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 1:01:27 PM , Rating: 3
If only consumer choice was regarded as an important feature, again.

RE: Looks like...
By kingmotley on 6/14/2012 12:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are looking at the screenshot of a Windows 95 desktop that was put up for comparison.

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 12:43:18 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not. Click one of the smaller images beneath the main embedded image of the Metro UI in the article. In fact, here, I'll do it for you

RE: Looks like...
By tayb on 6/14/2012 1:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
I have been running Windows 8 in a test environment for months and I can say that the task bar pictured here is not the default task bar. Whoever took these screen caps changed the setting to never combine taskbar icons. They haven't taken this option away, at least not in the build I have, and I certainly couldn't see any reason that they would at a later date either.

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 1:36:38 PM , Rating: 2
I am also running the Windows 8 Release Preview. Remember, these leaks are of the -new- Metro UI. Whatever we have now does not apply. We have no idea what Microsoft will do, what it means that Aero is being removed (which brought with it the combined icons and Aero peak preview) and replaced with Metro. If this leak is to be believed, the new Metro is defaulted to label. But again, who knows what the final product will even be.

None the less, it makes sense if the default behavior -is- to do labeling and be more like XP rather than our current builds. That would make using the taskbar with a touchscreen a lot easier, so it makes logical sense that is the way they would go.

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 1:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
I should also say, I am suspicious that this leak is even real. Mostly because it is too similar to what we have now. It isn't "Metro-y" enough for me to think this is what Microsoft is going to do to be in line with the Start Screen/WP Metro look. But hey, I like the look of the windows, so if they kept it at this, I personally would be happy.

RE: Looks like...
By retrospooty on 6/14/2012 12:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno how functional it is. What we are being told (by MS as well) is that it will be gone. Well have to see.

RE: Looks like...
By mevans336 on 6/14/2012 11:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
It is a fantastic OS for touch devices. I find it frustrating to use with a mouse and keyboard so far however, as so much core Windows functionality has been changed and so many things (sans touch) are simply unintuitive.

RE: Looks like...
By Chadder007 on 6/14/2012 12:00:26 PM , Rating: 5
I like it fine for a tablet too, but there is no way Win 8 is going on my desktop. It's awful for multitasking on a large monitor with a keyboard and mouse, must less multimonitor setups.

RE: Looks like...
By tayb on 6/14/2012 1:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
Have you actually used Windows 8? For more than 30 seconds? The core functionality hasn't changed and I can't think of any reason why multi-tasking on Windows 8 would be any more difficult than on Windows 7.

People seriously need to stop jumping to conclusions and actually use the OS. It grows on you. I was a huge detractor but the more I use it the more I like it. Switching from testing on Windows 8 back to working on Windows 7 feels like a step backward, and that's a good thing for MS. That's the same way I felt going from Vista to 7.

RE: Looks like...
By B3an on 6/14/2012 3:28:45 PM , Rating: 2

I have two 30" 2560x600 monitors and find Win 8 superior for multitasking and multi-monitor setups.

It has better multi-monitor support for a start. You can now finally have a different taskbar on each monitor, and set the wallpaper to scale across all monitors or have a seperate wallpaper on each.

Multi-tasking is basically the same as Win 7 so i question whether you've actually used 8 at all. If anything it's easier though because i can now use multiple taskbars.

Theres also tons of little improvments. Now when i delete a file or shortcut i no longer get an annoying pop up window saying "Are you sure you want to send this to the recycle bin?" It just DELETES it immediately!

The Ribbon added to Windows Explorer also helps. I can customise what Ribbon tasks i want displayed along the top window bar (Quick Access Toolbar), so i dont even have to have the Ribbon expanded. I also like the new File menu added to Explorer. And tasks from this menu can be also added to the Quick Access Toolbar so they're just one click away.

Another nice little thing is when i import photos or video from a camera/phone, Windows will now correctly display the thumbnail images in the correct rotation. On Win 7 and older many thumbnail images were displayed sideways because the OS didn't support image/video orientation data. So even this saves time because i dont have to open up images/video in separate software to actually view them in the correct rotation.

Theres loads more stuff i could mention but i'd be here for ages... but the best thing is just that Win 8 is simply faster than 7. At pretty much everything, while managing to use less RAM.

RE: Looks like...
By croc on 6/15/2012 1:24:29 AM , Rating: 2
"30" 2560x600" Kind a funny shape for monitors... Do you run them in a sort-of-like SLI mode or something? Half of a document on the top one, the other on the bottom one...?

Or is this just a 'big brag' gone a bit curly?

RE: Looks like...
By mmarianbv on 6/15/2012 10:06:35 AM , Rating: 2
Theres also tons of little improvments. Now when i delete a file or shortcut i no longer get an annoying pop up window saying "Are you sure you want to send this to the recycle bin?" It just DELETES it immediately!

omg, and i had to click on a check box in windows 7 to do that.

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