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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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Why not have both?
By leviathan05 on 6/14/2012 11:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft has previously had the ability to add or remove windows components, why not make the traditional desktop one of these components along with aero?

RE: Why not have both?
By Gurthang on 6/14/2012 12:24:47 PM , Rating: 4
I believe the decision is a strategic one to get more development effort in making applications for the metro interface.

Loosing Aero I personally am fine with. While nice looking in some contexts it does waste resources without offering anything more than eye candy.

Now the rest of the changes, while I like some of the new metro apps and interfaces in the CP ad RP editions they seem to be removing functionality in the OS and many applications and not adding much. I mean no naitive MPEG2, or DVD playback, WMC is gone unless you get pro, the mail client does not let me do IMAP or POP, etc.

I still think it is possible to get the "metro" and "desktop" experieces more aligned but in the current build I am just not feeling it.

RE: Why not have both?
By dubldwn on 6/14/2012 12:37:50 PM , Rating: 4
I believe the decision is a strategic one to get more development effort in making applications for the metro interface.

This is a bizarre theory that I'm very interested in reading more about. MS makes Windows ugly so developers are more likely to flock to metro...
[Losing] Aero I personally am fine with. While nice looking in some contexts it does waste resources without offering anything more than eye candy.

You just said yourself it's nice looking eye candy. If you don't want it (for vram issues, etc.), you can turn it off. I like it and I'm not worried about battery life. What battery? My rig is plugged into the wall.

RE: Why not have both?
By Lugaidster on 6/16/2012 7:06:12 AM , Rating: 1
So in essence, they are using their virtual monopoly on the desktop space to push for a new paradigm. If only a good alternative OS existed that worked equally well (No, Linux is not an alternative thanks to the assholes that are too focused on licences rather than the actual software), people would just move to there. Metro currently has no leverage other than it comes with Desktop Windows.

My biggest gripe with Windows 8 is the being closed portion. I don't like closed stores that only allow certain software, Windows wasn't iOS (and thank god it wasn't), I don't know why MS is so bent on making it like that. As long as another company's software has a say on how I should be using my computer, I won't use that software. Sadly that means I'm stuck with Windows 7 for the foreseeable future as FreeBSD and co. don't have good hardware support.

RE: Why not have both?
By EnzoFX on 6/14/2012 12:16:25 PM , Rating: 1
Thank god Aero was gone, it was bad design coupled with cheap effects. People do like shiny things however...

RE: Why not have both?
By JediJeb on 6/15/2012 5:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
I have been turning off the sliding menus, mouse pointer shadows and such since W2K and XP, I finally figured out how to get rid of them on my new W7 laptop.

I can't find any of the things I used to be able to find before. It took me 30 minutes just to find where they put the menu for adding another user.

RE: Why not have both?
By augiem on 6/15/2012 10:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I hate how they keep reorganizing things. I wouldn't hate the fact that they reorganized them if it was to make it better, but it feels like they keep doing it because they simply cannot make up their minds. And don't get me started on how they've buried all the system level stuff behind 3-4 windows of feel good fluff. So irritating to change network properties now. Win8 is taking it a step further with the blue screen of unhappiness :( .

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