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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 geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 12:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that's a setting in Windows 7 right?

Well yeah... that's why I said "Now, you can change the normal Windows 7 icon based taskbar into a XP like one", in the comment you just replied to.

I do not set my 7 taskbar to show the name text. I leave it in the stacking icon mode with peak preview. That's the default 7 ships with. If metro ships with the default as the expanded text bar for each individual window or application, that would be the same default behavior as XP. Hence why it's contrary to your original "I don't see how this is anything like XP" statement. It is very much a return to the look and feel of XP, from the default taskbar to the flattened, color saturated window borders. A fall back away from the Vista/7 gui path.

Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's a preference, and it makes sense for a touch screen where little taskbar icons would be harder for fingers to press. But I personally like the default 7 behavior and look for a desktop versus this. It's amusing nostalgia though.

RE: Looks like...
By hankw on 6/14/2012 1:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you did say that. I guess I didn't read that part. But it still doesn't change the fact that it isn't anything XP anymore than it's like Vista or win7 or win 95.
In fact my Windows 8 RP has the option to hide/show the icon labels too (and it was set to hide by default BTW). You're assuming the person who took the screens didn't enable it himself.

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 1:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the screenshots I posted and tell me which the 8 "leak" looks more like: XP or 7? This isn't a trick question, the leak looks much more like XP and not like 7.

You're right that the person who took the screens may have enabled the show labels, which is why I say "if" a lot. We don't even know if this leak is valid. But -if- the new Metro GUI ships with slowing the labels as default, and peek preview removed, then it'll very much be a return towards XP and away from Vista/7 philosophy. There no other way to slice it, it's just a statement of observational fact. I'm not saying that would be good or bad, only that it would make sense for touch devices; but your original statement that this leaked Metro UI is nothing like XP is indeed completely invalid, and that's all I've been pointing out to you. From these images it -does- look more like default XP then like default 7, and people are right to point that out.

RE: Looks like...
By hankw on 6/14/2012 1:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
IMO it looks more like default Win7 (ignoring expanded/collapsed icons). BTW that's not even the default XP TaskBar (which is a more colorful blue). If you want to compare default vs default, then it's more like default Win7 than XP.
The problem is that people are comparing a customized XP to a probably customized Win8... just doesn't make sense....

RE: Looks like...
By geddarkstorm on 6/14/2012 1:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the blue XP bar theme . The new metro is still far more like the default XP (flattened colors, labeling with a few choice icons still in icon mode) than the default 7. Since Start is removed from Metro, we can ignore that in both XP and 7.

But here, let us compromise: We could say this leaked Metro UI is a straight up cross between XP and 7.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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