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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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By damianrobertjones on 6/14/2012 4:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
The current consumer preview still has transparent sections.

I recently showed the Site Services manager Windows 8 and after a short time, without being prompted, he said that it was really looking good and that information was right there in front of him.

Standard users will really take to Windows 8 while the techies will still carry on complaining.

As it stands I will never, ever, EVER miss the Start button. Why not? I hardly ever use it.

P.s. How many posters here today work for Apple/Google? It's a new age after all

RE: Cool
By robinthakur on 6/15/2012 6:23:34 AM , Rating: 2
That anecdote is interesting as we have been showing w8 to users as well. Whilst most found it hard to believe it was a windows OS with the fisherprice graphics, thry thought it looked ok. The problem arose when it came to using it, and they found it frustrating and non intuitive. By comparison, they'll happily use their iPads and iPhones, but they arent the most technical bunch of users. We are adopting a wait and see policy at our work and will continue to stick with W7 for the foreseeable future unless a compelling reason crops up. As we can use the iPads with every MS system including office, exchange and sharepoint, having a dedicated MS tablet solution is not as compelling as MS seems to think.

RE: Cool
By Belard on 6/15/2012 8:51:21 AM , Rating: 2
Is metro a START "screen" or its own OS? Why are some apps in metro, but not in desktop then...

Going back and forth, becomes really old. They could have made the Start menu a metro interface, that would have made more sense, no?

RE: Cool
By hemmy on 6/15/2012 10:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
Its whatever you want it to be. If you don't want to run Metro apps, DON'T. They did make the start menu a metro interface, and full screen. Why is that so difficult to understand?

RE: Cool
By Belard on 6/16/2012 12:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
Then why start in crappy metro? So MS presents Metro as the NEW OS interface and the desktop (Windows) as its bastard stepchild.

But, since you CANNOT use windows8 without touching crap-Metro, it makes Windows8 un-usable. We are supposed to be going forward... not going back to the days of DOS/Single-tasking.

I *DO* understand... I also understand that the novice users and the business users are going hate it far worse than me. I hate that the metro OS is always trying to sell you shit... in which case, Windows8 should be FREE... and even still, I'd rather pay for Win7 than deal with 8.

That would be a cool voting thing to do a few months from now... Choose 1:

Windows 7 = $100
Windows 8 = $ 10
WindowsXP = $ 50

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