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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 CaedenV on 6/15/2012 5:30:48 PM , Rating: 1
Um... the apps menu is alphabetically organized, what exactly is confusing about that?
Also it has icons next to each name, so you don't even need to be able to read to find the calculator. Also, if you are on the start screen you can just start typing 'cal...' and by the 3rd letter you can hit 'enter' to open the program, or right click on it and pin it to the start screen or superbar and NEVER have that problem again.

I'll be the first to admit that there is a learning curve (especially moving from version to version as things have changed slightly), but once you get use to the new workflow it is quite nice. And it is just as drastic a change as it was moving form dos to win3.1, or 3.1 to '95, but without 1/2 the headaches I had moving between those platforms because most of the good old keyboard shortcuts still behave the same in spite of the GUI changes.


By augiem on 6/15/2012 10:13:10 PM , Rating: 3
I'll never understand why so many people think lumping everything together in one giant grab bag is superior. I guess because people have forgotten how to think or are senile and don't want to put forth the effort to learn anything. All the smart phones were this way in the beginning until some GENIUS at Apple with, what, iOS version 3 or 4, got the idea to add... *drum roll* FOLDERS (WHOA what an idea) to the app page. MS is guilty in various degrees of this in the past with MyDocuments and now Windows 7 phone (What?! a 1-app column of every prog installed on the phone? brilliant!) Apple is taking it even further with changes to OSX Lion Finder where they encourage users to just go to the giant grab bag for all their pics, videos, docs, etc and not remember where they put things.

Why is every version of the start menu superior in every way to ScrollBar 8's new gimmick? O R G A N I Z A T I O N . I am a power user, I admit it, but I just did a quick catalog of my start menu and I have ... 935 items in my start menu all neatly organized under 6 main categories and further subcategorized below that. I know some people love the Win Vista/7 type-to-find thing, but I don't at all because some programs I use infrequently and don't even remember the proper name, but I know they're organized under Utilitiess\Security\etc. They stay neatly tucked away, not in my face all the time like in Metro. I don't always go for the start menu either. My most commonly used programs are run with hotkeys, quick launch, RocketDock, or a Favorites folder on the start menu. I like having my options.


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