The Windows 8 Power Struggle: Metro vs Desktop - HotHardware
The Windows 8 Power Struggle: Metro vs Desktop

The Windows 8 Power Struggle: Metro vs Desktop

We've been looking forward to Windows 8's Consumer Preview for months. This, after all, is Microsoft's big chance to show what they've been working on and unveiling bit by bit for the past year; a chance to evaluate the sum total of changes and advancements baked into the next-generation operating system. We'll discuss some of the features of Metro and Desktop (aka Classic) separately, but our overall focus will be on how the two environments interact with each other.

Metro, Microsoft's new UI, is bold, a dramatic departure from anything the company has previously done in the desktop/laptop space, and absolutely great. It's tangible proof that Redmond really can design and build its own unique products and experiences.


Now, let's consider Desktop mode and then look at how they mesh, or don't.
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I hate change, so I probably will hate Metro.

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Metro is basically a phone OS. Microsoft has cut out lots of .net to get Metro small enough for a phone.

You cant use menu or menuitem commands any more. You cant do graphics without getting into directx.

Access to the hard disc is limited for apps.

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If Metro is forced on me I will move to Linux. I refuse to be put into an environment I can't benefit from.

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Metro UI is absolute crap. For those who, like me, feel that this "change for change's sake" nonsesne has to stop, I recommend Zorin Linux, designed to "look and feel" like Windows XP; or Linux XP, which should be obvious.

I'll have to build my own PCs again, once the OEMs start forcing Windows 8 on us. A pre-installed Windows 8 is a deal-breaker for me; I won't buy it.

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I'm glad that I don't really ~HAVE~ to adopt Windows-8 and can keep the Windows-7 that I own now. (You know,....the one that's already bought and paid for) I could probably make this OS work for me for many years to come if I have to. And I will too.

I have Linux Mint 11 on one of my PC's already, and I'll give the Zorin Linux a try too.

If Micro(don't listen to us)soft leaves Metro in the force feeding tube, I'd rather go hungry..

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I used Windows 8 on my main of for about 4 days before canning it. I do still have it on my htpc though. I like the changes made to the task manager, file transfer, and much more. Being a desktop user I can't quite get on board with metro. Like stated in the article, wading through the metro interface is not quite productive, especially when on a 5760x1080 resolution! It's common for me to put tv episodes on one screen while gaming in the middle, and an internet browser on the other side. With metro, every time I bring up the start menu, the screen is blocked for whoever else might be watching. And I have to disagree about browsing media through metro. Searching while in the music task doesn't even bother looking in your library, but jumps straight to the music store, to purchase music you allready own. Once you are able to actually find your music, forget about finding what you want. As far as I can tell if you are browsing by artist, there is no way to quickly enter "artist album" to browse a certain artist's albums. The thing just seems dumbed down to me. Since when does everything need an app store? Sorry for the rant guys, but this needs a lot of work. I hope you can turn metro off for the final build

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lifeskills:

I used Windows 8 on my main of for about 4 days before canning it. I do still have it on my htpc though. I like the changes made to the task manager, file transfer, and much more. Being a desktop user I can't quite get on board with metro. Like stated in the article, wading through the metro interface is not quite productive, especially when on a 5760x1080 resolution! It's common for me to put tv episodes on one screen while gaming in the middle, and an internet browser on the other side. With metro, every time I bring up the start menu, the screen is blocked for whoever else might be watching. And I have to disagree about browsing media through metro. Searching while in the music task doesn't even bother looking in your library, but jumps straight to the music store, to purchase music you allready own. Once you are able to actually find your music, forget about finding what you want. As far as I can tell if you are browsing by artist, there is no way to quickly enter "artist album" to browse a certain artist's albums. The thing just seems dumbed down to me. Since when does everything need an app store? Sorry for the rant guys, but this needs a lot of work. I hope you can turn metro off for the final build

 

I had some of the same frustrations initially, then I realized that you can simply re-associate your media files with Media Center or Windows Media Player instead of the Metro based Video and Music apps. What I really don't like is that most of the Metro apps seem to be for touchscreens mainly and do not work very well via keyboard/mouse. Also the metro style stuff doesn't offer any customization everything is either full screen which no re-sizing of the toolbars/etc of the application or 2/3 vs 1/3 and thus getting two apps on screen with primary focus on one. Also adding a Programs Toolbar on the desktop mimics the Start menu without using the third party tool which adds a Start menu.

 

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I myself am more concerned with various issues with the new metro version of IE than anything with the Start Menu, I mean you can add a programs Toolbar to the task bar to mimic a Start Menu for Non Metro apps. I mean right now the metro version of IE has no configurable options like disabling 3rd party cookies, setting security zones, tab management, etc. Also I'm finding that often my  Metro version of IE loses any tabs that were open just of its own free will and there's no way to access recently closed tabs/windows/groups, you can at least find the tabs in the history but that is not very efficient.

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I'm really confused on your conclusion. Are you, really, saying clicking *1* tile is harder then the OSX transition was? I mean seriously, if so, then you have such a skewed view of the past it throws everything else you said into doubt.

"Forcing people to change to something different when the superior interface for a particular task is still included in the OS will only breed resentment."

It's a tile right there on the front of the screen! And I call BS; ANY change will "...only breed resentment". Oh and so will doing nothing.

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Metro re-minds me of the latest 'update' for Xbox live. Next I suppose I'll need Kinect to get around my desktop machine. If that fails, I'll just stay with Mint Linux 11. Smooth and it works.

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After playing around with Windows 8 for a while and viewing innumerable videos and reviews, I agree that Metro just isn't suited to desktop use. Phone and tablet, absolutely. Although there appears to be an awful lot of gesturing to sort through all the irregularly sized tiles.

And while I can see the usefulness of the Charms bar, whoever came up with the name should be expelled to the same seventh ring as those who came up with Me and Clippy.

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I don't see any reason to "upgrade" to Win 8. I like the Win 7 desktop. The Metro desktop looks like a throwback to WFWG 3.1 substituting icons for folders.

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> Metro, Microsoft's new UI, is bold, a dramatic departure
> from anything the company has previously done in the
> desktop/laptop space, and absolutely great.

Says who?

Do you know *anything* about usability?
Have you *ever* used (or just seen) Linux desktop?

One word: bullshit.
Microsoft is dead in the desktop market for years.

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Munk,

"Says who? Do you know *anything* about usability? Have you *ever* used (or just seen) Linux desktop? One word: bullshit. Microsoft is dead in the desktop market for years."

Two glaring flaws in your argument.

1) Linux's market share in laptop/desktop.

2) The Linux community's reaction to Unity.

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With all 9 different version of Win 8 scheduled why not listen to desktop users that want a total non Metro version, with some of the Win 8 features like the updated task manager, refresh, reset and a others and roll out a Service Pack for Win 7.being able to turn off the Metro [cr^p ] gui is one thing, not even having having it there on the install is another.

Plenty of choice out that work a heck of a lot better like Mint 11 and many other spins, that are much easier to navigate ,maintain ,and get things done.

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rrplay:
why not listen to desktop users that want a total non Metro version

I agree, but I think that you're preaching to the choir here. Doesn't seem to be a lot of love for Metro around. Probably good on a Tablet PC like some have said, but my tablet already has IOS on it and works great. On a desktop, it would probably just be an exercise in frustration.

I also agree about Linux,....if more good shooters were ported to it, I'd leave Windows behind for good. It's only a matter of time before that happens, and then, just watch out.

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RealNeil,

You said: "I also agree about Linux,....if more good shooters were ported to it, I'd leave Windows behind for good. It's only a matter of time before that happens, and then, just watch out."

I'm genuinely curious as to why you think this. Linux's share of the desktop market has scarcely budged in years. The utilities that exist for providing cross-platform compatibility, like Wine, are in much better shape than they were 10 years ago, while the OSS utilities that provide equivalent functionality are equally improved -- yet as far as gaming is concerned, Linux ports remain a rare occurrence.

What is it that makes you think we're going to see greater support in the future -- or that greater support would matter? As a PC gamer myself, I can tell you that gaming is a barrier to me moving to Linux, but even if Linux supported PC gaming perfectly, I'd take Windows 7 64-bit over Linux any day. I'd only move to Linux if I literally couldn't stand whatever version of Windows was prominent *and* W7 was literally no longer supported by any current software.

That seems unlikely.

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My Linux Mint and Zorin Linux are full featured OS's that are free. I can do just about anything I need to do with them. (even make them look just like Windows does)  Honestly, if I could game on them as well as I can on my Win-7 OS, I would use them instead of buying the latest flavor that MS needs us to want every few years. When you're retired and on a fixed income, ~free~ speaks much louder to you and sounds a lot sweeter too.

I like the security of these two Linux distributions and the fact that they just work without issue. I surf the web and those pesky exploits don't bother me. There are ports of some games on Linux now and people are working on more of them too. We'll see what the future holds for Linux gaming.If it works out, then fine. If not, I'll get over it too. Just like you, I still have my Win-7 to game with.

Linux is a viable OS for home use. I have it on two PC's now and they both are totally predictable. There is a lot of software available for them too. (also free)

Do I honestly think that Linux will surpass Windows in the gaming arena? (any arena?) Nope,.....but I'd love to see it happen. Do I see this whole Metro interface idea as a steaming turd? Yep!

The world is firmly rooted in MS software, we all realize this, but market share just doesn't matter to some of us.

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realneil,

Linux is hardly a viable OS for home use. Not only I have printer issues with Linux, but a lot of the software I run is only available on Windows (To name a few: Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, SnagIt, PowerDirector 10 Ultra, and PowerArchiver 2012) and using Wine severely diminishes the performance any software that I use. The quality of the Linux software (including frees) are a joke compared to their Windows counterparts, especially the proprietary commercial ones. Not to mention that gaming support on Linux is abysmal and it is a poor platform for HTPC (Linux shot itself in the foot by not implementing HDCP support).

Linux is not without its uses (works great on servers), but for a box I use for both work purposes and entertainment, Linux just isn't a credible replacement and many Linux users, including zealots would agree with my sentiment.

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Zorin OS Linux and Linux Mint are two distros that come very close to a windows experience for Linux newbies. Linux is not the answer for many people, but cramming Metro down our throats isn't either.

I really like Zorin and I installed it onto the 6 PCs that I donated to a local battered woman's shelter for their use.  (I formatted the drives and trashed the copy of XP that was on them first) They write resumes, search for new jobs, and try to contact relatives that can help them help themselves. They're very happy with them. I have Zorin installed onto one of my own PCs as well.

I have Win-7 installed on three PCs here and It does what I want it to, and I already own it. So I have to ask, what is Win-8 gonna bring to the table to make it worth my while to discontinue using the already owned copies of Win-7 (remember that they work great and without problems) and ~spend money~ to buy into an interface that I do not like?

Microsoft is suffering from an ~Anal-Cranial Inversion~ on this subject.

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I have to agree with Gambit. I predominately use Windows in my office. In both cases MS Office, Adobe Creative Suite (video and print), video editing (Final Cut, Avid, Premiere), Quick Books, and other proprietary programs get used daily. None of the software I use is native to Linux and Wine is a poor substitute since I couldn't get them to perform the desired tasks. Even in my property tax consulting business OO.org and LibreOffice do not provide the ease of use and compatibility that I require. In the time that it would take to cobble together a Linux environment that almost does what I need, but that requires a great deal more of my time in maintaining, I will have expended far more in opportunity cost (a factor of at least 5) than I would have spent on name brand fully supported software for Windows and OSX.

Linux works great on servers, but on the desktop it simply is a hobbyist proposition. It doesn't save me a dime when opportunity costs are considered and the programs seem several generations behind. I really wanted to make LibreOffice work for me (I hate MS Ribbon), but it simply doesn't. I'm a user, not a techie.

That's what has been so frustrating to hear from Linux users when they assert that Linux offers everything that anyone would want. It's not true and it's never been true. But they keep banging the drum, raising expectations and setting a large segment of computers up for frustration and money loss. Linux users will disagree with me and that's OK. I'm glad that their choices work for them.

As for Windows 8, I have no intention of upgrading to it given my bad experience with Metro so I'll stick with Windows 7 until Microsoft release Windows 9 without Metro UI.

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Pettovello:
As for Windows 8, I have no intention of upgrading to it given my bad experience with Metro so I'll stick with Windows 7 until Microsoft release Windows 9 without Metro UI.

Agreed.

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I'Klee stick with 64 bit Windows 7 Pro thank you very much.

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You are using it wrong if you are putting every app icon on the start screen. It is only for your most used apps. The system is optimized for search. Just start typing and it will show a list of apps that match what you are typing.

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You could clutter up your Windows 7 desktop as well by putting a gazillion icons on it, but I doubt you would agree that that would be the OS's fault.

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