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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fredclown:
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.

No, if I were to do such a stupid thing it would be a matter of personal choice. My own choice,.....

Metro is an abitrary move by Microsoft that may not be user configurable. It remains to be seen.

 

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No, the point is valid. Difference in UI doesn't mean you'll be forced to take it as is and never create any customizations. Even Android can be customized and that's just a limited mobile OS.

Windows 8 will be a desktop OS, Metro UI notwithstanding, it will customizable, theme-able, and will be capable of far more than any mobile OS is capable of doing.

Whether you choose to even bother with it is your choice but making judgements based on the lack of familiarity and what is still only a preview alpha version is not really giving it any real thought and dismissing it mostly out of hand.

 

It's akin to someone dismissing and disparaging Linux because they don't like the Unity UI.

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JDiaz,

The Community Preview isn't an alpha. Given W8's timeline relative to previous Windows versions, the Developer Preview from last fall would be an alpha / early beta release with the Community Preview defined as a late beta.

If MS drops a third version before actual launch, it would be a Release Candidate (even if they don't use that nomenclature). If they don't, than the CP is effectively an RC.

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It's an Alpha, until they get to the release candidates then it's not yet in beta and there is still a lot they will still change.

 

Really, this release still has a lot of the developers code that won't be there when nearing final release and a preview is only a preview!

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Fredclown,

I didn't put those icons there. Windows did. Clearly you haven't installed the Consumer Preview, if you had, you'd know that current installers treat the Start Screen as if it were the Start Menu and load applications there by default.

I didn't change a single setting -- that's how the Start Screen populated when I started installing software. Please note that I only had 7-9 applications installed on the testbed, versus the several dozen on my typical system.

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you are full of crap.. installing programs drop all of these icons automatically. you dont have a choice.

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You always have a choice, installing programs often puts icons on the traditional Windows desktop as well. Doesn't mean you can't customize after installation!

Meanwhile, this is still only a preview! Hundreds of changes are still pending!

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I certainly did love all the discussion on this one. It's great to see. And JDiaz, I think you touch on a point that we're trying to make by the very publication of Joel's article. Folks like us are hoping Microsoft takes note and implements changes to accommodate such things. For one, disabling Metro all together, at will, would be a great customization. I'd love it on my tablet, no way on my desktop.

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Should probably update the article with the Keyboard shortcuts list for Windows 8 MS released, along with the add on 3rd party program that let's you put the Start Menu back in...

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JDiaz:
Should probably update the article with the Keyboard shortcuts list for Windows 8 MS released, along with the add on 3rd party program that let's you put the Start Menu back in...

Using that third party hack to restore your Start Menu results in a unremovable warning message from Microsoft being displayed on your desktop. Win-8 detects it's use and posts the message when you boot the PC the next time.

 

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It's an app, not a hack, perhaps you're thinking of something else?

Only issue with the app I've seen so far is the orb overlapping the Taskbar buttons but that can be worked around.

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What is the source of this App? Does it have a traceable lineage? Is it approved? If so, then cool!

I tried three of those 'fixes' on my copy of 8 and all of them caused a message about copy-write infringement to be displayed on my desktop. Metro was gone, but I had company afterwards.

I formatted the HDD and reloaded 8 each time I tried another one of them too. I just got the latest 8 and it's doing the same thing.

I just hope that they listen to the public about this situation. If they don't then I'll stick with 7 and not be too upset about it either. 7 works fine by me.

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I believe Stardock is releasing the app in question.

Mind that previews and even beta releases OS can still be buggy before final release version and even then we may have to wait till SP release for relatively bug free experience.

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If Metro isn't all that's cracked up to be I may be sticking with Windows 7.

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Looks like they stopped chasing Apple OS and went straight to IPad OS. This also seems to be similar to the direction Windows moble took in becomming a social networking toy rather than a business tool. I expect Business will stay with Windows 7, like they did with XP because everything between XP and 7 were total crap for business users.

Metro may work fine for the people who only use Social networking, e-mail and surfing, but not for business or power users. MS needs to stop chasing Apple users and stick with the rest of the world, or they will drive even more to Linux. I know they certainlr are pushing me closer to Linux.

I'm still so frustrated I can't get rid of multiple tablet services running on my notebook that can;t be removed, just like the accessability garbage and useless drivers and on and on....

I so need to learn Linux....

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FloydF, 

 

Typically such services and programs can be removed, though you may have to do a bit of Googling to find out how. Services can be manually turned off in Administrative controls; programs can typically be uninstalled if you Google the program name + "uninstall." 

If you bought an OEM system and want to use a fresh copy of whatever OS you have, there are ways to get yourself an ISO image of the OS in question. Technically, you're only licensed to use whatever version of the operating system came with your machine -- but, then, the extraneous applications aren't actually part of the OS you licensed .I'm not aware of any court case that decides the issue one way or another, but the option exists.

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I know that I haven't been complaining about this as much as I should but what is there to complain about. If you're using a tablet, use metro but if you're using a desktop then it's another story. Personally I have not used metro at all to have an opinion on it but my opinion is this; there is a lot of hate towards metro because Micro$oft is forcing people to use it right, therefore there should be an option at setup to use the desktop or the metro interface, it solves alot of problems. Arguably Microsoft has an interface and they're trying to get desktop people to use it, I mean sure; I've seen people use Media Center on the desktop on like it but this is a UI on a system that you're going to be using full time, it's different. You can't do alot of the stuff you can on a Windows desktop and you certainly can't expect yourself to use it properly in a college environment; there is just alot of things hindering Metro for that purpose. While it's certain that Microsoft is targeting the tablet market, they're slowly forgetting about the computer market, the market that matters; all could be resolved by implementing a simple idea.

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The desktop mode is I'd suggest indicative that MS isn't necessarily forcing anyone to use Metro. It's just something they are showcasing at this point because that's the big change and something important for how they will start competing in the mobile market.

Though it remains to be seen if they will be able to provide the range of customization to keep Metro completely out if people prefer to stick to traditional desktop but it should be remembered this is only a preview version and the final version can still be very different.

While the suggestion of desktop for desktop is not new and was one of the things Windows 8 is suppose to be able to do when they're finished is to customize the defaults to the type of device it is installed on. The multiple versions being suggested for final release help support that idea will be something they will seriously consider implementing.

Though MS is considering future systems we buy into will include other things like Kinect, which could make the Metro UI more useful for desktop as well as mobile usage even without a touch screen.

A lot is still speculation at this point though and one of the reason they even bother with previews and release candidates is to get feedback and make changes if really needed. So let's neither assume this will be exactly like the final version or that MS won't consider making any changes along the way to make it better.

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JDiaz:
So let's neither assume this will be exactly like the final version or that MS won't consider making any changes along the way to make it better.

At this point I'm not assuming anything. I know what I like and I already have it here, so I'm in the position of pleasing myself and staying with Win-7 or migrating to Win-8, ~if~ I'm OK with the final version.

 I can see that this matters to you and I'm keeping an open mind from now on,....and I'm waiting to see what it will be like when it's all done. I am happy that I have a choice in this matter. That's cool.

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I found a great article on PCMag's Forward Thinking blog on Living with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

While I don't have it on my main box I am going to continue to use it.

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You all realize you can just turn metro off with 3rd party tools. There is probably some regedit you can do too to turn Metro off. Once you do that it's pretty much Win7 underneath.

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Metalmania31:

You all realize you can just turn metro off with 3rd party tools. There is probably some regedit you can do too to turn Metro off. Once you do that it's pretty much Win7 underneath.

 

Many of us work in tech support where using those 3rd party tools will not be allowed so why not get used to it? there is also a regedit to get it to go through to the regular desktop and skip the metro at login.

 

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When it comes to tablets and phones, Metro looks like it will do pretty well. Obviously there are still kinks to work out but for those devices, they're on the right track. However, with a multi-display desktop computer using a mouse and keyboard, Metro offers nothing except a massive waste of screen real estate and a major disruption in workflow. I use a keyboard and mouse to get stuff done, and my needs are completely met by these mainstays (and then some). A touchscreen interface won't do me any good at all as none of my applications use them - and indeed, they're better off NOT using it (who in their right mind wants to code using a touchscreen keyboard?). Even if I had the disposable income to replace my perfectly good existing monitors with touchscreen versions, it'd essentially be a purchase just to utilize Metro - and thus a purchase I could never justify. The interface clashes horribly with the traditional desktop environment - using it feels like I'm switching between two very different operating systems on-the-fly, both functionally and visually. My workspace is set up with my needs in mind - having to configure two separate workspaces (one for Metro, one for Desktop) and then get them to play nice with each other is a lot of extra work that I don't want to do - and that's just so I can resume normal functionality! And, as the author noted, installing traditional windowed applications quickly mucks up the aesthetics. With my programs, Metro quickly turned into a jumbled, ugly mess that completely eradicated the aesthetic Microsoft was aiming for - and for no good reason. If Microsoft wants to keep me as a customer, they will need to provide a means of disabling Metro. Installing a third-party start menu replacement like ViStart grates on my nerves a little bit, but it's tolerable, as long as I never see Metro on my desktop.

Bottom line - if Metro isn't optional, then for me, neither is Windows 8. If sometime down the line some crucial Metro app emerges that doesn't have any way of running in a normal windowed environment, I'll be running it virtually in Windows 7 or Debian. I guess we should all be grateful that 7 will be supported until 2020...

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Actually, there isn't a real problem, provided that Microsoft allowed either Metro Start OR Windows Start navigation.

A touch screen keybordless user would choose the metro interface because it suits their device and method of working.

A desktop user, with screen and keyboard, would choose a drop down menu solution in place of endless right scroll.

Both would be happy and Windows 8 would succeed in its aim of providing a single OS across the board.

Of course, were Microsoft to force the inappropriate methodology across the board, one or other of the user groups will not use it.

All it takes is for Microsoft to either include a drop down menu or to allow the use of either interface by user choice. Not rocket science.

In the early days Microsoft spent very large amounts on testing usability in the field. They had labs where a user's every move was videoed and analysed before a decision about implementation was adopted. I seriously wonder whether the same research has been done for Windows 8.

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Windows 8 looks like a hybrid OS. Windows 8 probably is the first hybrid operating system. It's an operating system that can be used both as a desktop os allowing you do do serious things like work, 3D games, simulators and as a mobile os allowing you to access simple apps using a small screen. If you have a powerful tablet with windows 8 on it you can use it on the go with the metro interface which is optimized for touchscreens, and when you want something more you can hook the tablet to a big screen, plug a mouse and keyboard and use it as a desktop.

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