Windows 8 Power Struggle: Metro vs Desktop

The Evolved Desktop

Desktop or "Classic" Mode:

Then there's the desktop. The changes here are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but there's a lot of subtle enhancements and improvements to how information is presented and moved around the operating system.

Explorer's new Ribbon interface, shown above, is a take-it-or-leave-it option. It's easily hidden, but, like the Ribbon interface in Office, may be easier for beginners to learn and use.

The new Task Manager (shown here cropped) is capable of tracking both how much CPU time applications have been using and the total amount of RAM devoted to them. It can also track applications over time (by default, it tracks software from the OS's initialization date.) "Tile Update" refers to the bandwidth consumed by updating program tiles on the Smart Screen.

The "Performance" tab of the Task Manager has been completely revamped; all eight logical cores here are at 100% utilization above because the system was running Prime95 when the screenshot was taken. The Resource Monitor is now directly accessible from the Performance Tab.

The Resource Monitor now highlights apps that are suspended and breaks out multiple subsystem graphs into a unified panel. This is a subtle change compared to Windows 7, but the data is generally more accessible and easier to parse.

Here's the thing...

For all their separate advances, Metro and Desktop don't get along well. You just have to open Metro's "Charms" with the desktop as the primary application, and the contrast between the two is jarring.

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