6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion]

Chris Hoffman 16-03-2012

windows 8 desktopThe traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But with the introduction of the Windows 8 desktop, Microsoft is setting it the traditional desktop for the kill. The writing is on the wall here — touch and Metro are the future. The traditional desktop is a relic on its way out.


No, Windows 8 isn’t final yet — but the Consumer Preview is out, and Microsoft calls it “the complete vision for the product.” That’s right, folks — we’ll see bugs fixed and rough spots polished, but this is the Windows 8 we’re going to get.

You Can Avoid the Desktop, But You Can’t Avoid Metro

Metro is mandatory. It doesn’t matter if you never want to use it — you’ll see it each time you log in. You’ll have to click the “Desktop” tile in Metro to access your desktop. Once you’re at the desktop, Metro will be your new Start menu and you’ll have to use the charms to shut down your computer. You can install a third-party Start menu Best Alternatives to Windows Start Menu Read More , but Microsoft won’t offer one.

windows 8 desktop

In the Developer Preview of Windows 8, you could use a registry tweak How To Quickly & Easily Disable The Metro User Interface In Windows 8 One of the most striking things about Windows 8 – beyond the Metro user interface – is the lack of a traditional Start menu in favour of tiles. However with a desktop view available for... Read More to disable Metro completely and get the Start menu back. Now Metro is baked into Explorer.exe itself. Want to get rid of it completely? Well, maybe you can use a Windows Explorer shell replacement.

Microsoft is adamant that Windows 8 users — particularly tablet users — can use Windows 8 without ever touching the desktop. If you’re a PC user that never wants to see Metro — too bad. They won’t let you turn it off. They won’t even provide a way for businesses to disable Metro via group policy.


It’s Not Metro, It’s “Modern”

You probably know the new interface as “Metro Why Microsoft Should Not Be Pushing Their New Metro UI Onto Their Other Products [Opinion] With the introduction of the Windows Phone platform in 2010, Microsoft unveiled the Metro user interface, designed to make accessing information quick and easy. Rather than litter their new mobile platform with endless rows of... Read More .” But now Microsoft is now calling Metro “Modern.” Metro is “the Modern interface.” Internet Explorer running in Metro? That’s “Modern Internet Explorer.” Metro apps in general? They’re “Modern apps.”

The traditional desktop and standard desktop apps are dinosaurs in the new Windows ecosystem. They feel that way, too. The Start screen looks bad when you opt for desktop apps instead of Metro ones. Microsoft could allow desktop apps to use live tiles and blend in, but they want them to look obsolete.

windows 8 review

It’s All About Touch

The Metro interface was designed with touch in mind. With the Consumer Preview, Microsoft has worked on adding better keyboard and mouse support. However good it is, it’s clear that it was bolted on.


Here’s the lock screen in the Windows 8 Desktop:

windows 8 review

What button do you click to get from the lock screen to the login screen? That’s a trick question — there’s no button to click; you have to drag and drop the lock screen away. This would be natural with touch, but it feels weird with a mouse. You can also press any button on your keyboard, but that wasn’t at all obvious to me.

My laptop doesn’t have a touch screen, but I want to touch Metro anyway. It looks fun to touch. But it doesn’t feel like it’s designed for a mouse.


The Desktop Is Just Another Metro App

Each running Metro app has its own thumbnail in the new task switcher, but the entire desktop appears as a single tile in the task switcher.

Microsoft sees the desktop as that place you go to run legacy software, like the Flash browser plug-in Adobe Stops Development Of Flash Plugin For Mobile [News] In a surprising move (or not so surprising), Adobe is discontinuing its development of Flash plugin for mobile browsers. According to Adobe’s official announcement, they will now focus their efforts on HTML5 instead, as it... Read More or an old business application. They’ve reminded us that it’s a legacy environment by not theming the desktop to match Metro at all. They might as well call the desktop “Windows 7 Mode How To Configure & Use Windows 7's XP Mode Read More .”

windows 8 review

The Desktop Is Already Locked Down on ARM

If you do happen to get a Windows 8 ARM tablet, you may expect the traditional desktop to be an option. It’s still there — but only for Microsoft Office, Windows Explorer, and other Microsoft software.


That’s right — you can’t install non-Microsoft apps on an ARM system’s desktop. It’s not just that existing apps won’t run on an ARM desktop — Microsoft won’t let you run third-party apps on the ARM desktop. Want a third-party app? Use Metro.

The Windows App Store Leaves the Desktop Behind

One of the biggest advances in Windows 8 is the introduction of the Windows App Store. Installing software has always been a pain on Windows. You have to download an installer for each program from a different website and go through an installation wizard. After it’s installed, each program has its own updater.

The Windows App Store does away with this. Now Windows just updates all your apps, saving you time.

windows 8 desktop

Except it doesn’t. The Windows App Store is only for Metro apps. The app store will contain links to desktop apps, but you’ll have to download the installer and install them normally. Each Windows 8 desktop program will still require its own updater.

Microsoft knows that the software installation and update process is a problem on Windows, but they’re not fixing it on the desktop. They’re using it to drive people away from the desktop by only fixing it in Metro.

The app store will automatically install your Metro apps, update them and keep them in sync across your computers. In fact, the app store is the only place to get Metro apps — say goodbye to installing unapproved third-party software on your PC.

What do you think about the new Windows 8 desktop? Am I totally off base here? Leave a comment and let us know.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Big Lanks
    June 3, 2015 at 12:43 am

    I think Windows 8 is awesome... [opinion] word of advice- don't become frustrated with the newer software and technology through the years- because that means you will have to bug everyone for help

  2. Thomas Ray
    August 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    It looks like MS is returning to the windows 3 of their infancy. It was bad then & still is.

  3. Kirk Mooneyham
    August 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Microsoft may be all in love with "touch" but I (and obviously a LOT of others judging by all the complaints) am NOT. I like my MOUSE just fine. And if Microsoft wants to play little games like this, once they stop supporting Windows 7, then I will start using Linux. Yes, a learning curve there, but at least things are (mostly) where I expect to find them...not hidden behind a bunch of stupid tiles that look like a little kid's art project. Not to mention that unless you want to memorize all the keyboard shortcuts (didn't we stop having to do that back in the Windows 3.1 days?) then this new OS just does NOT cut it for a business environment. Leave the trendy crap for the Apple people and stick to what works.

    • Chris Hoffman
      August 25, 2012 at 1:52 am

      Windows 7 will be supported until 2020 -- who knows what the OS landscape will be like in 8 years.

      I agree though; I've tried to be open-minded about Windows 8 but I find myself disliking it more and more the more I use it. I'm sticking it in a virtual machine so I can write about it, but it isn't getting installed as my main OS.

      That's sad because there are some good performance optimizations and desktop improvements behind all the Metro.

  4. Apathetic
    July 21, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    The app store is hilariously optimistic on Microsoft's part - after all, if I had any intention of paying for my software I wouldn't be using Windows in the first place!

    • Chris Hoffman
      July 24, 2012 at 3:02 am

      It's too bad this attitude is so common. If everyone that didn't want to pay for Windows supported Linux, Linux would be a lot better and there'd be a legitimate free operating system. But lots of people -- hell, huge sections of developing countries, even -- just pirate Windows 'n such.

      Same for other stuff. GIMP would be more competitive with Photoshop if Photoshop couldn't be pirated.

  5. bla
    July 18, 2012 at 12:39 am

    bla bla bla.. i have no interest in using a touch screen. soon as MS force everyone to use them, i will be completely move into Linux...

    • Chris Hoffman
      July 18, 2012 at 3:32 am

      Microsoft says touchscreens everywhere are the future, but i can't see touching my desktop monitor anytime soon. Doesn't seem comfortable.

      Will this be a boon for Linux? One can only hope...

  6. Ian Collins
    July 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I just tested the consumer preview of Windows 8 and all of my time I was looking for a way to disable metro and get the "start button" back... Hence how I ended up here. I am going to have to say Windows 8 will be a flop for desktop users, it is almost a touch only system. I will just have to stick with Windows 7 until they come out with something new, or its Linux for me... Way to fail Microsoft.

    • Chris Hoffman
      July 6, 2012 at 1:32 am

      Yup, sadly you can't disable it -- outcry may force them to walk these changes back and offer choice for those of us on desktops. But Linux is looking more attractive each day.

      Windows 7 may be the new Windows XP that everyone wants to stick with.

    • Ezz1r
      July 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Ian: We also loaded one of our home computers with Win 8 for testing and were appalled.... This is a sad pathetic attempt by MS to satisfy the tablet / desktop users.

      My 82 year old mother who is very windows savvy 95 / xp / win 7 and now android found it to complicated and that was after tweaking it to show the taskbar to giver her a better feel... This is a dejavu of vista... :(

      • Chris Hoffman
        July 18, 2012 at 3:32 am

        It will definitely confuse a lot of users. They better have a good help system -- there's no integrated help yet and it's only a few months away from shipping.

      • Kirk Mooneyham
        August 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm

        This is MUCH worse than Windows Vista...that had a lot of bugs and compatibility problems...but the Service Pack 1 fixed most of that...a lot of people don't know, but Vista with all the Service Packs and updates did pretty good. This Win 8 stuff is GARBAGE.

        • Chris Hoffman
          August 25, 2012 at 1:48 am

          A service pack would have to add a desktop PC mode that disabled the Metro stuff entirely.

          They obviously don't want to do that, though. Hopefully a lot of negative feedback will force their hands, I guess.

  7. jt
    July 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    good by microsoft you are hanging your self no like windows 8 and are not going to buy it it SUCKS it locks up or shut the computer down or it will not run on a 2011 computer and programs do not run on it and if they do install they lock up and when you call the tecs at microsoft they log in to your computer and can not find any thing wrong with your computer and they have to call you back in 2 to 3 weeks and you do not get any help at alland the cloud is the same way it all SUCKS

  8. None
    June 30, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Nothing much will change, at least not until W8 Intel desktop is gone.

    * Large org depend a lot on Microsoft and Windows and custom made software to
    run their operations. (SPA R/3 client for Metro, yes in 2020 . maybe..)

    * A Window server with Metro and no desktop only is unthinkable for corporations

    * Consumers will have no choice (besides Apple) to buy NB's/desktops and will just
    get Wintel W8 and run anything they can download from the internet. OEM will
    just sell happily to change from W7 to W8

    The PLUS for MS is to move desktop users buying a Windows tablet with Metro after
    they got used to Metro on the desktop. This is just a very smart move. The seconds plus is, plug in a keyboard and mouse + HDMI on your Wintel Tablet and you have a Wintel PC desktop replacement.

    No idea what all the fuss is about. Just don't buy a ARM tablet if you want to run a desktop application.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

      Very true, for now. The fuss is that Microsoft is moving to deprecate the desktop in future versions -- Windows 9, Windows 10 -- give it 20 years and I don't think "Windows" as we know it with a desktop will exist anymore. The only question is how long they'll keep the desktop around.

  9. deema
    June 26, 2012 at 9:51 am

    8 and Metro are a joke. Nice review, however, MS is in no way "killing" the desktop. They are trying but will never, ever succeed, with Metro. 8 is a tablet OS at best, should never touch a standard desktop pc.

    Splinter will dominate 7's desktop and show that there is no need, at all, for 8 and Retro. Splinter also runs flawlessly on the 8 desktop. That is until you click some lame hidden location to go back to Destro.

    Bottom line. METRO IS DESIGNED TO RESTRICT AND TRACK END USERS. MS is trying to "head off" Google by tracking directly from the pc and getting info that Google isn't. ALL TOWARD THE END OF CREATING PATTERNS OF YOUR BEHAVIOR TO SELL TO ADVERTISERS. SO SH!TTY OF THEM.

    Splinter is absolute freedom and couldn't track you with a bloodhound. Jethro is the WORST concoction by MS in their HISTORY, IMO. Both cause it is designed to restrict the end user and "steal" your habits, both of which result in a stunting of end user growth during its period on shelves.

    SHAME ON THEM. Big dummies, your plan won't work.

    • Chris Hoffman
      June 27, 2012 at 4:21 am

      They certainly have the power to kill it if they want. In 20 years, I don't think there will be a Windows with a desktop anymore. They'll remove the desktop entirely at some point. I do think that's sad, but I also think it's clearly where they're heading.

      Sure, there will still be Linux desktops and such -- but it seems like the Windows desktop is going away, long-term. Sure, we still have Windows 7/XP, but at some point they won't work with new hardware.

      • deema
        June 27, 2012 at 4:31 am

        They certainly have the power to kill it if they want. In 20 years, I don't think there will be a Windows with a desktop anymore. They'll remove the desktop entirely at some point.

        They certainly don't have the power to do anything of the sort, apologies for disagreeing. MS cannot dictate what the desktop will be. End users will. When 8 sales FLOP cause people want 7 instead, they will realize that it is due far more to Retro than to the meager upgrades in standard Windows functionality.

        Zero chance MS will have a Metro type interface in 9. Whatever it is, it will be standard desktop by default, and the option to have a more seamless "app environment" interface if you choose. It will NOT be as restrictive and it will NOT track the end users every move.. They flubbed it this time. Big time

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

          I certainly hope so! I hope Microsoft takes a beating in the market and decides to backtrack.

          I guess I'm a cynic -- I have this feeling that most people won't mind Metro and Windows 8 (just look at the runaway success of Apple's ecosystem). If it's just us power user types, Microsoft will be content to ignore our complaints.

          I certainly hope I'm wrong.

  10. draarong
    May 9, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Chris, this is very interesting. It appears that MS is planning to phase out the desktop, which makes me concerned about the day that even Office is a "Metro" app. I currently use lots of Windows of different types at once, heavily using the Win 7 "snap to edge" function to view documents side by side. I don't want to lose the ability to do this robustly (thus, a "Modern" MS Word that allows some pre-set Window tiling arrangements would not be an adequate solution...and the 1/4 screen docking is FAR from adequate). I also make extensive use of AutoHotKey to bring up Windows, give me different functions in different apps for a given key combination, etc...they clearly don't want us doing that with Metro apps...Seems like we'll be looking at a "jailbreak"/"root" community...!

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 9, 2012 at 5:55 am

      Don't worry, the desktop is still there in Windows 8 -- but I think it's going away in the long term. They seem to be treating it as a legacy environment.

      Still, who knows -- maybe a backlash will force Microsoft to focus on the desktop more in Windows 9.

      I don't think anyone can predict the future. But Microsoft is betting big on tablets and tablet-style software.

      • Jovet
        May 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

        There isn't going to be a Windows 9. I see such a powder keg here, even I can't believe it.

        • Chris Hoffman
          May 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

          All the more reason for a very-rushed Windows 9! Microsoft is a huge company that will take a long time to die, like Research in Motion with Blackberry.

    • Hal Motley
      June 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      I can imagine that there most certainly will be a jailbreak community (rooting is for free UNIX-like operating systems! XD) for Windows 8.

      The Metro will get hacked to run non-Marketplace apps (via fake-signing and other means) and there will be a means to install them (perhaps maybe a Windows Apt-Get frontend similar to Cydia or the Ubuntu Software Centre).

      All I really want is a place like the Apple App Store to host Windows desktop applications and it doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

      • Chris Hoffman
        June 15, 2012 at 6:51 am

        Definitely there will be. But it's sad that this will be necessary, and it will make it harder for people to reach an audience writing apps that Microsoft doesn't approve of.

  11. bob mac
    May 6, 2012 at 1:35 am

    No 3rd party apps.?? This should really please Apple all this shite microsoft is planning for windows 8...... Looks like a lot more Macs are gonna get sold!

    • Chris Hoffman
      May 7, 2012 at 4:51 am

      No 3rd party desktop apps on ARM tablets (aka Windows RT, which is a silly name).

      Windows PCs/laptops/tablets on standard Intel x86 will still support 3rd party desktop apps.

  12. Myrrander
    April 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    It actually defies the laws of physics by sucking and blowing at the same time. It's easily one of the ugliest, least-intuitive and least interesting UI's I've ever seen. I have no intention whatsoever of upgrading to Windows 8 for personal use, and can personally guarantee that the multibillion dollar corporation for which I work will be skipping it altogether. We'll be running Windows 7 desktops in 2020 if this is Microsoft's idea of progress.

    Touch screens and slick tech are all great, but this abomination Microsoft's marketing department cluelessly terms "Metro" is just plain stupid.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 21, 2012 at 4:37 am

      Yeah, there are some good optimizations and features under the surface, but I just can't get past Metro. There's no way I can run Windows 8 full time on a proper PC.

  13. Mufid
    April 9, 2012 at 5:11 am

    What i'm thinking is.. it will blow up my memory.. LOL

    I don't think bringing paradigm of OS for portable device to the PC is a great deal. Kill apps while it's not used and fully controlled by OS (which previously what program to kill is controlled by user); how do you know it will kill my Microsoft Word without saving my changes? Apple is one step ahead, they make almost every apps saving it files in real-time.

    Oh yes, how about legacy program? Like those in startup folder and registry, services program. I think Microsoft is too much harsh here.

    • Chris Hoffman
      April 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

      The sad thing is that Windows 8 is actually more efficient and uses less memory than ever -- they're trying to cram it on tablets and other low-power devices.

      But I don't think I'll use it, in spite of the improvements. Being forced to use Metro on a PC is just too much.

  14. Brian Liedtke
    March 28, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Hey Chris,

    I've been reading this blog with interest.

    With the .NET users group that I attend and the presentations that have been
    given on occasion about Windows 8 and Metro (excuse me, Modern) this is
    supposed to be the latest, greatest thing. (There might be some bias there).

    I finally downloaded the Consumer Preview and installed it (thank god for virtualization) on a VMWare machine. (Heaven help those who install it on their hardware via the web install).

    I've used it for a while and I am trying hard to resist the bias of having to do
    something different, in the interests of fairness.

    I have failed.

    I agree with others in this blog. This reminds me of the Windows Me debacle.

    Microsoft is feeling the pressure from Apple on their success with the iPhone and
    IPad. The paradigm that MS came up with for developers to create apps and share
    benefits for the Windows Phone 7 was inferior to what the iPhone and even
    Android platforms espouse. Now with the popularity of the iPad tablet, MS is
    deeper in the hole trying to play catchup (Remember XP tablet in the late 90s
    that went nowhere? They had the idea, but not the implementation).

    Now they are scrambling and we get this!

    Metro does have is uses in the Smart Phone and Tablet environments.The
    basics are sound. Provide a least common denominator interface for devices
    for everybody. Just like walking through large public areas (airports, train stations, etc..) Tickets are here. Bathrooms are here. For food, go here, here, or here
    depending upon your taste.

    Now we have an interface of 16 basic colors and rectangles (duhhhhh..
    pretty pictures). This doesn't include the fact that you can only run (see)
    one process at a time. I run multiple processes and windows at a time.
    Can't do that with Metro.

    This reminds me of people and cars. Most people put gas in their car and go... Why do I need to check my oil and maintain it!!! I want it to work!!!
    (Windows 8 paradigm)
    But there are others out there who like to tinker with their cars and sometimes
    come up with (**GASP**) innovations.
    (The programmers, hackers, and all around entrepreneurs who need something
    more than Metro)

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 28, 2012 at 5:57 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brian.

      I too really tried hard to like Windows 8. I'll probably be using it and writing about it, so I don't **want** to dislike it. I want to like it.

      But, the more time goes on, the more I'm souring on it. Metro just isn't appropriate for a PC with a mouse, keyboard, and no touch screen.

      I feel like I'm watching a train wreck in progress here. Even Microsoft evangelists aren't sold on the dueling OS paradigms and Metro on PCs.

  15. James Greer
    March 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I was using the Windows 8 Developer Preview for a while then yesterday I upgraded to the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and much has changed between to the two versions so I believe there will be numerous more changes on the way. At this point I am glad they kept the right click menu otherwise I would not be able to add all the desktop icons. Seeing that I am experienced with keyboard shortcuts I even noticed changes in the Windows task manager. The system is faster and works better than 7 in some cases although I think it may be time for Microsoft to start releasing free user manuals with new Windows OS listing the basic shortcuts that way the average audience cant say they were misleading. Otherwise technology jumps are what they are. I have seen several articles including the coffee table desktop computer that is being sold to companies which may include Windows 8, A new Mac system, or a new Ubuntu. I think they are moving the right direction, and the customers will just need some more instruction and information on it. Hologram projector computers may not be that far off even.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      I like Metro for touch, but do you really think it's ideal for desktop computers and laptops without touch?

      One thing's for sure: They need to add some help information. I don't know how they expect new users to get to grips without even a single "Help" shortcut on the desktop.

  16. loving it!
    March 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Everybody just calm down, I've been using Windows 8 consumer preview for about two weeks now and I'm loving it.

    Windows 8 FTW

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      How do you feel about the constant shifting between Metro and the desktop? I couldn't stand it.

    • David
      April 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Some people enjoy cutting themselves too, am I supposed to like it because you do? It was developed for easy access on a small device, but I even found it a bit limiting for that. If you want to see touch multitasking done right, Web OS.

      • Jovet
        May 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm

        I couldn't have asked a better question myself (re: cutting).

        I've been saying Microsoft is on the way outs for years, but nobody has believed me. I *will* say I told you (all) so!

        Windows 7 has not made people forget about the Vista disaster, or even the really ridiculous ribbon. Microsoft thinks they're high and mighty enough that they can get away with tossing radical user interfaces onto the masses without any comeuppance. And they're wrong.

        I know I'm biased. I see tablet computing as toys, just as mainframers saw PCs as toys, back in the day. They didn't take them seriously. I don't take tablets seriously. I have no desire to ever buy one. Microsoft cannot buy a magic wand big enough to magically transform my new PC or the next one I build or the one after that into a tablet computer that would be practical with Windows 8.

        • Chris Hoffman
          May 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm

          I feel the same way. I couldn't get serious work done on a tablet.

          What Microsoft is gambling on is that most users don't do real work. They use Facebook, a web browser, do their email -- metro is probably okay for that.

  17. Humza Aamir
    March 23, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I guess the majority of customers, i.e. desktop users wont feel cozy and satisfied using Windows 8 because they'd know that this platform was not developed solely with them in mind. They were put in the same basket as tablet users and the smartphone audience who use such stuff for mild entertainment and show-off purposes. The integration of the new OS on several platforms may boost Microsoft's participation in those segments of the market but will somehow dilute its image as a proper OS manufacturer.
    Yes the company has the right to expand but it shouldn't be using shortcuts by experimenting on its bread and butter OS. Had Microsoft been wide awake when iOS or even the late comer Android were in the cot, today would be quite a different scenario.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      I agree completely, Humza. Windows 8 has some great stuff behind Metro and a non-Metro edition for standard PCs would be great (or even just a toggle switch).

      Metro itself looks like a good interface for tablets, but I don't think it needs to be forced on desktop users. It'd be bad if tablet users were forced to use the desktop, too.

      This does seem to be because Microsoft was too slow to react. Now they see they're way behind and they have to take drastic action.

  18. Noel
    March 23, 2012 at 5:07 am

    Why are the techo pushing everyone to smart phones, metro tablets and other portable technologies. I am a traditionalist and will continue to use my desktop completer with keyboard and mouse so windows 8 will not be on my desktop. Microsoft and Apple need to face the real world where most people are in a similar position both in like and financial considerations. Last figures suggest most Windows users are still using Windows XP. Doesn't that tell them something? If it doesn't it should. Bye-bye Windows and bring on Linux.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Well, on the other hand, most people just do content consumption. Basic interfaces for email, web surfing, videos, and simple games are probably sufficient for most people...

      I wish this was a big opportunity for Linux, but I've heard it so many times before. don't think desktop Linux in its current form will ever take off, sadly.

  19. Ronald
    March 23, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Do you remember Windows Millennium? Then Vista, and now Windows 8, for me it's just a way to make some easy money selling a good looking product by a famous label. I can imagine that after one year or so they will say: Sorry guys, we did it wrong, you can downgrade to Windows 7 for free, or wait to buy our upcoming Windows 9 that will be better, faster, and where Metro will be optional.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 4:12 am

      It seems like that's what's going to happen! I agree completely. ME and Vista were pretty bad -- ME especially. Microsoft is willing to have this flop on desktops; it's obvious.

  20. Matt
    March 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    There is no way metro or any touch system is faster than keyboard/mouse sorry. Productivity goes down the drain with touch. The only app on the planet I can think of that touch is good for is a restaurant.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Touch is great for content consumption, but it's just not there for content creation and productivity.

  21. Nathan
    March 22, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Microsoft probably realizes that their business segment (Which makes up the majority of their desktop sales) is just BARELY switching to Windows 7, and with support out to 2020 they probably don't care if they lose that segment with Windows 8 because that segment wouldn't be buying Windows 8 in the first place. By the time the business segment catches up, their next full desktop release will likely be out.

    That said, I think it's a horrible strategy that leaves those using Windows on a desktop in a non-business setting in the lurch and it speaks volumes to how much Microsoft cares about it's non-business users. They just want a piece of the tablet pie since Apple's incredible success with the iPod touches, iPhones, and iPads and see this as a way to do that.

    If it weren't for the lack of widespread gaming support on Macs and their ridiculous pricing when looking at raw specifications (Just purchased an HP ENVY 17 for $1300, try getting an equivalent Macbook pro for that...) I probably would have ditched Windows years ago.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 2:15 am

      I agree 100% with everything you said. Microsoft is willing to throw their desktop PC business away to take a gamble on tablets.

      The only reason I'm using a PC and not a Mac at this point is for gaming, really.

  22. alvin
    March 22, 2012 at 7:43 am

    i realized that they are outlawing the freedom on ur computer with this new version of windows and i get the drift, once this windows becomes king its going to be like a pipa and sopa support software. this is a clever sneak thru the backdoor way to support them (the pipa and sopa masterminds) without taking the internet itself and we'll all see it eventually. because just think: wat better way to control the internet and ur usage of it but thru the very computer that ur using (namely the operating system). trust me u'll see

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      I'm not sure if SOPA and PIPA are directly tied to this, but it's all very worrying. SOPA/PIPA and locked down operating systems are all bad things for the Internet, in my opinoin.

      • Hal Motley
        June 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

        I just think Microsoft are trying to take a huge page out of Apple's book. Microsoft look at iOS with all the apps, popularity (and most importantly REVENUE) and envy it, so they decide to "innovate" Windows to adobt a similar concept to obtain REVENUE similar (if not better) to Apple.

        However to "innovate" they decide to implement ALL the Windows designs and concepts together to increase marketshare. Because let's face it, who really owns a WP7 phone/tablet in contrast to an Android/iOS/BlackBerry phone/tablet?

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 6:51 am

          Definitely. They want a cut from all Windows software being sold, like Apple gets on their platform.

          Mashing Metro and the desktop together on PCs is a really weird, almost desperate move to get people into the Microsoft ecosystem.

          In Windows 7, they removed Windows Mail and similar apps from the system to make it more lightweight. Now they're adding all these Microsoft ecosystem apps back, so the first thing you see with Windows 8 is a screen of icons advertising Microsoft's services (Bing Maps/Xbox/etc)

  23. engagement ring
    March 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Ok so I am thinking about removing my site from Tumbler and get it to a WordPress site. I believe this is a wordpress site right? If it is, may I ask where you got the theme? Thanks a bunch!

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      I'm actually not sure -- I believe we have a designer who created the theme just for our site?

  24. Yang Yang
    March 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Is no one realizing that "upgrading" to Windows 8 is optional? Heck, the final Windows 8 release isn't even out yet and people are complaining about the evils of Microsoft. Windows 8 was created for TABLETS not PCs. This is why Metro is such an integral part of it. Tablets are touch based and the Metro UI works great with a touchscreen. Using Windows 8 with a mouse was not Microsoft's original intention. In fact, people with PCs should stay with Windows 7 unless they want Windows metro apps.
    Remember Windows XP? I know people that are still using it after a decade and defending it as the best OS ever. Windows 7 has been out 3 or 4 years? Windows 7 is an update to Windows XP meant for PCs. And because Windows 7 tablets failed epically, Windows 8 is Microsoft's attempt to regain the tablet market with an interface designed specifically for it. The two OSs were created for completely different devices and reasons.
    Now I understand the issue about Microsoft locking down Windows 8. It is probably for the best because x86 based software can't really run on an ARM processor. And do you really want the Windows Store to be filled with bogus apps?

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 20, 2012 at 2:30 am

      You make really interesting points, but Microsoft actually says that Windows 8 is equally a PC operating system for non-touch devices. They say Windows 8 is a "no compromise" OS for both PCs and tablets.

      What you say would be very true, but Microsoft disagrees with you.

      Microsoft could have desktop apps in the app store and vet them. This is actually what Apple does on OS X with their app store, so I think Microsoft could manage it too!

    • RoastAK
      April 17, 2012 at 4:29 am

      Also- most all new pre-loaded store bought computers (think Costco and Best Buy) will be forced by MS' licensing agreements to have Windows8, and boldy advertise it with annoying stickers and such.. so in that case it will be pretty hard to still pick Windows7 if you are non business. Maybe online retailers will still offer a Windows 7 option, but I bet ordering any computer with the Windows XP option will all but dissapear now. I am keeping my old Delll 32bit with XP as long as I can, but it is getting long in the tooth. Now i think I need to scramble to get a desktop with Windows 7 even (which I think is an inferior OS as far an its interface and ability to tinker with it- I hate "libraries" for example).

      • Chris Hoffman
        April 18, 2012 at 5:32 am

        I believe Windows XP is gone now -- when Vista came out, Microsoft was forced to continue offering XP. Now they just offer 7.

        If there's enough backlash to 8, they may be forced to continue offering 7 (or they could just add an option to Windows 8...)

  25. Tim Brookes
    March 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Bang on Chris. Couldn't agree more.

    Windows 8 just doesn't seem to be Windows any more. I quite like 7, and I really liked XP. Hell, 98SE was a pretty good OS too. You had to reinstall them once a year, but they got the job done and nothing else really came close.

    For me this is no longer true. I'm not going to buy a Windows 8 tablet, why would I if I could get an iPad. It has thousands of apps already, is in its 3rd generation, has a proven track record and is so easy to use my parents could do it. Windows 8 doesn't have those apps, will appear on a variety of devices from a lot of different manufacturers (some good, some awful) and will take a few updates to run smoothly as is always the case.

    Microsoft seem to have forgotten that this is first and foremost a desktop OS. Android tablets haven't sold well, nor have PlayBooks and WebOS didn't work out as planned. Why do Microsoft think there is a gap in the market for more tablets? More importantly why has it blinded their vision of what Windows should probably be?

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 20, 2012 at 2:26 am

      Great point! Windows 8 is primarily a tablet OS, which is what makes it so shocking.

      I really am still completely stunned by what Microsoft is doing here. They're throwing the PC under the bus to take a grab at the tablet market.

  26. John B
    March 18, 2012 at 2:19 am

    When I first got involved with computers and programming there was a rule that said "Never Change The Operating System". Microsoft has made a fortune doing just that and often without improving anything. In past "new" Windows versions I've become convinced that nothing was really added or improved, they just scrambled the menus so I had to hunt for things. I think another rule they need to follow it "If it works don't fix it!"

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 20, 2012 at 2:33 am

      Well, I'd like to see them improve Windows -- for example, optimizing Windows (making it use less memory, boot faster, etc). They actually are doing this, but they're also making huge changes

      The phrase "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" really applies here.

  27. Thomas Kainz
    March 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I see the new "Metro" OS/Interface (what-have-you) as Microsoft's way of dumbing down the operating system in their attempt to make it more 'wow' than muscle. It's like the control panel in Window's 7. You can open it up in 'category' view or change it to 'icon' view. Personally, when in category view, I have a hard time finding things. I change it to icon view and click, click, click... I'm doing what needs to get done. Yes, I could take some time to memorize how Microsoft set up the categories the way that "they" want me to interpret them, but I don't have time for that. BUT AT LEAST I HAVE THE OPTION. I have so much work backed up, I need to have a tool that I control, that I know how it works and that I can be productive with the second I turn it on. Then, maybe later, when... and if... I have time, I can work on the learning curve.

    Microsoft seems hell bent on having us change our working style to meet their ideal vision and they haven't seemed to figure out yet that won't work.

    I can see this new interface style on a tablet, and quite frankly, I've been patiently waiting for a good tablet that runs "standard" Window's programs and in an environment that will allow me to get to work and be productive IMMEDIATELY. I don't have time for learning curves. For a business machine, I cannot see having to bang out hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code a week on a machine that's more fluff than function.

    I like Window's 7 and it seems that I'll be one of those XP-esq like die-hards that will be milking it as long as can until Microsoft 86's it or until they get their head on straight and realize that they need to provide a product that can provide the bells and whistles for those that place more importance on form than function while allowing their muscle users... their business users, to get down and dirty and get the job done without all the superfluousness.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 20, 2012 at 2:35 am

      Well, they allow people to use the desktop -- but Metro is constantly getting in the way.

      There's still time -- they could still allow us to opt out. They should release a Windows 8 Professional Edition that lets users disable Metro, at least.

      The reason people clung to XP is because Vista was so bad. Microsoft is doing the same again, so people will cling to Windows 7.

  28. Mike Degatano
    March 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Well here's my two cents. Metro is for tablets, everything said here just reinforces that. I've been excited for it on there since i first saw win phone 7, it always looked cramped to me there but perfect for a tablet. I always felt ipads, while cool, would just end up being a toy in my workflow and android tablets just felt wrong but this looked like it could be the perfect mix of business and fun and i'm still excited for that.

    My computer though was different, i was skeptical it would feel wrong in the same way android did with tablets (they've gotten better but i still have misgivings) and now it seems my fears are being realized. But the thing is i was never sure i was going to upgrade, my workflow is what's important and i'll try this but i'm not installing anything that slows me down. If microsofts gamble is right then my comp isn't going to be my most important device so it is fine on one version out of date, if they're wrong then this'll be a vista and i'll catch up with windows 9.

    There's one wildcard that i can see though. I have 3 windows comps, 2 of them always available desktops, and an xbox 360 and i'm considering a win 8 tablet. If microsoft can make all of those feel like one fluid machine if they're on win8 then that will probably change my mind. Otherwise i'm probably sticking with my business windows, i don't need another glittery toy.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Yeah, if there were separate Windows 8 for PC and Windows 8 Metro Edition for Tablets, I'd be really excited.

      Windows 8's desktop is optimized and improved, so it could stand alone.

      Metro looks great for tablets.

      But smushed together like this? I don't think it works.

      There's lots of speculation that Microsoft is willing to fail on the desktop with Win8 and fix things with Win9. That's why Win7 is supported to 2020, I suppose.

      • Hal Motley
        June 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Now that you mention that Windows 7 will be supported until 2020 (about another 8 years, which is a long time in technological terms) pretty much proves that Windows 8 WILL be a gamble due to the failsafe put in place.

        The annoying thing is the Metro could work if Microsoft were willing to mod the hell out of it. I want dedicated close and minimise buttons on each Metro app and all the action bars at the top.

        But I doubt they'll do that, also why does the IE Metro app have the address bar at the bottom?

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 6:40 am

          That's a great question. I have no idea why -- you'd have to ask Microsoft to know for sure.

          If I had to guess, it's because they want the tabs (they look more like thumbnails and not traditional tabs) at the top. And Metro is all about minimizing interface elements, so they want to put some interface elements at the bottom of the screen instead of placing them at the top.

          The bottom of the screen is a weird place for the address bar, though. I wonder if they actually did studies on this -- I know Microsoft used to do lots of studies, but after seeing Metro, I have my doubts...

        • Hal Motley
          June 15, 2012 at 1:13 pm

          After doing some research on Microsoft's Metro UI design (here:[msdn].[microsoft].[com]/[en-us]/[library]/[windows]/[apps]/[hh761500].[aspx]) I have discovered there are 2 types of Metro app interface:

          1. Hierarchical

          The "boxy" interface, designed for Metro apps that are information heavy and have lots images and text. So you could use it to create a Pokédex or Minecraft guide! This interface is used in the Weather, Stocks, Marketplace, Photos, Music, Xbox Live and even the Xbox 360 dashboard (it seems).

          2. Flat

          The "classic smartphone" interface that's designed for general use such as games, web browsers, file managers, camera applications... This interface is used in IE10, Mail and Camera.

          With that said it seems that Microsoft decided that IE10 Metro Edition would work best with a Flat interface and I honestly don't blame them (judging by the options).

          Microsoft assigned the address bar in the action bar because they deem typing a URL in the action bar is an action of a web browser and according to the Flat Metro interface, actions appear at the bottom and navigation via tabs appear at the top.

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 17, 2012 at 12:40 am

          Wow, thanks a lot, Hal! Your comment is more interesting and informative than many entire articles I've read on Windows 8.

          It's interesting that both Firefox and Chrome's Metro UIs (so far) have traditional tabs and a traditional address bar on top. I wonder if that will be an attraction.

          By the way, you don't have to obfuscate the URL like that -- you can submit post with URLs in them, they'll just need to be spam-checked by members of our staff before they appear on the site. As long as you're not spamming, your comment will be approved.

  29. Cameron Stevens
    March 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I believe that Metro, while cool, is not Enterprise friendly. If Microsoft wants to see quick adoption in business they need to allow Explorer to remain an option for the shell.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      The funny thing is that this IS explorer. They've baked Metro into Explorer.exe itself. In the Developer Preview, you could remove Metro, but now that it's baked into Explorer.exe, you'll have to remove Explorer.exe itself to get rid of Metro.

      • Hal Motley
        June 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        Interesting, so that means if I can make my Nautilus file manager fork, I could in the process allow the user to remove the Metro completely providing I provide a substitute framework via my other apps.

        Out of curiosity though, would a Metro file manager (like iOS's iFile and the countless Android file managers) be possible?

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 6:48 am

          That's a really good question. I don't believe there's a metro version of Windows Explorer yet -- it doesn't bode well that even Windows tablets will include the desktop and the desktop version of Windows Explorer.

          I believe there's a Metro file picker for saving/opening files in apps, but not a full-featured file manager.

          I took a quick glance at the APIs and it looks like it will probably be possible to write such a thing. In fact, WinZIP is going to create a Metro app -- that's practically a file manager in some ways.

  30. Alae Hatoum
    March 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I wonder how will that workout with the power users . I am a Motion designer and I don't think I can ever live with an interface that favors touch . It just won't work for all the people that use keyboards and mice for more than just browsing and watching video clips

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Yeah, it seems like that's what it's designed for. The fact that they realize people will need to use the desktop to get work done just shows that Metro is designed for consumption.

      Maybe they're betting that most people just do email, web browsing, videos, and music on their computer?

      • RoastAK
        April 17, 2012 at 4:42 am

        I think most people are missing the point- "consumers" (i.e people who buy one computer every five years,etc.) are money losers- they make MS NO MONEY.. or very little.. they, like Apple and Google, want everybody in a cloud based, subscription based closed system.. and they want to be one of the three big ones.. it is just like Facebook-- they don't "like" us.. they use us to make money, lots of it.. All of these complaints mean nothing, nor does the fact that these companies started with nerds tinkering in there garages- they want complete locked down control from the second you buy that product.. and trust me, it is the accountants and corporate stock guys making these decisions-- not people who like good computers. Then they hire the designers and coders to make it work. Welcome to corporate America..

        • Chris Hoffman
          April 18, 2012 at 5:30 am

          Yup, same as any company, sadly -- ideally there could be some competition, but Windows has such a lock on the PC market, so they can get away with this.

  31. Suga
    March 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    i agree metro needs a polish.. BUT!! Metro is neat to organize, the above pictures are shown negatively, i installed CP, its faster, it is not bad as u said, it have more features. yes metro will be hated by many but it wont fail like vista!!

    In 3rd picture, really? a kid can keep the metro start neater than what shown in that screenshot! metro is cute!!

    "there’s no button to click; you have to drag and drop the lock screen away"
    WHAT?? just press enter, or just press UP key, it will slide smoothly, it works perfectly on my 3 yr old pc whynot in a tech's PC??
    Like this, u have misunderstood metro in many way :)

    If u dont like a product, then dont collect only negative stuffs about that product, because you are already biased!!

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      Metro looks fun for touch screens, but I can't imagine using it all the time on a desktop.

      The third picture is what happens if you use desktop apps with Metro. That's how your Start screen looks if you only want to use desktop apps -- which just shows Microsoft is pushing us away from desktop apps.

      I mentioned that you can just press a key on the keyboard -- but I didn't notice this. I tried to click it at first and discovered the keyboard shortcut later. It seems weird to me that a desktop PC interface wouldn't have a button on it (it's not like a screensaver -- left clicking on it does nothing)

      This isn't just negative stuff about Metro -- it's the facts about what's happening to the desktop, especially in the long term. If you like Metro, then this is good stuff -- the desktop is going away. But there's no denying that, for the people who prefer the desktop and want to avoid Metro entirely in Windows 8, they're not going to be happy.

  32. Dave
    March 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I have to say, at first glance it looks like something you might see on a kid's toy! Building blocks with BIG letters on come to mind. From what I've read, I really can't summon up a lot of enthusiasm. Change for change sake, I think. There are going to be a lot of unhappy people who won't find this particularly intuitive and, in my opinion, MS are taking the wrong path here.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Yeah, people have called it a "fisher price" interface. Even the people that like it admit it's bad on big screens.

      There's a great video called "How Real People Will Use Windows 8":

      A real person can't figure out how to bring the Start screen back up after getting to the desktop. It's not intuitive at all. Real people will struggle unless Microsoft makes changes.

  33. Vladi
    March 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

    If I ever try Windows 8, that's only with VirtualBox I think. All my excitement pretty much faded away with your article. Thanks for pointing out these things.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      Yup, I've been running Windows 8 in VirtualBox too.

      I can see people being excited about using it on a tablet or something with a touch screen, but on a desktop PC or laptop? I don't know about that.

      I'm really disappointed, though. I was really looking forward to an app store for desktop apps, so Windows could do all the installation and updating fork for me. Sigh.

  34. Rey Aetar
    March 17, 2012 at 6:52 am

    its becoming more like a social network ui :P

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Yeah, it seems like it.

      Some people will probably love that, but some people hate it!

      What will the market at large think of Win 8? Will people think "ooh, it looks like my iPad" and love it? Or will they dislike it because it's new and changes everything?

      I don't know what most people will think.

  35. Lou
    March 17, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Sorry - enter twice - my bad

  36. Lou
    March 17, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I can't believe Microsoft is just walking away from the business (a huge ongoing part of their income) and power user (a major development and testing base) portfolios. Tablets just won't cut it for many business users anytime in the near future. Further, mission-critical third-party software is the rule, not the exception, on most business PC's, as Jerry points out below. Big businesses and big organizations, are still using XP, and will be migrating to Windows 7 years after Windows 8 is released. Remember, adaptation of new versions of Windows is slow in the real working world, because it takes a lot of time, money and effort to get the programs we need to run our businesses work properly with Microsoft's newest and shiniest OS.
    Either Redmond has lost touch with the real world, and wants to crash and burn in a hurry, or, they are planning on Windows 9 being the business/power user friendly OS.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Microsoft just extended support of Windows 7 to 2020, so they know that people will want to stick with Windows 7.

      There's speculation that they're willing to gamble with Windows 8 because of that. They seem focused on selling Windows 8 to business as a tablet OS, not as a desktop OS.

      So much user training will be required to get users familiar with Windows 8 on PCs. And for what?

      They really are throwing the traditional PC market away. But who's going to compete with them and offer a desktop PC alternative OS?

      • Ren
        March 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

        Can you imagine working on a complex spreadsheet on a tablet?
        This may be the time for the Linux desktop.

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 17, 2012 at 6:12 pm

          I wish. People have been saying "this is the year of the Linux desktop" for years, but it never seems to happen.

          I mean, I've used Linux a lot myself in the past, but it never seems to catch on.

          At least there's competition on tablets, smartphones and everything that's not a Windows PC, I suppose.

        • Jonah
          June 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

          Well whether people switch or not, I have already switched 100% to a Linux desktop and don't regret it a bit. I run Kubuntu, because IMO anything Gnome 3 is a curse, based on Ubuntu, it really isn't that hard to figure out. Wine runs my windows software, and there's only one thing I run in it, Microsoft Office 2010 (Wine 1.4 supports A LOT more then it use to support in older versions). Then I have Minecraft that runs natively in Java and Google Chrome and that's my computer :P

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 6:42 am

          PC gaming is mostly what's keeping me tethered to Windows these days. Hurry up with Steam for Linux, Valve!

      • Mike
        May 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm

        Well as others have stated other OS like Linux may finally take part due to this decision that MS have made. To tell you the truth though if they keep this up React-OS might take flight as well. Its an open os which is suppose to run all of you windows Apps with a familiar windows desktop

        • Chris Hoffman
          May 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

          People said that about Vista, so I don't know how much desktop Linux will take off. It's definitely a very interesting time, though -- I have no idea what will happen with Windows 8.

  37. Qwertinsky
    March 17, 2012 at 1:16 am

    LAME! Specially the App store lamest of the lame! When I pay good money for a computer I expect to be able to install and run the applications I WANT TO INSTALL AND RUN. Not have to go through any app store ant only be able to purchase approves applications.

    No desktop? Does nobody actually do any work on their computers anymore?

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 2:55 am

      You can still get desktop apps on PCs -- but not ARM tablets. All the Metro apps have to come through the Windows app store, though.

      I work on my computer and I can't imagine using Metro all the time!

      • Qwertinsky
        March 17, 2012 at 5:03 am

        For a tablet the Metro is "okay" I guess, as long as desktops can still have a "desktop". I hate Unity too and am going to move away from Ubuntu because of it.

        But the whole App store and subsequent unauthorized program installation lock down is the main reason I will not buy a Apple or Android device. If Windows tablets are going to be the same in this aspect, I guess I will never own a tablet.

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

          Actually, Android isn't locked down.

          Yes, there's an app store. And it won't let you install apps from elsewhere by default. But you can change a single setting on Android's settings screen and install apps from absolutely anywhere. You don't need Google's permission. This is how third-party app stores like the Amazon app store work.

          Here's how you can install non-app store apps on an Android: //

          Android isn't perfect, but it's the most open platform on smartphones and tablets. It isn't locked down.

        • Delocaz
          March 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

          If you liked Ubuntu but hate Unity i would suggest Kubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE (if your PC can handle it) or Crunchbang.

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

          You can also try Mint, which is getting a lot of users because it's Ubuntu without Unity.

          The Cinnamon desktop is really nice, in my opinion. You can install it on Ubuntu, but I believe it'll be default in Mint in the next version? Or is it already the default? I'm not completely sure, I don't pay close attention to Mint.

        • Hal Motley
          June 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

          Or if you can brave Unity, try installing GNOME or KDE directly by using terminal commands such as:

          "sudo apt-get install gnome-shell"

          Then select the desktop environment before you log in.

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 15, 2012 at 6:42 am

          Yup, you can install tons of different desktop environments on Ubuntu.

  38. John Penland
    March 17, 2012 at 1:13 am

    So I guess MUO ditched Disqus? That sucks, oh well, things change, people will complain. Change upsets us. i think that's a lot of the reason for the complaints. A lot of the complaints when Canonical came out with Unity are the same ones that are now being used against Microsoft for their metro..modern...metromodern? interface.

    After having switched in between the vastly different desktops of Gnome-Shell, Unity, and Windows Vista/7, I have to say that I'm intrigued by what I've seen so far. Now if only we can convince them to use aptitude or similar package managers, its time to get over the whole spending three months out of the year updating your computer. Although, if enough of the regularly used applications make something for Metro, it won't be such a big deal. I know that FF and Chrome are going metro..I mean modern.. That will save on some of the most important updates, besides that virus, I mean plugin flash.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 2:53 am

      Yup, we ditched DISQUS. It caused a lot of problems and broke a lot of things. I love the *idea* of DISQUS, but the implementation seemed to have a lot of problems.

      Metro is really diffferent from Unity. Unity launches the same desktop apps and you can opt out -- imagine if you couldn't turn Unity off and Unity brought new, "unity-style" apps that had to run in full-screen (or 1/3-screen) mode. Yikes!

      Windows does really need a package manager. I was REALLY hoping that the Windows app store would finally solve software installation and updating on Windows 8, but they restricted it to Metro apps only. I am really disappointed about that. It only makes sense if they're phasing desktop apps out.

  39. Fred Thompson
    March 17, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Pff. Win8 is junk. Call it Bob II.

    Really, people who use computers to actually get things done need density of information, not cartoons. M$ has really stepped in it this time. They weren't satisfied to destroy their smartphone business. No, they wanted to "save" their investment and pullute real computers. Windows releases are like Star Trek movies, every other one is a real stinker.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 2:54 am

      Windows 8 seems like a huge gamble to establish themselves on tablets and smartphones.

      As someone who works on a computer, I can't imagine doing all my work in Metro. Chrome OS looks more functional! And it's really limited.

    • Delocaz
      March 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Yeah, 3 = success. 95 = success (the rare exception). 98 = success. ME = failure. XP = success. Vista = failure. 7 = success. 8 = failure (estimated).

      • Chris Hoffman
        March 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

        Definitely. That's the Windows curse! I used ME for a while and it really was horrible.

        • Hal Motley
          June 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

          I'd say that there are different reasons for a Windows release's failure. For example Windows Vista was ultimately (pun intended) doomed due to serious bugs and errors in the NT kernel and Windows 8 (as projected by us and other bloggers) would fail due to a serious UI overhaul.

          Interestingly, however I learnt that Microsoft shift their software teams around so you could work on Word on moment and then perhaps on the Zune another time.

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

          Well, I was joking a bit. There clearly isn't an actual curse.

          Nevertheless, it is pretty funny that every second release seems to have done poorly -- so far

  40. Renaldo Creative
    March 17, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I hate Metro and plan to stick with Windows XP and Windows 7.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 17, 2012 at 2:50 am

      It's probably nice on a tablet. I don't like it on a PC.

      I'm tempted to stick with WIndows 7, too. But, as a tech writer, I need to be up to date on these things.

  41. JerryP
    March 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    And I thought Metro was the only way in which they were trying to emulate Apple. As someone who works in a corporate IT environment, I am stunned. Most of our core software is 3rd party and really not suitable for being turned into an app. Especially when some of it deals with serious security issues.

    So for the business user, if you are in any business that does not use office for the bulk of your work (which is most businesses that I am aware of), then Microsoft has made it very clear, you are not their customer.

    And if you are a gamer who likes playing games that may take up a good chunk of space on several CDs/DVDs, then those really aren't so good as apps either due to their size, etc. So you are not their customer either.

    Who is left? The mac user base. At the expense of everyone else.

    Good job Microsoft.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Microsoft is selling Windows 8 to businesses as a tablet OS. And Metro is probably fine on a tablet.

      The desktop still works and all, but it's clearly on the way out. I don't like it either.

  42. Anomaly
    March 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    MS can only do the crap it's trying to do if people like you continue to put your head up your arse. You should be writing scathing articles about the POS they call Windows 8. There is really nothing good to say about it. It's MS attempt at Apple douche bad syndrome.

    For example, the calling it modern not metro part of your article. Do you realize how absurd that was. How the hell can a browser that has maybe 5 percent of the functionality of the older browser be called modern? How is Metro IE not a thousand steps backwards? If you drove a top of the line Ferrari and I gave you a ford focus and told you it was more modern and an improvement over the Ferrari you would think I was insane. The difference between regular IE and Metro IE is that big.

    You should be outraged at what MS is attempting to do with Metro and the app store. They are creating an app prison.

    The comments about MS not allowing us to use the regular desktop on ARM platforms and therefore forcing you to use MS apps only should have you furious. No, you seem quite willing to bend over. This is what MS hopes will happen so they can force feed all of us a nice pile of horse crap.

    • JerryP
      March 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

      I think the author is in agreement with you. He just didn't go hysterical or go of on a rant. If you re-read it, it is pointing out a series of problems.

      And they can call it "Modern" in that they are abandoning the old way. The old way was making operating systems that served a purpose and got things done. It might have been ugly and a pain at times, but it was a workhorse. "Modern" is designed for the lowest common denominator. A pulse and cash are the "modern" requirements of the new target audience.

      The thing they miss, is that a large chunk of the Apple audience buys Apple because they make simple (and I don't mean that in a bad way), easy to use devices that you don't have to learn. They may be more limited in a lot of ways for the *average* user, but the average user for these products wants simplicity over configurability and power. It seems like Microsoft is certainly making it simple, but in the bad way. Cutting out things that used to work in a well understood way and trying to mimic what Apple does, and doing it poorly. The xbox is not really the best basis for an OS.

      • Chris Hoffman
        March 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

        Actually, Windows 8 is doubly complex. You're basically using two operating systems and constantly switching between them -- that's how it feels.

        Not even Apple has slapped iOS on Macs. Microsoft is taking a huge gamble. They're focused on tablets instead of PCs and are trying to use their PC dominance to muscle in on tablets -- Metro on both tablets and PCs means that they can force people to write tablet apps.

        • Hal Motley
          June 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm

          Apple have done well by making sure that they know that
          iOS (with most of its UI components such as the SpringBoard) is for their ARM devices with a capacitive touchscreens that your finger/stylus interacts withand that Mac OS X is for desktops/laptops with keyboards/mice that your hand interacts with. They know this and don't mix it up!

          Now I don't mind that the Metro has been introduced to Windows 8. But I object that it has to be every- f**king-where!

          If I had designed it (which I am sure you guys would perhaps appreciate more) the desktop would be the primary part of the OS and the Metro a second. I would have also allowed the Windows Store to be in both window and desktop form along with hosting both kinds of apps.

          The Metro does work in some places, but until capacitive touchscreen laptops and monitors become all the rage. The Metro in its current form is quite limited with the keyboard and mouse!

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 3, 2012 at 2:55 am

          I'd like to see Microsoft give people choice between a traditional Windows desktop and Metro. If Metro is so great, people will choose it.

          They seem scared people won't freely choose Metro.

        • SuperWeasel
          July 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm

          I'm using the consumer preview. I've gotten used to it. Restarting my computer is harder than it should be ( i have to restart it a lot!).
          The thing that pisses me off is that I have to use "apps" now. What happened to "programs" ?

        • Marty McLean
          August 10, 2012 at 2:28 am

          Apple have slapped iOS on OS 10.

          What do you call OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion?

        • Chris Hoffman
          August 13, 2012 at 8:32 pm

          Apple has integrated some iOS concepts into OS X, definitely.

          However, they're still seperate operating systems -- iOS and OS X are different.

          Windows 8 will be the same OS on desktops and tablets. Apple doesn't even do that. (yet?)

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      I don't like it either, Anomaly. This article is basically a list of 6 things I don't like.

      I don't call them "modern apps," personally -- that's what Microsoft calls them. It shows how they're thinking.

      I think Microsoft should keep Metro off the PC. Or at least allow people to opt out.

      • Anomaly
        March 17, 2012 at 12:24 am

        Hmm well your article read like you were listing things MS was doing to kill the desktop and you didn't seem to mind. Nothing personl against you. I have an issue with many sites like this one that seem to be too accepting of the crap the is going on with Windows 8.

        I don't think people realize what will happen if Microstupid has a success with Windows 8. You can kiss a lot of the freedom and customization you have now with Windows goodbye. The problem is that a lot of the perplexed primates using the OS now don't care and there are more of them then there were just a few years ago. MS just won't care what power users think as long as they have success with the monkeys.

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

          I didn't want it to be an angry rant. This is just what's happening -- I don't like it, but I'd rather lay out the facts and let readers draw their own conclusions.

          I agree, though. I'm really sad about the loss of freedom. Right now Windows is an open platform that you can run anything on, unlike iOS. With Win8, the locked down ARM desktop, and Metro apps only from the app store, Windows 8 is becoming just like iOS.

          Apple's desktop OS is going to be more open than Windows. That's crazy!

        • Anomaly
          March 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

          Yes, I see it the same way. Windows 8 needs to flop big time to put a stop to the BS otherwise MS will think they have a green light to screw everyone. In the mean time learn and love Linux.

        • D Metalious
          May 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm

          I think you were right to not add your own outrage or expressions of discontent to your post. It is far more persuasive to just communicate the facts and allow people to feel their own outrage instead of vicariously feeling someone else's.

        • Chris Hoffman
          May 22, 2012 at 1:21 am

          Thanks, D! I feel the same way.

        • Hal Motley
          June 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm

          Yeah, Apple aren't free at all!

          I personally think that with Ubuntu for Android around the corner, the use of Ubuntu will be MUCH more widespread providing OEMs take up the oppurtunity and market right.

          What I do want to do is make desktop applications that enhance the userbility of the Windows 8 desktop by making ports/forks of various desktop modding tools (ObjectDock, RainMeter...) and the Nautilus file manager!

          We also plan to make a Metro edition of Nautilus too, if Microsoft approve!

        • Chris Hoffman
          June 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

          Hopefully Linux because more common. It would be good to have more competition on desktop PCs and laptops. Microsoft's desktop and laptop market share is still way too high.

        • Bharat
          July 15, 2012 at 7:52 am

          You need not even reply to a fool like anomaly. He is a complete jackass and has no idea about what he writes and says.

          I would have been more happy had you asked anomaly to just shut the Fuck up and go away from here and stop talking and spreading rubbish.

        • Chris Hoffman
          July 18, 2012 at 3:28 am

          I certainly can't say that to readers!

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 17, 2012 at 6:10 pm

          MS seems willing to have Windows 8 flop on desktops if they can make some inroads in the tablet market, sadly.

        • DaveI
          March 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

          I can't imagine Bill signing off on something like this...Ballmer however...Yeah he's a salesman...He'll shove out whatever he's told will sale...Well if Linux was ever going to get the chance to be mainstream this is it...Now someone come up with a simple training program for Linux for Newbies...Windows 8 may change the PC in ways they never meant...

    • Ian Collins
      July 4, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      100% in agreement.

    • bharat
      July 15, 2012 at 7:44 am

      I think you are a complete fool and just want to criticize any good step that MS takes.

      I agree the new start screen is not the most coolest thing ever, But can you tell me anything that is better than this? Can you call iPad's App launch screen or say a OSX start screen or traditional deskdop for that matter any good? Its just a pile of icons. Atleast new metro screen is way forward with this.

      MS have taken a huge step forward by doing these changes, and by providing an interface, that is so personalized & lively.

      Not supporting Flash, is not a very bad thing, as Flash is now orphaned by its creators ( Adobe ) itself, as they themselves say it has performance problems. IE 10 on Metro is total touch optimized software. Just go and look at how the new IE 10 works on new Synaptics touch pad and you will be amazed.

      Having a total control over installing, updating, restoring, refreshing is a huge + for apps and was used to be a pin in ass whenever your system crashes. Controlling the App purchase centrally is a major advantage and you fool call it app prison?

      HTML5 is the way forward and MS, Apple, Adobe eveyone know it.
      Metro Start screen in Win 8 is like Desktop of Windows 3.1. It is only going to get better and better.

      You are a total fool with no idea of any technological stuff and simply want to bash great idea's out of anyone. You have no right to say anything about any product or idea if you do not have complete idea of merits, demerits and its future enhancements.

      • Chris Hoffman
        July 18, 2012 at 3:31 am

        We'll see how it goes. The problem is that the Windows desktop is mature, while Metro isn't. Even the new version of Microsoft Office will be desktop apps (ones that seem, for the most part, not very touch-optimized) -- it's clear that Microsoft sees the desktop as the place for getting real work done and the keyboard and mouse as the tools for doing it.

        From what I hear, the default Metro Mail client doesn't even have IMAP support yet. It's not ready for prime time.

        Sadly, a lot of the new features (app store for updating apps) don't apply to desktop apps, so people using Windows for productivity will miss out.

        • Bharat
          July 18, 2012 at 9:38 am

          As I said before, Win8 is the beginning of new Microsoft. But, does it make any sense to have Metro version of Word and Excel 2013? I mean what would that mean at all?

          Metro stands for chrome less applications, using all available space for view without any disturbances and more concentration on data and visual presentation. Office 2013 is about, more about user entering data rather than application showing you data. MS is totally correct in having it as a Desktop app and not as a Metro App.

          An application like OneNote that does need lot of metro touches is in fact a Metro App for Windows 8.

          Metro Mail Client Need not support IMAP. Metro Mail supports Gmail, Hotmail etc which are more than good enough for general users at whom the Metro environment is targeted. For power users who spend lot of time in desktop, you have a fully fledged awesome thing like MS Outlook or may be a Windows Live mail Client which is good as well.

          Yes, The store is not mainly targeted at desktop apps and I hope, it is only going improve as time progresses.

        • Chris Hoffman
          July 20, 2012 at 4:51 am

          Well, on a Windows RT (ARM) system, Microsoft doesn't allow third-party developers to write desktop apps, so it's a bit silly that Office is a desktop app. Microsoft says to everyone else "only write Metro apps" -- but as you say, there are certain types of apps that fit better on the desktop.

          The Mail point is a similar thing -- the average home user will get along okay with Metro, but anyone else doing serious work with a different email server will need a desktop app.

          We'll see how it goes, but it definitely looks like the desktop is still the place for getting work done. Metro is for checking Facebook and such.

    • George
      September 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Just saying, "Modern" means new. In society, however, people THINK it means new AND better. No. It just means "New".