Microsoft Talks About Windows 8 Metro UI and Desktop, Two Interfaces in One OS

After posting about Windows Explorer improvements, file management improvements, support for USB 3.0, file name collision improvements and native Explorer support for ISO and VHD files in Windows 8, now Microsoft has blogged about Metro UI and Desktop in Windows 8.

Here is what the official post says:

By now you've seen two different elements of the Windows 8 design - first, a Metro style user interface we showed previously and in a video seen by millions of folks. And recently, we have described in this blog some of the enhancements we're making to familiar Windows desktop tools such as Explorer and the copy file dialog. We've seen a lot of dialog about these changes.

Some of you are probably wondering how these parts work together to create a harmonious experience. Are there two user interfaces? Why not move on to a Metro style experience everywhere? On the other hand, others have been suggesting that Metro is only for tablets and touch, and we should avoid "dumbing down" Windows 8 with that design.

Having both of user interfaces together harmoniously is an important part of Windows 8. As a starting point for the discussion, here is how we approached the design of Windows 8 from the very beginning.

We started planning Windows 8 during the summer of 2009 (before Windows 7 shipped). From the start, our approach has been to reimagine Windows.

When we showed the first demos of Windows 8, we introduced our new Metro experience—fast and fluid, immersive, beautiful, and app-centric.

Windows_8_Start_Screen.png

At the same time, we recognized that Windows 7 has been a huge success. Hundreds of millions of people rely on the Windows 7 UI.

In this light, the role of the Windows desktop is clear. The things that people do today on PCs don't suddenly go away just because there are new Metro style apps. The mechanisms that people rely on today (mice, physical keyboards, trackpads) don't suddenly become less useful or "bad" just because touch is also provided as a first-class option. These tools are quite often the most ergonomic, fast, and powerful ways of getting many things done.

We knew as we designed the Windows 8 UI that you can't just flip a bit overnight and turn all of that history into something new. In fact, that is exactly what some people are afraid of us doing. Some have said that is the only path to take.

We believe there is room for a more elegant, perhaps a more nuanced, approach. You get a beautiful, fast and fluid, Metro style interface and a huge variety of new apps to use. These applications have new attributes (a platform) that go well beyond the graphical styling (much to come on this at Build). As we showed, you get an amazing touch experience, and also one that works with mouse, trackpad, and keyboard. And if you want to stay permanently immersed in that Metro world, you will never see the desktop—we won't even load it (literally the code will not be loaded) unless you explicitly choose to go there! This is Windows reimagined.

But if you do see value in the desktop experience—in precise control, in powerful windowing and file management, in compatibility with hundreds of thousands of existing programs and devices, in support of your business software, those capabilities are right at your fingertips as well. You don't need to change to a different device if you want to edit photos or movies professionally, create documents for your job or school, manage a large corpus of media or data, or get done the infinite number of things people do with a PC today. And if you don't want to do any of those "PC" things, then you don't have to and you're not paying for them in memory, battery life, or hardware requirements. If you do want or need this functionality, then you can switch to it with ease and fluidity because Windows is right there. Essentially, you can think of the Windows desktop as just another app.

Windows 8 brings together all the power and flexibility you have in your PC today with the ability to immerse yourself in a Metro style experience. You don't have to compromise! You carry one device that does everything you want and need. You can connect that device to peripherals you want to use. You can use devices designed to dock to large screen displays and other peripherals. You can use convertible devices that can be both immersive tablets and flexible laptops.

Which brings us back to the improvements we're making to the desktop experience: we believe in the Windows desktop. It powers the experiences today that make a Windows 7 PC the most popular device in the world. So, even if we believe that over time many scenarios will be well-served by Metro style apps, for the foreseeable future, the desktop is going to continue to play a key role in many people's lives. So we are going to improve it. We're having a good dialog about what folks might think about our design choices but also wanted to put these choices in a broader context of the unmatched utility of the desktop.

Our design goal was clear: no compromises. If you want to, you can seamlessly switch between Metro style apps and the improved Windows desktop. Existing apps, devices, and tools all remain and are improved in Windows 8. On the other hand, if you prefer to immerse yourself in only Metro style apps (and platform) and the new user experience, you can do that as well! Developers can target the APIs that make sense for the software they wish to deliver. People can debate how much they need or don't need different aspects of the product, but that has always been the case. All of this is made possible by the flexibility of Windows.

Wonderful. So that means you would be able to use any or both of Metro UI and traditional Windows Desktop in Windows 8...

Windows 7 users can get a similar Start Screen using following articles:





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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1


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Comments

  • I finally got hold of a new Win 8 pc and expected to be able to stay in Metro. In fact I purchased it to give my mother an easy interface to do just simple tasks.

    But no, some tasks like running Chrome with Silverlight take you back to the Win 7 interface and leave you there. So now we have two different interfaces making the whole thing a mess. This is such a retrograde step from Windows 7 and takes me back to the bad old days of Windows 3 where it was just an overlay on top od DOS.

    If the Chromebook supported Silverlight then I would probably move away from Windows totally, as it is I now have two Chromebooks and six Windows laptops. I doubt that I will invest in Windows beyond 2013.

  • who knows how to shut down the win8 metro UI?

  • @edmund,

    Do you mean to say: " How to shut down Windows 8 on Metro UI?"

    Solution: press Windows+ I to launch the Settings Bar, and the power button will be there. click and select shut down. problem solved

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