Will Windows 8 be a Good OS for Desktop PCs?

NOTE: We advise you to first install and test Windows 8 in your system and post your feedback about it in your comment. Different people have different opinions.

We all know that Microsoft's upcoming OS "Windows 8" is under development. Microsoft has released a Developer Preview build of Windows 8 to public in past and very soon Microsoft is going to release a Beta (Consumer Preview) build of Windows 8 to public on Feb 29, 2012. Everyone will be able to download and use it absolutely free.

Windows 8 comes with several new features and enhancements like new Start Screen which has completely replaced traditional Start Menu, Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer, redesigned and enhanced file copy/move dialog box, enhanced Task Manager, Refresh/Reset PC functionality and much more. You can learn more about all new Windows 8 features in our exclusive Windows 8 section.


Although there are many improvements and new additions in this new Windows OS but the question comes, will Windows 8 be a good OS for Desktop and laptops? This question came in my mind because it seems Microsoft is mainly targeting touch-devices like Tablets for Windows 8 development. Why? Please read below:

Windows 8 Start Screen

Lets talk about Start Screen first. Start Screen shows big live thumbnails (called Tiles) of installed programs in Windows 8. Its extremely cool to have such kind of screen in touch devices as the user needs to use his finger to select an item and it would be really hard to select an item from traditional start menu. Big thumbnails help user in opening a program easily and quickly.

But what about Desktop and laptop users? Why would a Desktop user want new Start Screen to forcefully occupy the whole screen area to show big thumbnails of programs? Start Menu takes a very small amount of screen space and the user also have access to Desktop but in Start Screen, if you want to look at Desktop, you'll need to click on Desktop tile or use keyboard shortcuts.

Also using mouse to scroll between several program tiles on Start Screen takes much time compared to the good old start menu where it shows a list of all installed programs using small icons and text which doesn't take much space.

So for a Desktop user, Start Menu is far better than new Start Screen.

PS: There is a registry tweak to enable Start Menu in Windows which can be found here. But again its a hidden trick and I'm not sure whether it'll work in final RTM build of Windows 8 or not? Microsoft can disable this trick in RTM build.

Removal of Start Button

Now the news are coming from latest Windows 8 testing build that Microsoft has removed "Start button" from Taskbar.

First removal of Classic start menu from Windows 7, then removal of the whole start menu from Windows 8 and now they removed Start button from Taskbar.

The Start button in Windows 8 Developer Preview build used to launch new Start Screen and now after the removal of Start button, you need to move your mouse cursor to the bottom-left corner of screen which shows a small thumbnail of Start Screen. You need to click on that thumbnail to launch Start Screen.


The reason behind this move is the presence of actual "Start Button" key on all touch devices. Actually Microsoft has provided some guidelines to all computer manufacturer companies to develop devices compatible with Windows 8. The first and most important guideline is the presence of Start button key. All touch devices must have a Start button on the device panel which should launch the Start Screen.

Now Microsoft is again thinking about touch devices and forgetting about Desktop users. Desktop users don't need Start Screen. They just need to click on Start Button and launch the desired program.

Instead of completely removing the Start button, Microsoft could have made it a bit shorter or could have used a rectangular shape similar to Aero Peek (Show Desktop) rectangle present in the end of Taskbar. Microsoft can make it completely transparent or put Windows flag icon or a big S on it. So that at least users can know that they need to click on it to access Start Screen.

Metro Apps

And about Metro Apps, why would a Desktop user need a chromeless Internet Explorer metro version when he already have an excellent IE9 version? Metro IE is great for touch devices like tablets where the screen is small and you need to use your fingers to browse the sites but for a Desktop user its not so great. IE9 already comes with minimal UI. It hardly takes screen space and provides much space to browse websites.

Again Metro Apps are great for touch devices but not for Desktops.

What Would Be The Best Solution?

Its true that tablets are becoming popular day by day but Desktop users are still there and will always be there so we should not forget about them.

Why to create a single OS which is perfect for tablets but not very good for Desktops?

What Microsoft should do is to develop 2 separate editions of Windows 8, one for tablets and the other for Desktops. Desktop edition should come with traditional Start button and Start Menu and the Tablet edition should come with new Start Screen.

Or Microsoft can program Windows 8 setup in such a way that it should automatically detect the computer system at the installation time whether its a touch device or Desktop and then it should install the right edition.

Also instead of completely removing a component, Microsoft should provide an option to switch between features. If they wish, they can disable Start menu but they should also provide an option in Taskbar Properties to enable traditional start menu. Same thing can be done for Start button. Providing options to user is better instead of forcing him to use something which he doesn't want to use.

I'm sure if tablets were not so popular and Microsoft didn't think about them, Windows 8 would have been something different than what we are seeing today.

Just my two cents. What do you think???

PS: I don't hate Windows 8. There are many things which I love about Windows 8 for example, enhanced Windows Explorer, Task Manager, File History, Reset/Refresh PC, new boot loader, etc. But implementing changes to make the OS compatible with tablets and ruining Desktop user experience is not a thing which I'll admire...

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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Hey VG,

    You were bang on with the points. Even I think that Metro is good but it should been kept as an option rather than forcing it on every single user. From a consumer's point of view at least till now it looks like Windows 8 has been made keeping touchscreen devices in mind rather than Laptop/Desktop users.

    All we can do is that we can hope Microsoft listens to the users and makes the necessary changes and if they don't then they must have thought something about it.

  • At first I really liked where Windows 8 was going, you know with the start screen and all. Although not very desktop friendly I still liked it. Don't get me wrong, I still like it, but I thought Microsoft will put an option to switch between start menu and start screen (or maybe both). And now they're completely removing the start menu... They'd better do something about it or I don't think I'll be using Windows 8.

  • Every time I think that Microsoft has run out of feet to shoot, they find another one to aim their .44 Magnum of stupid at. :-(

  • Perfect! You are right on with every point but I still think that Microsoft should go with choice, I have an old tablet style laptop which runs windows 8 dev preview really well and I do switch between features a lot there is still so many people like me that prefer the old features mainly due to the fact it is a greater speed performance.

  • IMHO, the era of the desktop hasn't come to an end yet and merging a tablet interface into a desktop is a bad idea. Desktop is for productivity. I don't see metro UI being so helpful in that criteria.

    Win 98 - good
    Win 2000 - fail
    Win XP - good
    Win Vista - fail
    Win 7 - good
    Win 8 - ??

    For me, the answer is quite obvious.

    If they don't provide an option to disable metro completely I'll be sticking to Windows 7.

  • You hit everything right on the mark. I agree whole heartedly. Your suggestion were quite good and something that microsoft should take into consideration.

  • @Mushaf

    In my opinion, Windows 8 will thrive with beginner users, e.g. technologically inadept users. Metro apps will be really simple to install by the looks of it, and this will appeal to users who aren't usually good at installing programs.

    I agree with most of your timeline ratings.

    Win 98 - Good
    Win 2000 - Okay, but not as good as Win98
    Win XP - Excellent
    Win Vista - Horrible
    Win 7 - Great
    Win 8 - Good, but too much focus on metro

    I think, at the end of the day, that even though Windows 8 has several UI improvements e.g. ribboned explorer and the new file transfer, window, etcetera; along with functional improvements, e.g. the hybrid hibernate/shutdown and the ability to reinstall just system files, the metro is what spoils it. Windows is trying to appeal to a novice market, and not leaving the option to revert to the typical setup. Even though you can get rid of the metro start screen, it still won't be gone forever.

    Win 8 rating (just from the dev preview): 8/10. 8 points scored for increased functionality over 7 both graphically and functionally, but if MS just left an option to 'normalize' Windows it would've scored another 2.

  • don't worry guys, i think Microsoft will still build windows 8 for laptop/desktop user. Why i think that? because,i look at the office.. what they use? desktop. so Microsoft still want the desktop user to use their products. Business.

  • The direction that Microsoft is taking leads to nowhere... I mean, if they go stray on that path, they'll struggle their way back.
    I hope that's not gonna with Windows 8.

  • I think though that there is no point in upgrading from Windows 7 cause the new functions are not convincing enough. I hope that they work on new things besides the new ribbon interface and faster startup/shutdown.

  • Hey, VG. Can you give me advice? I am waiting for ubuntu 12.04, cause I want a new OS on my pc. But as you say that the Win 8 beta is also realeasing, so I am confuse which os should download. So please help me. Thanks

  • Bummer! It looks like I'm going to stay with windows se7en for awhile. If there were a petition to keep the option for, or seperate version for desktop/laptop users in windows ei8ht, then I would sign it, and probably most of the Microsoft users.

  • @VG This time, I strongly disagree with you, as I actually like many features in Win8 you have said are for tablets only. Of course, that may be because I also have just a netbook, and that's also a small screen like a tablet, but that's how I think.

  • @Mushaf You you mistaken on a point, a single.

    This is not Windows 2000 which was a fail but Windows Millenium. Not to be confused (version 2000 and public Pro for Millenium)


    To return to the subject, Windows 8 will be the most colossal failure in the history of MS, you'll see. Remember well what I say.

  • Rating
    Windows 9x(98,95,99,2000/ME)-Such a failure
    Windows XP-Such an improvement to Windows 9x
    Windows Vista-A little bit of a improvement
    Windows 7-Perfect
    Windows 8-A little bit of a improvement
    Windows 9/10-Such a improvement

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